A ‘Hand-up, not a Hand-out’
ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the National Charity of the British Army, offering a lifetime of support to soldiers, veterans and their immediate families when in need. Our priorities are to help these individuals by making grants to them through the Regimental and Corps Associations, and to support a wide range of specialist charities that sustain the British Army ‘family’, both at home and around the world.
Our mantra is that we provide “A hand up, not a hand out”. Whilst this term has become somewhat clichéd, none is more apt than President John F Kennedy’s use of the term (in 1961), defining it as “doing something towards becoming self-sustaining” – this is exactly how we see it today.
Each year, on our collective behalf, we provide grants, funding and practical support to up to 100 third-sector organisations. Find out more about our grants to charities.
Some of the areas in which we help
We are committed to supporting soldiers, veterans and their immediate families in times of need. This can include emergency flights across the globe following the death of a close family member in complex circumstances, to providing essential clothing and school uniforms for young children whose single parent is unable to make ends meet or by helping to buy highly-specialised equipment for a disabled child to increase their quality of life and enable them to join in with family activities.
Employment, Education and Training
Leaving the Army can be a daunting experience for any individual, add to this the additional stress of coping with an illness or injury and the transition can seem insurmountable. Subject to need, our grants have helped to provide equipment, courses and travel costs for those discharged from the Army on medical grounds and now looking for a new career path. This retraining covers practical courses like HGV licences, plumbing or electrical engineering, to vocational training such as teaching and enables individuals to get on the “first step” in their new career.
For a number of veterans though, the challenge of finding civilian employment can continue for many years. By awarding grants to fund individuals, our Charity supports a number of organisations who deliver training to those veterans struggling with their transition. The courses enable them to build their self-confidence, learn skills to increase their employability and ensure that they are aware of their ability and the contribution that they can make to the work place.
Maintaining dignity and independence for our veterans and their immediate families in need continues to be one of the most significant areas of our work. Recent grants have enabled an elderly veteran to remain in their home of many years with the aid of a stair lift, and another was able to maintain their independence thanks to a new EPV. Other grants might include boiler repairs, riser/recliner chairs, annuities or care-home fees. Often speed is of the essence in providing such support and we pride ourselves on how quickly we can deliver assistance.
The housing needs for veterans and their families are incredibly varied. Our grants may help a homeless veteran who has been sleeping in his car to be able to move into a new property, or ensure that a young soldier medically discharged has a house that is fit for his wife and newborn baby to move into by providing carpets and essential furnishings, or to prevent eviction for a veteran who has fallen into rent arrears due to being unable to guarantee his income.
Our mobility grants range from those for the very young to the elderly. We have provided grants for specialist play equipment for disabled children, and for ramps for electric mobility vehicles to enable easier access to the veterans homes so increasing their independence as well as for specialist wheelchairs, particularly for the wounded injured and sick allowing participation in an array of sports.
An individual or family’s sense of well-being can affect every area of their life which can have a significant impact on their health, employment and financial situation. We have provided support to those struggling with priority debt and facing court proceedings, grants to Gurkha’s who have recently arrived in the UK to enable them to support themselves through their initial period in a new country, and for respite breaks for those providing a caring role to a family member struggling with physical or mental health problems, enabling families can come together in an environment away from the family home.