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Armed Forces charities – just a click away

A new website, developed by the Directory of Social Change (DSC), for exploring Armed Forces Charities in the UK goes live today, Thursday 26th April. The online directory has information, statistics, infographics and unique research on hundreds of charities serving thousands of people.

The Forces in Mind Trust funded website is a key resource for policy makers, researchers, media, governments and charities – or anyone with an interest in the UK’s Armed Forces charities.

Search the directory and explore the data

Users can search for information on over 1,600 charities and associated branches, using an intuitive search tool producing clear results. Each charity in the directory has its own record with key information which is updated regularly.

The website includes an interactive data page, where users can check out analysis and learn more about the charities. New data and insights will feature regularly in this section.

Read ground-breaking research

DSC has been publishing ground-breaking research regarding the Armed Forces Charity sector since 2014, including five downloadable reports, each accompanied by infographics and fact sheets. For accessibility, each report is also condensed into easy read four-page research briefs.

The website has dedicated sections for each report topic, where you can learn about what the charities provide, including: mental health, education and employment, and physical health. There is also research on charities in Scotland and an overview of UK charities. More research is coming soon – keep an eye out for our section on housing provision, coming summer 2018!

Stuart Cole, Research Manager at DSC, said: “This website is the new home for DSC’s ever-growing body of research. The topical nature of our reports and our directory of charities combines here to illuminate the work of charities serving the armed forces community. It’s a must-read and a must-view for anyone interested in the topic.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This exciting new resource developed by the Directory of Social Change will be a valuable tool for policy makers, media commentators, service providers and other charities. It epitomizes our approach to presenting decision makers with the best knowledge and evidence available, and it offers a credible alternative to anecdote, hyperbole and fake news. We look forward to seeing how this information is utilised, how the site develops and the impact our funding will have achieved.”

You can access the website at www.armedforcescharities.org.uk

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Note to Editor:  Stuart Cole, is available for comment or interview via scole@dsc.org.uk or 0151 708 0136.

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 DSC: Founded in 1974, the Directory of Social Change (DSC) is a national charity which champions an independent voluntary sector through campaigning, training and publications. DSC is the largest supplier of information and training to the voluntary sector, and its work helps tens of thousands of organisations every year achieve their aims. Learn more at www.dsc.org.uk.

Follow DSC on social media

Make sure to stay tuned to twitter @forcescharities too, for the latest commentary and updates. We’re publishing more research each year, so keep checking-in for news on our upcoming reports, analysis, and website developments.

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 https://www.vfrhub.com/. 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/

Cobseo Housing Cluster win the FiMT Working Together Award at the Soldier on Awards

Image: Rupert Frere Schmooly

The Cobseo Housing Cluster received the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) Working Together Award at the Soldiering on Awards on Friday 20th April, at a special ceremony at Westminster Bridge Park Plaza.

The Cluster is a combination of 30 veterans’ housing organizations and charities formed to provide veteran specific housing and create an integrated veterans’ housing sector, with clear pathways for ex-Service personnel and their families in housing need to move into permanent homes.

Formed in 2009, the purpose of the clusters is to enable collaborative working across all the sectors to ensure the Armed Forces Community has access to the provisions and services that are needed.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “We are delighted to see the Cobseo Housing Cluster win the FiMT Working Together Award. All three finalists for this award have achieved great things for the Armed Forces Community, and we applaud them for their efforts. It’s a shame that there could be only one winner, as each finalist demonstrated the highest level of collaborative working in their own fields.

“The essence of collaboration is the coming together of a variety of organizations working across sectors to achieve a common goal. As most will recognize, there is currently a national housing shortage and the work of the Cluster has led to success in providing a home for many of those within the Armed Forces Community.

“We hope that the example of the Cobseo Housing Cluster will give others in our sector the confidence and ambition to improve their own approach to working with others, and we fully intend that they will receive due recognition.”

James Richardson, Co-Chair of the Cobseo Housing Cluster, said: “We are extremely proud to receive this recognition of the work we have put in over the last 4 years to assist veterans and their families access safe, secure and high-quality housing.  Through close cooperation, information sharing and charitable commitment we have delivered a better environment and eased access to all of the services that members provide.

“The national housing crisis affects veterans directly and by this sterling effort to put them and their needs first the Cluster continues to meet its remit but has much more work to do.  Simply to help those in need is enough but to be recognised for it is very much appreciated.  Thank you FiMT for sponsoring such an important category and we are delighted to share success with so many other worthy winners.”

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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.

James Richardson, Chief Executive, Haig Housing and Ed Tytherleigh, Chief Executive, Stoll Housing are available for interview. To arrange please contact Alice Farrow, Head of Communications at Cobseo on a.farrow@cobseo.org.uk or on Mobile: 07966 886180 or 0207 901 8903

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 https://www.vfrhub.com/. 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/

 

 

 

 

Injured ex-Service personnel should not face benefit sanctions, report finds

Ex-Service personnel with service-related physical or mental health injuries should not have benefit sanctions imposed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), say researchers of a Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) funded report titled “Sanctions, support and Service leavers: welfare conditionality and transitions from military to civilian life” released today, Thursday 19th April.

The report, by the University of Salford and the University of York, is the first major study investigating the experiences of ex-Service personnel and the benefits system. A common experience was the perception that staff carrying out assessments for benefits sometimes had little understanding or, regard for, the mental health issues facing military veterans.

Evidence was generated largely from face-to-face interviews with 68 ex-Service personnel, a number of who were struggling financially, with many living with debts, rent arrears, court fines and some having to use food banks.  These interim findings present nine recommendations, including:

  • That DWP urgently review the assessment process applied to those claiming working-age incapacity benefits to make sure assessors are qualified to assess the mental and physical health issues of people leaving the Armed Forces.
  • Each Jobcentre should have one designated individual who takes a lead role in supporting Armed Forces Service leavers and their families interacting with the social security system.
  • Guidance on the UK social security system setting out an individual’s rights should be included as part of the transitional support for those leaving the Armed Forces.
  • DWP should ensure that all Jobcentre Plus staff are provided with training on the adjustments and easements applicable to Armed Forces Service leavers and their families, and more broadly around the mental and physical health impairments that may impact on some Service leavers’ fitness to undertake paid work and/or ability to engage in compulsory work focused activities.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This is the first study to look qualitatively at the experiences of ex-Service personnel who need to use the benefits system, and it is worth emphasizing that most transition successfully without such recourse. The recommendations included in the report will help provide the DWP with the information that will help increase the awareness of their staff to the needs of the Armed Forces community and hence improve the outcomes for those ex-Service personnel that do require welfare support.”

Dr Lisa Scullion, Associate Director of the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit at the University of Salford, who is leading the project, said: “We found people who desperately did not want to claim benefits and only did so as a last resort, but who found the system baffling and had been given little preparation for dealing with it.

“Allowances are made to veterans who claim benefits as part of the Armed Forces Covenant but until now very little has been known about their experiences within the benefits system. This research has suggested that there is a gap between some of the Covenant commitments and what is actually experienced on the ground, and we would urge the policy makers to look carefully at our findings and recommendations.”

You can read the full report here.

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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.

Dr Lisa Scullion is available for interview. To arrange please contact Conrad Astley, University of Salford press office, on 0161 295 6363 or c.l.astley@salford.ac.uk.

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 study

The two-year study, called Sanctions, support and Service leavers:  welfare conditionality and transitions from military to civilian life, was funded by a £171,995 grant from the Forces in Mind Trust.

Research was conducted with members of military families who are in the benefits system, primarily across the North West, North East and London, to understand how people who have left Service find their way into the social security system and the wider impact of these policies.

The research also includes interviews with policy makers and key stakeholders representing military charities and other third sector organisations.

Around 15,000 men and women leave the British Armed Forces every year. While most are able to easily move into civilian life, there are some who experience problems such as mental health issues, physical disabilities, drug and alcohol misuse and financial hardship.

New FiMT Award: Probation Institute awarded funds to develop e learning programme

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded funds of £41,500 to the Probation Institute for a year-long project to develop an e learning product to enable service providers to identify ex-Service personnel under supervision in the criminal justice system.

After completing the e learning training, practitioners will better understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of ex-Service personnel, and have increased awareness of support available within Armed Forces charities with sector expertise and how these can be of help.

The need for specific training arose from discussions at the launch of the FiMT funded Probation Institute report titled, “Profile provision for Armed Forces veterans under probation supervision”.

It is proposed that the e learning programme would be one hour long and would be updated at the end of the first-year evaluation.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The Armed Forces Covenant was created to ensure that no ex-Service person is disadvantaged by their time in service. This requires commitment by local government agencies, service providers and the private sector to ensure that they understand the needs and vulnerabilities of the Armed Forces community.

“What the Probation Institute have quite rightly pointed to is the need for specific training and improved understanding of the needs of the ex-Service personnel who are under supervision in the criminal justice system.”

Helen Schofield, Acting Chief Executive of the Probation Institute, said: “With the support of FiMT, the Probation Institute has researched and reported on the provision for ex-Service personnel and we have developed a training course for practitioners across the probation organisations. This funding enables us to develop a sustainable and accessible version of the training to complement the face to face course. We look forward to this new stage of the project.”

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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/

About the Probation Institute: The Probation Institute is an independent centre of excellence and a professional home for all those involved in probation work across the public, voluntary and private sectors, and was launched by Lord Neuberger in March 2014. We support effective services, promote evidence-based policy and practice and the professional development of our members and explain the work of probation to the media, parliamentarians and the public.

o   All members are required to sign up to the Code of Ethics as a condition of membership.  http://probation-institute.org/code-ethics/

o   The Institute is currently developing a professional register, which will enable probation practitioners to have their qualifications, knowledge and skills recognised and will act as a framework for continuing professional development.

Useful links

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ProbInstitute

Website: www.probation-institute.org