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FiMT has awarded a grant of £75,000 to University of the West of England (UWE)


The Forces in Mind Trust has awarded a grant of £75,000 for the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol to carry out an evaluation of a self-build project involving ex-Service Personnel.

The self-build project is being run by Community Self Build Agency (CSBA). The evaluation will attempt to record and quantify the impact that self-build projects can have on ex-Service personnel by using participants who are currently undergoing a difficult transition. The current scheme to be evaluated is based in Bedminster in Bristol and involves 10 ex-Service Personnel who have encountered problems such as drink and drugs during their transition.

Once the accommodation is complete, participants will be able to rent two bedroom units allowing them to house their families and thus creating a stable family unit, which without the project may not have been possible.

The project is due to be completed by the end of 2014 and the evaluation report will be used to support a programme of further similar projects for ex-service personnel across the UK. The CSBA are partnered with Knightstone Housing Association who will manage the property when complete. A construction company will be providing some of the training, site management and materials, equipment and plant provision that participants will require to carry out their work.

Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England, Anthony Plumridge said: “We are grateful to the Forces in Mind Trust for their generosity which has made the evaluation that we are conducting at the University of the West of England possible. The CSBA’s self-build project will undoubtedly improve the poor transitions of ex-Service personnel and I am privileged to be a part of this worthy cause.”

Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, Ray Lock said: “One of key challenges faced by ex-Service personnel as they transition from military to civilian life is to find suitable accommodation after they leave the Armed Forces.  For some, this, combined with other issues such as mental health and alcohol misuse, can leave them with low self-esteem and poor ‘job-readiness’.  The UWE and CSBA’s project aims, not just to provide ex-Service personnel with accommodation they have built themselves, but also to raise their self-esteem and sense of self-worth, are extremely worthwhile.  But the evaluation of the project is exactly what the Forces in Mind Trust was established to do – to provide clear evidence of what works well, so that others (in this case the community self-build area) can develop their thinking and so improve their effectiveness.  We are delighted to be able to play a part in this exciting project.”

FiMT awards grant to The Poppy Factory & The Centre for Mental Health…



The Forces in Mind Trust has awarded a grant to The Poppy Factory and the Centre for Mental Health to research employability for veterans with mental health problems.

The project will explore:

  • Whether the numbers of ex-Service personnel who have a mental health condition and remain in work for 12 months or longer could be improved and if so how; and
  • The resource(s) which would enable employers to recruit and support veterans with a mental health condition more effectively.

The project aims to research and lay the foundations for a framework for the Poppy Factory, The Centre for Mental Health as well as other employers to ensure that all ex-Service Personnel who have a mental health condition wishing to work are able to gain and sustain employment. Mental health problems come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and the emphasis of the evaluation will be on the needs of the individual.

Trustee and Mental Health Specialist for The Poppy Factory, Geraldine Strathdee said: “I am delighted this funding has been awarded by FiMT. As a Poppy Factory trustee and National Clinical Director for mental health, NHS, I know how much employment means to people who suffer with mental ill health. They tell me they value the benefits employment offers them and their families, the network of social contacts they build up and the opportunity to be able to contribute to their communities.  I very much look forward to the outputs of this research, as it is vital that we learn how best to offer parity of access to employment support for those who have had mental illness.”

The Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock said:“This research by the Centre for Mental Health and The Poppy Factory complements FiMT’s recently published Transition Mapping Study Report, which highlighted that differences between military and civilian life are easily underestimated, and underlined the importance of individually tailored transition pathways.. Understanding the very specific and individual needs of ex-Service personnel with mental health problems within the workplace is vital, not just for the individual, but also for the employer.”

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