Helping Oxfordshire Armed Forces

Groups in Oxfordshire with ideas on how to connect the community with members of the military and their families have last chance to apply for money from a £30 million Government fund.

It's part of the Armed Forces Community Covenant which aims to recognise the sacrifice made by those in the service, encourage integration and support between the community and armed forces.

Oxfordshire County Council became the first in the country to sign the covenant back in June, followed soon after by Hampshire.

Council leader Keith Mitchell has told Heart some of the difficulties faced by military families:

"There are specific areas where we can help, particularly in school because service children change school only too frequently.

"In social care, perhaps if soldiers are away and the family are at home they may need some support. In health care, dental care, a whole range of issues where service personnel can struggle because they are always on the move."

Applications can be made by groups in Oxfordshire for one-off sums between £100 and £250,000 for things like exhibitions and open days, veteran outreach programmes and projects focusing on improving health, welfare or life skills of service personnel and their families.

Cllr Mitchell says the covenant is important because the military is a large part of the population in Oxfordshire.

"We're making sure the army don't lose out because of their invisibility, because of their coming and going, because of them being behind wire very often.

"Our role is to make sure they're integrated into the community and they get the same access, help and support for services everyone else gets."

All projects will be considered and applications must be in by the 31st October to qualify for the next round.

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