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Minister of Defence People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood MP delivers keynote speech at inaugural FiMT Research Centre Conference

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) held its inaugural Research Centre Conference today, Thursday 11th October, at Church House, Westminster and presented two awards for excellence in research.

Over 100 delegates from across the academic, Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces sectors attended, with a host of speakers including Lord Ashcroft, who was the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Veterans’ Transition from 2012 to 2018 and conducted the Veterans’ Transition Review.

The Lord Ashcroft Veterans’ Research Award went to Shared Intelligence for their ‘Our Community – Our Covenant’ project, and the FiMT Research Centre Award for Most Impactful Research went to Community Innovations Enterprise LLP for their ‘Call to Mind’ project series. Both have influenced policy makers, led to further research projects and have had an impact on services provided to veterans.

The Research Centre was launched last year to support the research needs of the Armed Forces Community. The Centre’s purpose is to facilitate research in the UK that deepens shared understanding and develops links between the academic community, government organisations, statutory and voluntary service providers, the media, and the public.

To help toward this purpose, the Veterans and Families Research Hub (VFR Hub) is part of the Centre. This is an easily-searchable and free-to-use online resource offering an authoritative source of research-related information on ex-Service personnel and their families. The VFR Hub was jointly established and initially funded by Lord Ashcroft and FiMT.

Lord Ashcroft said: “One of the main findings from my work on veterans’ transition was the need for a source of good, reliable, authoritative and easily accessible research and information on service leavers, veterans and their families. That is why we established the Veterans’ Research Hub, whose work is providing a solid basis of evidence for policymakers and will help to combat some of the myths and misapprehensions about veterans that can make the transition to civilian life harder than it needs to be. I am delighted to support this conference and congratulate the award winners for their exemplary work.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This is the first conference that the FiMT Research Centre has held. The opportunity to assemble researchers already interested in the Armed Forces Community in one place will foster collaboration and develop links which will lead to more research projects and ideas. This will enable the Forces in Mind Trust to utilise the results of research to influence policy makers and services providers as we seek to improve the transition pathway and thus succeed in our objective that all ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition back to civilian life.”

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