Page last updated at 00:53 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010

Lottery funding to help veterans return to Civvy Street

Soldiers may struggle to adapt to life after the Army

Army veterans are to receive lottery funding to help ease the transition from military to civilian life.

The Big Lottery Fund will launch its Forces in Mind programme with £35m.

It intends to establish an independent trust to provide long-term support for those who served in conflicts including Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf War.

Experts say returning to "Civvy Street" can lead to issues such as depression, family trauma, substance misuse, homelessness and in some cases suicide.

While the money has been allocated, it has not yet been decided exactly how it will be spent.

For some the after-effects of making the transition from a career in the forces do not always present themselves in an obvious way or even immediately
Sir Clive Booth
Big Lottery Fund

The fund said it had been consulting with service and ex-service organisations to help identify where it can best meet the needs of bodies supporting veterans and their families.

But it said it would be looking to assist existing organisations which help veterans in areas such as housing, employment, training, personal finances, homelessness and mental health.

It also aims to fund research into issues affecting ex-service people.

The chairman of the Big Lottery Fund, Sir Clive Booth, said: "For some the after-effects of making the transition from a career in the forces do not always present themselves in an obvious way or even immediately.

"Supporting organisations that can make a real difference to the reintegration into civilian life of the men and women who have served their country is a real and pressing priority for us."

About 19,000 service personnel return to civilian life each year and it is estimated that there are about five million veterans in the UK.

The Big Lottery Fund distributes profits from the National Lottery to good causes and projects.

It has already provided funding for older veterans, but Sir Clive said: "Now we want to also focus on more recent veterans and their families, including returnees from Iraq and Afghanistan, by putting in place this long-term support."

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