The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has announced the final round of awards made under the Veterans’ Community Centres programme, this time including larger projects awarded sums of up to £150,000, whih has drawn praise from Minister for Defence, People & Veterans, Johnny Mercer…

In the biggest round of the programme, 46 refurbishment projects were supported from Shetland in the North, to Plymouth in the South, County Durham in the East, to Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and Bridgend, Wales in the West.

A mix of roofs, car parks, toilets, electrics, windows and energy efficiency improvements will ensure these valuable buildings remain fit for purpose and continue to offer a great hub for veterans to come and socialise, get involved in local activities and combat any isolation or loneliness they may be feeling.

Minister for Defence, People & Veterans, Johnny Mercer, said: “Our veterans represent the very best of society and it is only right that we support them in every way we can. This fund has delivered vital projects for our former military personnel and I am delighted to see the good work continue. I know just how important it is for veterans to have these facilities so they can socialise and get involved in their local communities.”

The Royal British Legion Dulwich Branch received £150,000 to provide a disability-friendly environment at their centre, allowing more people to be able to get involved with the group’s activities. Paula Neale from the Dulwich branch said: “We’re very excited and very much appreciate the opportunity to improve the facilities for the veterans that use our premises; a big thank you to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

“The improvements are not just physical. Improved lighting will enable them to be more independent, the new flooring will allow them to feel safer to get up and have a dance without the fear of falling, a new kitchen means we can provide a hot meal, which could be the only hot meal they have. [Veterans] can eat, and chat to each other, rather than eating alone [at home].

“We have a DDay Veteran who is 95 years young and it is being able to come to our branch and club that keeps him young along with a little drop of the hard stuff! He gets to catch up with old comrades and meet our existing members and this increases his circle of friends.”

Melloney Poole, Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, said: “We’re thrilled to have discovered, through managing this programme, just how well-used and valued these building are. With this vital injection of funding, it is our hope that they can continue to offer a community-based haven for ex-Forces for years to come.”