In light of the continuing lockdown and the government’s recent announcement about measures to support charities, we want to provide an update on how we are managing the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that this is a difficult time for many and we would like to reassure you that we are working hard to continue to meet the needs of the Army Family during this pandemic.

Our grants programme continues full steam ahead. In the last week alone we made 67 grants to individuals, spending over £64,000. Some of these grants were for people affected by COVID-19, for example individuals who have lost their income and are now struggling with essential living costs; unlikely to find employment soon. We are here to ensure that these veterans can live with dignity.

We are also continuing to make substantial grants to other organisations that support the Army Family and have just released over £450,000 to support the important work of the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS), which deploys welfare officers to provide bespoke care for the Armed Forces community when admitted to hospital or other healthcare pathways. The DMWS has been able to pivot quickly to delivering a remote welfare service and, like them, we remain steadfast to ensure we stand by the Army Family in times of need.

Regarding the government’s recent announcement of a £750m support package for charities, we have been working in close concert with the other major military charities to achieve some clarity on the detail; and to try to ensure as best we can that what is essentially the public’s money is distributed wisely. We are meeting ministers later this month and will continue to work with colleagues across the sector to ensure the interests of our community are best served. We are all in this together!

In terms of fundraising, like so many across the nation we have been inspired by Captain Tom Moore’s astonishing efforts, which have rightly captured the public’s imagination. While many of our own events have been cancelled or postponed, staff have been working hard to offer supporters the chance to get involved with virtual events – one of which, Operation Bletchley, formally launches on VE Day (8th May).

We have also been using some of our small fleet of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity vans to support community efforts around the country, such as delivering PPE and meals on wheels to vulnerable people. It has been great to be able to lend a hand to the national effort in this small way – keep an eye on our Facebook page to see updates about what we’ve been up to.

Regarding keeping in touch, we are all still working from home due to lockdown, so if you do need to get in touch you can:

• Email supportercare@soldierscharity.org
• Call 020 7901 8912
• Or contact your local ABF The Soldiers’ Charity office (via phone/email) – details available via the interactive map here.

If post is your only option, please forgive us if it takes us longer than it would in normal circumstances to respond to you.

If you know of someone in need and would like to find out how we might be able to support them, please visit https://soldierscharity.org/need-our-help/individual-grants – noting that in most cases the first point of contact should be one of our partner caseworking organisations (such as SSAFA or The Royal British Legion); routing your inquiry to them in the first instance will speed up our ability to assist you.

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