During COVID-19, the government has awarded £6 million in grant funding to 100 organisations via the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. These grants offer a lifeline to those of you facing changing needs due to social restrictions.

Reading Force received £21,400 to carry on their crucial work with families, young people and children during the crisis.

Family impact

One young family described the impact it has had: “Our pack arrived the day after daddy left for a while and we didn’t know when he would be coming back because of coronavirus.

“We were all a bit grumpy until our books and scrapbooks arrived. We don’t know when we will speak to daddy next, but we will read him our new books when we do.”

Alison Baverstock, founder of the charity, explains the effect the lockdown had on demand for services: “We’ve seen a 900 per cent increase, particularly by parents who want to maintain contact with their children when they cannot be with them.”

While COVID-19 has affected different organisations in different ways, the Trust continues to deliver funding programmes to help ease the financial burden on the forces community.

They’ve awarded 100 projects a share of more than £859,000 under their Forces Communities Together programme – which focuses on engaging activities helping to inject a little joy at a time of unease.

These fantastic projects cover all corners of the community, from a service children’s choir to a drive-in cinema for forces families, and even online dance sessions for veterans.

NAAFI fund

The Trust’s latest funding programme is aimed at improving the quality of life for serving personnel and families living on or near a base.

The NAAFI Fund seeks to make your downtime better – whether through providing recreational equipment, making communal areas nicer and more functional, or through projects designed to bring people together. Further rounds for this fund will follow in 2021, so if your forces base lacks a great social space or you have an idea that will give soldiers and families something to do during downtime, encourage your chain of command to apply.

Details are at covenantfund.org.uk/the-naafi-fund – it could just make life a little bit better for all.

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