VETERANS in Portsmouth will be given additional support thanks to a £300,000 grant awarded to the city’s Royal Maritime Club.
The club in Queen Street, Portsea, is one of dozens to have been granted a cash injection from the government’s Covenant Fund.
This means so much to us. We have a dream of what we want to do – now it’s just making that dream a realityJohn Alderson, general manager
The money will be put to good use in transforming the ground floor and creating a new recovery and rehabilitation centre, which can be used by veterans and disabled people.
John Alderson is the general manager and said the improvements would be key to supporting veterans who use the maritime club.
‘We were ecstatic when we found out,’ he added. ‘This means so much to us.
‘We have a dream of what we want to do – now it’s just making that dream a reality.’
The aim is to create a new social area and to improve accessibility for disabled members using the club.
As part of this, Mr Alderson hopes to pump some of the cash into adapting the site’s pool for disabled and hydrotherapy use.
And he is keen modernise the changing rooms and offices and refurbish the former Members’ Clubroom.
David Nesbit, is the chairman of trustees.
He said: ‘This grant will enable us to make more effective and flexible use of the club’s space, increasing the support we can give our members and beneficiaries.
‘We believe keeping the club shipshape is the highest tribute we can pay to our beneficiaries and their families, and to all our guests.’
The new annual Covenant Fund was launched in June 2015, demonstrating the government’s long-term commitment to supporting schemes under the Armed Forces Covenant.
The covenant acts as a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.
A total of 59 small grants, totalling almost £1m were awarded in late 2015. Now a further 93 small bids have been revealed alongside 24 larger ones, all totalling more than £8.8m.
Defence secretary Michael Fallon said: ‘The new fund strategically targets areas of need. Every year, this £10m will go towards worthy projects that fully promote the principles of the covenant.’
The maritime club hopes to finish the improvements by April 2017.