The purposes of the Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo) are to represent, promote, and further the interests of the Armed Forces Community by exchanging and coordinating information internally, identifying issues of common concern and coordinating any necessary and appropriate action.
The Veterans’ Foundation is a member of Cobseo and was represented at Cobseo’s AGM recently. Issues that were raised included the significant increase in beneficiary numbers during the pandemic, particularly in terms of mental health, loneliness, and financial difficulties and an understandable reduction in case working. As a result of the pandemic, nearly 75% of members of Cobseo reported a decline in monthly income and the overall annual loss across the sector is an estimated 25% of the sector’s income; so it is rewarding to know that the Veterans’ Foundation’s income continued to grow throughout the pandemic period, thanks to public support. The money we have raised is even more important to the beneficiaries than before the pandemic.
The new Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Leo Docherty MP, and the new Director of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, Ms Jessie Owen, talked at the Cobseo AGM too, thus ensuring there is good communication between frontline charities and Government. Cobseo encourages collaboration to produce more efficient and effective outcomes among the Armed Forces' charitable sector; in turn, the Veterans’ Foundation does its best to help organsations that bid for grants to work together, where this makes sense.
We are keen to visit the charities and charitable organisations that might receive grants from the Veterans’ Foundation – it enables us to get a good understanding of the work they are doing.
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Tom Harrison House (THH) in Liverpool. THH provides a specialist addiction recovery programme for UK Armed Forces' veterans and its bespoke, 12-week residential programme is designed specifically for those who struggle to engage with mainstream, civilian rehabilitation services. I was really impressed with the work they are doing to help veterans who are in a very difficult situation, perhaps even life-threatening. Their successful programme enables many of these veterans to recover and lead positive and independent lives. I believe that the work that THH does is most important as it really does save people’s lives.
Our trustees awarded grants amounting to just over £900K in mid-June. Recipients included PTSD Resolution, a charity that provides relief of the mental sickness of veterans, reservists and family members, with post-traumatic symptoms by the provision of counselling, therapy and support. The Veterans’ Foundation’s grant will cover the costs of 30 clients.
Another grantee was Supporting Wounded Veterans, a charity that helps UK veterans who have been medically discharged with physical and mental injuries to regain employment and independence through sports rehabilitation, mentoring, resilience therapy and pain management. The Veterans’ Foundation grant is helping fund a clinic using new therapy to treat severe PTSD.
The third grant I would like to highlight is that given to EVA Women’s Aid, a charity that delivers a range of quality services to support women and their children who have been affected by domestic and sexual violence. The grant will fund the costs of a bespoke programme for those in the Armed Forces community, in conjunction with FirstLight Trust.
Thank you for your support as we have now given away £7.1M since inception and we predict giving away grants amounting to £4.5M in the next 12 months. These grants will make a huge difference to the charities and charitable organisations that receive grants from the Veterans’ Foundation, but more importantly, they will help those people who deserve and need your support.