Weston's Somerset Legion House set to close in 2020

PUBLISHED: 11:11 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:41 25 November 2019

Weston's Royal British Legion organises various events across the town. Picture: Mark Atherton

Weston's Royal British Legion organises various events across the town. Picture: Mark Atherton

Archant

Weston's Royal British Legion (RBL) break centre could close next year, with the announcement coming less than two weeks after Remembrance Sunday.

An armed forces charity dinner night at Somerset Legion House.

   Picture: MARK ATHERTONAn armed forces charity dinner night at Somerset Legion House. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Somerset Legion House, in Beach Road, opened in October 2007 and cost £6.7million to build.

The house has 47 rooms and caters for 75 people by providing two-week breaks for families and children connected to the armed forces at little or no cost.

RBL is behind some of the biggest events in the town's calendar, including the annual Poppy Appeal fundraising efforts, the weekly bike nights and plays a part in the organisation of the armed forces weekend.

The charity is consulting with staff about proposals on whether to close the centre, with its three other hotels in Southport, Bridlington and Portrush, in Northern Ireland, also due to shut.

It believes nearly £6million per year could be saved by ending its home maintenance service, as both areas of support are available through 'other providers or more cost-effective means' and RBL plans to explore 'how it can best adapt to meet the needs of today's armed forces community and be fit for purpose for the next 100 years'.

An RBL spokesman said: "Throughout its history, RBL has responded to the changes in the armed forces community and the landscape the charity operates within.

"Discussing these proposals is a necessary step for RBL in order to adapt and help the armed forces community tackle their toughest challenges today.

"The current proposals form part of a wider programme of work as RBL creates a new strategy to ensure the charity is having the greatest impact, making the most of its resources, and evolving in line with changes around us.

"Consultation around RBL's current proposals is expected to last until early 2020, when the decisions will be announced."

The charity is due to celebrate its centenary year in 2021.

For more, pick up a copy of next week's Mercury.

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