In August 2020, we received our first ever funding from The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. This was the Positive Pathways grant, which enabled us to hire a military veterans development officer whos main role was to engage whithin the Armed Forces community.
Our Positive Pathways grant was used to hire a dedicated Military Veterans Development Officer to oversee Curzon Ashton Community Foundation’s ‘Tameside Military Veterans Project’. Our goal was to create engaging programmes for the Armed Forces community (still serving, reservists, veterans, and family members) to benefit from in Tameside and Greater Manchester. We were also able to put some of our beneficiaries on to courses, such as the Mental Health First Aid Course. We put 16 beneficaries on to the mental health course, which meant at all of our programmes we had a first aider on site.
We had our established military veteran football team, who continue to train every Friday evening. Twice a week we held a NAAFI break (Navy, Army, and Air Force Institute). At these NAAFI breaks, the Armed Forces community were able to come down to Curzon Ashton Football Club and socialise with other still serving, reservists, veterans, and family members from the local area. At the NAAFI, food and drinks were made available. Beneficiaries were able to find out about other Armed Forces programmes in Tameside and Greater Manchester (not just ones which we run but other organisations too). There was also an opportunity to seek any mental wellbeing support, thanks to the partnerships we forged with NHS TILS (Transition, Intervention, Liaison Service) and NHS Pennine Care. These were held every Monday evening and every Tuesday morning.
We started a weekly over 60’s Armed Forces walking football session, to try and engage with the older generation of veterans in the area. We were able to integrate the participants into Curzon Ashton Football Club’s walking football team.
We were lucky to have partnered up with Maverick Stars Trust, who helped us start a weekly Armed Forces boxing and fitness programme. Members of the Armed Forces community took part in sessions lead by Matthew Hatton (Former British European welterweight title holder)
All of these programmes were free of charge for the Armed Forces community, thanks to Positive Pathways.