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New scheme unveiled for “one-stop shop” on veterans’ research

Anglia Ruskin University’s Veterans and Families Institute (VFI) has been awarded £160,000 to set up a comprehensive online resource for research into all aspects of military veterans and their families.

The proposed Veterans Research Hub (VRH) will bring together UK and international literature and research resources on military veterans and their families. The information will be readily accessible and will be aimed at stimulating research, influencing policy and improving the delivery of services.

VFI was set up in April 2014 to influence national policy on military veterans and their families and to develop a network of likeminded academics and institutions. It is the only UK-based institute with a focus on the holistic needs of veterans and their families.

VFI’s two partners in the scheme are Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), which seeks to promote the successful transition of Armed Forces personnel and their families into civilian life, and Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC.

The grant of £160,000, which comes from FiMT and Lord Ashcroft, will be spread over an initial two-year period. The money will be used to fund the recruitment of a project director who will lead the initiative and be responsible for developing the VRH concept, bringing it to an initial operating capability.

Once the scheme is up and running, it will enable users to search for research and evidence by subject area, identify research funding and build links in areas of common interest. A financial structure will be developed to ensure that the project is sustainable beyond the first two years.

Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes, the Director of the VFI, said: “The development of a Veterans Research Hub will enable researchers throughout the UK and overseas to share information and collaborate on joint research projects.

“It will also allow members and former members of the Armed Forces, and any other interested members of the public, to access the latest up-to-date findings on research into veterans and their families”.

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, who is Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, said: “The review I conducted into veterans’ transition suggested that over 90% of the public thought that Armed Forces personnel were damaged by their careers and that the first casualty of transition and resettlement was information.

“Unfortunately, there is a lot of poor information about and we are determined to confront this problem. This new capability will enable policy makers, the Forces, the media, the charity sector and the public to have ready access to high quality research and information. It will result in far better provision and outcomes for Armed Forces leavers and veterans.”

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Establishing a Veterans Research Hub was one of the original programme objectives set by the Big Lottery Fund when FiMT was first founded. By partnering with Anglia Ruskin University and Lord Ashcroft, we are now able to take forward the concept and make significant advances on providing an evidence base from which to influence policy makers and service deliverers.”

Notes to Editors

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) is passionate about the advancement of knowledge and the education of students, and it pride itself on taking university education in imaginative new directions. Its key contribution is to the enhancement of social, cultural and economic well-being. ARU has three main campuses, in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough, with around 31,500 students and 1,000 academic staff.

The Forces in Mind Trust (FIMT) came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (BIG), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues BIG’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012. Since 2004, BIG has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans. Visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk.

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on Veterans’ Transition and conducted a review into every aspect of the process that was handed to the Government on February 11 2014. The review can be found atwww.veteranstransition.co.uk.  As well as being the Chancellor of ARU, Lord Ashcroft is a Tory peer, international businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster.

For more press information, please contact: Jon Green on t: 0845 196 4717, e:jon.green@anglia.ac.uk Jamie Forsyth on t: 0845 196 4716, e:jamie.forsyth@anglia.ac.uk

For information about the Forces in Mind Trust, please contact: Alice Farrow on t: 07788 540 924, e: afarrow@theproffice.com

For information about Lord Ashcroft, please contact: Angela Entwistle on t: 07802 264 769, e: angela@lordashcroft.com, web: lordashcroft.com, Twitter: @LordAshcroft

HUB WILL BECOME HOME OF VETERANS’ RESEARCH

A research hub set to become the “recognised home of authoritative information on veterans” was officially launched at the House of Commons this morning.

The Veterans’ Research Hub (VRH), set up by Anglia Ruskin University’s Veterans and Families Institute and jointly funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, will collate all research on issues facing the military, veterans and their families.

The VRH was set up following recommendations by Lord Ashcroft in his Veterans’ Transition Review, published in February. The VRH aims to inform Government policy to ensure the best possible care for military veterans.

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, said: “It is widely – but quite wrongly – supposed that veterans are unusually likely to become homeless, to go to prison, to suffer from mental illness or to commit suicide. Employers too often doubt that service leavers will be able to adapt to a civilian working environment.

“The problem is not lack of information; if only it were. The problem is an abundance of information, much of it inaccurate or misleading, supplemented by assumptions about former service personnel that are half-baked, outdated or simply wrong.

“The antidote to this is good information, available from a reliable source. That is what we are launching today. The Veterans Research Hub will identify and house high-quality, peer-reviewed research. We intend that it should become the recognised home of authoritative information on veterans’ issues.”

Professor Michael Thorne, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, added: “As well as stimulating and facilitating collaboration, we envisage that the Veterans Research Hub will enable researchers, policy makers, journalists, veterans and serving personnel and their families, together with the general public, to access up to date, informative and above all accurate research in this expanding field.”

Chairman of The Forces in Mind Trust, Air Vice-Marshal Tony Stables said: “FiMT’s early work indicated a very real need for a sound evidence base, not least because many of the issues surrounding veterans were based on anecdotal or emotive evidence. One of the four business strands, on which FiMT’s endowment from the Big Lottery Fund was awarded, was the creation of a ‘Veterans Research Foundation’. We are delighted to join with Lord Ashcroft and Anglia Ruskin University in this exciting project.”

Anglia Ruskin’s Veterans and Families Institute was launched in April and aims to produce and publish world-class research, influence the delivery of national policy and to work collaboratively across disciplines and institutions.