Grants galore for Somerset’s Armed Forces Communities

A number of Somerset community groups are saluting the county’s Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership after receiving a share of nearly £400,000 in grants.

A community picnic area, swimming pool refurbishment and a minibus are just some of the Somerset projects which have benefited.

Most recently, £82,500 has been granted to help create a Multi-Use Games Area attached to Ilchester Primary School. This development will serve all of the families living in the area.

Somerset County Council signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2012 alongside partners, making a commitment to remove any disadvantage faced by the armed forces community (including veterans and their families) in accessing services and improve communications and links between the armed forces and civilian communities.

The Government has made available £30million to fund community projects to improve the links between the civilian and the military communities and raise awareness of each other’s circumstances and challenges in their daily lives. The Somerset Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership has been very successful in enabling local projects to benefit from this money.

Cllr Christopher Le Hardy, Chairman of the Somerset Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership, said: “These grants go a long way in supporting the military families and communities in Somerset. I am pleased we have been able to secure grants for so many projects and schemes that benefit so many of our residents.”

In Somerset a total of £382,079 so far has been handed out to eligible projects and communities. The grants include:

  • £6,310  to 4-40 Volunteers, linked to 40 Commando Royal Marines to  help support families while their loved ones are on duty
  • £58,000  to Bishop Henderson Primary School in Taunton to create an outside space with play equipment and picnic tables for families to enjoy out of school hours
  • £18,000 to The Somerset Military Tattoo. This family event is now in its second year and was able to self-fund in 2014 thanks to the proceeds from the inaugural event in 2013
  • £69,000 to  the Tall Trees Community Centre Refurbishment Project in Ilchester which aims to provide a facility for all the children living in the married quarters at RNAS Yeovilton and families living in Ilchester
  • £21,976 to Long Sutton Church of England Primary School for refurbishment of their swimming pool which had fallen into disrepair
  • £31,000 to create a new pre-school building at  Roundabout School in Somerton
  • £69,995  to St Margaret’s School in Tintinhull to develop an early years unit
  • £11,000  to 914 Air Training Corps (Glastonbury and Street) to replace the minibus used by the cadets which will be shared with local community clubs
  • £14,298  to deliver a series of interactive projects at Yeovil Country Park
  • £82,500 towards a Multi-Use Games Area attached to Ilchester Primary School, which will serve families living in the area

The £30 million Covenant Grants scheme is a Ministry of Defence led initiative which provides financial support to local projects which strengthen ties or mutual understanding between the Armed Forces and the surrounding community.

Each application must be endorsed and monitored by the local Community Covenant partnership.

The Somerset Armed Forces Community Partnership is hosted by Somerset County Council and includes representatives of military, veteran, public sector, charity, education and business organisations.