Veterans’ Minister praises much-needed funding awarded to veterans’ community centres
The final round of awards have been made under the Veterans’ Community Centres programme, this time including larger projects awarded sums of up to £150,000.
In our biggest round yet, 46 refurbishment projects were supported from Shetland in the North, to Plymouth in the South, County Durham in the East, to Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and Bridgend, Wales in the West.
A mix of roofs, car parks, toilets, electrics, windows and energy efficiency improvements will ensure these valuable buildings remain fit for purpose and continue to offer a great hub for veterans to come and socialise, get involved in local activities and combat any isolation or loneliness they may be feeling.
Minister for Defence, People & Veterans, Johnny Mercer, said: “Our veterans represent the very best of society and it is only right that we support them in every way we can. This fund has delivered vital projects for our former military personnel and I am delighted to see the good work continue.
I know just how important it is for veterans to have these facilities so they can socialise and get involved in their local communities.”
Providing a welcoming community experience
The Royal British Legion Dulwich Branch received £150,000 to provide a disability-friendly environment at their centre, allowing more people to be able to get involved with the group’s activities.
Paula Neale from the Dulwich branch told us: “We’re very excited and very much appreciate the opportunity to improve the facilities for the veterans that use our premises; a big thank you to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.
We provide a friendly, welcoming community experience for the veterans and they have a feeling of belonging and can come to any of the members to ask for help without feeling bad for asking
The improvements are not just physical. Improved lighting will enable them to be more independent, the new flooring will allow them to feel safer to get up and have a dance without the fear of falling, a new kitchen means we can provide a hot meal, which could be the only hot meal they have. [Veterans] can eat and chat to each other, rather than eating alone [at home].
We have a DDay Veteran who is 95 years young and it is being able to come to our branch and club that keeps him young along with a little drop of the hard stuff! He gets to catch up with old comrades and meet our existing members and this increases his circle of friends.
Thank you once again for awarding us the funding and providing us with this amazing opportunity to improve people’s lives.”
An obvious need for community spaces
Ian Leckie, Grants Officer for the fund said: “The need for refurbished shared community spaces where veterans and their families can freely enjoy their time to unwind, was obvious from the very beginning of this programme. From conversations during the past year, it’s clear that many community centres face closure without external support – even where local fundraising has been successful – largely due to the enormity of costs involved in renovations.”
We’re delighted to see how well-used these veteran buildings are and will continue to be.
Find out more
See our full list of awards to find out where funding will be providing a much-needed uplift. Click for full list of awards