Do your bit to back our armed forces

Malvern Gazette: LOOK TO YOUR FRONT: Soldiers of the Mercian Regiment march through Worcester. LOOK TO YOUR FRONT: Soldiers of the Mercian Regiment march through Worcester.

PEOPLE across Worcestershire are being invited to bid for new funding aimed at strengthening links with the armed forces.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has a £30 million cash pot to hand out nationwide for projects that increase mutual understanding between communities and armed forces workers.

From skittles clubs involving our war heroes to community raffles or special events, anything which costs from £100 to £250,000 could potentially be funded.

It might be a public exhibition of soldiers on tour in Afghanistan, or activity camps involving army cadets and young people – all ideas will be considered.

All of the money has to be dished out by April 2015, and County Hall chiefs want Worcestershire to grab a fair slice of the money.

One major example of success so far is the Hereford and Worcester Army Cadets, which secured £3,000 of new safety equipment and tools for volunteering work with the Canal and River Trust.

The cash is being used on maintaining the towpath in Stourport and keeping it tidy and free of litter.

The project is going to be rolled out across Worcestershire so other canal areas benefit from it. Councillor Rob Adams, county council chairman, said: “It is excellent news that Worcestershire communities are already benefiting from a successful application for Ministry of Defence funding.

“I am delighted that the cadets have gained funding for such a worthwhile project and wholeheartedly encourage more groups to come forward and apply as the funding will be available for some time to come.”

Sergeant Phillip Wood, of the Hereford and Worcester Army Cadets, said: “The work carried out by our cadets has really benefited the local community in ensuring the canal towpath is accessible and attractive.”

Anyone can submit a bid, from a resident to a volunteer, charities and public bodies such as schools. A special grant panel meets every month to sift through new applications and hand out the latest slices of cash.

To submit a bid visit worcestershirepartnership. org.uk.

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