Wiltshire residents with innovative ideas for bringing military and civilian communities together are being encouraged to apply for government funding.
The Covenant Fund is a Ministry of Defence £10m per year pot of funding available for a number of projects including community ventures which encourage integration.
The 2016/17 funding round opens today (4 May) and local groups are being encouraged to contact Wiltshire Council for advice and support in shaping bids for funding.
Wiltshire has a good track record of success with the fund’s predecessor The Community Covenant Grant Scheme. From 2011 to 2015 there were 13 rounds of funding with 36 local Wiltshire projects being successful attracting a total of £925,000 over the four years.
Under the newly formed Covenant Fund there have been a number of successful schemes. Our Wilton Trust was given £500,000 to deliver a veterans’ campus combining end-to-end support in a purpose-built, community setting. It will demonstrate how effective veterans’ support, developed at a community level, is sustainable when coupled with commercial enterprise.
Wiltshire Council helped support the Wellington Academy as the school applied for £17,258 for a community festival. The LAT (Ludgershall and Tidworth) Festival will bring the school and army together in a six day programme of educational sporting and cultural activities in July, culminating in a weekend sport and music festival on the school playing fields for local communities. Some of the money will also create a community room in the school sports centre.
Wale Olufunwa, business development manager at the school said: “In the next couple of years the academy will have more students and army families moving to the school and the area. It is important that our present children, of which 55% are from service families, have a better understanding of their environment. The week of joined up activities will provide a good opportunity for community integration between the army, local children and their families.”
The round for 2016/17 bids is open from now until 22 June 2016. People wanting to bid under the new scheme are being advised to seek Wiltshire Council support in the first instance before putting the application together. The bids are then considered by the regional Partnership Group before going to the Ministry of Defence.
Wiltshire Councillor Jonathon Seed is the chair of the Wiltshire local partnership and sits on the South West Regional Board.
He said: “Wiltshire will soon host the largest training facility for the military in the UK under the Army Basing Programme. As rebasing plans move ahead we welcome more than 4,000 additional service personnel into our county. It is now more important than ever that both civilian and military communities have shared events and projects to help with community and military integration.
“I would encourage people who have the germ of an idea to get in touch with our teams at Wiltshire Council who can provide that expert advice and help shape the bid for funding. I hope we see many more successful bids in the future.”
People wanting advice on suggested bids can contact Wiltshire Council by email at CorporateBusinessSupport@wiltshire.gov.uk marking the email as Covenant Fund Application.
The community integration is one of four priorities for the Covenant Fund for 2016/17. Another priority is funding for charities and community groups who support families in stress. This money will be used for projects that support families of serving personnel who are experiencing a significant stressful life event and would benefit from an intervention from a provider who can offer specialised, localised (or easily accessible) and immediate support. For more detail on the priorities and funding visit www.gov.uk/government/collections/covenant-fund
Wiltshire Council supports the fund as part of its wider role in the Military Civilian Integration Partnership which aims to optimise the economic and social benefits of the military presence in the county. For more detail on the MCI Partnership go to http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/communityandliving/mci-new/mci-partnership.htm