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National Charities

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is a compensation package for members and former members of the armed services for injuries, illness or death which occured as a result of service.

The Veterans Agency www.veterans-uk.info provide support with applications and have a freephone Help Line 0800 169 2777.


Be the Boss

"Be the Boss" is a Government funded scheme run by the British Legion to help UK service leavers plan, fund and grow their own small business.

It is open to all former members of the armed services regardless of discharge date. It welcomes applications from service leavers with an injury, disability, or long term health condition.

The scheme can provide funding up to £7,500 to start up a business or funding up to £30,000 to devleop an existing business that has been trading for between 12 and 24 months. The money is a mixture of grants and loans provided in £500 increments.

A one-off feasibility grant of £250 is also available to applicants to market test their idea.

Advice, guidance and mentoring will be provided as part of the scheme. "Be the Boss" is not means tested.

Further information is available on CivvyStreet, the British Legion website for jobs and employment: www.civvystreet.org and on the Legion website, www.britishlegion.org.uk Telephone: 0800 678 5787 E-mail: betheboss@civvystreet.org


The Royal British Legion

The British Legion provide support to serving and ex-service people and their families.

It runs a number of grant and loan schemes:

Immediate Needs Scheme

Small hardship grants for emergency situations such as:

  • a funeral, furniture and household appliances
  • Food and clothing
  • Mobility vehicles
  • Adaptations to your home for a disability
  • Help with getting into rented accommodation


Support and practical assistance to every ex service personal and their families who are either homeless or in temporary accommodation.

External Grants

The External Grants programme is open to charities who intend to fund specialist projects and services for serving and ex service personnel and their families.

Guidelines and an application form can be downloaded from the website.

Family Holiday Breaks

The British Legion has four holiday Break Centres around the country for use by serving and ex service personnel and their families.

The holiday is provided free and assistance may be given towards food and transport.

Adventure Breaks

The British Legion offers free one week adventure breaks to the children of serving and ex service men and women in the armed forces.

It is open to young people aged between 12 and 17 years.

The British Legion is also able to help with applications for state benefits including disability benefits.  It will also provide representation at tribunals.


The Royal British Legion - Women's Section

The Royal British Legion, Women's Section is a military charity and membership organisation for women providing care and support to the serving and ex-service community.

It is able to help if you served in the Armed Forces or are the dependent or spouse or someone who has served.

It has the following schemes:

The Women's Section Allowance (WSA)

A means tested grant that helps with daily living expenses.  Available to men and women over 60 years.

For WSA beneficiaries they may also benefit from grants through their Birthday Scheme, Christmas Fund, TV license fund and Cold weather supplement.

Presidents Award Scheme (PAS)

Offers two separate bursaries:

Educational Scholarships - up to £1500 for dependents of serving and ex-service personnel including their spouses.

Educational Grants - up to £500 for ex-service personal, dependents, spouses/partners wishing to complete an education course or re-training scheme.

Children's Welfare Scheme

Offer grants to families and single parent towards the cost of essential items for their children.

To apply: contact the Royal British Legion on 0808 802 8080 or email through the websites online contact form.


The Employment Support Grant

The Employment Support Grant is run by the British Legion and funded by the annual Popply Appeal to support entry into employment.

It is open to ex service personnel who are resident in the UK, unemployed or on means tested benefits and in financial need.

The grant is to pay for a recognised skills training course with a direct link to future employment. It will not fund training that could be funded from statutory sources.

The amount of grant will be determined on a case by case basis but it unlikely that an applicant will be awarded more than £1,500.

To apply complete the on-line application form or telephone: 0800 169 4073


Hero's Return

The Big Lottery Fund has extended its Heroes Return 2 Programme.

Second World War veterans from the UK,Channel Islands and Ireland are able to apply for grants to enable them to return back to places in the world where they served. The grant covers the cost of accommodation and travel for themselves, and their spouses or carers.

Funding is also available for veterans to take part in official commemorations in the UK.

It is open to veterans resident in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. War widows and widowers of veterans are also eligible for funding.

To apply download an application form from the website.


The Not Forgotten Association

The Association provides leisure and recreation opportunities to serving and ex-service personnel who have been wounded or have a permanent injury.

It helps in the provision of holidays, days out, entertainment at care homes. It also provides large screen televisions and television licences to individual veterans and care homes.

Beneficiaries are usually identified by other user groups such as The Royal British Legion and veterans groups who refer them to the Association. An on-line contact form is available.


By Condition

BLESMA The Limbless Veterans

BLESMA provides support to service men and women who lose limbs, eyes or use of limbs or sight.

It is able to offer grants to make life easier to pay for items such as wheelchairs, stairlifts and car adaptations.

To find out more information contact Blesma, 185-187 High Road, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Essex RM6 6NA Telephone: 0208 590 1124 or e-mail: headquarters@blesma.org

The organisation is also able to help with rehabilitation and advice.


Blind Veterans UK (St Dunstans)

St Dunstans helps blind ex service men and women lead independent and fulfilling lives.  This includes older veterans who may have served National Service and suffered sight loss through old age.

It provides a range of services to support blind veterans including grants towards specialist equipment, computers and access equipment.

To apply: download an application form or telephone: 0800 389 7979.



Combat stress

Although the Combat Stress charity does not provide grants it is included as all of it's services are free to Veterans suffering from mental health conditions or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

It offers a 24 hour confidential help-line: 0800 138 1619, a community outreach service, clinical treatments at residential centres and a six week programme of treatment and rehabilitation.

The charity provides specialised treatments in an ex service environment. It also enables them to meet other veterans who have had similar experiences to their own.


By Service/Regiment

The Burma Star Association

The Burma Star Association helps their members with welfare needs such as care or financial help.

Local branches have a Welfare Officer who is there for the needs of Old Comrades.

To find out the address of your local branch contact the Burma Star Association at 4 Lower Belgrave Street, London SW1 OLA  Telephone: 020-7823-4283


RAF Disabled Holiday Trust

The Trust helps serving and ex RAF personnel of any rank (and their dependants) with a severe disability take holidays in the UK and abroad.

Most disabling conditions are accepted and may have occurred in or out of service.

The full cost of the accommodation is covered by the Trust as it invests in a holiday bond providing access to self catering properties in the UK and overseas.  

Applications may be made on-line or by downloading an application form.


Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF)

The RAFBF supports serving and past members of the RAF/WRAF including their partners and children (up to 18 years).

It is able to help with:

  • Welfare breaks at one of their cottages or homes
  • Death and disablement in service support by helping with housing and educational costs
  • Property repairs if you are experiencing financial difficulties
  • Assistance if you or your dependants have a disability - this may include help to adapt your home, disability equipment and the loan of electric wheelchairs and scooters.
  • Additional assistance to pay for care where the Local Authority are not funding the full cost
  • Financial support during times of need including Sickness Maintenance grants for people who receive long term Disability Living Allowance and essential living costs.
  • Financial help if you have a child with special needs to pay for schooling costs, equipment and extra care.

Applications can be made direct using the on-line form on the website.


The Royal Engineers Association

The Royal Engineers Association provides financial assistance and other help to serving and former members of the Corps and their dependents.

It supports those who are in need through poverty.

Further information can be obtained by email: benevolence@reahq.org.uk Telephone: 01634 822982


The Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund (RMCTF)

The RMCTF supports serving and retired Royal Marines and their families.

It helps wounded and injured veterans with their transition to civilian life. 

It also provides adventure training for those returning from operations, funding homecoming events and financing memorials.

A grant is offered to the next of kin of any marine who dies in service.

The RMCTF works closely with other military charities.


The Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation (RMNEF)

The RMNEF is an educational charity helping needy children of merchant navy seafarers, professional sea-going fishermen and RNLI lifeboat crew members.

It is able to help with everything from school fees, textbooks, uniforms to computers and internet access.

The Foundation supports at any stage of educational development from birth to obtaining professional career entry qualifications.

To apply: contact initially by letter or email: office@rmnef.org.uk  to find out if you qualify for support. If agreed the charity will send an application form.


The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust (RNBT)

The RNBT helps serving and former Royal Naval ratings and Royal Marines other ranks and their dependents.

It gives a wide range of financial help to those in need which might include:

  • Specialist equipment for a disabled child
  • Essential household goods
  • Contribution to the cost of a mobility scooter
  • Furniture
  • Funeral expenses
  • Respite breaks

Applications are made through the RNBT by telephone, email or letter.  Once contact has been mad a caseworker will visit to complete the application form.

Grants are also given to other charities who support the RNBT family.

The Trust runs a care home in Kent and a community of six cottages for older or disabled members of the RNBT family.


Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund

The Royal Observer Benevolent Fund provides assistance and relief to former members of the Royal Observer Corps and their dependents who are in need, hardship or distress.

Eligibility extends to widows, widowers and dependents.

The fund is able to help financially through:

  • Mobility aids, scooter and wheelchairs
  • Debt relief
  • Essential home repairs or modifications
  • Respite care

Applications should be made in writing to:

The Secretary, Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund, 120 Perry Hall Road, Orpington, Kent BR OEF  or use the online form on the website.


The Royal Regiment of Artillery

The RA Charitable Fund financially supports all past and present officers and soldiers including their dependents who are in need.

Each case is judged on it's own merits and assistance can be offered quickly to all members of the Gunner family.

To find out more contact: rarhq-racf-welfare-mailbox@mod.uk or telephone: 01980 64309


Royal Signals Benevolent Fund (RSBF)

The RSBF helps past and present signallers and their families and dependents with life saving grants.

It provides funding to signallers or ex signallers who are suffering from hardship or distress.

Applications for grants must be supported by an independent report from a welfare organisation such as the SSAFA, Royal British Legion or the Officers Association.


The Soldiers' Charity

The Soldiers' Charity provides lifetime support to serving and retired soldiers including the Reserve Army (TA) and their families.

It provides grants in 7 areas:

  • Annuities - as a supplement for older veterans and their widows living alone on a basic state pension
  • Care home fees - to top up support for older veterans and their widows where local authority payments are insufficient
  • Bursaries -  to help retrain soldiers with disabilities covering course fees and equipment.  Also support for ex-soldiers undertaking higher education courses and funding for continuing education of soldier's children who have died or been disabled in service.
  • Holiday schemes - providing short breaks for families under stress and for service children with special needs to have a holiday.
  • Special Funds - to assist soldiers who have been injured in Northern Ireland, the Falklands Campaign or the Gulf War.  Also to help dependents of those killed in these campaigns.  This area also includes The George Purse Trust to provide grants to those who live in Wales and are in need of respite care.
  • General Needs - grants providing support that can't be meet from any other source - including mobility aids such as wheelchairs, stairlifts etc
  • Current Operations Fund - for soldiers injured in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and may include retraining a disabled soldier or holiday funds for a war window and her family.

Applications for serving soldiers should be made through their Regimental or Corps Association and former soldiers should follow three simple steps.



The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) provides help and support to existing and past service personnel and their families.

It offers a wide range of services including:

  • Rehabilitation for injured servicemen and women
  • A confidential helpline (Forcesline)
  • Additional needs and disability support such as four holidays a years for children with special needs and their siblings
  • Short stay accomodation for families visiting injured relatives
  • Financial assistance for a wide range of needs
  • Funding for home adaptations or specialist disability equipment unavailable from statutory sources.
  • Residential care for those with disabilities

The help is available to almost anyone with a service connection.

Further information can be found on the SSAFA website.


Women's Royal Naval Service Benevolent Fund

The Trust helps woman who served in the Woman's Royal Naval Service by providing relief at difficult times or distress.

This includes woman who served in the WRNS since 3rd September 1939 and women who served in the WRNS and were transferred before 1st November 1993.  Both officers and ratings.

It able to provide regular grants for those living on low income or in a care home and payments towards bills, clothing and household goods.

It also awards one off grants that may be used to pay for convalescence care, education, household goods, medical aids and funerals.

Applications should be made to the Grants Administrator email: grantsadmin@wrnsbt.org.uk, through the SSFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Families Association or the Royal British Legion.


Other Military Charities


AJEX is the Association of Jewish ex servicemen and women.

It offers grants to it's members and their families who find themselves in difficulty, in need of medical, housing and other essential everyday needs.



The Wounded and Disabled Employment (W.A.D.E) charity provides training for those interested in training for employment in construction and associated industries.

WADE welcomes approaches from ex servicemen especially if they have been injured in the course of duty and anyone with a more general disability.

It provides academic and vocational training and each person is allocated a professional mentor to facilitate their new career.

The organisation is currently based around the London/South-East/ North Linclonshire and hopes to expand to other areas in the future.


See also:

Stratus Flying Charity (for free flying lessons towards private pilot's license)

Check out the other pages…….

General Grants for Disabled Adults

Grants for the Elderly and Older Adults

Grants for Individual Occupations

Grants for Disabled Women

Grants for Young Adults

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