We are all delighted about the positive impact of the Covid-19 vaccination programme and look forward to returning to near normal activity later this year. I had my AstraZeneca vaccination in Edinburgh two days ago and was impressed by the very efficient arrangements by the NHS at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Fortunately, I haven’t suffered in any way following the vaccination and would recommend it to you all.
As we regularly receive bids from charities and charitable organisation we can tell that they are all planning to provide the much-needed support for those in need, once lockdown and distancing restrictions are lifted. The effects of the pandemic have put great pressure on charities and charitable organisations, so much so that some have not been able to deliver their services to help the armed forces community who are in need, and some have not been able to raise urgently-needed funds. Fortunately, the Veterans' Foundation has continued to be well supported online and the funds you have helped us raise have made life easier for these charities and charitable organisations.
In January we awarded grants amounting to £845K; in February and March we awarded further grants amounting to £130K to cover pandemic-induced requirements, including helping veterans gain urgent and quick mental health support through psychotherapists, enabling employment support in the building trade, helping others reduce social isolation and enabling the urgent provision of health and wellbeing support. None of this would be possible without the generosity of donors (we pass on 100% of donations to good causes still) and subscribers to the national Veterans' Lottery, which the Veterans’ Foundation has been operating since inception in 2016. Thank you for your continued support.
I thought you’d be interested to know how we decide what organisations receive grants from the Veterans’ Foundation. It has a small and cost-effective team of four people who receive bids for grants (usually now amounting between £1M and £2M each quarter), considers them and then briefs trustees on bidders before paying out the grants according to trustees’ decisions. This team and trustees consider a variety of factors such as the number of beneficiaries of each grant, the need, the governance of bidding organisations, whether the bidding organisation has a good track-record of delivering help and so on. This frequently requires our staff to talk to the bidders to find out more about the requirement. This information is summarised to the trustees and they make final decisions based on the team’s advice on which organisations are awarded grants. Once decisions are made, the recipients are sent the good news about the grant and are asked to accept the terms and condition, so that we ensure the money is spent sensibly. Later, the Veterans’ Foundation team receives reports from the grant recipients so that we can confirm to trustees that the grant money was well-spent and helped the beneficiaries. Given that we may be making grants to 30-50 organisations each quarter, this is time-consuming, but very necessary work to ensure your money gets to the right places.
Looking ahead, we will be awarding over £500K at the end of March and probably over £850K at the end of June, so if you know of a good charity or charitable organisation that needs funds, please suggest to them that they might apply online for a grant from the Veterans’ Foundation.