Prime Minister gives green light to university scheme to aid forces’ dependents

A University of Wolverhampton scheme to provide opportunities to service dependents has been funded by the Government.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced the details of successful bids to the Armed Forces Covenant (LIBOR) Fund on Saturday as part of Armed Forces Day.

The University’s project, called Supporting the Unsung Hero, intends to offer a business start-up programme for the dependants of serving Armed Forces personnel, Reservists and Veterans to enable them not only to financially support their family but integrate them into the local civilian community.

The 10-month programme will offer information and advice on self-employment, a business start-up course and individual and group mentoring with business consultants.

The project will be delivered through the Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre in conjunction with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and The Ministry of Defence Hive Information Service.

The University’s Armed Forces and Uniformed Services Co-ordinator, Lianne Bradbury, an army veteran of 22 years’ service, said: “Service dependants live an extremely mobile lifestyle and many do not have the opportunity to gain a structured career and settle in to a local community.

“This initiative will make a huge difference to families of service personnel as it can be difficult for spouses to find employment due to their location or other commitments such as childcare responsibilities.

“The Business Start-up Programme is designed specifically for Armed Forces families to provide them with transferable skills which will give them the capability to create businesses that aren’t restricted to a geographical area.

“It will allow service families to break out of a cycle of being not being able to work, to become more financially stable and better skilled and ultimately help them integrate into the civilian community.”

Commenting on the project, Prime Minister David Cameron said: ““This is the exactly the type of innovative project that exemplifies how our society should support our armed forces and their families. By bringing together our military, civilian and business communities, the University of Wolverhampton will strengthen community ties and provide valuable skills and knowledge to our military families.”

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, Professor Geoff Layer, said: “The programme brings together the vision of the University as the ‘Opportunity University’ to develop ‘students and staff who are entrepreneurial’ and the Military Spouses Business and Employment Charter which looks to ‘encourage spouses to set up in business and be able to run ethical business from their home.”