The Government has announced £6 million of emergency funding to support military charities which are struggling to raise funds during the coronavirus pandemic. Defence Minister for People and Veterans Johnny Mercer made the announcement via a video link in the House of Commons on Tuesday. It follows concerns from some military charities after the cancellation of a number of fundraising events because of lockdown. Nikki Scott, founder of Scotty's Little Soldiers, which supports military children through the loss of a parent, said "all big events are cancelled". "Especially over the summer, our biggest time for fundraisers, so that is quite scary," she added. "In March, we were 46% down on our budgets so you are seeing a big decrease coming - we've just got to keep positive and keep doing what we can." Other Armed Forces charities have also found the lockdown period difficult.
The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, which drives ex-personnel to places in the UK and Europe, has adapted to deliver care packages during the pandemic, but has also got funding fears.
"The fundraising has completely stopped," said Ian Parsons, the charity's chairman. "On a short-time basis, we're okay but if this goes on for a longer period of time, you know, it will be a major cause for concern." The head of Cobseo, the Confederation of Service Charities, warned that the Armed Forces charity sector could lose around £390 million over six months as a result of pandemic. Responding to the funding announcement, General Sir John McColl said: "This funding will help to provide a more secure immediate future and sustain vital services. "We are now working to ensure that charities can access this funding as soon as possible to enable them to continue their essential work." He added Cobseo will work alongside the Office for Veterans' Affairs and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to support Armed Forces charities.