Funding to support armed forces charities during pandemic

The Defence Minister Johnny Mercer has announced extra funding to support frontline armed forces charities across the UK.

Serving personnel, veterans and their families will benefit from an additional £6-million of new funding to ensure they get the support they need during the coronavirus outbreak, announced by Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer.

This sum is part of a package of support announced by the Chancellor in April to ensure charities can continue their vital work during the pandemic. It will be offered in addition to existing funding for veteran’s mental health and the Armed Forces Covenant Trust.

The funding is available to apply for and will be distributed in the form of grants administered by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, backed by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Cabinet Office, and will be given to charities across the UK that work in nine key areas affected by the impact of the coronavirus.

These include:

  • support to the elderly (including Care Homes)
  • mental and physical health
  • welfare
  • domestic violence
  • housing
  • criminal justice system
  • service families (including childcare)
  • bereavement
  • employment

The latest funding is in addition to the £10-million the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust received in the budget for support to veterans’ health and wellbeing and the annual government contribution of £10-million for the Covenant Fund, £3-million of which has already been protected for veterans particularly affected by the coronavirus.

The announcement follows the recent launch of two platforms specifically designed to support the defence community. Veterans’ Gateway, an app with 24-hour point of contact for support with finances, employment, relationships and physical and mental health, and HeadFIT, a new platform, spearheaded by The Duke of Sussex launched with online tools to help defence personnel take a more proactive approach to their mental health and fitness.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said: “At such a difficult time I want to make sure our people, including those still serving, veterans, and their families, know they’re not alone.

“Military charities do a fantastic job in supporting this community and today’s important new investment will ensure that they have the funding they need to continue their brilliant efforts.”

The funding is part of comprehensive measures to support vulnerable people through the pandemic and the government is working closely with councils, charities and other partners to ensure they get the support they need. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has led the allocation of funding to support charities providing key services to help vulnerable people during the crisis.

Small and medium sized charities can also bid for funding through the National Lottery Community fund, which has an allocation of £370-million to support the sector.

The application process will be published on Covenant Fund Trust, and a separate decision-making board will be established to decide where the funding is best allocated. The board will include representatives from MOD, the Cabinet Office and COBSEO, the sector body for Armed Forces charities.