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March 9, 2010 2:07 PM

Jenny Willott, Cardiff Central MP and Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office, has today welcomed the launch of the Big Lottery Fund's "Forces in Mind" programme to help ease the transition for veterans from military to civilian life.

The £35 million fund will be available across the UK to projects helping ex-soldiers who have had difficulty returning from combat. Studies have shown that military veterans often face depression, trauma and drug and alcohol abuse as they try to readjust to a civilian life style. Many also have trouble finding new employment with some ending up homeless.

The fund will work alongside organisations such as the Royal British Legion, Help For Heroes and other smaller projects which provide support to returning forces personnel.

Commenting on the launch of the fund Jenny Willott said:

"This is an excellent example of National Lottery money being put to a good cause through the big Lottery Fund. There are an estimated 5 million veterans in the UK and they deserve any help they need to return to civilian life.

"This money will go to help existing organisations that already work with veterans, and will pay for them to continue their vital work combating joblessness, homelessness and mental illness amongst ex-soldiers and other members of our fighting forces.

"With more and more troops returning home each year after facing extremely difficult conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan this new funding project could not be more important."