Military charity moves to £1.8m office in Chelmsford

02 Oct 2019 News

The national military charity Blesma has relocated its headquarters to Chelmsford, having previously been based in Chadwell Heath.

The charity moved over a weekend, to start on Monday 23rd September, with an opening launch planned for 10th October. 

Barry Le Grys, Blesma’s chief executive, said: “After a significant exercise in due diligence and considering all our options, we are very pleased to arrive in Chelmsford where we are up and running after a weekend move from Chadwell Heath. We look forward to engaging with the local community as a national but specialist services charity.”

Blesma serves people who have suffered limb loss or the loss of use of a limb, or an eye or loss of sight, to rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support.

Office in Chadwell Heath was 'no longer fit for purpose'

Ian Waller, from Blesma, said the charity bought its new office after it found the costs of their previous one were too high and that it was “inefficient” as an office. The charity spent £1.8m in December 2018 for the purchase of the office building in Chelmsford.

He added that the move had been almost “cost neutral” as the charity was able to purchase the new building, refurbish it and let out a floor to cover costs, for a similar amount.

A statement from the charity said the move will be “more cost-effective in the long term” as the modern infrastructure has a much lower running cost. Waller added that the old building also did not have a lift whilst the new one does, which is necessary for its staff and beneficiaries. 

Its statement read: “The move is the result of a lengthy review in which trustees of the charity concluded that their office in Chadwell Heath was no longer fit for purpose and it would be more cost-effective in the long term, as well as being in the best interest of the Association, to purchase the more suitable and accessible building.”

Staff retention: 'A testament to the loyalty of the staff'

The new office includes space for 30 office-based employees whose roles include welfare support, prosthetic advice, organising rehabilitation activities, communications, and fundraising. 

All of the staff have moved with the charity. Waller said it was “a testament to the loyalty of the staff”.

Blesma was formed in the years following the First World War and became a national charity in 1932, it was gifted its Chadwell Heath building in the 1960s. Blesma is one of only around ten charities that still exist from the 18,000 that were born out of the First World War.

Blesma will mark their first event in Chelmsford with their Christmas Carol Service at Chelmsford Cathedral, Duke Street on 5th December 2019. 

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