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The Forces in Mind Trust Awards over £300k to Finchale Training College to support transition of Armed Forces Personnel


The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, has awarded a grant of £324,998 to Finchale Training College. The project, called Joint Transition Support Service, will support the successful transition into civilian life of Wounded, Injured and Sick (WIS) Armed Forces Personnel who are experiencing related mental health and well-being issues.

The Joint Transition Support Service will be evaluated by the North of England Mental Health Development Unit and work with a total of 150 Service leavers and their families who are returning to the North East Region, over a two-year period. The Service leavers will be referred to Finchale by the Personnel Recovery Unit (PRU) and Phoenix House Personnel Recovery Centre (PRC) at Catterick Garrison.

It is hoped that the project will provide a model which can be replicated in other parts of the United Kingdom for Service leavers from the other PRCs and for those re-locating from Catterick Garrison.

An integral part of the Joint Transition Support Service project will be supporting the families of Service leavers. A poor transition can be very challenging to families; particularly if they are already coping with mental health and well-being issues of the Service leaver. Combine this with the challenges of moving, finding new schools and living in a civilian community, often for the first time, and life can get very hectic.

Dr David Etheridge, Principal of Finchale Training College said: “This is a hugely exciting project for us and we are grateful to the Forces in Mind Trust for their generosity which has made it possible for us to support the WIS Service Leavers and their families.”

AVM Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust said: “When leaving the Armed Forces, it can be a significant challenge to adapt to the pressures and demands of everyday life, especially for those who may be suffering with the added pressure of mental health problems or long-term injury. Our Transition Mapping Study, released last year, highlighted that it is important to remember that the challenges of transition are not limited just to the Service Leaver, but are also faced by their family members.

“We are looking forward to seeing the results of this grant to Finchale, which will provide us with the vital evidence-base for mental health requirements and support for families going forward.”

Notes to Editors: For interview requests, photos or more information, please contact Alice Farrow at The PR Office on  / mobile:  07788 540 92407788 540 924 / direct dial: 027 284 6955.

About Finchale Training College: Located in County Durham, Finchale is a national provider of rehabilitation services for over 400 unemployed disabled adults each year, and was founded in 1943 as a vocational rehabilitation and resettlement centre for injured servicemen returning from active service.

Although the numbers of civilian trainees has gradually expanded, military links have continued to be strong.   The first Superintendent, a post that was later to become Principal, was Col Dean, a disabled ex-prisoner of war. Capt Richard Annand, VC, was the Personnel Officer, from his retirement from the Army in 1948 until 1979.

Today Finchale supports over 200 disabled Veterans each year. Disabilities include physical and health problems, with particular emphasis on mental health needs.  In addition, many will have experienced debt and housing difficulties, drug and alcohol abuse, offending behaviour, lack of civilian skills and qualifications, as well as specific personal barriers.  Over 60% achieve employment.

The College motto, exemplified by the Phoenix, is ‘Triumph Over Adversity’.

The Forces in Mind Trust awards grant to Bath Spa University: To research why Students from Armed Forces backgrounds are under-represented on the Access to Higher Education Diploma across the South West

bath Spa

A grant totalling £114,729 has been awarded to Bath Spa University to research and explore why students from an Armed Forces background are under-represented on Access to Higher Education courses.

The Forces in Mind Trust, an organisation established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, has awarded £97,209 of this grant.  An additional £9,600 has been awarded by Help for Heroes and a further £7,920 from apt awards, the Access course validating agency for the South West region. apt awards will also provide an Access to HE Consultant for the duration of the project.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a well-established qualification, widely accepted throughout the higher education (HE) sector to prepare students who, for many reasons have few if any, qualifications suitable to gain entry to HE.  In recent years the overall size of the regular Armed Forces has been reduced as increasing numbers of military personnel are made redundant.  This project will develop a set of recommendations about how best to encourage students with an Armed Forces background to undertake an Access course.

The research project is led by Dr Mel Macer, Research Fellow in the School of Education at Bath Spa University and is taking place in the South West because approximately 25 per cent of Britain’s Service and ex-Service personnel and their families live in the region.  The researchers will work with ex-Service personnel from all three Services.

The project aims to increase the number of students with an Armed Forces background in HE, to develop a shared understanding between military and civilian organisations which exist to deliver Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) on HE courses and to identify barriers that adults can experience in their knowledge of, or engagement with, Access to HE diplomas.  The project’s recommendations will ensure that Access Course students in the UK are not disadvantaged by their military background.

Dr Mel Macer said: “It is great to secure this support from these key organisations to deliver this important piece of work. This project further demonstrates Bath Spa University’s commitment to supporting educational outcomes for members of the wider Armed Forces community.”

Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, Ray Lock said: “We know that a successful transition to civilian life depends on many factors, such as the ability to transfer and translate skills obtained in service into the civilian employment market.  During this transition process, Armed Forces Personnel can sometimes overlook entering higher education to enhance their employability, because of their own misperceptions on what qualifications they already have.  By exploring the flow of information and potential barriers to Access Courses, we will have an evidence base to ensure we can advise and encourage organisations supporting ex-Service Personnel and their families that entering Higher Education could be a feasible, as well as an attractive, route to a successful civilian life.”

About Bath Spa University

Bath Spa University is where creative minds meet. Offering a wide range of courses across the arts, sciences, education, social science and business to 7,000 students, the University employs outstanding creative professionals, which support its aim to be a leading educational institution in creativity, culture and enterprise.

Based in stunning countryside just a few minutes from a World Heritage City, Bath Spa University ensures its students graduate as engaged global citizens who are ready for the world of work. In fact, 93 per cent of graduates find themselves in work or further study within six months.

For more information, please contact:

Alice Farrow at The PR Office on  / mobile:  07788 540 924 / direct dial: 027 284 6955

Jane Wakefield at Bath Spa University on / 01225 876106 / 07791 148877


The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, has awarded a grant of £182,361 to Stoll to deliver and evaluate an innovative two-year pilot outreach support programme for London-based serving and former serving personnel transitioning out of the Armed Forces.

In an extension of Stoll’s already successful London Outreach Service, this programme will see staff support military personnel in that vulnerable period when they move from Service to civilian life, and provide long or short term support as necessary.  The aim of this preventative programme is to ensure that every person involved achieves a successful transition and no longer needs assistance from Stoll or other military charities and organisations.

The programme anticipates supporting around 180 veterans and Service leavers over 2 years across the 33 London Boroughs and it will target those who are likely to face particular difficulties during transition such as mental health and housing issues.

Whilst support for those returning to civilian life is already provided by the Ministry of Defence, some personnel need additional assistance and may lack the confidence or initiative to seek existing support services.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust said: “A small but significant minority of people leaving the Armed Forces face particular difficulties and challenges, including mental health issues and housing problems, which can noticeably hinder their transition back to civilian live. These people very often lack the confidence to seek the additional support and help that they need. The London Outreach Service is the perfect way for this vulnerable cohort to gain this support.

“By complementing the delivery of this innovative approach with independent evaluation, we intend to provide the evidence-base that will see the model extend across the whole country, and become adopted by the full range of service deliverers.  If we can prevent failed transition in the first place, the State will be much more able to satisfy any outstanding needs.”

Ed Tytherleigh, Chief Executive of Stoll, said: “Stoll is delighted to be undertaking this pilot project. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Forces in Mind Trust for their support of the project. We at Stoll know there is a clear need to work with individuals as they leave Service to prevent them getting into difficulties. We are confident that this service will deliver this and save the individual considerable future hardship and the Service charity sector resources.”

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About Stoll: Stoll (formerly Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation) is a registered charity which enables vulnerable and disabled ex-Servicemen and women to live as independently as possible by providing a range of services. These include appropriate housing with support in London, a wide variety of health and wellbeing activities, outreach to Veterans living in the wider community, the Veterans’ Nomination Scheme and a monthly Drop-in of 20 Veterans’ agencies held in Stoll’s Community Hall.