Over £500,000 awarded to support local Armed Forces communities

November 1, 2023

We are delighted to have awarded more than £500,000 to 42 outstanding projects in the latest round of our popular Force for Change programme, which aims to reduce isolation and promote integration in local Armed Forces communities.

From gardening to fishing, woodworking to art, and much more – these projects will make a huge difference to local Armed Forces communities across the UK.

Addressing social isolation

One of the key themes this programme addresses is reducing social isolation within Armed Forces communities. Many of the projects we have funded focus on improving wellbeing and reducing loneliness, often through participation in activities which bring participants together whilst providing valuable support.

Folkestone Nepalese Community has become a thriving hub for the local Gurkha Veterans and their families. They are working to build strong relationships in and across communities. Their Force for Change award of £11,896 will enable them to provide English classes and digital inclusion sessions for Gurkha Veterans and their family members, helping prevent social isolation and encouraging integration into the local community. Project and Centre Manager Maha Rai explains: “The Force for Change programme award will continue to support us in enhancing the digital skills of our beneficiaries and addressing literacy and language barriers.”

Tackling cost-of-living challenges

Blind Veterans has been awarded £14,250 to pilot community-based healthy cooking and wellbeing rehabilitation sessions for blind and vision-impaired Veterans nationwide, to support them in learning to cook nutritious and cost-effective meals independently.

Johanna Stegner, Trusts and Foundations Executive, said: “Unfortunately, the cost-of-living crisis has resulted in many of our beneficiaries relying on cooking cheaper convenience foods and ready meals, neither of which is beneficial to their overall nutritional health or in supporting their eye-health.

“This project, which will be delivered in a group setting, will teach our Veterans how they can prepare cheap, nutritious meals at home. This funding will not only allow us to further support the independence and physical wellbeing of blind Veterans but will also enable us to support their mental wellbeing ensuring that they feel socially engaged, through the process of cooking and eating together.”

Taking a proactive approach

Beyond the Battlefield were awarded £15,000 for a project which focuses on engaging Veterans in Northern Ireland. Engage, Know, Connect will help Veterans find the support available to them and connect them with other Veterans within their local community.

Annemarie Hastings, CEO of Beyond the Battlefield, explains: “Our project, ‘Engage, Know, Connect’ aims to ‘Engage’ and make direct contact with Veterans, create opportunities for them to ‘Know’ what is available to them and to ‘Connect’ them with other Veterans within their local community.

“This project will provide us with opportunities to be pro-active in our outreach, improve communications and content on social media and connect Veterans and their families with local activities, projects and support. We are grateful to the AFCFT for their support with this and previous projects and we would encourage Veterans to get in contact with us”.

Find out more

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

Could you be our next Force for Change funded project? This was the first round of the Force for Change programme for 2023/24. If you are interested in applying for round two, full details can be found on our dedicated programme page.