The Mail on Sunday

Wounded troops’ £40m charity boost


TROOPS wounded in the line of duty received a £40million boost from military charities last night.

The extra funding follows criticism of the Government within the military and from the public that Gordon Brown was not doing enough to help the ever-rising number of seriously injured soldiers.

In what was seen as a belated response to the criticism, General Sir David Richards, Chief of the General Staff, recently launched the Army Recovery Capability scheme, promising that ‘no soldier who thinks it is in his interests to stay in the Army will be forced out’.

Last night, Help For Heroes – co-founded by Emma Parry and her husband Bryn – announced an immediate £5million ‘quick reaction fund’ offering grants to needy soldiers within 48 hours to improve their chances of rejoining units or retraining for new jobs.

The charity will donate £15million to build four new centres for troops who are unable to recover at home.

The Royal British Legion also stepped in with £20million to run the centres at Edinburgh, Colchester in Essex, Catterick in North Yorkshire and Tidworth in Wiltshire, which will be built within the next 18 months. The cash will enhance funds available from regimental associatio­ns and the Soldiers’ Charity, previously known as the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF).

Mr Parry said: ‘We are delighted to be able to work with the new Army Recovery Capability and ABF in this new initiative to get the very best support to those whose lives are changed by their injuries.’

But Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British Forces in Afghanista­n, said: ‘It is an indictment of this Government that charities have been forced to step in to help wounded troops.’

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