Following the announcement of the emergency funding to support Armed Forces charities, Chairman of Cobseo – The Confederation of Service Charities, General Sir John McColl KCB CBE DSO, said:
“The announcement of £6 million emergency funding, the Covid Impact Fund, to ensure that the Service Charity Sector can continue it’s vital work during the pandemic is a welcome first step towards sustaining the life-saving support our Veterans need. We are now working to ensure that charities can access this funding as soon as possible to enable them to continue their essential work. The Service Charity Sector has long provided support and services for the Armed Forces Community alongside, and some cases, in lieu of, Government, and these services have never been more necessary.
“Cobseo Members have demonstrated true grit and determination in adapting, and in some cases revolutionising, how they support the Armed Forces Community during this crisis, and this funding will help to provide a more secure immediate future and sustain vital services. Many Members have shifted their services to online support, and they are continuing to reach out to combat loneliness, isolation and promote mental wellbeing as well as working hard to deliver food and essentials for Veterans.
“The National Council of Voluntary Organizations estimates that the loss of income for the Third Sector as a consequence of the pandemic could be in the region of 50%. If this is the case for the Service Charity Sector, the loss would be some £390m over a six-month period. We are currently conducting research with our membership to capture the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their services and their financial outlook with the Directory of Social Change and the Forces in Mind Trust, which will provide us with the necessary evidence to inform current priorities, future planning, and the development of services to Members, and those in need across the Armed Forces Community. Once analysed, this evidence will demonstrate the true impact on the Sector, and we look forward to sharing our findings with government, funders, and key stakeholders; and then working towards building a sustainable, resilient, and efficient future for the Armed Forces Charity Sector.
“We will now work with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and the MoD to expedite the support our Members need to continue providing their life-saving and life-enhancing support to serving personnel, Veterans, and their families, and to continue to honour the contributions they make and have made to the nation.”