‘There, But Not There’ figures commemorate the fallen
The Royal British Legion Industries’ (RBLI) social enterprise, dubbed Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC) because of the high number of injured veterans in its ranks, is this week issuing hundreds of thousands of There, But Not There 10-inch ‘Tommy’ figurines, as the nation prepares to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.
The campaign, run in conjunction with the charity Remembered, wants to issue 883,246 of the clear-plastic bowed figures – symbolising one for every British or Irish soldier killed during the Great War – by Armistice Day (Sunday).
So far more than 75,000 have been produced since the figures went into production in March, but there is expected to be a massive spike of orders in the run up to November 11.
Proceeds from the sales provide much-needed funds for charities including Heads Together, The Commonwealth War Graves Foundation, Help for Heroes, Walking with the Wounded and Combat Stress.
The enterprise’s model offers a lifeline to more than 100 people, many of whom have endured life-changing injuries in the line of fire and duty. Founded in 1919 to provide treatment for service personnel returning from World War One, now more than 70 per cent of the BBMC’s team is a veteran, has a disability, or both.
Helped in part by commercial links to businesses, including Coventry-based pallet pooler IPP, which helped create nine new jobs at Kent-based BBMC, the site in Aylesford also repairs and repatriates more than 1,500 wooden pallets each day as they return from retailers and manufacturers ahead of being sent back into the circular economy.
Phil Storer, UK & Ireland director at IPP, said: “We have been involved with RBLI for 14 years during which time we have seen first-hand how the enterprise continues to innovate in terms of raising awareness and funds for great causes.
“The RBLI’s day-to-day involvement with our business is critical to our 24/7 operations. The whole enterprise operates to very high commercial standards and helps to streamline our supply chain while at the same time providing a much-needed employment boost to former soldiers and people on other recovery journeys.
“We are really proud to be associated with the great work that they do. More front line businesses should get involved with this essential front line operation.”