Like many events this year, plans for the Poppy Appeal have been forced to adapt due to the limits of the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
Social distancing requirements and shielding volunteers are among the challenges faced by the armed forces charity The Royal British Legion (RBL), as it launched its annual campaign on Thursday (22 October).
Restrictions have meant that many of the charity’s collectors are unable to go and carry face to face collections as they normally would, but RBL is still urging people to show their support through alternative means.
Here’s everything you need to know about backing the campaign this year.
What is the Poppy Appeal?
The Poppy Appeal is the RBL’s biggest fundraising campaign and is held every year in November, during the period of Remembrance.
Poppies are used as a symbol to remember those who gave their lives in battle, as they are the flowers which grew on the battlefields after the end of World War One.
Since then, poppies have been worn in the days leading up to Remembrance Day on 11 November to commemorate those who died on behalf of the country.
Money raised from the Poppy Appeal is then used to help servicemen and women who are still alive today, including to find new jobs, somewhere to live, or any other support they may need.
Funds are also used to support those who have lost loved ones due to war.
How can I support it?
Normally, the charity has around 40,000 volunteers who support the appeal annually, but numbers are estimated to drop by around 30 per cent this year.
However, as coronavirus restrictions are still ongoing, people are being encouraged to show their support remotely this year, with the RBL unveiling several new ways to get involved.
Under the message ‘every poppy counts’, RBL instead suggests people make a request via its website for poppies to be sent in the post to be distributed among neighbours, families and friends, following social distancing guidelines.
While poppies are typically pinned to items of clothing, this year people can also display a poppy in their window, due to the limitations on getting out and about across the country.
A printable poppy poster is available to download, either in colour or to be coloured in by hand, via the RBL website. You can also submit a donation to the appeal when you download, with the minimum amount being £1.
Free fundraising packs are also available online, with supporters being encouraged to complete their one “virtual” poppy runs, walks or jogs to help raise funds.
RBL’s park run events usually take place in October and November, but were unable to go ahead this year due to social distancing measures.
Instead, people are asked to run in a park, jog around their local area, or clock up some miles on a treadmill.
The Poppy Run is free to register and will be open for participants until 30 November 2020. Entrants have the option to purchase a medal or t-shirt and can run, walk, or jog any distance, whenever and where it suits. To sign up visit britishlegion.org.uk.
How to buy a poppy
More than 15 million paper poppies will be distributed at supermarkets across the UK, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda.
Poppies will also be available to buy online via the RBL’s Poppy Shop.
Cashless donation options are available through QR codes, contactless payments and a text-to-donate facility.