Smoke and Mirrors - BNTVA Chairman - Updated 16/09/2019.
Updated: Oct 29, 2019
WE HAVE NOW ESTABLISHED THAT THE FISSIONLINE ARTICLE IS A FORGERY. IT HAS BEEN CONFIRMED BY ALAN RIMMER OF FISSIONLINE THAT HE DID NOT WRITE IT. A JOINT STATEMENT WAS RELEASED TODAY:
"Fissionline 59 has appeared online on the 12th September, it is a phony version put out by people who wish to cause mischief. The police are being contacted and enquiries are ongoing. If anyone has information as to the authors of this forgery, please contact us immediately."
The statement below was issued before we identified the forgery. The request to meet with the authors was to the actual authors of Fissionline and not the perpetrators of this crime.
The full statement can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/BNTVACharity/
In an attack on the BNTVA, Fissionline have raised a number of issues which need addressing with facts.
The response from the BNTVA Chairman addresses the issues.
Trustees who left the BNTVA Board
Jeff Liddiatt - to become Chairman of NCCF (now Treasurer)
Bob Ireland - to move to NCCF
Don James - NCCF board member
Ian Hall - Shop Manager who could not run the shop due to work commitments
Trustees added to the BNTVA Board
Eric Barton - Operation Dominic
Robert McCann - Standard Bearer
Since Roberts appointment, the board has been static.
John Baron left the BNTVA to become Patron of the NCCF, with Sir John Hayes replacing him.
The ICARIS group of companies has no relevance to the BNTVA, but if Fissionline are unhappy with how the accounts have been presented, speak to Moore Thompson, Spalding. They audited the books and provided the accounts according to UK Law and would be happy to speak to you regarding tax avoidance.
The BNTVA receives no AVF Funding, financial support is given to members through the NCCF which runs the CWI Fund. We do not receive income from the NCCF. We rely on donations and membership subscriptions to survive.
A full breakdown of the income and expenditure will be published to paid up members in the September edition of Campaign magazine as per usual.
We support Veterans through War Pension tribunals, with funeral drapes and Standard Bearers and through our campaigning. Our text a friend service provides a relief to social isolation. The Fallout group of descendants are in constant dialogue with health issues. Our Social Media feed is vibrant, with posts each day. We are registered with the Veterans Gateway which also provide help.
These services are clearly listed on the BNTVA website: https://www.bntva.com/support
We do not have funds to pay any grants to individuals, these are paid through the NCCF CWI Fund. We signpost all Veterans and their families to the NCCF as this is the best conduit to obtain help. We also signpost them to other military charities depending on their service.
All Charity Commission reporting standards have been met when filing the accounts.
All Tests Reunion
The All Tests Reunion is run through Pontins and is booked direct with them, the BNTVA cannot provide any financial assistance for the room cost in 2019. In 2017, the NCCF provided a grant to help the Veterans. In 2018, the RAF Benevolent Fund paid for the RAF personnel who attended. This year, despite numerous attempts, the cost of accommodation could not be funded by any grants.
The BNTVA provide support for help with quizzes, tours, tournaments the band and Gilbertese dancers.
A trustee meeting is held at the reunion to save costs, each trustee attends and pays for their own accommodation, direct through Pontins.
Trustee Expenditure - Trips
Trustees can claim for petrol allowances, travel on trains and buses and hotel stays, wherever possible these are kept to a minimum. The trustees agreed to drop the petrol allowance to 35p per mile this year to save costs. No other remuneration is paid for trips. Wherever possible, Trustees travel together.
We have detailed polices and procedures for claiming any expense, with all items signed off. All items are entered into our accounting package with documentation. Our qualified accountant analyses the entries directly from our bank account and ensures we meet the Charity reporting standards laid down by the Charity Commission.
The BNTVA are not funding any of Dr Alexis-Martins research, just supporting her, she is entirely self funding. We help with grant applications, but we do not have any funds available to financially support the research.
BNTVA Conference - Brunel
This is not an event run by Dr Alexis-Martin, it is a BNTVA event where academics and researchers from around the world can show their research. Dr Alexis-Martin is a contributor. The BNTVA board will be running this event and inviting academics across the world to showcase how they are helping Nuclear Veterans.
These were an idea from a member who had originally approached the old BNTVA, he recontacted the new BNTVA and we took the idea forward. The board decided that they would be a great item to add to the merchandise lineup, there are more to be released as per the original design of the member. We are not alone in selling challenge coins in the Military Charity sector.
Others can be found here: https://clubcoinsuk.com/product/the-military-range-british-army
The War Poppy collection: https://thekoinclub.com/coins-medals/war-poppy-coins-medals
We approached NAAV as they already provided coins to their members.
This was funded by a donation and was created at no cost to the BNTVA. The merchandise was created from member requests. The logo is not a rip-off of any other logo, it was deigned specifically for the BNTVA. The wording 'Still engaging an Invisible Enemy' comes from an American Veteran who wore a t-shirt stating 'Wounded by an invisible enemy'.
This website and membership was created after a request at the 2018 conference. I agree that the fee may seem high, but we have received no complaints. I agree with suggestion that any member who has paid their membership fees can have neutrino membership for free. A great idea. Anyone who has paid for a Neutrino membership will be contacted and their payment refunded.
Any more suggestions for the site would be greatly received.
Fallout Book for MP's
This was also a suggestion from a member who wanted to help the BNTVA. We have processed a number of these orders and have received excellent feedback and support from the MP's and have published the letters on Social Media. The BNTVA cannot afford to spend £5,000 on a campaign for each MP. The members who supported this campaign were happy to help the Charity in their quest for recognition.
Order of the Guinea Pig
We have received 60+ orders for the certificate and pin badge with no complaints. Mrs Owen is a volunteer for the shop, receives no remuneration for her time processing orders and taking them to the post office and liaising with suppliers. She was appointed as Shop Manager in 2018 by the board. The family home keeps only a small stock and most items are made to order. There is no conflict of interest.
We were aware of the original Order of the Guinea Pig. It is not an affront to the heroes, this is an Order of the Guinea Pig - Atomic Veteran. We researched this idea fully before implementing it.
Unfortunately, the website was transferred to us during the 2018 conference and the old site was running, we needed to transfer it to the new servers to make it live. We had logins to the old site, but no backup. Once the servers moved to the new ones, the Memorial Wall was lost.
This was an unfortunate error which we regret, but we cannot rectify the mistake. The actual message to the person who enquired about the loss of the page was:
"The new BNTVA did not receive a backup of the old website.
We do not have any information from the previous web provider."
The web provider is not BH Associates, they provided us with full details to log in and helped us during the conference to ensure that the site went live. We will be writing to BH Associates to explain that it is in no way a reflection on their service, which in this case was excellent and allowed the website to be made 'live' in time for the conference.
We apologise to anyone who lost information, but it was a genuine mistake, not a deliberate act. If anyone wants to resurrect their old memorial, please contact us.
The BNTVA have 1057 records on their database:
579 postal members
142 online members
43 receiving both
250 no response to mailings so status unknown
12 no further contact at members request
16 deceased members (BNTVA informed)
15 duplicate records (inherited from old system)
These figures are correct as at 12th September 2019. As of May 2019, we no longer mail the 250 members who we have no status for as the cost of postage and magazine printing is high and we feel it is not fair to the paying members to send a magazine to people who have not paid their membership. We have written to these members and unfortunately have not received a response, we believe that unfortunately, many of these members have now passed away or have moved address, so we are unable to contact them.
If you are no longer receiving your Campaign magazine and want to pay your membership, you can do so via the BNTVA website www.bntva.com or by calling 0208 144 3080.
We do not hide any figures from our membership, these are accurate figures from our database. The postage and printing of the Campaign magazine is still one of the highest expenditure items for the BNTVA, but the feedback from our members is that they enjoy the magazine and still want it published.
Unfortunately due to the age of the membership and the constant loss of members due to their passing, the BNTVA is in a constant battle to maintain memberships. We will now publish the membership figures in each edition of the Campaign magazine.
Due to the number of non UK Taxpayers, we cannot claim Gift Aid on all of our memberships, we would love to claim 25p in the £1 for every membership, but it is not possible as to do so would be breaking the law. We can only claim for people who indicate that they are UK taxpayers. We only have 600 people indicating that they are tax payers on our system.
It would be fantastic if we could claim Gift Aid on every donation and membership, but this is not possible due to the tax status of many of our members and donors.
There was no editing of the conference pictures, we had over 100 guests, including dignitaries and representatives from other Nuclear organisations as in previous years.
The BNTVA would like to thank the people who joined the live feed for the 2019 Conference. As you can see below, the live feed was a great success:
360 unique viewers watched the feed.
1115 estimated reach
131 people engaging with the video
The live feed gave the 360 unique viewers the opportunity to engage with the conference from the comfort of their own homes, this was especially important to the members who cannot travel for health reasons.
Fissionline are correct that there were 10 people watching at the time of the announcement, but 100 unique people had tuned in at that time, these stats are not visible on the watch feed, only to the admins of the page.
NAAV Trip to USA
The trip to the United States is self funded, the BNTVA pay for petrol to a London Hotel, one night stay and nothing more. All plane costs, hotel stays in the USA, car hire are paid for by the trustees personally and by NAAV. This was the case in 2018 as well.
Perhaps Fissionline should attend the All Tests Reunion in Weston and talk to the Veterans about the BNTVA that how they feel about the current board, merchandise and campaigning.
Including details of the cost of the Chairman's home when he receives no paid salary from the BNTVA is baffling. It is also an incorrect figure, it was the asking price, but that was not what was paid.
The BNTVA have nothing to hide, if members are not happy with how the Charity is being run, speak to anyone of the trustees, ring 0208 144 3080, we will be happy to explain anything to you.
If you are unhappy with merchandise costs, please tell us, we aim to cover our operating costs for all the merchandise and postage.
If any member wants the board to consider a change of trusteeships, please contact us. The board work extremely hard to ensure that this Charity runs as per Charity Law and provides the best service we can to the members within very tight budgets. We have returned to campaigning and increased the awareness levels of the BNTVA via a digital platform and in the media, if you want more, please tell us.
We look forward to seeing Fissionline at the All Tests Reunion and discussing their issues face to face.