Peterborough’s Poppy Appeal calling for volunteers to support charity during cost of living crisis

Peterborough’s Poppy Appeal raised £118,500 for the Royal British Legion last year – but nationally the appeal was down around £15 million on the previous year.

By Adam Barker
Monday, 1st August 2022, 4:11 pm
Peterborough's Poppy Appeal organisers Malcolm and Sandy Foster
Peterborough's Poppy Appeal organisers Malcolm and Sandy Foster

The organisers of Peterborough’s Poppy Appeal are calling for volunteers to support the Royal British Legion’s fundraising efforts this year – as they fear fuel prices will deter helpers.

The Royal British Legion is Britain’s largest Armed Forces charity. Founded in 1921, the charity offers support to servicemen, veterans and their families.

Peterborough’s Poppy Appeal raised £118,500 for the charity last year.

Peterborough's Poppy Appeal organisers Malcolm and Sandy Foster

Now, organisers hope people will continue to volunteer their time to support the appeal but predict the number of volunteers, and total amount of money raised, will both be affected by the aftermath of Covid and ongoing cost of living crisis.

"In the last full year before Covid [2019], we raised £125,000 – with over £17,000 coming from Peterborough’s schools,” Malcolm Foster, Peterborough Royal British Legion treasurer, said.

"In 2018 – the centenary year marking 100 years since the end of the First World War – we raised just under £142,000, which was the highest amount we’ve ever raised.

"It’s been down since the start of the pandemic, and we’re expecting it to be down again this year because of the financial situation everybody finds themselves in. Nationally the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal was down around £15 million last year."

Sandy Foster

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Peterborough’s Poppy Appeal will start in October this year – leading up to Remembrance Day (November 11).

Organisers are seeking volunteers to deliver poppies and collection tins to businesses and schools across the city, collect donations in the city and re-collect tins and excess stock after the conclusion of the appeal.

"The cost of living crisis is going to make it hard for us to get volunteers because of the cost of fuel,” Sandy Foster, Peterborough Poppy Appeal’s organiser, said. “Some of our volunteers last year might not come back this year.

"Donations may also be down because businesses have closed down because of Covid and a lot of people are working from home, so there’s not the same footfall in the offices.”

Pre-Covid, Peterborough’s Poppy Appeal delivered poppies and collection tins to 900 businesses and schools in the city, which was down by almost a third to 640 last year.

Sandy has been involved with the Royal British Legion since she was seven years old.

Her dad was a member of the Yaxley British Legion and was Peterborough’s Poppy Appeal organiser for 29 years.

“The charity supports veterans, serving personnel and their families,” she said. “If they have been injured, they can get rehabilitation and aid to help them in their everyday lives.

"A lot of the money goes to mental health support because a lot of our service and ex-service have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It helps people coming off the streets if they need to start a new home.”