In February 2014, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) invited applications for a £40 million Veterans Accommodation Fund, provided by LIBOR fines levied on banks, to support projects which provide veterans’ accommodation.
The full amount has now been allocated, with the final recipient being the RAF Benevolent Fund. It is using £50,000 to replace all the windows at Forge House, which provides long-term accommodation for tri-service elderly veterans and widows in Rottingdean, East Sussex.
Successful projects met the two principles of the Armed Forces Covenant; that members of the Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage as a result of service and that special consideration should be given in some cases.
Paul Hughesdon, the RAF Benevolent Fund Director of Welfare and Policy, said:
We are very grateful for the grant received from the Veterans Accommodation Fund. With their support, we have been able to replace draughty and deteriorating wooden windows and secondary glazing at Forge House.
The new bespoke windows will significantly improve heat conservation and reduce heating costs for our residents. They will protect them from the winter winds on the south coast and will add significantly to their quality of life.
Some of the other successful projects that received funding are:
- Haig Housing Trust: £8.6 million to expand its accommodation provision in south London and Edinburgh to assist a further 416 veterans and their families per year;
- A partnership between Riverside ECHG and Haig Housing Trust: £6.5 million to provide 65 units of temporary, supported and independent accommodation to form a pathway for veterans to pass through on their way to independent living;
- The Royal British Legion: £2.5 million for a new dementia unit to provide additional, high quality accommodation for up to 30 veterans in Broadstairs, Kent;
- Blind Veterans UK in partnership with BLESMA: £1.25 million to create five purpose built apartments, in Llandudno, Wales, for vulnerable veterans with sight and/or limb loss where they will receive accommodation and support to prepare them for independent living;
- Erskine care homes: £550,000 for to help improve the quality of the living environment for residents in Scotland and help meet best practice lighting guidelines for elderly veterans with dementia;
- RAF Benevolent Fund: £400,000 to adapt the kitchens and gardens in the homes of 20 wheelchair-dependent veterans and their families;
- Stoll: £240,000 to refurbish 30 bathrooms for disabled and older veterans who need adapted bathing facilities in order to remain living independently;
- The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust: £112,000 for a new House Care and Nursing Home Window Replacement service in Kent to ensure residents are warm and comfortable throughout the year.
As the Chancellor announced in June 2013, the financial commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant is being made in perpetuity through a £10 million per annum fund, from this year onwards. This will ensure that spending on the Covenant is protected and maintained.