Military charity faces funding crisis


Combat Stress has said drastic cuts means it can no longer take on new referrals in England and Wales 

27th January 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity which provides mental health support for armed forces veterans has been struck by a funding crisis.

Combat Stress has said it will not be able to take on any new cases in England and Wales as a result of funding cuts.

The organisation receives around 2,000 referrals a year but has seen its income all from £16m to £10m over the current financial year.

Sue Freeth, chief executive of Combat Stress, said: “For 100 years Combat Stress has supported former servicemen and women with mental health problems. Our specialist work is life-changing and often life-saving but we have reached a critical turning point as our income is dropping from £16m to £10m in this financial year.

“Historically, 40% of our income came from the government. These sources of funding have been redistributed and veterans are struggling to get the help they need. Now 90% dependent on public donations, we cannot supply a critical service to four UK nations on £10 million per annum when most of the funding is coming from the public and charitable sector funds. The government must step up and we are seeking urgent talks to address the gap.

“Whilst we have adapted to meet the demand of veterans, we are now faced with scaling back our workforce and services nationwide and have begun a consultation with staff on our proposals.”

The charity has said it will keep the situation under review and take referrals again when it can do safely.

The charity still receives more than £1m from NHS Scotland and it will continue to take on new cases there and in Northern Ireland.

Veterans’ minister Johnny Mercer said he was seeking an urgent meeting with Combat Stress.