The Royal British Legion has welcomed a grant of £250,000 from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. The award from the Covid-19 Impact Programme will be used to help staff to continue providing critical support for elderly residents at four of its care homes. The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust is administering the Covid-19 Impact Programme on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office following their allocation of emergency funding from DCMS and HM Treasury in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The money will be used to help pay for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other additional costs due to Covid-19 at Dunkirk Memorial House in Somerset, Mais House in East Sussex, Maurice House in Kent and Galanos House in Warwickshire. The Legion currently operates a portfolio of six care homes across the UK providing veterans and their dependants with high quality residential, nursing and specialist dementia care.
More than 300 of the most vulnerable members of the Armed Forces Community, including veteran and their dependants, will benefit from the funding. As elderly people are at greater risk of contracting Covid-19, the Legion is taking every possible measure to ensure the safety and well-being of its residents and staff.
The Royal British Legion’s Assistant Director of Operations Stephen Barnett said:
“This is fantastic news for residents and staff whose lives are being impacted by Coronavirus every day. We have taken an extensive range of measures to protect everyone living and working in our care homes, but this comes at a financial cost. This grant will help us to pay for vital PPE equipment and cover staffing costs. The support and services provided by the care sector have never been more important. Since the pandemic began, we have seen increased demands on our services and have had to come up with many alternative ways of providing support. We will continue to be flexible and responsive whilst at the same time providing the highest standards of care.”
The Royal British Legion’s Director General Charles Byrne said:
“The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted every sector of society and, as we continue to deal with the effects of Covid-19 in our care homes, this award from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust is particularly welcome. It will help our hugely dedicated staff to continue to ensure the safety for some the most vulnerable members of the Armed Forces Community. Since the pandemic began, the health and well-being of the people we support, our members, volunteers and staff has been, and will remain, our priority. The Armed Forces Covenant is something we at the Legion hold very close to our hearts and we are very grateful to the Trust for their support during this most difficult of times.”
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, costs relating to the Legion’s care homes have increased significantly, particularly PPE, cleaning and staffing costs. Since lockdown began in March a range of measures have been implemented at the care homes to ensure that friends and family are able to stay in touch with their loved ones. The Legion has supplied extra iPads and mobile phones and improved connectivity so that care home residents can maintain contact with their families via video calls.
Across the Legion’s care homes activity programmes have been adapted to provide for smaller groups and 1:1 sessions. Staff have also been finding innovative ways to keep residents engaged and entertained. Examples range from setting up a pen pal system between residents in one Home and local nursery schools to hosting inter-Home quiz nights. The Head of Activities at Mais House has even set up a YouTube channel with his young son to create videos for residents.