Councillor criticises Sheffield for not hosting a City Poppy Day for Royal British Legion

Sheffield Council has been criticised for being one of the few major cities not to host a poppy event to support the Royal British Legion – as it celebrates 100 years of the Poppy Appeal.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 2:15 pm

Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, London and Bristol are all hosting a City Poppy Day during November when uniformed personnel from the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and veterans will fundraise with collecting tins.

Conservative councillor Lewis Chinchen said Sheffield’s support of the armed forces community needs to improve and he’s called on the council to produce an action plan within six months.

Coun Chinchen said he will put forward a motion at next week’s full council meeting, which will be his first since becoming a new councillor for Stocksbridge and the council’s sole Tory.

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Coun Lewis Chinchen said Sheffield's support of the armed forces community needs to improve

He said: "The armed forces community, including regulars, reservists, veterans and family members, face challenges in a range of areas such as housing, employment, finance, skills and health.

"A survey conducted as part of Sheffield Hallam’s South Yorkshire Armed Forces Covenant Project showed that more than half of respondents were unaware that councils in South Yorkshire had signed the covenant.

"More than 53 per cent of respondents had a poor awareness of specific support services available to them.

"The community covenant annual newsletter published on the council’s website is outdated, having been written in 2018, and I believe this is indicative of wider issues."

The launch of the Royal British Legion Poppy appeal 2019 in Sheffield with the former Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Tony Downing.

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This comes as The Royal British Legion marks a century of helping serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.

Coun Chinchen says the council should become a leading regional partner of the Royal British Legion by engaging more with their fundraising and remembrance events at a citywide level.

He added: "The Action Plan would ensure Sheffield Council progresses to becoming a gold accredited employer as part of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.

"It would provide appropriate training to council officers to ensure they are aware of advice, options and support available to the armed forces community.

"And it would help the council be more proactive in applying for grants from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust."

The last remaining Royal British Legion club in Sheffield is on Ecclesfield Road in Chapeltown and has been going since 1929. It currently has about 1,000 members.