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Supporting the Club

THE ROYAL AIR FORCE CLUB: SAFEGUARDING OUR FUTURE

From: Air Marshal Sir David Walker KCVO OBE DL

President, Royal Air Force Club

It is but 2 years since we celebrated the Royal Air Force Club centenary, coinciding with the completion of splendid enhancements to our facilities. Usage of 128 Piccadilly by both members and external organisations was at an all time high, and all seemed set fair. It is an old military maxim that one should always expect the unexpected, but not in the worst of nightmares could anyone have anticipated our current predicament. As our Chairman advised you in her recent correspondence, we are forecasting a shortfall of £5,000,000 in our revenue for 2020. This in turn, would lead to a £750,000 loss for the year. The swift, far reaching but very painful measures taken by the Board of Trustees and the Executive has stabilised our position. However, just as our trade started to recover, we have been dealt another blow by the latest Government restrictions. Therefore, safeguarding the Club’s future will need your active support, and there are three ways in which you can do so now.

USE THE CLUB

The first is very straightforward: make use of the Club. Our principal sources of income are from subscriptions and bedroom occupancy. Consequently, it is essential that we retain our membership base, hence the decision to maintain the current rate of subscription into 2021. With regard to bedroom occupancy, at the moment this stands at less than 30%, which is an unsustainable position. I appreciate that some members, especially those at higher risk, remain cautious about travel. This is entirely understandable and, in this context, I would not wish to encourage anyone to do anything that they are not comfortable with. But you can still help by sponsoring unaccompanied stays by friends and family. £125 a night for a double room in Mayfair represents a substantial bargain even in these troubled times. Please do all you can on this front and when you visit try to make maximum use of the Club’s facilities, particularly the Dining Room.

DONATIONS

The second way is by direct financial donations. As the Chairman noted in her correspondence, the Covid19 Appeal had raised around £60,000, but this flowed from only 400 people, which represented less than 2% of our membership. Very gratifyingly, we have since received an additional £50,000 in donations from a further 450 members. I have, though, now to ask you for very much broader support in the form of a monthly donation. This follows a suggestion by one of our long standing members, Flight Lieutenant Colin Bell DFC AE, who was a Mosquito Pathfinder pilot in the Second World War. Like many good ideas, Colin’s proposal is both simple and potentially very effective: each member, of all categories, should contribute by standing order a minimum of £10 per month. This would obviously help our general finances greatly and also assist us to deal with a specific financial issue. You may recall that the Club invested over £8,000,000 in the additional facilities and new bedrooms that made up the Centenary Project and this was financed partly from the Club’s own resources and by taking out a bank loan of £5,500,000 in 2018. At that time, the Board was satisfied that the Club could comfortably meet its loan obligations. That has been so, and with monthly interest and loan repayments of £45,000 our outstanding loan is now £4,700,000.  However, with the significant reduction in our income, servicing the debt is problematic. Therefore, your donations would be used to relieve us of this debt as quickly as possible, as well as alleviating our immediate financial position. 

A Standing order form can be found below or via the link hereThis includes a Gift-Aid Declaration, which would increase the value of your contribution to the Club by 25%.  If you can afford £10 per month at least until the end of next year, I urge you not to put this request in the “to do pile”, but instead complete the standing order straight away, and send it to your bank and a duplicate copy to the Club. Alternatively, you can do this through your online banking but we would ask that you inform us so that your contribution can be acknowledged.

If you would instead prefer to make a single equivalent or higher contribution now, then that would be wonderfully helpful. This can be done via a cheque made payable to the Royal Air Force Club and sent to the Club Chief Executive or by the JustGiving link here:

www.justgiving.com/campaign/rafclubcovid-19

LEGACIES

There is a third way in which you could make a very substantial contribution to both our survival and to our future. This is by a bequest. I imagine, like me, the period of lockdown has given many of you time to reflect on how best to deploy your legacy. Please consider amending your will to benefit the Club, which has charitable status. This might be for a specific figure, or as a percentage of your total estate. Amending your will is a relatively simple process which can be completed swiftly by your legal advisor.  Further information on legacies can be found below.

THANK YOU

In my recollection at least, it is unprecedented for the President of the Royal Air Force Club to write to our membership. This is the usual purview of the Chairman. However, I have been asked to do so by the Trustees to underline the fact that the prevailing situation represents a very serious risk to the Club’s future. This risk can only be countered by your direct and active support now. I have no doubt that we can rely upon you to help safeguard the Club for future generations, and I thank you for this.

Yours sincerely,

Air Marshal Sir David Walker KCVO OBE DL
President, The Royal Air Force Club

Registered Charity 1108295
Royal Patron: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Our Legacy Vision

Membership of the Club continues to offer a host of benefits, including use of the Grade II listed club in central London, accommodation, exceptional dining and elegant private banqueting rooms perfect for reunions and celebrations. 

For so many the Club is rich in memories created over the years, associated with good times spent with friends, colleagues and fellow members. With its shared Royal Air Force history, the Club is a uniquely special place, which celebrates the past endeavours of great men and women, whilst also looking to the future.

To help preserve this future for generations of serving and former serving officers to come, you can either give today in the form of a donation - either a one off donation, a regular standing order, or through a legacy for the future.

"There can be no better way to give something back to the Club that we have loved, than to help others enjoy it in the future."

Help Preserve the Future of Your Club with a Donation or Legacy

The Royal Air Force Club is a registered Charity, with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as our Royal Patron. Our Charitable Aims and Mission are designed to support members and their families in a comfortable RAF-friendly environment:

To provide high quality and affordable facilities and services in central London for Club Members, in order to preserve, promote and foster the traditions of the Royal Air Force.

The Club only exists through the generosity and goodwill of its founder, Lord Cowdray back in 1918 and we are forever mindful of this gift, which allowed the purchase and development of the clubhouse at 128 Piccadilly.

In October 1918, the first Viscount Cowdray, President of the Air Board, sent a letter outlining his practical support for the establishment of an RAF Club to the then Chairman of the Royal Flying Corps Club, Sir Sefton Brancker. Enclosed was a cheque for £100,000 “…sufficient to ensure a permanent Club House worthy of the airmen and of their ‘brilliant and superlative heroic work.’”



Registered Charity 1108295
Royal Patron: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Why Support Us?

Today, any surplus from the Club’s day to day operation is reinvested to improve the facilities and services for members. The Club’s Centenary extension is the most substantial project since its founding over 100 years ago and with no one benefactor covering the costs of this impressive project, individual donations and legacies are crucial to help augment this work. 

Smaller gifts also help fund special projects such as the installation of the Centenary Stained Glass Window, recognising the contribution of Women in the Service of the RAF the Dining Room’s stunning new Art Collection, launched in autumn 2018.

Your money will be used wisely and efficiently and retained within a dedicated ‘Legacies & Donations’ fund and utilised for special projects around the Club. If you have a particular Club project in mind that you would like to actively support, please do let us know.

Examples of past gifts that have had a long lasting impact are the iconic RAF Stained Glass Window, an eye-catching focal point of the Club, only possible through a one-off donation. The Library has also benefited from generous donations in recent years, enabling us to add to the collection of post WWII books for members benefit.

The Club adheres and abides to the Fundraising Regulator’s guidance and Code of Fundraising Practice

How do I leave a legacy for the future?

For many of us it may suit our financial planning to make provision for supporting the RAF Club, after we have gone. Please do consider your Club when you are making, or re-drafting your Will. A gift left in your Will can make a lasting difference and leave a legacy which will perpetuate your memory, whilst helping those who carry on. This can be a percentage of your will, ‘£x,000’ or ‘the proceeds of the sale of my house’ or ‘the residue of my estate after all other legacies have been paid’.

Anything from 1% of estate upwards can be given – a legacy does not need to be a large gift and costs nothing to give. Any gift is very much appreciated and Gift Aid will be claimed wherever possible to maximise the value of any donation.

Amending a Will
A codicil is a document used to change a Will that has already been made. For further information please visit www.rememberacharity.org.uk/making-a-will/leave-a-gift-to-charity/

Further Information & Useful Links

If you have any specific questions regarding making a donation or a legacy, please contact Charlotte Gray charlotte@rafclub.org.uk or call 020 7399 1082.

Registered Charity 1108295
Royal Patron: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
 

General Information on Charitable Giving

Find a Solicitor - The Law Society

Making a Will – The Law Society

How to leave a gift to charity in your will

Will Writing Jargon Buster

Making A Complaint

If you have any concerns or wish to make a complaint regarding the Club's fundraising activity, please contact Charlotte Gray charlotte@rafclub.org.uk  or write to:

Charlotte Gray
Head of Marketing & Communications
The Royal Air Force Club
128 Piccadilly
London
W1J 7PY                   

Registered Charity 1108295
Royal Patron: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Downloadable Gift Aid, Standing Order & Donation Forms