Armed forces project gives notice of 29 redundancies

Change Step, a peer mentoring and advice service for military veterans in Wales, has been unable to replace a grant of almost £1m

The Welsh armed forces veterans charitable programme Change Step is set to make 29 redundancies after losing almost £1m in funding.

Change Step, which is a peer mentoring and advice service for military veterans in Wales, is run by the personal support provider and charity CAIS and operated locally by members of the Drugs and Alcohol Charities Wales consortium.

The scheme was awarded £995,918 from the Armed Forces Covenant Libor fund in 2013, which redistributed £35m worth of fines from the banking sector rate rigging scandal to 96 armed forces charities.

But Change Step said it has been unsuccessful in securing replacement finance for the funding, which was granted over two years.

This included a failed application for new funding from the Armed Forces Community Covenant Fund, which distributes £10m a year to veterans services.

The failure to replace Change Steps’ covenant funding means 29 members of staff have been given notice of the termination of their contracts, according to Geraint Jones, its director.

"Like many charitable causes, Change Step faces challenges in securing the funding it needs to continue its valuable work," he said. "The project was initially funded by the Armed Forces Covenant (Libor) fund, which redistributed the proceeds from fines paid by UK banks.

"That funding has now come to an end and, despite exhaustive efforts on our part, we have not been able to secure the additional finance we need to continue our work in its present form.

"We're currently speaking to our partners and stakeholders about the way forward for Change Step.  We are determined to carry on one way or another, and are overwhelmed by the goodwill and support we have been shown by our friends and colleagues."

CAIS had an income and expenditure of £6m in the year to the end of March 2015 and employed 168 people over the same period, according to its entry on the Charity Commission’s website.

Change Step has helped approximately 1,000 veterans and their families in Wales over the past two years, figures from the project show. 

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