Separate to the Company’s charitable giving, The Annington Trust, which was established in 1996, provides grants to organisations and projects that promote the wellbeing of Armed Forces families living in service communities by providing for their recreational and general needs. The Trust operates independently of the Company with its own Board of Trustees.
Since its inception, the Trust has disbursed over £584,000 to support approximately 450 projects. Many clubs, schools, events and projects have been supported over that time, typically small projects, with small donations that have made a big difference. The Trust has also supported much larger projects that have benefited the wider community including playgrounds, contact houses, community centres and has supported many events which have brought armed forces families and members of the community together. The largest projects supported by the Trust this year have been the continuing support for the Outward Bound Trust through the Annington Challenge, the RBLI Lifeworks for Families project and Aggie’s Storybook Waves.
Outward Bound Trust
The Annington Challenge, run in conjunction with the Outward Bound Trust, is aimed at providing children living within the MQE the opportunity to experience their very own outdoor adventure. Given the continued success of the initiative, in 2017 the Annington Trust agreed to a fifth year of support, bringing bringing the total amount donated to over £130,000.
In the Summer of 2017, the Trust provided funding for 38 young people aged 11–19 (73% from Service families) to attend a course at one of the Outward Bound's three centres in the UK. The courses saw the youngsters enjoy a whole host of outdoor activities aimed at improving their self-confidence, resilience, self-belief and team working skills.
The Trust continued with its support of the Royal British Legion Industries ‘LifeWorks for Families’ programme, donating the second of three £25,000 grants.
The programme was developed by the RBLI in direct response to a 2016 survey conducted by the Army FamiliThe programme which found that 46% of families believed they were financially worse off today compared to two years ago, with one of the top three reasons being the inability for a spouse to gain or retain employment.
The Annington Trust’s funding has helped the Lifeworks programme support 150 families across 25 garrisons in the UK.
Aggie’s Storybook Waves
The Trust donated over £16,000 to Aggie’s Storybook Waves, a free service that enables serving personnel to record a bedtime story for their loved ones back home whilst they are serving away. The donation helped Storybook Waves to acquire all the necessary equipment for their initial setup. This enabled them to help serving personnel record 429 stories last year.
In September, the Trust agreed to support a new initiative from the charity - Aggie's Storybook Waves Book Clubs - with a donation of £44,445 over the next three years. Held in community houses at 21 base port areas around the UK, the Book Clubs are generally hosted by Aggie Weston's Pastoral Workers and run monthly during term time. Aimed primarily at families of deployed personnel, the Book Clubs seek to bring families together for fun-filled activity sessions based around the theme of a popular children's book. While children play, parents can socialise and Pastoral Workers are on hand to provide support and a listening ear to anyone struggling with the challenges that deployment can bring.