Tackling Serious Stress in Veterans, Carers and Families: How will the evaluation work?

The Tackling Serious Stress programme will make large grants to projects that are trying out new and better ways of helping veterans who are very unwell, their carers and their families.

Through this programme, we will be looking very carefully at the projects that have been funded through the evaluation, which is being delivered through the University of Chester. The evaluation will explore the difference that the projects are making; and provide a evidence base so that we and others can have more information on funding projects that work.

We’ve been speaking with Professor Alan Finnegan, Professor of Nursing & Military Mental Health and the Director of the Westminster Centre for Research & Innovation in Veterans Wellbeing at the University of Chester who is leading the evaluation; to find out more about how it will work.

Read the evaluation guidance on the Tackling Serious Stress Programme Pages

The final design of the form will not be completed until the grants have been awarded next February. Any measurements and data collection will need to be applied to all the funded projects; which is why we are not able to confirm the final design of the evaluation until we know which projects are being supported. On the online framework, there is a table of what could be undertaken – not what will be undertaken. There will not be any Randomised Control Trials; although the findings may result in a recommendation for this in the future.

It’s important that once projects are set up; data can be given to the team at the University of Chester quickly; and the main mechanism for doing this will be through the questionnaire. This programme will be delivered through a portfolio approach. Grants will be made to single lead organisations which will manage a portfolio of work carried out by Delivery Partners.

The Delivery Partners within the project will collect data using a template that The University of Chester will provide, and Chester will do the analysis. Lead organisations will need to make sure that projects are sending the required data to the University of Chester.

Due to the number of projects under this common outcomes framework, means that the priority will be on layers one and two, within the evaluation outline document. This will be predominately a quantitative evaluation, with data collection from participants’ completing questionnaires. There will be space for free text; which will be clearly annotated within the evaluation questionnaires which will be finalised once the grants have been awarded under the programme. Researchers from the University of Chester will visit all projects that receive a grant at an early stage.

The programme closes on 31st December 2018; and the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has launched an online contact list for interested organisations to be able to get in touch with each other. Once you are on this list; you will be able to see the details of all of the other organisations that have joined the list; and you’ll be able to access it at any time to see if additional updates have been made.  You’ll need to agree to use the information on the list just to contact other organisations that might have an interest in this programme; and not for any other purpose. To join the list; click the link and fill out the short form

Tackling Serious Stress in Veterans, Carers and Families: New tool to enable organisations to connect and build collaborations


This £4 million programme  is designed to providing funding for innovative and new ways of working to reduce serious stress in veterans, their carers and families. Applications close on 31st December 2018; and funding decisions will be made in February 2019.

This programme will fund a small number of projects that will enable charities and health professionals to work together to develop and try new ideas that they have developed with veterans and their carers and families; support projects where there is good evidence to suggest that the idea might produce better outcomes  than current sources of support on offer. Grants under this programme will be made to Single Lead Organisations who will manage a portfolio. The work within this portfolio will support the beneficiaries, who are veterans that are very unwell, their carers and their families.

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has launched an online contact list for interested organisations to be able to get in touch with each other. Once you are on this list; you will be able to see the details of all of the other organisations that have joined the list; and you’ll be able to access it at any time to see if additional updates have been made.  You’ll need to agree to use the information on the list just to contact other organisations that might have an interest in this programme; and not for any other purpose.

To join the list; click the link and fill out the short form

1200 Awards made under the Armistice and Armed Forces Communities programme

Youth organisations, community centres, village halls and places of worship are among the organisations celebrating receiving awards through the second round of the Armistice and Armed Forces Communities programme. This programme makes awards of evocative silhouettes  that provide a focus for community events to bring people together to think about the Armistice; and people in Armed Forces Communities today, which includes serving personnel, their families and veterans.

Compton Dando, in Somerset, will be bringing their community together to remember all those who fought during the First World War, especially the three villagers who died during the war: Ben Harding, Henry Harvey and Fred Light. The project was awarded three silhouettes under round one of the programme  These silhouettes will be placed in the village as reminders of the three soldiers who died between 1914-1918. There will be an exhibition which will be open for three days, and a church service on the Sunday 11th November, followed by the Act of Remembrance at the war memorial. The church bell ringers will also be ‘Ringing for Peace’ on Sunday. Teas and cakes will be available on all three days.

10 Silhouettes were awarded Guild Chapel in Stratford-upon-Avon. Each silhouette will represent a soldier from Stratford-upon-Avon who fought in the First World War with a plaque giving their name, regiment and dates. Many of those who went to war and never returned were former pupils of King Edward VI School and the school is collaborating with the Chapel for a special ‘Evening of Remembrance’ as part of the project. On Tuesday November 7th, the ‘old’ boys of KES and of Stratford will be commemorated by the ‘new’ boys who attend the school. Ten pupils will sit next to the ten silhouettes, standing to read their name, regiment and story.

560 awards were made under Round two of the programme, and 641 awards were made under a special round supporting uniformed youth organisations who are wishing to hold community events. Working with Youth United, this programme is delighted to have made awards to 140 different  Army Cadets Units, 136 Girl Guide Units, 74 Scouts Units and awards to groups from the Boys Brigade, Fire Cadets, Girls Brigade, Royal Air Force Cadets, Sea Cadets, St John Ambulance Cadets and Volunteer Police Cadets. Events supported under these programmes will take place on or around the Armistice on 11th November 2018.


£7 Million supporting communities through Local Grants; what effects is this having?

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has published a report on the first 3 years of the Armed Forces Covenant Local Grants programme, drawing on 430 grants totalling £7 million, and spent on projects across the UK.

The programme makes grants under two priorities; Community Integration and Delivery of Local Services. Community Integration projects aim to create strong local links between the Armed Forces community, who are current and former members of their armed forces and their families) and civilian communities; and be able to clearly demonstrate how they will have impact in overcoming barriers to better integration; and improving perceptions, attitudes and understanding. For the project to be truly effective in achieving community integration there should be shared development, delivery and benefits for both communities. £4.6 Million has been spent on these projects

Delivery of Local Services projects are local projects which offer direct support in some way to members of the Armed Forces Community. This could be financial advice, housing, mental and physical health, employability or social support for serving armed forces personnel, veterans, and their families. Projects must be well connected, both to their beneficiaries and to other relevant organisations, and be able to demonstrate how the services they provide will be well-publicised, accessible and joined up. £2.4 Million has been spent on these local delivery projects.

Within these headline figures however, are projects collectively worth over £500,000 taking place in schools supporting children and young people from serving families to form closer friendships with children from civilian families, or receive additional help from a challenge they are facing, perhaps from having a parent serving away from home.

Projects for veterans have also received significant funding. £1.3 million has been spent on projects to help veterans feel more connected to their local communities, while £1.6 million has been spent on projects to give them help and support to meet their needs.

Carol Stone, Director of Grants at the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust said “This report gives a flavour of the wonderful projects that we have been able to support under this programme. If you are developing a project that’s based on local needs or will improve connections between local Armed Forces and civilian communities then do look at how our funding can help


£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.

Tackling Serious Stress in Veterans, Carers and Families Programme open 1st October 2018

The consultation report for the New Ways to Tackle Serious Stress in Veterans, Carers and Families programme has been published, and the programme will be open for applications on 1st October 2018.

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust ran a consultation to inform how the programme should be delivered and the types of projects that should be funded.  The Consultation report is available.  A total of 87 responses were received. Most of the responses were from charities that support the Armed Forces Community. There were some responses directly from veterans, and  from family members of veterans, and there there was high levels of support for the concept of supporting carers through the programme.

The programme will open for applications on 1st October 2018. The full programme guidance will be available on that date.  The programme will make grants to lead organisations; who will then work with delivery organisations. There will be an overarching evaluation. You can read more about the roles of the lead organisation and a delivery organisation, or do have a look at the  diagram we have produced.

We held an event on 14th September for organisations that are interested in the programme; and following this a Whats App group has been developed for interested organisations to network. If you would like to join the WhatsApp group please email

You can stay up to date with this programme by visiting our programme pages

Hundreds of community projects supported through Round 1 of the Armistice and Armed Forces Communites Programme; and Round 2 opens soon

The Armistice and Armed Forces Communities programme enables community groups, schools and places of worship to receive awards to fund evocative silhouettes for their community. These can be used to support local events designed to bring the community together, to remember the Armistice, and also think about Armed Forces today.

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has funded just under 11,000 silhouettes to nearly 1500 different community organisations under Round 1. Round 2 will open on 3rd September 2018. The programme will close on 1st October 2018, and this will be the final round.

Glasgow the Caring City Charity are receiving 10 silhouettes to use on the eve of Armistice, and to support the City of Glasgow Festival of Remembrance. The project will be the culmination of eight other events, some large some small, involving up to 2,000 attending in total, the final one being The City of Glasgow Festival of Remembrance. A range of military, emergency service and community organisations will be involved.

“Cathcart Old lost 123 souls in the Wars, 68 in WW1. We already have the names of the fallen on the back of 68 seats for this year, but the figures would add a haunting beauty to an already wonderful community setting”

Some projects are on a smaller scale but equally moving. Zelah is a small rural community in Cornwall, who are receiving 3 silhouettes. The people in the village are isolated from the church by fields and a major road; and have limited access to their War Memorial. They don’t have a community building, but they do have a bench and an orchard.

Their event will start at midnight on Sunday 11th November with the beginning of a Silent Watch. Their Tommy will sit on the bench in the community orchard. From midnight to midnight a local resident will sit beside him with a lighted candle between them. They will hold a community event at midday, involving different local groups. The two additional silhouettes will sit in the Church at St Allen.

A wide range of organisations can apply for an award under the programme including schools, village halls, places of worship, libraries and other community buildings. If you receive an award; you will have to commit to holding an event for your local community around the time of the Armistice.

For more information on the programme, visit our programme pages.


Families in Stress projects underway; and making a difference

In February 2018; we made 13 grants of up to £300,000 for projects that are supporting the families of serving personnel facing stressful circumstances requiring immediate short term intervention.

Projects we have funded cover a wide range of issues for both partners and children from domestic abuse through to debt management, caring responsibilities, bereavement,  personnel in the criminal justice system and supporting families with young children who are experiencing a particularly difficult challenge.

Projects began in April 2018; and the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust grants team have been catching up with these projects to see how they are getting on.

Rachel Dawkins, Grants Manager at the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust is part of the team that has been getting out and visiting these projects.

“We have made some fantastic and interesting visits across the UK to these organisations, and we have been hugely impressed by the partnerships being built with local Armed Forces bases so far, with services already beginning to be designed and rolled out to families in need. We are really excited to see how this work will continue to develop as these partnerships provide much needed support to the serving community and look forward to seeing this impact grow over the coming months.”

Southern Domestic Abuse (SDAS) Service was awarded £299,832 from The Armed Forces Covenant Fund: Families in Stress to work with people affected by domestic abuse in South East Hampshire.   This is a partnership project with SDAS, Portsmouth City Council, University of Portsmouth and Royal Navy/Royal Marines Welfare (RNRMW) Service.  SDAS will provide and evaluate a healthy relationships programme for Royal Navy (RN) personnel and their families: working with those using unhealthy relationships and/or domestic violence and abuse, including support for both partners.  This innovative approach works to create healthy relationships.

The project has received strong local support. Portsmouth City Council Leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson said:

“I’m glad that the Armed Forces Covenant Fund has enabled the funding for this this domestic abuse service; which will help families and support with the development of healthy relationships.”

Other projects funded under the second round of the Families in Stress programme include, £123,224 to Home-Start York for their project Supporting Military Families in our Community; £149,319 to Test Valley Community Services for their Strengthening families through positive parenting project and £299,735 to the Warrior Programme, for their project to support Families in Stress.

Update for organisations applying for an Armistice and Armed Forces Communities programme award

Update 16th July 2018

The programme is open until midnight tonight. A small number of users have had difficulties in accessing a draft application form that they had previously saved; and where this is happening we advise applicants to begin a new form. The form is short; and should only take around 20 minutes to complete.

If you are experiencing difficulties as a result of this; then do email before the deadline.

If you would like more information on this programme please click here

£415,000 awarded to support local projects that help the Armed Forces Community

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has announced 29 grants totalling £415,217, under its Armed Forces Covenant- Local Grants priority.

The grants include £20,000 for the Derby County FC Veterans Club; £4,770 to the Boleh Trust to work with children from service families and £15,400 to Flintshire Council for their ‘Planes over Talacre’ project.

Sonia Howe, Director of Policy at the Armed Forces Covenant Trust said that

This round includes some fantastic local projects supporting community integration by encouraging Armed Forces and Civilian communities to come together which will form and deepen relationships; and providing local services to the Armed Forces community where these are needed. We are proud to support these 29 projects

A number of projects are using the backdrop of the Armistice commemorations to promote community integration. Cefn Mawr War Memorial Institute and Recreation Ground is receiving £9,000 for a cross generational project that brings together local communities, five schools, veterans and local volunteers to commemorate the 128 individuals recorded on the local Cenotaph who gave their lives in WW1 which will produce a book to be distributed through schools and the local community.

The £15,400 grant to Flintshire Council will be used to bring together the secrets of Talacre’s WW2 efforts via the stories and memories of those who lived alongside the firing ranges and underneath aerial dog fights with terrifying near misses from dropping bombs. The project will have a focus around the eroding Norcon Pill boxes that can be seen at low tide on the beach, and will leave an ongoing legacy through information panels, digitising memorabilia, developing education resources and capturing audio memories.

Councillor  Andy Dunbobbin, Armed Forces Champion at Flintshire County Council told us that

“We are delighted to be awarded this grant which will fund a project capturing the role of Talacre in WW2, which was used for training by the RAF.  Local residents were concerned that the pillboxes were being eroded by the sea and the history of Talacre would be lost for ever; the reconstruction of a pill box, funded by the grant, will contribute towards keeping the memory alive for future generations. The community are proud of Talacre’s history and through this exciting project the memories of local residents and former refuges will be shared for many years to come.

This funding will be an opportunity to raise awareness within the local community and visitors, of the role of the armed forces, in particular the RAF, and their commitment and sacrifice to the nation. The open day planned for next year will be an opportunity to bring the armed forces, the local community and visitors together to celebrate and commemorate the link between the armed forces and Talacre.”

Read the full list of grants awarded here

The Armed Forces Covenant- Local Grants priority awards grants of up to £20,000 for projects that promote Community Integration between Armed Forces and civilian communities or Delivery of Local Services that support the Armed Forces Community. Charites and local organisations who receive a grant can also receive some additional support through this programme to develop their digital skills and strengthen their skills online; helping them to improve their reach.

The Armed Forces Covenant Local Grants programme is open for applications, and you can out more about this programme here