latest news

FiMT’s Specialist Fellows on the Clore Social Leadership 2018 Experienced Leader Programme

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) is delighted to announce the five Specialist FiMT Fellows who have been selected to take part in the newly remodelled Clore Experienced Leader Programme:

  • Anna Wright, Chief Executive, Naval Families Federation;
  • Gareth Murrell, Chief Executive, Veterans at Ease;
  • Kerry-Louise McGeachy, Contract Manager, Victim Support Dorset;
  • Matthew Seward, Assistant Director, The Royal British Legion; and
  • Theresa Mary Pratt, Operations Director, Aggie Weston’s.

Designed to fit around the needs of those with existing commitments, Clore Social’s Experienced Leader Programme is a one-year programme for professionals with 6-10 years’ experience as a social sector leader who wish to engage in sector wide leadership by developing their existing leadership skills.

The programme uses a blended approach to learning, including online training, residentials, action learning, coaching, mentoring and a secondment, with time for reflection and a ‘real world’ challenge project to put into practice the newly gained skills and tools they can then take back to their organizations.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Forces in Mind Trust believes passionately in collaboration and capacity building within the Armed Forces charity sector.”

“We are delighted to announce the five FiMT Specialist Fellows who will participate in this newly launched Experienced Leader Programme for 2018. Clore is offering, for the first time, a flexible learning package that allows senior social sector leaders to fit self-development around their busy day-to-day schedules, using proven learning methods and opportunities where they can share their experiences and learning with one another to further develop their leadership ability, the result of which can only benefit their organisation and the social sector, and achieve positive social change where it is needed.  This programme also complements our ‘Clore 6: Cobseo’ emerging leaders programme, currently underway.”

-Ends-

Note to Editor:  Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916.

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 Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families 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/

Chief Executive Ray Lock explores how we can support Commonwealth ex-Service personnel who are transitioning to civilian life.

For many years, the UK’s Armed Forces have recruited from countries now in the Commonwealth.  Mainly, such recruits have joined the British Army, and predominantly into the more junior ranks.  Last year, around 6000 of the Army’s total strength of 82,000 were listed as ‘Foreign and Commonwealth’.  A new report[1] funded by Forces in Mind Trust and carried out by Anglia Ruskin University, has revealed that when these Commonwealth soldiers transition into civilian life, the experience can be overwhelming – as one respondent said: “all aspects of life unravel”.

Of course, transition can be a challenge for anyone, regardless of birthplace or nationality, and whilst the vast majority of Service personnel do succeed in making a successful transition, the Commonwealth Service leaver faces extra obstacles, some of which could be overcome with just a few relatively inexpensive changes.

The biggest hurdle a Commonwealth soldier faces when wanting to settle in the UK, together with his or her family, is the cost of doing so.  A visa for a family of four is around £9000 and whilst occasionally the well-established military charities do assist, a better solution would be for the employer, namely the Ministry of Defence, to encourage – perhaps even impose – a salary sacrifice savings scheme that would ensure every Commonwealth soldier had access to the necessary funds.  Naturally many unaccompanied soldiers send most of their wages home, and some have no intention to remain in the UK after service.  But we should at least try.

Rules on Armed Forces immigration were revised in 2013, and a Service leaver wishing to settle in the UK with a spouse and one child must meet a minimum annual income threshold of £22,400.  Every additional child increases that threshold by £2400.  Unfortunately, a private soldier’s salary is typically only £22,255.  There is a mechanism for appealing to the Home Office, but it can be slow and uncertain.  The UK’s Armed Forces Covenant seeks to treat those who have served fairly, and to ensure that they suffer no disadvantage as a result of that service.  What the Covenant doesn’t try to do is to offer advantage, so we’re not asking for a separate immigration policy for Commonwealth settlers, although one wonders whether there might be a case under the families test.  Rather though we are asking the Home Office to recognize that having served the UK, Commonwealth settlers do deserve expeditious and sympathetic consideration of their cases.

Finally, there are already welfare officers at Army bases whose role includes, amongst many other things, supporting and advising resettling Commonwealth soldiers.  Keeping up with the plethora of issues faced by welfare officers isn’t easy, but as one remarked on this aspect: “I feel out of my depth”.  Indeed, the Army Families Federation doubled the number of dedicated support staff for Commonwealth families in 2013, and is about to increase it again.

The Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo) operates a ‘cluster’ of members involved in supporting Foreign and Commonwealth members of the armed forces community, which is chaired by the Army Families Federation, and it was their concerns that drove this research project.

Better coordination in the third sector, which Cobseo encourages, better communication with Service leavers via existing MOD channels, and better training for established welfare officers – these are a long way from the usual bleat of ‘more funding’ and can arguably be delivered by just a bit of focus at a senior level.

The stream of Commonwealth soldiers entering the British Army might now be a trickle (200 per year is an apparent target), but they still represent an important capability.  Those who choose to settle in the country they have served, often with considerable distinction, deserve better treatment.

The mission of Forces in Mind Trust – www.fim-trust.org – is to enable ex-serving personnel and their families make a successful and sustained transition into civilian life, and the Trust has chosen to do this by generating evidence that will influence policy makers and service providers to support their mission.

Read the full report here [https://goo.gl/qPwzyt]

[1] Meeting the Needs of Commonwealth Personnel and Families: A Map of Service Provision.

FiMT report reveals more work is needed to support and engage the Armed Forces Commonwealth Community

A new Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) funded report assessing the services available for, and provided to, Commonwealth serving and ex-Service personnel and their families, was released today, 22 March 2018, and has identified a number of improvements to better focus services for the Armed Forces Commonwealth Community.

Thirteen recommendations are provided in the report to strengthen the strategy to meet the needs of serving and ex-Service personnel and their families from the Commonwealth within a complex and still politically charged society. These include:

  • The introduction of an online information training programme on immigration rules
  • Assistance for welfare services advising on visa and immigration rules
  • A review of the minimum income threshold
  • A need for greater collaboration across the Armed Forces welfare sector
  • Increase in research into Commonwealth perspectives

The eight-month study was undertaken by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), working directly with the Cobseo Foreign and Commonwealth Cluster Group. It focussed on the existing service provision to better understand: what welfare support is currently provided, the needs identified by supporting organisations and how support could be enhanced.

Researchers collected data through a survey by the Armed Forces charity sector and telephone interviews with experts in the field of service provision.

Three key issues were identified.  Firstly, information gathering and recording with regard the Commonwealth community are limited across the charity sector and prevent forward planning for service provision; secondly, immigration difficulties were highlighted which can lead to difficult transition back into civilian life; and thirdly, the services provided have a relatively low up-take by the cohort.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The purpose of Forces in Mind Trust is to enable all ex-Service personnel to have a successful and sustainable transition back into civilian life. This can be done by providing robust evidence to policy makers and service providers to inform decision making.

“This ground-breaking research commissioned by FiMT on behalf of the Cobseo Cluster group highlights that there are areas where changes are much needed in the services provided to the Armed Forces Commonwealth Community, communications with them, and underpinning Home Office and Ministry of Defence policies.”

Matt Fossey, Director of the Veterans and Families Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, said: “This empirically driven report has collated important evidence of the welfare needs of Commonwealth Service Personnel, veterans and their families and proposes attainable recommendations, which will make a positive difference to the lives of members of the Armed Forces Commonwealth Community.”

Louise Simpson, Policy & Research Director, Army Families’ Federation (AFF) said: “At a time when we are seeing a growing number of F&C soldiers and their families asking us for help and support, we’re delighted to see that the recommendations that we’ve been making, such as targeted information to the F&C community, and the need for financial education and support finally have the strong corroboration needed to progress these important issues for our F&C families.”

You can read the report here.

-Ends-

Note to EditorRay Lock and Matt Fossey are available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916.

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 Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families 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/

 About Anglia Ruskin University

Anglia Ruskin is an innovative global university, brimming with ambition.  Students from 177 countries gain qualifications with us in four continents.  Students, academics, businesses and partners all benefit from our outstanding facilities; we’ve invested £100 million over the last five years and plan to invest a further £91 million over the next five years.

Anglia Ruskin’s Research Institutes and five faculties bridge scientific, technical and creative fields.  We deliver impactful research which tackles pressing issues and makes a real difference, from saving lives to conserving water.  Our academic excellence has been recognised by the UK’s Higher Education funding bodies, with 12 areas classed as generating world-leading research.

We are ranked in the world’s top 350 institutions in the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and in 2016 we featured in a list of the 20 “rising stars” in global Higher Education compiled by strategy consultants Firetail.

New FiMT Award: seAp awarded funds to evaluate their Military Advocacy Service

Forces in Mind Trust has awarded funds of £126,872 to seAp, a charity that provides free advocacy services, to conduct a three-year evaluation of their Military Advocacy Service.

Initially a pilot scheme in Oxfordshire in 2013, the service was founded through seAp’s statutory mental health advocacy work, where they encountered ex-Service personnel who felt unable to access statutory services to meet their specific needs.

Developed through collaboration with local partners including: housing associations; Veterans UK; and Armed Forces charities such as Combat Stress, SSAFA, and TRBL, the service received Treasury funding to expand into the Thames Valley, North Hampshire, Plymouth, Wiltshire and Essex in 2016.

The evaluation will assess the impact of the advocacy provision on ex-Service personnel’s use of services such as: NHS and social care services; housing providers and homelessness agencies; drug and alcohol support agencies; police and criminal justice agencies; benefits system; and labour market.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Forces in Mind Trust was created to enable all ex-Service personnel to have a successful and sustainable transition back into civilian life. The majority face no major problems, but for some, transition present a real challenge. By funding research, such as this seAp project, we can inform policy makers and service providers and so ensure that the decisions they make are based on the very best available evidence.

“The value of advocacy, and the benefits it can bring, are well recognized.  However, the specific needs of the Armed Forces Community and the gaps in statutory provision, suggest that a tailored service would be appropriate. Our award to seAp to pilot this approach will generate the necessary evidence and help build sector capacity, and it’s a good example of the practical and impactful work the Trust is increasingly undertaking.”

Marie Casey, Chief Executive of seAp Advocacy, said “We have seen the transformative effect advocacy has on the lives of ex-Service personnel who face physical and mental health challenges. We look forward to providing academic proof of the positive effect of specialist tailored support to veterans and their families”

-ENDS-

Note to Editor:  Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916.

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 Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families 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    www.seap.org.uk

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

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

Twitter: @FiMTrust  @seap

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

seAp Charity

seAp is an independent charity that specialises in the provision of advocacy and related services.   seAp’s Advocates support people, especially those who are most vulnerable in society, to have their voice heard, access their rights and have more control over their lives.

Advocacy support is provided through well-trained and highly-motivated advocates who enable their clients to express themselves, ensuring that everyone who uses health and social care services can have their voice heard on issues that are important to them.

Staff are committed to the central advocacy principles of independence, confidentiality and empowerment.

seAp stands for the following values

Supporting people to express their views and wishes, especially those who are vulnerable, isolated or marginalised.

Empowering people to have their voice heard so that they can access their rights and take a central role in decisions that are made about their lives.

Advocates on behalf of our clients to ensure that their views influence the planning, delivery and development of services that affect their lives.

Promoting the value of advocacy by sharing our knowledge, experience and values with others and championing the involvement of service-users in the design and delivery of health and social care services.

SeAp Facebook: facebook.com/seap

Prince Harry speaks at the 2018 Veterans’ Mental Health Conference

Prince Harry attended the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) sponsored Veterans’ Mental Health Conference at King’s College London today, where he gave a speech covering mental resilience and rehabilitation in the military, challenging public misconceptions about mental health among veterans, and calling for continued collaboration to support veterans as they integrate into communities.

This is the second year running the Prince has attended the annual conference, which brings together academics, charities and policy makers to network and to hear the latest research from speakers of world-class reputation.

In his speech, Prince Harry said: “We’ve made great strides in physical rehabilitation. This is not yet the same for mental health. This is why an event like today – and the work you are all doing – is so important.

Building resilience among new recruits and serving personnel is absolutely key to the combat effectiveness of our troops. Mental fitness is integral to who we are, and arguably the most important part of us as a person; whether one is dealing with stress at home, operational fatigue or difficult experiences from the past.”

Commenting on some of the public misconceptions about mental health among military veterans, Prince Harry said: “Reports show the majority of the public still consider most veterans to be damaged by their service. In reality, just 2.4 per cent of those people leaving the forces in the last three years were medically discharged because of mental health, and just 0.9 per cent because of Post Traumatic Stress. As a recent King’s study shows us, the proportion of veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress is very similar to the general population.

This misconception is having an incredibly negative impact on veterans as they transition, especially when looking for a new job and career. So many men and women that have left the forces are making a huge contribution to their community. We must create an environment where all are able to do the same if they so wish. The opportunity must be seized by the people in this room, and I am very proud to be alongside as you do.”

The conference, now in its fourth year, is organised by King’s Centre for Military Health Research. The theme of the conference is ‘From Enlistment to Retirement’, and topics covered include traumatic brain injury, resilience interventions for military recruits, the mental health of veterans in Northern Ireland, and the impact of military service in later life.

The opening address was given by the Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood, MP and Minister for Defence People and Veterans. Alongside researchers from KCMHR, the conference also featured speakers from Forces in Mind Trust, the University of Southern California, Ulster University, Combat Stress, and the Ministry of Defence.

Speakers from King’s College London included Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Professor Nicola Fear, Lieutenant Colonel Norman Jones, Dr Sharon Stevelink, Dr Howard Burdett, Dr Victoria Williamson, Dr Karla Greenberg and Professor Neil Greenberg.

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “We are delighted that HRH Prince Harry attended and participated at this year’s conference. The theme ‘From Enlistment to Retirement’ reflects the duty we hold to our Service community. The responsibility to ensure positive mental well-being does not end when someone becomes a veteran.

This is the third year we have been sole sponsor of this important annual knowledge sharing and networking event and we are proud to do so. Forces in Mind Trust has a remit to ensure that all ex-Service personnel have a successful and sustainable transition back into civilian life and we hope that the evidence we generate, and completed by many of the attendees here today, will enable policy makers and service providers to be better informed in the decisions they make with regards to the Armed Forces.”

Neil Greenberg, Professor of Defence Mental Health with King’s College London, said: “Once again our annual conference has been a huge success. We sold out more than a month before the event and all of the team at KCMHR are delighted to be able to host such a popular and informative meeting

It was a particular delight to welcome back Prince Harry to the conference again and we were privileged to have the Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP also in attendance. We hope that attendees found the presentations and networking useful in their work to improve the lives of service personnel, serving or retired, and their families.”

-Ends-

Note to Editor:  Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916.

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 Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families 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/

 

New FiMT Award: Officers’ Association to research the transition challenges of Service leavers aged 50 plus

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £115,122 to the Officers’ Association, to identify the transition challenges and barriers that all ranks of Service leavers aged 50 plus face when entering civilian employment.  This is the first time the specific challenges that older Service leavers encounter on the transition pathway will be examined.

Spanning a year, the project will take a tri-Service approach and cover all ranks. The research will be carried out by the Centre for Research into the Older Workforce who specialise in research into employability of the older population.

A mixed methods approach will be used including focus groups and surveys of both Service leavers and employers. In addition, a wide range of stakeholders will be consulted including government departments and Armed Forces charities.

The study will also explore the impact for Service leavers from an employer’s perspective and identify areas of best practice where organisations are supporting this group of potential employees.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind, said: “It has become a rarity for a Service person to leave the Armed Forces and not seek some form of employment, regardless of their age.  In wider society, demographics and economics suggest that many people will be working throughout their later years. It is vital that when leaving the Armed Forces, at whatever age, that future employment is accessible, suitable and fulfilling.  That act of transition is successful for the majority of Service leavers, but there is a minority who have a more challenging experience.

“It is the mission of Forces in Mind Trust to enable a successful and sustainable transition for all ex-Service personnel.  For this project, our links to, for example, the Centre for Ageing Better, other Cobseo employment charities and Government Departments, make us well placed to ensure that the evidence produced will enable policymakers and service providers to support older Service leavers as they transition into civilian employment.”

Lee Holloway, Chief Executive Officer, Officers’ Association, said: “There are known barriers to employment for those aged 50 plus, and so this research project gives us an opportunity to define and document those that exist for Service leavers.  Given the investment made in the training of Service leavers, combined with their experience and leadership qualities, we want to ensure there is a level playing field for this key segment of our Armed Forces when they seek out civilian employment opportunities.”

-Ends-

Note to Editor:  Ray Lock and Liz Stevens are available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916.

 Extra quote

Liz Stevens, Head of the Officers’ Association Employment Services, said: “This is a great opportunity to get a better understanding of how best to support those leaving the Services who are aged 50 plus and their specific needs. It will also enable us to work more effectively with employers to maximise the great experience and skills this group can bring to their organisations.”

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 Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families 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/

About the Officers’ Association (the OA):

  • As the only Tri-Service charity working with the officer corps, we support former officer and their families, their widows/widowers and dependants by providing advice and financial help, where needed, to enable them to live independently and overcome financial challenges. Last year we supported 1,107 cases in Benevolence.
  • In 2017 a total of £1,369K was awarded by the OA in grants to people in need.
  • We work with serving, reservist and former officers to help them achieve a sustainable and fulfilling career in civilian employment. Last year we supported 4,782 Service personnel with OA Employment Services.
  • The OA delivers tailored workshops, webinars and symposia, all supported by our online content: blogs, career tips and case studies. Last year we delivered over 20,600 webinar views to Service leavers, 780 career consultations and 600 plus officer job seekers attended our networking events.
  • The OA provides insight and research that helps the military charity sector to understand the changing needs of the officer community. Our research also helps us to offer a wider range of services and to collaborate with other military charities to provide the most needed services within the sector.
  • To download our reports: visit: https://www.officersassociation.org.uk/about-us/reports-and-research/
  • We have a dedicated team of 130 volunteers, the OA’s Honorary Representatives. They visit those who need support, often in their own homes, and work alongside our permanent staff to seek the best possible outcomes. Where possible, the same staff will continue to support people through their journey with us.
  • The OA was founded in 1920 as a charity in recognition of the desperate circumstances many officers found themselves in following demobilisation after the First World War.

Visit www.officersassociation.org.uk for further information on the OA.

For more information please contact:

Francesca Dobson Suarez on the behalf of the Officers’ Association

Tel: 0207 622 9529

Email: francesca.dobson@plmr.co.uk

Government urged to make changes to end homelessness among ex-Servicemen and women

New research commissioned by Stoll and Riverside, released today, Tuesday 6th March, at an event at the House of Lords, highlights how some vulnerable ex-Service personnel in crisis are not accessing support services resulting in homelessness after leaving the Armed Forces.

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) funded research, conducted by York University, found that of participating veterans, many experienced inconsistent quality of advice on transitioning from Service and inadequate support from Local Housing Authorities in the years after leaving service, many of whom did not identify the specialist support available to veterans.

Evidence suggests that well over a thousand ex-Service personnel each year in England require urgent support to find accommodation. With others experiencing crises in their lives, urgent intervention is recommended to provide the necessary support for vulnerable ex-Service personnel.

Josh Crooks, medically discharged from the Armed Forces in 2017 following six years’ service now lives in a caravan. Josh said: “I really had a lot to sort out on being discharged from the Army and when a potential flatmate let me down I found myself in dire straits, with no sight of somewhere permanent to live.”

Alongside the new research, Stoll and Riverside, in collaboration with Cobseo, are publishing three simple recommendations:

  1. Government to improve the transition process to ensure no serving personnel become homeless after Service.
  2. Local Authorities to consistently check if someone seeking housing support is a veteran and, if they are, to have a clear plan to respond to the veterans they identify.
  3. Government to ensure supported housing for veterans is properly resourced.

Tina Fairbrass served for seven years in the Royal Navy and found herself in difficulty after the subsequent breakdown of her relationship. Tina said: “Seven years after leaving the Navy, I was living in a refuge with my four year old daughter. I’d taken on a lot of my ex-partner’s debt and as a result I’d lost all my savings.”

Both Josh and Tina have since been housed by Stoll. Tina said: “I really don’t know where I would be without Stoll. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

The research acknowledges the development of niche accommodation for veterans, but raises concerns over the dedicated veteran accommodation sector’s future sustainability, with proposed local ring-fenced funding for short-term supported accommodation.

Air Vice-Marshal, Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of The Forces in Mind Trust said: “At FiMT our objective is to enable all ex-Service personnel to have a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life.

“The majority who leave the Armed Forces do have a positive transition, but there is a minority who don’t. We recognise the importance of providing a stable and secure home for all ex-Service personnel and thoroughly support the 3 evidence-based recommendations.”

Ed Tytherleigh, Chief Executive of Stoll said: “We believe that we can reduce the incidence of homelessness among Veterans close to zero, but this will only happen with a significant shift in approach to the issue of housing ex-Service personnel.

“We are deeply concerned that vulnerable Veterans, often with complex physical and mental health needs, are not being properly cared for by the country they have served. It is critical that Veterans facing homelessness – or those supporting them – know where to turn to at the right time and get the correct advice to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place.”

Hugh Owen, Director of Strategy and Public Affairs of Riverside Housing said: “Veterans are the only supported housing sector in the UK where the majority of support costs are paid for by the charities themselves. This is not sustainable and threatens to undermine our country’s ability to support homeless Veterans. The Government urgently needs to put funding on a more sustainable footing to avoid more Veterans becoming homeless.”

See the Call to Action and the full report.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on co@fim-trust.org or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916.

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 Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families 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/