Armed forces veterans and their families in Sunderland are to receive a two-year long programme of dedicated support, thanks to a successful bid by two local organisations.
Veterans in Crisis and the Foundation of Light teamed up on a joint bid to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, securing £100,000 to reduce social isolation and tackle the issues that veterans and their families experience.
The funding will support the Foundation – the official charity of Sunderland AFC – to deliver a range of fun, family-based activities including playgroups, sports, arts and crafts, sensory play, baby bounce, cookery and wellbeing sessions at the Beacon of Light, the award-winning community hub on Stadium Park.
“The award was made just weeks before the COVID-19 lockdown,” said Ger Fowler, Chief Executive of Veterans in Crisis. “It means that we can support veterans and their families when they need it most.
“Because it is not possible to meet at the Beacon, Foundation staff have come up with a variety of ingenious home-based alternatives to support veterans stuck at home with the first event themed to celebrate VE Day on Friday, 8 May.”
“We’re delighted to be working with VICS to support our veterans and their families, and it’s great that we can kick-off our work with activity packs for kids which are themed around VE day,’ said Liz Barton-Jones, Foundation of Light’s Head of Sport and Wellbeing.
“The packs will include SAFC-themed bunting and flags to colour in, as well as recipes and other ideas for all the family to enjoy and get involved in. We’re encouraging everyone to share photographs on social media and see which are the best.
“We will also be offering the families a range of online education courses which everyone in the home can enjoy. From learning to cook or completing a Level One award in sport and fitness, through to Maths and English challenges for Key Stage One and Two children, our aim is to work with VICS to bring families together at this tough time and support them to learn new skills.”
When lockdown eases, veterans and their families will be invited to the Beacon to get involved in some of the award-winning courses on offer and older veterans and their partners will be invited to try walking sports, bingo and days out around the region.
If you – or someone you know – would like to get involved, call Claire Lawton on 0191 567 1878 or email her at email@example.com or Liz Barton-Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org
6 May 2020