£700,000 awarded support community projects

45 organisations are celebrating being awarded a total of £723,973 under the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Local Grants programme. Read the full list of grants here

Woodbridge Station, home of the 23 Engineer Regiment have been awarded £18,000 to develop the Rock Community Picnic Gardens. The project will transform an existing space, establishing a recreational picnic area which will contribute significantly to improve the quality of life of both service and civilian families living at Woodbridge Station. The garden will create a space where families and individuals have quality time, meet friends and engage with others, all in a calming natural environment.

Lt Col Simon Carvel RE, the Commanding Office of 23 Para Engr Regt said  “Woodbridge Station is delighted to receive a substantial grant towards their Station Community Garden from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. The Station Community Garden is an important project to strengthen the bonds between the civilian parish and our military families on Sutton Heath.

Over the next few months the funding will allow us to create a shared recreational space wonderfully situated near the childcare centre, primary school, neighbourhood shop and welfare centre which will benefit school age children, teenagers and adults throughout the year. Importantly it will include a storyboard of the history of Woodbridge Station since the Second World War and be ready for the arrival of families relocating from Paderborn as the British Army draws down from Germany.”

Exeter City Community Trust is also celebrating their award of £18,000 from the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund. The charity will use the funding to develop a number of their services to reach to ex-forces personnel.

Jamie Vittles, head of community at Exeter CITY Community Trust, said: ‘We have several health and wellbeing programmes which are focused on inclusivity and targeted at harder to reach members of our community. This fund is hugely important for us and means we can develop these specifically for people retired from, or who have left, the Armed Forces.

‘Research has shown that sport is an effective way to reach people, whether it is through taking part in an active session, or by sharing memories in a group. In the South West we have a large ex-forces community and we are pleased to be able to extend our programmes to offer this.’

He added: ‘We are also delighted to be working with new agencies to support this project and further extend the work of our charity.’

One of the activities the charity will be developing through the fund is its sporting memories group, which was established to offer social interaction for men aged 50 and over. This demographic has been identified as at greater risk of experiencing isolation, loneliness or depression as a result of ill-health, sudden and disruptive life changes and reduced physical capacity.

The group utilises sporting reminiscences, to bring together people to help tackle dementia, depression and loneliness. The sessions provide a regular opportunity for groups of predominantly men, to come together discussing games, major-events or sports they have taken part in or watched, life experiences and current affairs.

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