The Trust hosted its first breakfast seminar at the majestic Royal Hospital Chelsea this week; a great opportunity to bring invited guests together to learn about who we are and how we are supporting the Armed Forces community.
We were delighted to speak to representatives from the MOD, the Cabinet Office including Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Johnny Mercer, and a selection of our partners and stakeholders.
Introducing the Trust
Our Chair of Trustees Helen Helliwell, and Chief Executive Melloney Poole took the chance to speak in-depth about the support we offer and, vitally, how intelligent grant making in support of the Armed Forces Covenant is making a real difference.
As a grant maker supporting the whole Armed Forces community, we ensure the funds we manage are tackling the varying needs of Armed Forces families and Service children, and veterans and their families and carers too. As Melloney said, we draw carefully on the experience of our key stakeholders, many of who were at the breakfast event, to be confident that the decisions made by our exceptional Board of Trustees are fair, transparent and based on experience and knowledge of the sector.
Our funding portfolio
Our grants team shared a brief but passionate insight into our full portfolio of funding programmes.
From discovering the true impact of refurb grants made under the Veterans’ Community Centres programme, entrusted to us by HM Treasury, to the Tackling Serious Stress in Veterans, Families and Carers, and Positive Pathways programmes, with their strong mental health focus.
The truly local nature of the Armed Forces Covenant: Local Grants programme was highlighted, with funding of £20,000 or less making a difference to Forces communities small and large, near garrisons and away, to those still serving and their families, and those who’s Service is now behind them. Our consultation to help develop a phoenix programme is currently ongoing, have your say here.
The tangible outcomes achieved through the Families in Stress programme were shared, as was the impact our Armistice and Armed Forces Communities programme has had, with 75% of those who’d received support saying they now wished to do more.
Knowing the impact of all our grants is vital, and our Trustee Prof. David Rose, Chair of our Ethics Advisory Panel, spoke about how we hope to develop this impact and better understand the implications of our work.
Dr Alan Finnegan continued this important theme, speaking specifically on the impact of the Tackling Serious Stress programme, currently being evaluated by the University of Chester. With over £4.1M awarded to these portfolio projects, it’s imperative that we’re clear on the benefits this funding is bringing to allow us to follow a natural progression onto developing future funds.
A number of the grants we’ve made since we began have been truly transformational, not least the Veterans’ Gateway. Mark Collins spoke about how this first point of contact is empowering the veteran community, equipping those who need support with the direction, tools and confidence to seek it.
Intelligent future grant making
Looking to the future, Northumbria University talked about the Map of Need, a vital tool currently being rolled out to ensure a fuller picture of what support and provision is available and how to access it. Development of this resource will help not only with better understanding of current activity, but with more intuitive development of future provision and a more in-depth, evidence-based view of what is needed.
In a similar vein, Matt Fossey from Anglia Ruskin University, shared an insight into the Outcomes Measurement Framework, a way of measuring the impact of these great projects receiving funding support, and highlighting the real, positive changes that are occurring.
Finally, observer to our Trustee Board, Nick Stringer, spoke about our role in working with HM Treasury and the confidence our stringent grant making provides them with.
Get to know the Trust
As a fairly new grant making organisation, we are truly proud of the work we do, and will do everything we can to ensure this work continues to grow and develop based on identified needs within our community.
Thank you to all who took the time to join us and learn more about our work. Find out more about the Trust on our website, including details of many of the great projects we’ve supported so far!