The Army Families Federation (AFF) Community award was presented in recognition of the Armed Forces Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’ at the University of Wolverhampton.
The unique 10 month business start-up programme has been in high demand from Service families since its introduction last year. The programme is open to the families of Veterans, Reservists and serving Armed Forces personnel, at no cost and has already been attended by more than 170 Service Spouses and Dependants’ from across the UK and Cyprus.
The award was presented at the AFF Families’ conference on Tuesday (OCT 21) by AFF Chair of Trustees, Caroline Buchanan.
The University’s Armed Forces Co-ordinator, Lianne Bradbury, an Army Veteran of 22 years’ service, said: “We were absolutely delighted and honoured to be the recipient of the AFF Community Award for our work in delivering a programme that helps service families set up their own business. This award is particularly important to the University as the AFF is the voice of Army families and therefore represents the programme’s success in meeting a real need within the forces community.
“We would like to thank the AFF for the award and for the support they have given the ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’ Programme over the last year. We look forward to working with the AFF for many years to come and continuing to provide great opportunities for Service families.”
The AFF conference is an opportunity for members of the Army community to debate a number of issues affecting their lives as a service family; key speakers included Adjutant General Lt Gen Berragan, Chief of the General Staff, Gen Sir Nick Carter and Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Anna Soubry MP.
Margaret Corneby, Chief Executive, Black Country Chamber of Commerce which delivers training and mentoring on the programme, said: “Black Country Chamber of Commerce is delighted that the Unsung Hero programme has won the Army Families Federation Community Award 2014. We are proud to deliver the training and mentoring to support the programme, as this is a great opportunity to help our Armed Forces and families. Our Enterprise Advisers have been impressed with the creativity and scope of the business ideas presented to them.”
Ruth Moore, Client Liaison Manager at Irwin Mitchell – sponsors of the award said: “We are really pleased to sponsor the Community Award. The University of Wolverhampton are worthy winners – their work is outstanding and is a great opportunity for many Army families.”
Helen Lloyd Wildman, Registrar and Secretary at the University of Wolverhampton, added: “We are delighted that there have been so many success stories from the Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme and that it is set to continue. It really has exceeded our expectations and it is an honour to receive the coveted AFF Community Award.”
The Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme was launched in June last year, and was one of the successful bids to the £35 million LIBOR fund made available by the Prime Minister. Earlier this month it was announced that the project had received significant investment of £600,000 from HSBC to expand the programme throughout the UK and overseas. The Ministry of Defence has given an extra £120,000 of LIBOR fines to support the expansion in the next phase.
The Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme has been developed specifically for Armed Forces families to provide them with the transferable skills and support required to start and maintain a business that will not be restricted to a geographical area, enabling families to become more financially stable and break the cycle of being unable to maintain continuous employment. The programme is delivered by the University of Wolverhampton’s Business Solutions Centre in partnership with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce.
For further information about the programme contact Lianne Bradbury the Armed Forces Co-ordinator at the University of Wolverhampton.
Telephone: 01902 321677