News story: More support for armed forces unsung heroes

The annual armed forces continuous attitude survey enables the Ministry of Defence to listen to the concerns of military personnel and their husbands, wives and children.

This year’s results showed that one of the key worries for service personnel was being unhappy with the effect of military life on their partner’s career.

Over the past year, MOD has been working hard in partnership with some of Britain’s biggest companies, including HSBC, to address this, and many members of armed forces families are already reaping the benefits of the ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’ dependants’ business start-up programme.

The dependants’ business start-up programme was launched in partnership with the University of Wolverhampton in June last year, and was one of the successful bids for money from the £35 million Libor fund made available by the Prime Minister.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

Our armed forces and their families give so much to our country, so it is only right that we ensure they are supported as much as possible.

The success of this scheme demonstrates our commitment to listening to our people and helping them to enjoy the kind of domestic stability that many of us take for granted.

It also means that we are delivering on the promises set out in the armed forces covenant, ensuring that no member of personnel or their families are disadvantaged by the contribution and sacrifice they make for their service.

Jen Ives' business fits in with her life as the wife of a Royal Engineer [Picture: via MOD]

Jen Ives knows just how valuable programmes like this are. The wife of a Royal Engineer, Jen is a busy mum of 2 who has successfully grown her award-winning business Grippy Leads, which creates innovative dog leads and collars, with help from the business start-up scheme.

Having grown up in Penzance, Cornwall, Jen has returned to Truro with her family, and, thanks to the scheme, she now has a career that she has been able to bring with her.

Jen said:

The armed forces dependants’ business start-up programme has given a fantastic boost to my confidence. The programme has helped me to develop a really in-depth commercial understanding that was essential to growing my business.

Recently we moved house and I was able to pick up my business and take it with me, as my career fits in with my lifestyle as the wife of a Royal Engineer.

Importantly, it has given me the opportunity to meet other like-minded people and they‘ve provided an invaluable support network for me. I’m looking forward to watching my business, Grippy Leads, go from strength to strength.

The University of Wolverhampton received over £200,000 to develop and deliver a course to up to 180 service dependants within the West Midlands, providing them with the transferable skills and support required to build a business that will not be restricted to a geographical area.

The programme is now set to receive a funding boost of £720,000 which will enable an extra 500 service dependants to take part, and the scheme will be rolled out across the country and overseas.

HSBC have invested £600,000 and MOD is committing an extra £120,000 of Libor funds to support the expansion in the next phase.

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