latest news

New Forces in Mind Trust award: Bristol University to improve signposting to specialist support for domestic violence and abuse in UK military families

A grant of £46,938 has been awarded to University of Bristol for a 15-month study to investigate domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in UK military families. The research will investigate what criteria might constitute specialist DVA provision for this group, and what service providers, if any, already meet these criteria, in order to help improve signposting to the service providers best placed to meet the needs of UK military families suffering DVA.

The first stage of the project involves talking to people who currently provide, use and refer to specialist DVA services, in order to help build a picture of what specialist DVA support for UK military families might look like. The second stage involves sharing the findings with UK Refuges Online – a long-established, government-funded online resource used by the sector to identify DVA services. By linking to this resource, the project will leave a legacy of support as the military families specialism will be integrated within UK Refuges Online as a permanent category.

The project will be conducted by Dr Emma Williamson, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Centre for Gender and Violence Research, at the University of Bristol.

Dr Emma Williamson said: “This is a really exciting project which builds on previous research and will result in better signposting of military families to specialist domestic violence provision across the UK.  Working with Women’s Aid, England, this research project is concerned with showcasing existing good practice, and directing those in need to it.”
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Currently there is no population-based evidence about the specific prevalence of DVA amongst military families in the UK. What we postulate, based on international research, is that such populations have higher rates of more severe forms of DVA compared to civilian populations, with a particular relation to combat exposure. Supporting these findings, UK research has shown that 12.6% of military personnel reported engaging in violent behaviours on their return from active military service, with an increased association between combat roles and the likelihood of violence. The completion of this project, being of both a research-based and practical nature, will help ensure that a small but vulnerable cohort can be supported by, and swiftly directed to, the most appropriate DVA service provision for their specific needs, whether still in service or during the transition to civilian life.”

ENDS

Ray Lock is available for interviews. To arrange an interview please contact Kate Turner at kturner@theproffice.com or on 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944.

To arrange an interview with Dr Emma Williamson please contact Caroline Clancy at caroline.clancy@bristol.ac.uk, tel 0117 331 8021.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.

All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FIMtrust

About the Mental Health Research Programme: www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/research-programme/

Forces in Mind Trust – Invitation to Sector Briefing in Portsmouth or Andover

On 30th and 31st March 2017 the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) will be holding two briefing sessions in the South of England with the choice of Portsmouth (30th) or Andover (31st). The aim of these sessions is to help the Armed Forces Community, the Services Charities sector, and other key stakeholders and interested parties understand how FiMT can support ex-Service personnel, and their families, during their transition from military into civilian life. Whilst the event is aimed primarily at Directors, and the heads of welfare, research, grant-making and fund-raising, anyone with an interest in the subject of transition, including Trustees, is most welcome to attend. The briefings will be hosted by Chief Executive FiMT, Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE.

Event details – Portsmouth

Date: 30th March 2017

Time: 10.30 am to 1.30 pm

Venue: The Royal Marine Club

Address: 75-80 Queen St, Portsmouth PO1 3HS

Event details – Andover

Date: 31st March 2017

Time: 10.30 am to 1.30 pm

Venue: Quality Hotel Andover

Address: Micheldever Rd, Andover SP11 6LA

The FiMT Executive Team will brief delegates on the aims of the Trust, its grant-making strategy and the mechanism by which grants are considered. We will also cover examples of our awards to date, and our future intentions. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions and to enter into discussion, which will continue during the subsequent networking buffet lunch.

Anyone wishing to attend should send us an e-mail – stating which briefing event they wish to attend (Portsmouth or Andover) – to events@fim-trust.org by 10th March.

New Forces in Mind Trust Grant: ‘healthcare navigator’ for need of Birmingham Armed Forces community

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHC) has teamed up with the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) and the Tavistock Institute to pilot a new model of care to support our local armed forces community with a £97,507 grant from the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).

A newly-appointed ‘healthcare navigator’ will lead an initiative to raise awareness of the needs of the armed forces community among NHS primary care staff and develop a dedicated service to help serving personnel, veterans, reservists and their families access a range of health, social and third sector support.

A key part of the armed forces navigator’s role will be to strengthen links between the wider military community and GPs, improving access to key NHS services and upholding the commitments to the armed forces set out in the NHS constitution.

Each year approximately 17,000 people leave the UK Armed Forces. The vast majority transition successfully into civilian life. However, some need additional support. Recent studies have highlighted that members of the armed forces community may:

  • be more likely to misuse alcohol compared to the general population
  • be more reluctant to engage with healthcare services when illness or injury is presented
  • have common mental health disorders or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder attributable to service or through the transition process
  • have physical healthcare issues associated with service – musculoskeletal, hearing or sight loss.

The pilot aims to:

  • evaluate the role and impact of a primary care armed forces community navigator
  • test a new model of support to identify and address the health, social care and wellbeing needs of members of the armed forces community accessing primary care
  • improve primary healthcare workforce training and awareness in respect of the needs of the armed forces community
  • assess needs, provide support and enable access to appropriate services and support
  • provide a holistic approach by supporting the individual service user and their family
  • identify gaps in availability and accessibility of required services, and assess the level of disadvantage faced by this community
  • support the work of NHS England in promoting and implementing the use of armed forces coding within primary care.

Scott Thornton, armed forces healthcare project manager said: “There are cultural aspects of service life that GPs and the primary care workforce can learn about that will enable them to better support patients and their families from an armed forces background.

“The project aims to place the armed forces community at the centre of future NHS planning by raising awareness and understanding of its health and social care needs, particularly among healthcare commissioners.”

“More importantly, there is a wealth of support and experience within the armed forces community to help others – particularly former service personnel who need help accessing housing, education and employment.”

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, says: “This is an exciting and wide-ranging feasibility study, which we are very pleased to support as it offers an innovative approach to improving the support for ex-Service personnel and their families as they transition into civilian life.  Improving their access to health services, and the understanding of healthcare providers of their needs, are both important contributors to better transition outcomes.  Only with proper and credible knowledge of these needs can we hope to support ex-Service personnel and their families lead successful and fulfilled civilian lives.”

Paul Gaffney, Director of Strategy and Planning of Defence Medical Welfare Service, said: “The Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) is delighted to be working with the Forces in Mind Trust and Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust on such a worthwhile project. Supporting the Welfare needs of those that serve our country is what we have been delivering throughout our long 74 year history.”

Notes to Editors

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.

All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FIMtrust

DMWS
The Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) has nearly 75 years of experience in supporting those who serve. DMWS currently provide  welfare support to serving personnel and their families when they enter hospital. They are passionate about supporting the Armed Forces Community and aim to extend their experience to other arenas such as GP practices.

As a DMWS employee, the armed forces healthcare navigator will complete a Diploma in Welfare Studies and Mental Health First Aid Course as part of their training. The armed forces healthcare will be deployed to GP practices in South Birmingham to raise awareness of the Armed Forces Community, engage the Primary care workforce and support those identified along their healthcare pathway.

www.dmws.org.uk

Tavistock Institute
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations applies social science to contemporary issues and problems. It was established as a not-for-profit organisation with charitable purpose in 1947.

The Institute is engaged with evaluation and action research, organisational development and change consultancy, executive coaching and professional development, all in service of supporting sustainable change and ongoing learning.

www.tavinstitute.org

New Forces in Mind Trust award: University of Salford to examine impact of UK benefits system on Veterans

A grant of a £171,995 has been awarded to the University of Salford, working with the University of York on a two-year project, to examine what impact interaction with the benefit system has on the transition of military personnel to civilian life, thanks to support from the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).

The two-year study, called Sanctions, support and Service leavers:  welfare conditionality and transitions from military to civilian life, will investigate the effect of a conditional welfare system in the UK, including the use of sanctions, and how this affects ex-Service personnel and their families.

Around 17,000 men and women leave the British Armed Forces every year, and while most are able to easily move into civilian life, there are some who experience problems such as mental health issues, physical disabilities following service, drug and alcohol misuse and financial hardship.

Research will be conducted with members of military families who are in the benefits system, across Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Lancashire and London to understand how people leaving service find their way into the social security system and the wider impact of these policies. This will also be extended to policy makers, civil servants from the Department of Work and Pensions and members of campaign groups including the Royal British Legion.

The research project will link with the wider Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change study – an ongoing Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded five-year project involving six English and Scottish universities led by the University of York.

Dr Lisa Scullion, Associate Director of the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit at the University of Salford who will be leading the project said: “Allowances are made to veterans who claim benefits as part of the Armed Forces Covenant, but very little is known about their lived experience of claiming benefits and meetings the conditions attached to these benefits. We also know very little about whether the support on offer as part of that system is actually appropriate for their specific needs as Service leavers”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “We know that most members of the Armed Forces transition successfully into civilian life, however there are a number who experiences difficulties.  There is no existing evidence about   how welfare conditionality may impact service leavers as a specific group, and how these impacts may affect their future lives as civilians. This research has been commissioned to provide, for the first time, an evidence base allowing policy makers to better understand the challenges faced specifically by this group as they seek to make successful and sustainable transitions.”

Ray Lock is available for interviews.  To arrange an interview please contact Kate Turner at kturner@theproffice.com or on 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944.

 Notes to editors:

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.

All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FIMtrust

About the Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change Study:

The Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change study involves interviews with nearly 500 people who use benefits, along with MPs, civil servants, and charities.

The first wave of findings, announced in June 2016, found that the effect of sanctions and support integral to much UK welfare left some resorting to crime and using food banks.

The project is led by the University of York, with researchers from the University of Salford, Heriot-Watt University, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Sheffield and the University of Glasgow.

New Forces in Mind Trust award: University of Stirling to research collaboration between public and third sector agencies to improve housing outcomes for ex-services personnel

A grant of £120,745 has been awarded to the University of Stirling, for a 24-month study to review existing evidence and develop new research to improve collaboration between public and third sector agencies to achieve better housing outcomes for ex-service personnel.

Previous research has identified that a significant issue for ex-Service personnel is access to housing and that they are thought to be over-represented in the homeless population.  As Armed Forces personnel have to give up their Service housing when they transition into civilian life, access to social housing is likely to be a key issue. Whilst most make a successful transition into civilian life, for some the transition can be difficult and access to housing can present a significant challenge for this group. Housing is fundamental to a person’s health, well-being, employment prospects, relationships and ability to participate in society.

The principal aim of this research project is to examine how service providers can work together more effectively to improve access to housing for those leaving the Armed Forces, and the wider ex-Service community.  By utilising a co-production approach to working collaboratively with service providers, the project aims to support the use of existing evidence in improving practice; collect new data on ‘what works in effective collaboration’; and to make further recommendations for continuing improvement in inter-agency collaboration to meet the housing needs of ex-Service personnel.  It will utilise new and already established networks to support the implementation of recommendations.

The research project will be conducted by Dr Christine Robinson, Research Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling, and supervised by Professor Isobel Anderson, Chair in Applied Social Science (Housing Studies) at the University of Stirling.

Dr Christine Robinson, said: “The University of Stirling is delighted to be given this funding opportunity provided by the Forces in Mind Trust to undertake this research project.  The idea for this project had been developed over a number of years based on my experiences from being part of the wider military veteran’s community, past employment with the MoD, and working very recently in this area of practice.  Yet, most predominately it has evolved from the findings from my recently completed PhD.  I am very excited about the prospect of taking my academic work into practice.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Securing housing can be a significant challenge facing ex-Service personnel during their transition to civilian life.  Collaboration between public and third sector agencies is essential to achieve better housing outcomes.  Our recent research with Veterans’ charity Stoll, social housing provider Riverside and the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York, has already made, and seen implemented, some substantial policy recommendations.  Stirling’s project will complement this earlier work, and hence make a significant contribution to FiMT’s aim to enable the successful transition of Armed Forces personnel, and their families, into civilian life.”

ENDS

Ray Lock is available for interviews.  To arrange an interview please contact Kate Turner at kturner@theproffice.com or on 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.

All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FIMtrust

New Forces in Mind Trust Report: Probation Institute releases a new profile of provision for ex-Armed Forces personnel under probation supervision

A report on the provision of services to ex-Armed Services personnel under the supervision of Probation Services in England and Wales was today (7 February 2017) launched by the Probation Institute, the Forces in Mind Trust and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.

The report looks into the reasons for ex-service personnel ending up in the criminal justice system, examining the support provided to them and how that support could be improved; it was produced by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies for the Probation Institute and funded by the Forces in Mind Trust.

The report identifies a number of challenges to assessing the needs and numbers of Veterans who, although statistically a small group, not uncommonly experience post-traumatic stress disorders and mental health difficulties, and many need specialist help.  One key barrier to identifying the need for specialist support, the report identifies, is that ex-Armed Services personnel who find themselves in trouble with the law are often reluctant to disclose their services background.

The launch in London brings together armed services organisations and criminal justice organisations to develop ways of strengthening and enhancing provision for offenders with armed services backgrounds on release from prison or placed on Community Sentences. Major changes to the structure and governance of probation services in England and Wales have taken place in parallel with the Phillips Review and this report.

Following an introduction to the report, attendees then engaged in break-out sessions enabling more detailed discussion of three potential areas for further work by the Probation Institute with partners, to explore what steps might strengthen practice and provision of support for those within the justice system.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “We know that, although most ex-Service personnel successfully transition into civilian life, sadly, some will end up in the criminal justice system for a variety of reasons. This report provides an essential insight into veterans’ needs, the support systems already in place, and the ways in which support can be improved.  This chimes with the Armed Forces Covenant principle of ensuring no disadvantage due to military service.  The findings will be of particular interest to those service deliverers already responsible for providing support, who will consequently be able to better plan and provide for those veterans who find themselves in contact with the criminal justice system.”

Helen Schofield, Acting Chief Executive of the Probation Institute, welcomed the high level of support from organisations who will be attending the launch as an active demonstration of concern for one of the many vulnerable groups who come before the courts. “We see this as a huge opportunity to help probation services and providers to build on important partnerships, sharing good practice, training and enabling better understanding of the issues facing ex armed services personnel”.

Dr Roger Grimshaw, Research Director, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, said: “Our work on this report highlights the underlying needs of veterans who enter the criminal justice system and maps how much more could be done to assess and provide for such needs in a coordinated manner.”

Notes for Press

Read the full report here

Ray Lock is available for interviews.  To arrange an interview please contact Kate Turner at kturner@theproffice.com or on 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.

All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FIMtrustAbout the Probation Institute:

Helen Schofield – Helen@Probation-institute.org 07729806881

The Probation Institute is an independent, not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee. As the Professional Body and Centre of Excellence on probation, rehabilitation and resettlement practice, the Probation Institute applies rigorous standards to professional development and the assessment of research and best practice.

The Institute provides professional leadership for probation and rehabilitation workers, and all those who deliver services that protect the public and rehabilitate offenders. It acts to link probation professionals across the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Membership is open to individual practitioners concerned with the rehabilitation of offenders.

Membership is inclusive to all staff, regardless of grade, employer or job role. The Institute also actively invites a partner relationship with employers in the sector and other organizations or stakeholders in the criminal justice arena

2 Langley Lane, London, SW8 1GB Tel: 020 3053 3551 email: admin@probation-institute.org www. probation-institute.org

About the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies:

Dr Roger Grimshaw, Research Director, is available on 02078406117. roger.grimshaw@crimeandjustice.org.uk

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies is an independent educational charity that advances public understanding of crime, criminal justice and social harm. Through partnership and coalition-building, advocacy and research, we work to inspire social justice solutions to the problems society faces, so that many responses that criminalise and punish are no longer required.

Centre for Crime and Justice Studies | 2 Langley Lane | London SW8 1GB
+44 (0)20 7840 6110 | www.crimeandjustice.org.uk @crimeandjustice

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Directory of Social Change to develop the directory of UK military charities as part of three year ‘Armed Forces Charities Project’         

A grant of £ 447,459.00 has been awarded to the Directory of Social Change (DSC) for a 3-year project to develop the current online directory of UK military charities, as well as producing a series of themed research reports on the sector, and another in-depth Sector Insight: Armed Forces Charities report in 2019.

The funding forms the next stage of the established partnership between Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and DSC. Together, FiMT and DSC have worked to illuminate the Armed Forces Charities sector for the benefit of a range of stakeholders, including policy-makers, the government, the media, ex-Service personnel and their families. DSC has, since 2014, undertaken research into the Armed Forces charities sector, providing information through the website www.armedforcescharities.org.uk and through two successful published Sector Insight reports: UK Armed Forces Charities in 2014, and Armed Forces Charities in Scotland in 2016.

An Impact Evaluation Report was also commissioned by FiMT, published today, to provide a mid-stream evaluation of the Armed Forces Charities Project to date, and to determine the future research needs of the armed forces charities community and its beneficiaries.  The report has also informed the remit of this new project, to address the need for research and data on Armed Forces charities, given their role as a key pillar of support to Britain’s serving and ex-serving personnel and their families. DSC’s previous research has shown that there are thousands of Armed Forces charities providing a range of key services for the Armed Forces community. However, there is much more to learn about what they do collectively and how effective they are in meeting the changing needs of the community they serve. There is also a need to connect Armed Forces charities with each other and to inform other stakeholders (such as policy-makers) about their activities via the provision of data and research.

The project will further develop the Armed Forces Charities website, which is a comprehensive web-based online searchable directory of the whole sector (www.armedforcescharities.org.uk), with in-depth information on over 500 armed forces charities whose primary remit is the welfare of the armed forces community. DSC will also deliver six focused, topical reports in 2017 and 2018. These will illuminate specific areas of charity sector provision for the armed forces community, such as mental and physical health, education, employment, housing and homelessness.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The first edition of the Sector Insight: UK Armed Forces Charities report is regarded as a seminal piece of work, and this key project will provide a valuable addition to the knowledge-base by delving deeper in the data available, and providing new insights that could have implications on policy and practice.  There is no better organisation than the DSC to undertake this project, and we look forward to our continued partnership.”

Debra Allcock Tyler, Chief Executive of DSC, said: “We could not be more pleased at the strength of our relationship with FiMT and our joint commitment to this vital work.  I grew up in a military family and I know how very very important so many forces charities are to so many people. This project is about shining a light on those charities and what they do, so that policymakers and charities can make more effective decisions for beneficiaries. DSC is fully committed to producing more research and analysis of this type in the future.’

ENDS

 Ray Lock is available for interviews.  To arrange an interview please contact  Kate Turner at kturner@theproffice.com or on 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.

All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FIMtrust

About the Directory of Social Change (DSC):

DSC has a vision of an independent voluntary sector at the heart of social change. The activities of independent charities, voluntary organisations and community groups are fundamental to achieve social change. DSC exists to help these organisations and the people who support them to achieve their goals. It does this by:

  • providing practical tools that organisations and activists need, including online and printed publications, training courses, and conferences on a huge range of topics
  • acting as a ‘concerned citizen’ in public policy debates, often on behalf of smaller charities, voluntary organisations and community groups
  • leading campaigns and stimulating debate on key policy issues that affect those groups
  • carrying out research and providing information to influence policymakers.

DSC is the leading provider of information and training for the voluntary sector and publishes an extensive range of guides and handbooks covering subjects such as fundraising, management, communication, finance and law. Since 2014, DSC has worked with the Forces in Mind Trust to research and analyse the armed forces charities sector in the UK, and has become the foremost expert in this field. For more info see: http://www.dsc.org.uk/research

FiMT publishes two new reports on its website

‘Life Transitions: What can be learnt across sectors to better support individuals when they undergo a life transition?’

In November 2016, FiMT partnered with St George’s House to deliver a consultation to explore how transition is approached and managed in different settings and sectors. These are examined from three different perspectives: the individual experiencing the change; the network of family and friends around the individual; and wider societal stakeholders. The overall aim of this consultation was to identify areas of best practice and insight so that individuals experiencing transition in their lives might be supported more effectively. FiMT hopes the insight from this consultation will help to inform the development of future policy and services for all people transitioning in whatever aspect of their life.

You can read the report here.

‘2013 Transition Mapping Study Evaluation Report January 2017’

FiMT has also just published another report with Arkenford. In 2013, FiMT published and launched the Transition Mapping Study (TMS), which was commissioned to develop understanding of the transition process for Service personnel returning to civilian life. FiMT subsequently commissioned Arkenford, an independent market research and evaluation company, to conduct an evaluation to understand the extent and manner in which the TMS influenced and impacted on policy development and service delivery.  The findings from this evaluation will be considered in the development of TMS 2017 which is currently underway.

You can read the report here.

Forces in Mind Trust releases new report on the impact of self-build projects in supporting ex-Service personnel

Self-build projects can have a significant positive impact on the well being and relationships of ex-Service personnel, suggests a new report by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the Forces in Mind Trust, released today.

Whilst the majority of Service leavers return successfully into civilian life without too many challenges, there are some who need additional support – especially in relation to housing. It is estimated that around 15% of ex-Service personnel might be homeless for a time when they leave the Forces – which includes living temporarily in a B&B or hostel, or ‘sofa surfing’ as well as living rough. Recent estimates also suggest that between 3% and 6% of rough sleepers in London have a Service background.

The Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) is a charity that runs self-build projects for homeless people, with the overall aim of helping them to rebuild their lives, find work, and reconnect with social networks.  In 2012 the CSBA completed a pilot scheme in Bristol to support homeless Veterans build their own homes with the objective of securing permanent residence, employment and in some cases reconnecting with their families. This has been followed by a number of similar projects.

The research was commissioned to examine the first two projects, assessing the financial implications of the projects to establish a cost benefit ratio and to also examine the social processes of the projects.

Academics from UWE Bristol with expertise in economics, ethnography, health and housing tracked and evaluated the experience of Veterans as they worked on a scheme to build their own homes. The evaluation of the project identified that the initiative had transformed the lives of participants and was seen to improve relationships, job prospects, mental wellbeing and physical health. The report also highlights that the cost benefit ratio suggests that on the two projects, every £1 spent yielded up to £7.20 of benefits.

UWE Bristol’s evaluation team, led by Senior Research Fellow Anthony Plumridge conducted the assessment to measure the effectiveness of the scheme, and could now be used to help establish the best way of running similar projects in future.

The research summarised in the report included in-depth interviews with the self-builders conducted by team member, Dr. Katherine Collins, who said: “The self-builders spoke of feeling pride and a sense of achievement, increased confidence and willingness to trust. Some noticed improvements in physical health, attributed to the combination of food provided every day on site, exercise, fresh air and improved sleep. They helped out their neighbours when need arose and most participants found work using their experience on site, training and contacts made with subcontractors.”

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of FiMT, said: “There are many components that contribute to a successful transition from military to civilian life, and there is clear evidence that most Service leavers have the knowledge and resilience to cope with the process. However,  for a variety of reasons, some people struggle, and providing a secure and safe home, together with a framework of skills and employment and the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family, can be the catalyst for positive change.

Self-building schemes could, it is indicated by this report, act as an enabler for change while delivering considerable benefits. The challenge now is to exploit these findings perhaps more ambitiously to expand the self-build movement across the United Kingdom, so as to reach out and transform the lives of many, many more. The evidence is here – the opportunities await.”

Notes to editors

You can view the press release here.

Ray Lock and Dr Norman Biddle are available for interview.  To arrange please contact Kate Turner at The PR Office on kturner@proffice.com or on 0207 284 6944.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.

All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

Website: http://www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FIMtrust

About The Community Self Build Agency

The Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) has been operating for more than 30 years. Our first scheme was in Bristol following the St Paul’s riots to assist a group of unemployed and disadvantaged individuals self-build their own homes.

The project, known as “Zenzele” supported and trained 12 self-builders to plan and construct their own bedsit accommodation with individual mortgages of £12,500. They were able to occupy the properties after one year of planning and one year of construction and enjoyed equity in their own homes which at that time were valued at £45,000.

We have continued to track the 12 individuals who all became employed with one going on to be a partner in a legal company and another a Local Authority Housing Officer.

Following the success of this project Stella Clarke, then Chair of the Housing Corporation, was asked to form a Housing Association with a remit to specifically promote self-build schemes. Over the past 30 years CSBA has been involved in more than 125 schemes supporting less advantaged individuals to gain building skills and use this knowledge to gain sustainable employment.

In 2010 CSBA decided to prioritise training and support for ex-service personnel to self-build their own homes with Housing Association support and launched their first pilot scheme in Bristol.

The UWE and FiMT Report clearly sets out the personal, community, training and financial benefits that have resulted from our first schemes in Bristol. We expect even greater benefits to accrue from our current projects in Weston Super Mare, Plymouth and Wrexham. Our first two pilot projects in Bristol, as evidenced in the UWE Report, have shown that for every £1 spent we have saved the community sums ranging from £4.70 to £7.20.

Our experience has been that having collected many of the Veterans off the street, often suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues, we have “Helped them to help themselves” with a mixture of on-site and off-site training, mentoring and welfare care they have benefited from moving into their own homes, obtaining full time employment and reconnecting with their families. It has been a life changing experience for them.

There is a clear and urgent need to support Veterans and other disadvantaged individuals. Helping them build their own homes especially with the current shortage of suitable and affordable housing provides them with a real sense of purpose as well as a roof over their heads. CSBA has demonstrated with its pilot schemes that this successful model can be rolled out nationally. This can only happen if future projects are properly resourced with appropriate core funding alongside essential funding for welfare and training.”

CSBA Contacts:

Stella Clarke CBE – President

stellar.clarke@btinternet.com

Dr Norman Biddle – Chairman

nmbiddle@btinternet.com