THIS month we’re celebrating Make a Difference Day – a chance for volunteers from around the nation to come together for a common cause: to improve the lives of others. We are incredibly lucky to welcome thousands of vibrant volunteers to our charity every year, and I’d like to take a moment to tell your readers why we couldn’t do without them.

I work for Revitalise – an amazing charity that provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers.

Our guests have always - and will always - be right at the heart of what we do and in many ways our volunteers are our magic ingredient.

In the last year alone, our wonderful volunteers donated 3,467 weeks of their time to live in and support our guests at our three accessible UK centres in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport.

Whether our guests would like to get out and about to do some exploring on one of our excursions, to make the most of our party nights or if they’d simply prefer to spend time relaxing at our centres – there’s one thing we can always count on to make each moment memorable - our volunteers.

And, for everything our volunteers give, we aim to ensure they gain just as much in return.

From improving attitudes to inspiring our volunteers to play a more active role in their communities, many agreed they had changed for the better, both personally and professionally.

So why not pledge to make a difference this month and join the thousands of other vibrant volunteers making a difference in their communities?

To find out more about Revitalise or the volunteering opportunities we have waiting for you, please visit: or call: 0303 303 0145. Thank you.

Stephanie Stone, Revitalise.

THE national press continues to raise concerns about the roll out of Universal Credit which combines six benefits into one and in some cases will result in claimants having to wait up to six weeks before receiving their first payment of Universal Credit.

We at the RAF Benevolent Fund are passionate about helping all members of the RAF Family who are in need.

We launched our Advice and Advocacy Service two years ago following research which indicated that many of our beneficiaries were not receiving the state benefits they were entitled to, such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Universal Credit.

We are keen to hear from anyone who has served in the RAF, including their partners and dependants who find themselves affected by the recent changes to the benefit system.

We may be able to provide advice, advocacy or financial support to help alleviate your financial distress.

We can also help in relation to other forms of financial distress.

If you feel we can help you or someone you know, call 0800 169 2942 today or visit

Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon, Director of Welfare and Policy, RAF Benevolent Fund.

HAVE you been outraged lately at the atrocities committed by other countries?

Do you believe that peace should prevail in the world instead of violence?

Do you think that the countries who committed the crimes of war should be punished, even physically, for their wrongdoings like a child is dealt with by his/her parents?

If your answer to all of the above is Yes, the chances are you're probably not a peacemaker.

In fact, your actions would set the whole world on a path to oblivion.

That is not to say, however, that we should all be completely desensitised to every violence going on around us even at home nor too forgiving of any crime causers.

In the days of the Cold War before I was born in 1994, people were worried about tensions between the West, especially including the USA, and the then-USSR escalating to the point of competing against each other with nuclear weapons and ending life on earth as we know it.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in the late 1980's and Nuclear peace treaties were signed, everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief as the threat of the WWIII was no longer on their doorstep.

Then Russia recovered from its economic collapse and 9/11 happened, paving the way for the start of the so-called War On Terror (it ends when we finally get the terror, right?).

This led to the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion of the disastrous war in Iraq in 2003, leading to deaths of more than two million innocent Iraqi civilians.

When it seemed we were losing in those countries, and still are to this day, we picked another country to physically lecture about human rights: Libya.

The war we took part in with NATO led to the country collapsing into a black hole of terrorist militants which helped to create the bomber of the Manchester Arena attack earlier this year (a man who we had hired to fight against Colonel Gaddafi).

Then in 2013, we started to teach another country in the Middle East about weapon uses: Syria.

Which, along with the ongoing war in Yemen thanks to the country we still sell arms to (Saudi Arabia, a country that gave birth to Osama bin Laden), led to the creation of the Islamic State, culminating in the migrant crisis we see today in front of our eyes that has also been the result of the ongoing war in Somalia.

When Russia was invited by Syria, its ally, to help wipe out IS in 2015 and is expected to complete the job in a matter of weeks this year, tensions really increased.

What if our attacks on IS also happened to hit Russia?

Well, as you'll find out, the wars that happened weren't quite a coincidence.

In 1997, a document was published called The Project for the New American Century which called on the United States to partake in a series of conquests starting with Iraq (it specifically said Saddam Hussein had to be the main excuse), and then going on to Libya, Lebanon, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and last on the list, Iran.

Wasn't it coincidental that we declared war on those countries right after they decided to stop trading their resources in U.S. Dollars? Don't believe me?

Iraq ditched trading their oil in the dollar in September 2000 for Euros instead, Gaddafi wanted to create a new Gold-backed Dinar in 2009 along with the creation of a new African currency and stopped trading in U.S. Dollars in 2011, Syria ditched the dollar in 2006 and just this year in late-March, Iran stopped trading in U.S. Dollars.

Was it also a coincidence that right after the West invaded each of those countries, the IMF suddenly installed central banks in those countries that previously did not have the IMF in charge of their banks? After all, North Korea and Cuba also do not have IMF-funded banks in their countries.

You decide, because it is only a matter of time before the USA decides who needs 'Freedom and Democracy' next but will come at a terrible price for the whole world. Hopefully, our actual democracy will stand up and say no.

Jonathan Rainey, Dumbarton.