The Covenant Fund was launched in 2015; our previous programmes have included support for ex-Service personnel in the criminal justice system, the Veterans’ Gateway and supporting serving families encountering difficult periods through the Families in Stress programme.
The Covenant Fund took direction from the cross-government Covenant Reference Group and established a National Panel to make decisions on which organisations should receive grants. Robust grant making processes were developed.
For the first three years, the Covenant Fund was based within the MOD. In April 2018, following a decision that it should become independent, it moved to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (the Trust).
In our first year as a charity, we moved from the MOD whilst managing the existing Covenant Fund grants, inducting new members of staff and embedding a new IT system to manage grants. We also launched new programmes, such as the HM Treasury funded Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, and a further HM Treasury fund to improve existing building facilities for use of veterans.
In all, the Trust made 166 grants through the Covenant Fund and the Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund in its first year, and an additional 2,773 awards to community organisations through the Armistice and Armed Forces Communities programme, which encouraged communities to come together to think about the Armed Forces today.
Behind the scenes, the Trust made improvements to how grants are made and managed, through moving from largely a paper-based grant-making approach to an online system, which is recognised as good practice among grant makers.
This made it easier for applicants to apply online and manage the grants they have with the Trust, while giving the Trust better access to information.