The Big Lottery Fund has invested £35m in a charitable trust aimed at helping armed forces veterans adjust to civilian life.
The Forces in Mind Trust, which was launched today, has been set up by the membership body the Confederation of Service Charities and will provide UK-wide long-term support for service personnel and veterans to help them settle back into civilian life over the next 20 years.
It will help ex-service personnel tackle issues such as poor mental health, family breakdown and alcohol-related problems and has the backing of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry.
Grahame Jones, interim chief executive of the trust, said the applications process for funding was still being planned, but it was unlikely it would be inviting unsolicited bids until September. He said additional funding would be provided by the princes’ foundation at a later date, but the value of this was yet to be confirmed.
Air Vice-Marshal Tony Stables, chair of the Forces in Mind Trust, said the charity would initially undertake a review of the transition process from military service to civilian life for all servicemen and women and their families.
"The aim is to ensure that we are able to provide the evidence needed to deliver projects, either directly or in partnership with other charities and organisations, so that those undergoing transition have a positive outcome," he said.
The trust will fund a pilot programme, which will start tomorrow, at Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire. It will provide 12 months of support and guidance on employment, accommodation, educational needs and mental health issues for about 1,000 early service leavers from across the UK.