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The Prime Minister visited troops in Afghanistan and announced £3.8 million for troops' families & veterans' mental health projects.
As the country celebrates Armed Forces Day, the Prime Minister has today visited troops serving on the frontline in Helmand and announced almost £3.8 million of funding for charities that support military families and programmes providing mental health support for veterans.
A project to build a Bastion Memorial Wall at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire has also been awarded £300,000 in the latest tranche of funding from the £35 million Armed forces covenant (LIBOR) fund.
A new memorial will be erected in sand coloured stone to honour all those who have died serving our country in Afghanistan. The existing memorial in Camp Bastion will be dismantled and as much of it as possible will be used in the new memorial which will provide a focal point for remembrance for families, friends and comrades. The memorial will be built over the next 18 months and dedicated once combat operations in Afghanistan have ended.
The Prime Minister said:
“Britain must never forget those who gave their lives in Afghanistan. A Bastion Memorial Wall back at home deserves every penny of this funding. It will give us a permanent place to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan and to show how proud and thankful we are for all they gave serving our country. They must never be forgotten.”
The senior officer leading the project, Rear Admiral Simon Williams, said:
“The new memorial will provide a focal point for remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum, at a collective and individual level for all those who have fallen during the campaign. A place where serving comrades, next of kin, families and veterans can remember, be close to and honour their countrymen and women who made the supreme sacrifice in Afghanistan.”
Almost £2.5 million has been awarded to programmes supporting treatment and awareness of mental health issues for veterans. These include:
- the Warrior Programme for Veterans and Families which will receive just over £930,000 to further their efforts to support veterans moving into civilian life. It will enable the charity to expand their programme to include, for the first time, partners and family members managing the stresses of caring for veterans struggling with mental health issues, including post traumatic stress
- the Veterans Council Headquarters – awarded £0.5 million - to create a one-stop shop for accessing mental health, health and social care, and transitional services tailored specifically to the military community
- Veterans Aid, who last year assisted 458 veterans in crisis, will be able to expand their substance abuse and mental health treatment programmes for homeless and in-need veterans with an award of £160,000
Commenting on the support for mental health projects, the Prime Minister said:
“These charities are doing important and innovative work to help veterans who are battling mental health problems. We owe these men and women a great debt of gratitude and this is exactly the kind of help we should give to those who have given so much for our country.”
An additional £1.1 million will go to projects that help armed forces families. For example, the University of Wolverhampton has been awarded £205,000 to launch a programme specifically geared towards helping families of serving Armed Forces personnel, reservists and veterans to launch their own businesses, in collaboration with Black Country Chamber of Commerce and the Army’s HIVE information service.
The Prime Minister said:
“Service families make extraordinary sacrifices on our behalf and as a society we should be doing more to support them. It is right that these charities are being recognised for their excellent work and getting the money they need to expand their vital work is exactly the right thing for our country to do.”
The £3.77 million awarded today builds on the £7 million already awarded in the first tranche of funding. The government expects to announce further awards from this second tranche in the coming weeks.
Applications for a third round of funding are set to open in the Autumn and will provide further opportunities to develop projects supporting troops, veterans and their families.
In addition to the projects listed above, the successful bids announced today are:
- Queen Alexandra Hospital Home (£238,000) for on-going nursing and rehabilitation services for veterans and to upgrade facilities as it enters its 95th year of service
- Veterans Outreach Support (£414,000) to expand their monthly drop-in events in Portsmouth, which bring together public, private and charity sectors for one-stop assistance to service personnel
- The Beacon, a residence for homeless veterans in Catterick (£31,000) to support a therapeutic training programme
- Oxfordshire Mind (£15,000) to launch a pilot programme to foster mental health and social integration for service families at five Armed Forces establishments in Oxfordshire
- Shore Leave Haslar (£13,000) to support their therapy programme based in the Memorial Gardens at the former Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport and Portsmouth
- RAF Benevolent Fund (£325,000) to build play parks at RAF Benson and Cosford, and an indoor play area at Cranwell
- Service Children Support Network (£280,000) to expand their programme in Buckinghamshire placing family support coordinators in schools to provide tailored support specifically for military families
- Reading Force (£230,000) to expand their reading programme to every service family in the UK, supporting improved communication through shared reading
- Sailors’ Children’s Society (£70,000) to purchase 2 additional caravans to expand their programme sending Royal Navy service families on holiday
- 30 Signal Regiment, Bramcote Station (£38,000) to create an indoor play area and skate park
- Royal Marines Barracks Chivenor (£18,300) to complete renovations of a children’s play area
Notes for editors
The Memorial Wall in Camp Bastion started life as a Cairn, built in 2006 by the Royal Engineers at the behest of the Parachute Regiment who wanted a symbol to mark those who died in the course of duty to their country. The wall has evolved over the years into a larger monument to include the names of all those who have died.
The Chancellor announced in October 2012 that £35 million from LIBOR fines would be allocated to the Covenant Reference Group to support the Armed Forces Covenant. These funds could be spent in 2012-13; 2013-14; and 2014-15.
In the Spending Review for 2015-2016, the government announced that it would deliver further support to the Armed Forces Covenant by agreeing to fund activities in perpetuity from 2015/16, through the provision of £10m per annum funding from LIBOR fines.