Over £400,000 awarded in the latest round of Force For Change

March 29, 2023

We are delighted to have awarded grants totalling more than £400,000 to 42 outstanding projects in the latest round of our popular Force for Change programme, which supports community projects that reduce isolation and promote integration in local Armed Forces communities.

UK wide support

Projects across the UK were supported in this latest round, ranging from gardening and woodworking projects, to sporting projects and community wellbeing projects offering opportunities for members of the Armed Forces community to come together and connect with others.

Addressing the cost of living

A common theme we were keen to address through this funding was the continuing cost of living crisis. These latest funded projects will help address some of the challenges the current economic climate presents for Armed Forces communities.

Defence Gardens Scheme were awarded £9,962 for their ‘Grow your Own’ project, which supports working age veterans, families and carers struggling with the cost-of-living crisis by delivering the knowledge, skills and experience to sow, grow, harvest and cook fruit and vegetables for healthy eating on a budget. Sally Coulthard from the Defence Gardens Scheme said:

“We are delighted to receive a Force for Change Award from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. This grant will enable us to continue service delivery at the wonderful safe and secure Walled Garden at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.

Grow your Own is a practical 10-week horticulture course directly aimed at supporting veterans and their families to learn how to grow their own fruit and veg to help combat the current cost-of-living crisis. Eating healthy and growing your own food all helps maintain health and wellbeing and we are pleased to be able to pass on these skills.”

A boost for isolated veterans

Welsh Veterans Partnership run Woodwork Shop, a woodworking workshop held at the Green Head Space in the centre of Cardiff. This project was awarded £10,000 to boost the wellbeing of isolated veterans and veterans’ families, whilst responding to the cost-of-living crisis. Participating veterans will have the opportunity to build bespoke wooden furniture and household items.

Colm Price at Welsh Veterans Partnership said: “The team is ecstatic to receive this support from the Force for Change programme. The Woodwork Shop enables us to provide another well needed wellbeing pathway for veterans and their families to use. It makes a huge difference, reaching out further into the Armed Forces community, growing the Green Head Space project.”

Sporting projects

Several supported projects focus using physical activity to improve wellbeing and reduce isolation – some using sports such as football, golf or boxing and others using physical activity more generally.

On Course Foundation have received an award to deliver a programme of golf events for wounded veterans in North-East Scotland. Will Barker said: “This is year three of our expansion in Scotland and after increasing our activities elsewhere it will be the first time that we have been able to deliver our events here – offering the opportunity for veterans to try a new sport as well as focusing on re-engagement and reducing social isolation through peer-to-peer support.”

Peer-to-peer support

The importance of peer-to-peer support can also be seen in many of the projects awarded in this recent round of funding.

CDARS (Community Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services) have been awarded £8,895 to develop a veteran befriending project supporting veterans engaged in their services. Alexandra Thomas from CDARS explains: “We will select 10 ex-service users who consider themselves in ‘recovery’ and would like to give back to their peers. They will undergo training to become ‘befrienders’, thus also acquiring transferrable life skills. Each new service user will receive direct support from a ‘befriender’, thus reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation, and increasing motivation for them to engage in our services.”

Find out more

This was the final round of the Force for Change programme for 2022/23; however, the programme will open again in spring and, in a change to previous programme criteria, will offer grants up to £15,000 for one-year projects.

This is in recognition of the increased cost of living, and we will focus funding on vulnerable Armed Forces communities that are being most impacted.

For a full list of all awardees from this round and previous rounds of the Force for Change programme, click here.