Fund reinstated to deliver specialist mobility equipment for seriously injured veterans
A new £2.52 million Veterans’ Mobility Fund (VMF) is set to provide veterans across the UK with mobility equipment to improve their quality of life
- New Veterans’ Mobility Fund will deliver grants to former armed forces personnel with mobility needs
- Government funding to be awarded by Help for Heroes in partnership with Blesma, The Limbless Veterans charity
- Funding will enable veterans to access vital mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and scooters
A new £2.52 million Veterans’ Mobility Fund (VMF) is set to provide veterans across the UK with mobility equipment to improve their quality of life.
The fund will deliver grants and equipment to veterans with mobility needs linked to their service. This includes mobility aids that are not usually available through the NHS, such as specialist wheelchairs and mobility scooters, and different orthotics such as splints and braces.
The Armed Forces Covenant Trust, funded by the government, has awarded £2.52 million to Help for Heroes, in partnership with Blesma. The charities will deliver high quality support to veterans with physical disabilities through grants across five years.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Rt Hon. Johnny Mercer MP, said:
"I want to make this the best country in the world to be a veteran. To do that, It is only right that those who have served our country should have access to high quality support that allows them to get back to what they love doing.
"I’ve met so many inspiring veterans today who have told me how the previous fund helped them to make small steps to regain their independence and zest for life.
"If you have mobility needs linked to your time in service, please get in touch with Help for Heroes to find out more."
The new VMF was secured in the Spring Budget by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. The reinstated fund will have a greater focus on evaluating impact, and will be part of the new physical health pathway in England under Op RESTORE.
James Needham, CEO of Help for Heroes:
"The reinstatement of the Veterans’ Mobility Fund will make a vital difference to the lives of those injured during their military service, and it is great news that our charity has been recognised and trusted to deliver this fund.
"Today’s announcement is a result of a joint two-year campaign by Help for Heroes and Blemsa, and wounded veterans will be pleased that the UK Government has listened and reinstated this life-changing fund.
"We are now working quickly and carefully to establish a robust programme so we can open the fund to eligible veterans by March 2024."
Jon Bryant, Chief Executive, Blesma, the Limbless Veterans said:
"Blesma is delighted to have been successful in bidding to run the Veterans Mobility Fund alongside our colleagues in Help for Heroes. Having campaigned for this funding, we know very well what a difference it will make to veterans who have been injured in the service of their country. We look forward to delivering this much-needed support to those who need it."
Army veteran, Paul Colling, said:
"I’m delighted the government has decided to reinstate the VMF and award it to Help for Heroes and Blesma. Being able to access the previous fund meant I was able to receive a specialist leg brace -something I couldn’t afford on my own - which prevented me from going through a leg amputation. That brace, and the efforts of Help for Heroes, has enabled me to walk again."
By addressing mobility needs, the equipment will help with veterans’ wider issues such as reducing isolation and loneliness.
To further support the healthcare needs of veterans, the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) has worked with NHS England to deliver two dedicated healthcare pathways. Op RESTORE supports physical health needs, and Op COURAGE provides mental health and wellbeing support. The OVA launched a £5 million Health Innovation Fund this year, which includes a research project by Blesma and Anglia Ruskin University on how assistive technologies such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters help veterans in their everyday lives.