NSW RSL fundraising suspension hurting smaller local sub-branches

DOWNSIDE: The fundraising ban is hurting some sub-branches with community awareness. Photo: Peter Hardin
DOWNSIDE: The fundraising ban is hurting some sub-branches with community awareness. Photo: Peter Hardin

LOCAL RSL sub-branches are feeling the pinch following the suspension of fundraising activities, but it’s not just hurting in the hip-pockets.

This year, on Remembrance Day, you won’t bump into RSL members selling badges and poppies.

The organisation’s state council ordered sub-branches to cease all fundraising activities with the RSL currently under the cloud of a NSW government inquiry.

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In Tamworth, there hasn’t been a financial burden borne by the city’s RSL, president Bob Chapman said.

“We don’t really make a lot of money out of these sorts of occasions,” Mr Chapman said.

“It has impacted us in a way that we’re not getting in touch with our community because we’re not out selling badges and poppies.

“That is the downside.”

The Tamworth sub-branch president said the fundraising veto would probably hit harder in the region’s smaller villages.

Jim Simons, president of the Barraba sub-branch, said the small town’s organisation had felt the pinch.

“We’re a small sub-branch so our expenses are quite large,” Mr Simons told The Leader.

“But we’ve been a sub-branch which has dipped into its own pockets even before this.”

He said the small community has a strong interest in its local military history, which has helped keep the sub-branch going.

“We’ve carried on information to the town and made ourselves available to the schools,” Mr Simons said.

“We do it with a lot of feeling.”

While the Barraba club was getting by without the fundraisers, Mr Simons said “we wouldn’t want it to go on much longer either”.

Meanwhile, its southern neighbours in Manilla say the fundraising veto hasn’t had any impact.

“It’s had no impact whatsoever,” Manilla RSL sub-branch secretary Ian Bignall said.

“We are pretty well self-funded.”

Manilla’s “strong, little sub-branch” only has about 35 members, but they’re more than happy to chip-in, Mr Bignall said.

After its Remembrance ceremony at the Manilla town hall, the RSL will unveil a brand new shrine in town, which was self-funded.

“Sandra Lambkin will open our new wall of remembrance at the Manellae Lodge [aged care facility],” he said.

“We completely funded that.”

What’s on: Remembrance Day

  • Barraba – Remembrance ceremony from 11am at Peace Garden near Richardson House and the the hospital.
  • Manilla – Remembrance ceremony from 11am at Manilla Town Hall.
  • Tamworth – Remembrance ceremony from 10.15am at Tamworth War Memorial Town Hall.