The Forces Pension Society will soon become the latest forces charity to offer its members free guidance from the PFS’s Forces Money Plan, asTony Miles reveals...
Pro bono publico (English: for the public good usually shortened to pro bono) is, as many will know, a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment.
Unlike traditional voluntary work, it uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services either to those who are unable to afford them, or as part of a public service ethos to targeted groups within the community at large.
In 2014, the Personal Finance Society (PFS), together with Citizens Advice created its hugely successful pro bono offering Money Plan, on the back of a successful pilot run between May 2007 and March 2009.During the pilot, 30 adviser members volunteered their time on a regular basis to their local Citizens Advice to provide money guidance to clients on low and middle incomes. Today, Money Plan continues to deliver pro bono guidance on a range of money matters through more than 100 Citizen Advice offices and hundreds of volunteer members of the PFS located up and down the UK.
THE CREATION OF FORCES MONEYPLAN
In June 2017, the PFS extended the concept of Money Plan toa new pro bono initiative called ‘Forces Money Plan’, offering basic financial guidance to sick and injured forces personneland veterans affiliated to armed forces charity the OnCourse Foundation (which uses the game of golf to rehabilitate members of our armed forces both physically and mentally).
Keith Richards, CEO of the PFS, says: “Forces Money Planhas been making strong progress since it was launched and the interest it has generated is a testament to both the need for this kind of pro bono guidance and the appreciation that exists for the professionals giving the service.”
In 2018, Forces Money Plan extended its reach further to members of Blesma, the armed forces charity for limbless veterans founded in the aftermath of the First World War - much at the same time, specialist hospitals were set up for the war limbless at Roehampton near London, at Erskine in Scotland and in schools and other public buildings across the country.
Money Plan continues to deliver pro bono guidance on a range of money matters through more than 100 Citizen Advice offices and hundreds of volunteer members of the PFS located up and down the UK
During this period, as limbless men came together for their treatments and fittings, there developed a spirit of kinship among them, arising from their common disabilities and shared experiences. It was during this time that limbless men gathered to discuss their problems and the possibility of some action to improve their conditions. A group of such men in the Glasgow area banded together to form the first branch of the Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association.
In the 1230s, branches of the Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association that had sprung up came together to gain national charitable status, eventually becoming
SIGNING THE ARMED FORCES COVENANT
During 2018, the PFS also signed the Armed Forces Covenant with the Ministry of Defence, a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly and have the same access to government and commercial services and products as any other citizen. This commitment had access to Forces Money Plan at its centre and was part of the PFS’s longer-term strategy to ensure all members of the armed forces andveterans, regardless of health and physical state, ultimately have access to generic guidance to both help establish and develop financial wellbeing, as well as gain understanding around the value of regulated financial advice.
WELCOMING THE FORCES PENSION SOCIETY
In November 2018, the Forces Pension Society will become the latest forces charity to open up its membership to
free financial guidance from Forces Money Plan. This is a significant development for two reasons. First, the Forces Pension Society has just celebrated its 50,000th member, bringing significantly enhanced scale to the reach of Forces Money Plan. Second, it opens up the pro bono initiative to both healthy and uninjured service forces personnel for the first time, as well as those who are sick and injured.
A consequence of this is that Forces Money Plan will be looking for additional volunteers, so if you think this is an initiative that you can put some time behind, however limited, we would be delighted to hear from you.
From this point onward, the PFS will be looking todevelop the reach of Forces Money Plan even further through partnerships with other organisations, as well as supporting the work of the Chartered Insurance Institute in encouraging members of the armed forces to look at second careers in both insurance and financial advice.
If you would like to find out more about becominga Forces Money Plan volunteer, please contact either
Lyn New, forces money plan administrator (email email@example.com or call 07900 226151); or Tony Miles, Forces Money Plan project manager (email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07806 393072).