Positive change on the horizon as Trust awards almost £3M to 10 transformational projects

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (the Trust) is delighted to have awarded more than £2.9 million to 10 inspiring projects across the UK in the first round of their Transformational Grants programme.

In what proved to be a competitive round of funding, each of the projects supported by this Covenant programme targets specific groups within the Armed Forces community to deliver systemic change long-beyond the initial work funded.

Delivering long-term, systemic change

Collaboration has been a key theme for this programme. Funded projects were able to demonstrate the added value that joined up working will bring and how this will shape their work and the positive outcomes for their beneficiaries.

The projects supported varied widely, from reducing barriers faced by female veterans, to supporting veterans with addiction and mental health problems. Some projects targeted Service children and young people, seeking to improve educational outcomes; while others support and empower young carers within the Armed Forces community.

Removing barriers faced by female veterans

The Women’s Royal Army Corps Association were awarded £300,000 to deliver long-term systemic change for female veterans by working collaboratively across the Armed Forces charity sector.

Paula Rogers, Chief Executive at the Association said:

“This funding allows us, in partnership with the Cobseo Female Veterans’ Cluster Group, to take forward this much needed work designing and sustaining the provision of support services for all female veterans.

“We will translate our strong understanding of the female veteran cohort to develop a toolkit tackling the key themes of mental and physical healthcare, pensions and financial advice, care provision, housing provision, employment services, self-identification as a veteran and combatting loneliness. 

“Working to deliver long term systematic change, we will ensure that the particular needs of female veterans are firmly embedded in the design and delivery of support services, thus diluting and, in time, removing the many barriers to access now identified through published research.”

Strengthening support for Service children

The Naval Children’s Charity were awarded £299,568 for their ‘Thriving through childhood and beyond’ project, which will be delivered in partnership with The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance to bring tri-Service benefits for all Armed Forces families with children in early years education or higher education.

It builds on the Alliance’s earlier work which developed the Thriving Lives Toolkit; widely used to support improved educational outcomes for Service Pupils in primary and secondary education. It will develop and share further toolkits for younger and older age groups; and ensure wide reach throughout the UK. It will develop a coherent quality standard for the entire sector and create a rigorous evidence-base for policy and practice development.

Clare Scherer, Chief Executive of the charity said:

“We are deeply grateful to the AFCFT for their support of this important work. For children whose parents have made the choice to serve in the Armed Forces there can be a number of challenges. It is vitally important that we find ways to support them and extending the SCiP Alliances Thriving Lives Toolkit to those all-important early years and into further and higher education will strengthen that support significantly.”  

Developing new resources

Swansea University were awarded £299,971 for their ‘Look Back to Move Forward’ project, which seeks to develop new and better ways of identifying and supporting veterans whose lives are impacted by harmful gambling.

The project will work with veterans to develop a new timeline-based assessment of harmful gambling, alcohol use, and mental health. It will identify when in a veteran’s Service journey their addictive and mental health challenges arose and help chart progress through treatment and support.

This work aims to develop an assessment toolkit which can be used in non- clinical settings to help veterans to identify when gambling has become harmful; and to support veterans to receive the right help.

Professor Simon Dymond of the School of Psychology and Director of the Gambling Research, Education, and Treatment (GREAT) Network at Swansea University said:

“We are delighted to receive this major award from the Transformational Grants Programme for the ‘Look Back to Move Forward’ project, to be conducted in collaboration with our project partner, Adferiad Recovery. 

“Gaining a better understanding of gambling harm among veterans and ensuring they can access individualised help and support is essential. It is only by so doing that we will overcome the devastating consequences that harmful gambling can have on former Service personnel, their families, and their communities.”

Collaboration for success

RMA The Royal Marines Charity are awarded £300,000 for their ‘Building Collaboration and Consensus’ project, building on their earlier ‘Lifting the Lid’ project. They will work collaboratively across the Armed Forces charity sector, to develop a common assessment framework that helps identify the holistic needs of the beneficiary and their family.

Tom Wilson, Director of Development at RMA-The Royal Marines Charity tells us:

“We are extremely excited to have received this funding from The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

“Building on our already established partnerships, through the One is too Many programme and others, and those that we are still developing, our ‘Building Collaboration and Consensus’ project seeks to develop a common assessment framework model that could be used by multiple organisations.

“This is seen as an ongoing process that prevents beneficiaries having to repeat and re-explain their challenges and issues time and time again.

“The Veteran community have themselves often articulated the need for a uniformed response that addresses and supports the needs of the individual and their family in a holistic and pragmatic way across a spectrum of presenting factors. The aim of this project is to limit inconsistent approaches and create a common framework for assessment and evaluation, that will in turn optimise and create a collaborative and consistent response.

“The project will seek to optimise collaboration and consensus across a wide spectrum of organisations to provide a more uniform approach at the point of initial assessment, referral and then onwards through the recovery pathway.

“We would like to express our sincere thanks to The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust for their funding towards this project.”

In-depth knowledge essential

In this, the first round of the Transformational Grants programme, we can see the huge potential for systemic change these funded projects offer.

Anna Wright, Chief Executive of the Trust, adds:

“We are excited by the potential for systemic change, addressing some very difficult challenges for the Armed Forces community. It is inspiring to see the level of in-depth knowledge, experience and expertise shown by those who’ve received funding. We look forward to seeing the impact that this funding will have and hope that it will prove to be truly transformational.”

For a full list of these fantastic projects, check out the Trust’s website here: www.covenantfund.org.uk

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