Veterans, Special Forces and a charity supported by Jo Cox MP to benefit from £14.4 million funding from banking fines.
The Chancellor has announced today (Tuesday 12 July 2016) that 9 charities, including a cause supported by the late Jo Cox MP, will receive over £14 million funding.
The funding comes from fines levied on the banking industry for manipulating the LIBOR rate and include:
- £375,000 for the Royal Voluntary Service – one of the causes backed by the Jo Cox memorial fund
- £1.9 million for new buildings for pre-school age children of SAS personnel
- £2.2 million for new recovery and well-being facilities for current and veteran SBS personnel
- £550,000 to secure flights to the Falklands for veterans over the next three years, including the 35th anniversary of the conflict in 2017
- more than £2 million to excavate HMS Invincible shipwreck in the Solent, the project will also train veterans, serving personnel and disadvantaged teenagers
- £100,000 for an expedition for wounded veterans to climb Antarctica’s highest mountain
- £5 million for the Aged Veterans Fund which looks after health, wellbeing and social care needs for veterans born before 1 January 1950
- £2.25 million to support D-Day veteran visits to Normandy, including the 75th anniversary in 2018
Chancellor George Osborne said:
I am proud to be supporting causes that will make a real difference to those dedicated to serving their country. It is right that funding from those in the banking industry who demonstrated the worst of values goes towards people who display the very best of British values.
Jo Cox dedicated her life to bringing people together and making a difference. She was an inspiration to people across the world and I am proud to give the Royal Voluntary Service this funding in her memory to continue their vital work.
Our special forces are the envy of the world, and it is our duty to look after them and their families. The new facilities for the SAS and Special Boat Service (SBS) will be major improvements to their bases and show this government is committed to the welfare of our brave troops.
It is vital that we remember the bravery and loyalty of our veterans in defending this country and its values. We are ensuring that the veterans from the Second World War and the Falklands War can continue to pay their respects to their fallen comrades. The Aged Veterans Fund grant will make a real difference to healthcare and social needs of our older veterans. The Mount Vinson expedition will show the astonishing achievements and ambition of our wounded veterans in one of the world’s toughest environments.
The wreck of the HMS Invincible is an invaluable part of the UK’s proud maritime history and it is important we work to save as much as possible. This hugely worthwhile project will support military veterans, serving personnel and disadvantaged teenagers to learn new skills and put artefacts from the wreck on public display for the first time.
Royal Voluntary Service
The Jo Cox memorial fund, set up after the MPs murder, raised money for a number of causes close to her heart, including the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS). The RVS will receive £375,000 from LIBOR fines to support the RVS’s work as one of the largest volunteer organisations in the country, helping older people stay active, independent and feeling part of society. The amount equals the gift aid that could have been claimed if the fund was a registered UK charity (based on the fund’s original £1.5 million fundraising target).
Pre-school age children of SAS solders will get new £1.9 million buildings at the service’s Hereford headquarters to provide them with dedicated, state-of-the-art facilities. Members of SAS can be deployed on long missions abroad and those with young children can be reassured their children are being educated and cared for in a new dedicated environment.
Jim Leng, chairman of the Trustees of the Clocktower Foundation, said:
We are delighted that the Chancellor has seen the merits of this project and awarded us the funding to allow it to proceed. Given the service that the Regiment gives to the country, providing their children with modern purpose-built facilities for their pre-school years is a measure of the debt we owe them.
The SBS Association will receive £2.2 million for new recovery and well-being facilities for serving and veteran members of the service, including the rehab of those wounded in combat. The facility will be at their Poole headquarters and will ensure soldiers can recuperate and recovery from injury after missions and training. The new building will also be used by retired SBS members.
A number of veterans’ charities will benefit from funding to support visits to battlefields and help fund an expedition for wounded veterans to climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica.
The Aged Veterans Fund (AVF) has been awarded £5 million towards projects that support the health and social care needs for older veterans over the age of 66, including surviving World War 2 soldiers. The next round of grants from the AVF will be made in September 2016.
General Sir Andrew Ridgeway, Chairman of Cobseo, the Confederation of Service Charities said:
The additional funding announced by the Chancellor for the Aged Veterans Fund will make a significant difference to the outstanding work undertaken to support the additional health, wellbeing and social care needs of this group of people who have served this country with such distinction.
This will permit an increased number of veterans to access these important services.
The Royal British Legion and D-Day Revisited charities’ organised annual returns to Normandy will be supported with funding of £2.25 million. With the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2018, the award will help veterans make both group and individual visits to remember their own contribution to this country’s freedom and remember those that died.
An expedition to enable a wounded veteran to climb the coldest and most inhospitable mountain in the world has received £100,000 of LIBOR funding. The Mount Vinson expedition, organised by the charity 65 Degrees North, will set out in January 2017. A 6-strong team will face strong winds, brutally low wind-chill temperatures and extreme remoteness to show what wounded veterans are able to achieve.
General Andrew Keeling RM (Rtd), Patron of 65 Degrees North said:
All of us at 65 Degrees North are over the moon about the wonderful LIBOR grant which, combined with our other funding channels, enables us to go ahead with our ambitious plans to mount expeditions for war wounded veterans to climb Mount Vinson (the highest mountain the Antarctic) and to complete an ambitious cycling challenge in the Pyrenees. From our previous experience running expeditions like this we know they have a totally disproportionately beneficial effect on those that go out of their way ‘to achieve the impossible’, and on their ability to inspire others to do the same.
The Falklands Veterans Association will receive £550,000 funding to secure subsidised flights to the Islands for the next three years allowing veterans and next of kin to visit battlefields, war graves and memorials to remember those ‘still on patrol’. The award comes ahead of the 35th anniversary of the conflict in 2017.
Derek ‘Smokey’ Cole, Chief Executive of the Falklands Veterans Foundation said:
The Falklands Veterans Foundation are absolutely delighted to be awarded this funding for Veterans and immediate Next of Kin of those killed in action during the Falklands War, to assist with the costs of flights to the Islands to allow them to lay ghosts to rest and pay their respects to those still on patrol in the South Atlantic. It also ensures that Liberty Lodge a building owned by the Foundation for the veterans and families of those killed in action, is used to its full potential.
HMS Invincible shipwreck
HMS Invincible sank in the Solent near Portsmouth in 1758, while serving as one of the Royal Navy’s finest ships of the time. Today, more than £2 million has been awarded to excavate the wreck as shifting sands are now leaving it exposed to damage. Veterans, including wounded, and disadvantaged teenagers will be key to the project, run by the Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST) - helping secure artefacts from the wreck and put them on public display for the first time.
The ship was a cutting-edge design – built using iron, as well as wood – and the first ship to carry the name Invincible. The wreck is known to contain items which will tell us more about life aboard Royal Navy ships at the time. The excavation fills an important gap chronologically between the Henry VIII’s Mary Rose and Nelson’s HMS Victory and is one of the most complete and best preserved warships of the mid-18th century.