Trust’s Annual Report explores grant delivery through Covid pandemic
The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has published its annual report for 2020/21, which gives the opportunity to reflect on a year of challenges.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on every individual in this country. At the Trust, both the Trustees under the outstanding leadership of Helen Helliwell, the Chair and the staff are responded to the challenges of Covid by focusing on what the Trust could do to support the Armed Forces charity sector, and the people it supports.
Supporting our grant holders
Existing grant holders were supported to make any changes needed to their grants, making over 500 changes to enable our projects to have more time to complete their work; or change the activities they were doing so that they could keep delivering their support to Armed Forces communities in a Covid compliant way.
Responding to the challenges faced by Armed Forces communities
We delivered new funding programmes at pace, which would help reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Armed Forces communities and the organisations that support them. We were delighted to work with the MOD and Cabinet Office to deliver an additional £6 million to support Armed Forces charitable organisations and the veterans and Armed Forces community members who use their services. In total, we awarded £9.1 million in projects and grants to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, across three funding programmes. Staff within the Trust moved at speed to deliver these funding programmes.
The Trust also had a focus on reducing loneliness, awarding over £4 million to 60 projects under the Tackling Loneliness programme; and addressing local isolation of Armed Forces communities through the Force for Change programme, which funds local projects.
With funding from HM Treasury, the Trust awarded 116 grants for projects to help veterans gain better mental health through the Positive Pathways programme, and eight grants totalling £2.1 million under the One is Too Many programme in March 2021. These projects provide specialist and co-ordinated services to reduce suicide risk in veterans and provide specialist support to families.
We began an innovative new partnership with NAAFI to deliver grants that have projects that improve the quality of life for serving personnel and serving families living on or near a Forces base or station. In the first year of the NAAFI Fund, 65 grants, worth more than £700,000 were awarded, with many of these grants being used to develop better outdoor and indoor spaces for serving personnel and families to come together.
Making grants with impact
The Trust also continued to work with others, to maximise our impact. Data from the Map of Need, a complex project mapping the needs of the Armed Forces community, was made freely available on our website. Grant holders have continued to work with us to improve how we gather data directly on the impact that our work has, through the Outcomes Measurement Framework. People from Armed Forces communities can find out about projects that we’ve funded their local area through our app.
We have completed more evaluations of our existing work; publishing findings on our funding for Armed Forces families, our programmes supporting former serving personnel who have entered the Criminal Justice system, how the £30 million Aged Veterans’ Fund impacted on the wellbeing of older veterans, and the impact of five years of funding smaller community projects to address local needs of Armed Forces communities.