First NAAFI Fund awards made to British Forces units around the world

April 21, 2021

In a great first round of the NAAFI Fund, 65 awards have been made, worth £711,707.

Alongside the main theme of the Fund, of improving the quality of life for serving personnel and their families, in 2020, there was a strong focus on tackling boredom and isolation, particularly in mind of the Covid-19 pandemic, but more generally encouraging our serving community to use their downtime well.

Supporting Service personnel and their families worldwide

Awards were made that created, renovated or repurposed outdoor areas, to provide facilities for serving personnel or their families on or near the base. Several units identified the need for a community hub for both personnel and families; and provision of bikes to help people get out and active was popular.

Units from across the UK applied, and awards were made not only in England and each of the devolved nations, but overseas too including in Naples, Gibraltar, Cyprus and France.

Making the most of outdoor spaces

The United Kingdom Naval Support Unit received £20,000 to create an outdoor leisure area allowing military personnel to have an on-site, shaded facility that will allow them to relax and recuperate, bringing teams together on the base while helping to reduce boredom and isolation during their stay in theatre.

Lieutenant Callum Whyte told us: “The contribution from NAAFI Fund is nothing shy of outstanding. This award will be used to transform an unused block-paved area into a visually stunning, landscaped garden for our deployed personnel to relax in. With limited opportunities for R&R, the project will make a huge difference to everyone living within/alongside the UKMCC/UKNSF.”

Supporting those serving overseas

Allied Joint Force Command Naples received three awards worth £27,000, including funding to enable the British community based there to completely renovate their lounge area, turning it into a modern space the whole community will look forward to using for coffee mornings, meetings and events.

Andrew Page from the unit explains: “We were absolutely to delighted to learn of our recent success in the latest NAAFI Welfare Funding round. With three projects approved we can now expect to deliver a comfortable lounge facility, bar and café area and place a sunshade over what will become a children’s play area. These together offer a significant and much needed improvement upon our current, rather limited welfare facility offer. Thank You from the ‘Brits’ in Naples.”

Creating a space for wellness

The Army Welfare Service North Area received £5,000 to create wellness rooms in four locations in Scotland and NI to give Army Welfare Workers a safe and calm area to relax and mentally process the complex caseloads that they handle.

Welfare Support and Regional Liaison Officer Ken McQuillan told us: “As welfare staff, our Personal Support people are engaging with Service personnel and their families when things have gone awry. Going through these incidents as an individual is very traumatic; and this creates an emotionally charged environment. 

For staff carrying a caseload, this emotional tension and mental pressure runs almost all day, every day, and compassion fatigue is real concern. Through the provision of this funding, we will be able to create an environment where staff and service users can take some time out, calm their minds, reset and start afresh.”

Steve Marshall, NAAFI Chief Executive said “We are delighted to provide this valuable source of funding and to make a difference to the lives of our Armed Forces and their families, outside of what we are more traditionally known for. In round one we’ve funded a good mix of projects, across all three Services and we are eager to see them come to life over the next few months. We are also excited to see what we can achieve together with round two of funding and very much looking forward to seeing the bids start coming in.”

A list of NAAFI Awards made in this first round can be found here.

NAAFI Fund 2021

We’re delighted to announce that the 2021 round of the NAAFI Fund is now open. As well as the continuing theme of improving life for serving personnel and their families living on or near a military base; this year the Fund will focus on making awards that seek to improve health and wellbeing, including mental health.

Melloney Poole, Chief Executive, AFCT explains: “If you have a good idea that will improve wellbeing for our serving personnel and their families living on or near base, then have a look at our guidance; and then get in touch with NAAFI directly to share a short summary of what you would like to do. You’ll get feedback on whether you can fill out an application. We’ve put lots of information in our guidance to take you step-by-step through the process, which might particularly help if you have not previously applied for funding.”

This year, units can still apply for £5,000 to £20,000 and there is the added opportunity to apply for funding in excess of £20,000 for more ambitious projects of a larger scale. More information can be found in the NAAFI Fund programme guidance.

This remains a two-stage application process with units asked to submit a 50-word summary to NAAFI outlining their proposed project, no later than 14 July 2021. Successful submissions will then be invited to make a full application for funding before the deadline of 28 July 2021 with decisions made in October.

Following the success of the previous round, we’re excited to see what new ideas and proposals this latest round will bring.

You can find out all you need to know about the NAAFI Fund on our dedicated programme page.