Scotland benefits from £10m Covenant fund

March 22, 2016

Grants totalling more than £1 million have been awarded to Scottish projects from the MOD’s new £10m Covenant Grant Fund.

The fund was launched in June 2015, demonstrating the Government’s long-term commitment to supporting schemes under the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly. The 2015 fund priorities are community integration, the coordination and delivery of support to the Armed Forces community, and veterans in the criminal justice system (CJS).

Fifty-nine small grants totalling almost £1m were awarded in late 2015 and a further 93 small bids worth £1.46m and 24 larger bids exceeding £7.4m have now been announced.

Community integration projects involve civilian and military communities working together and therefore increase understanding between them. The coordination and delivery of the support strand is about delivering services such as healthcare, along with improving employability and social support. Schemes that help veterans in prison and on their return to civilian life will benefit from £4.6m.

While the number of veterans in the CJS is small – around 3.5% of the UK prison population have a background in the Armed Forces – the MOD is committed to providing complete support to this group so that they have the successful life beyond service that they deserve. Organisations working to reduce re-offending and improve opportunities around housing, employment and social skills have all been approved.

Defence Personnel and Veterans Minister Mark Lancaster (pictured) said: “Every year, this fund will back vital projects that support current and former members of our Armed Forces, as well as their families. It will target key areas of need, such as the small but vulnerable group of veterans that pass through the criminal justice system.”

Lt General Sir Andrew Ridgway, chairman of Cobseo (the Confederation of Service Charities), said: “The variation and breadth of these grants highlights the diversity and complex needs of the UK Armed Forces community; and is a testament to the collaborative efforts of the membership of Cobseo as well as the many civilian-focused charities that support our sector.

“Initiatives, such as Project Nova (delivered in partnership with Walking with the Wounded and RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity) have been going from strength to strength; the newly formed Veterans Housing Advice Office will be an incredible asset to those seeking advice or who are in housing crisis. We look forward to the continued support of the Covenant Fund and hearing about how all of the 174 funded projects are delivering support to the Armed Forces community.”

Approved Scottish schemes include: The Venture Trust (£315,064): targeted at veterans in the justice system who have experienced a loss of confidence/self-worth, who are lacking direction and motivation and the right skills for a civilian environment. The bespoke, community support programme will help hundreds of veterans to develop and unlock their potential, improve employability and avoid re-offending. Others: Argyll and Bute Council (Hermitage Park ‘growing our park together’ project) (£253,000); Highland Hall RBLS Nairn Branch (£7,200); Kinloch Historical Society (£11,700); Helensburgh Sea Cadets (Ts Neptune) (£15,000); Orkney Sea Cadets (£15,000); and Sacro (£20,000).

The full list of recipients is here.