A ‘Hand-up, not a Hand-out’
ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the National Charity of the British Army, offering a lifetime of support to soldiers, veterans and their immediate families when in need. Our priorities are to help these individuals by making grants to them through the Regimental and Corps Associations, and to support a wide range of specialist charities that sustain the British Army ‘family’, both at home and around the world.
Our mantra is that we provide “A hand up, not a hand out”. Whilst this term has become somewhat clichéd, none is more apt than President John F Kennedy’s use of the term (in 1961), defining it as “doing something towards becoming self-sustaining” – this is exactly how we see it today.
Each year, on our collective behalf, we provide grants, funding and practical support to up to 100 third-sector organisations. Find out more about our grants to charities.
Some of the areas in which we help
We are committed to supporting soldiers, veterans and their immediate families in times of need. This can include emergency flights across the globe following the death of a close family member in complex circumstances, to providing respite breaks for a young serving family dealing with the traumatic changes caused by an injury sustained on operations, or helping to buy highly-specialised equipment for a disabled child returning home following a stay in hospital.
Education and Training
Leaving the Army after injury can be a daunting experience. Subject to need, our grants have helped to provide equipment, courses and travel costs for those discharged from the Army on medical grounds and now looking for a new career path. This retraining covers practical courses like HGV licences, or vocational training like nursing.
Maintaining dignity and independence for our veterans and their immediate families in need remains one of the most significant areas of our work. Recent grants have enabled an elderly veteran to remain in their own home with the aid of a stair lift, and another was able to maintain their independence thanks to a bathroom adaptation. Other grants might include boiler repairs or care-home fees. Often speed is of the essence in providing such support.
Read about some of the support we have given to elderly veterans with our work with the Royal Hospital Chelsea
The housing needs for veterans are incredibly varied. Our grants may help a homeless veteran who has no support network outside the Army to be able to move into a new property, or ensure that a young soldier on being made redundant has a house that is fit for his family to live in by providing carpets and essential furnishings, or to prevent eviction for a veteran who has fallen into rent arrears following a period of unemployment.
Find out about how we help with housing for veterans who have found themselves in need of emergency housing by funding organisations such as Scottish Veterans Residences.
Our mobility grants range from those for the very young to the elderly. We have provided grants for specialist play equipment for disabled children, and for electric mobility vehicles and specialist wheelchairs, particularly for the wounded injured and sick allowing participation in an array of sports.
We have provided support to those with a variety of mental health issues. This has included the provision of counselling for a family dealing with bereavement or attendance on specialist courses to assist in building self-confidence and reducing anxiety. We have also provided respite breaks for those dealing with the effects of mental health issues, so families can come together in a new environment.
Finding civilian employment on discharge from the Army can be difficult enough, without adding the extra challenge of an injury or illness. With this in mind our charity has provided more than £1.8m over the last 3 years to fund Specialist Employment Consultants based throughout the country at the Army Personal Recovery Units. The enormous success of this project, delivering successful outcomes for those being medically discharged has now ensured that these posts are funded by the MOD.
That said, our charity continues to proactively engage in employment related projects via our network of reliable partners who can effectively deliver successful outcomes for our beneficiaries by assisting and finding employment opportunities. As an extension of our previous work with the RFEA and the SEC model, our Charity are now working with them to provide specialist vocational case-working help to Wounded Injured and Sick Veterans rather than those currently in transition. This project will assist those WIS veterans who, through no fault of their own, now face substantial obstacles to employment and are no longer eligible for Career Transition Partnership resettlement package.