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Roland Elcock House in Wolverhampton, the new £1.26m development by Stonham (part of Home Group; the UK’s largest provider of care and support) containing 14 self-contained flats specifically developed for ex-Service personnel, was opened in an official ceremony on Monday, 29 September.

The occasion also saw the launch of a ‘Stonham Veterans Service’ (SVS) funded by a grant of £261,891 over 3 years, from the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT). The ‘Veterans Transition Service’ (STS) will be based in Roland Elcock House, which is designed to help ex-Service Personnel who are experiencing a range of difficulties in their transition to civilian life.

The ceremony was conducted by Wolverhampton Mayor Councillor Michael Heap, Home Group head of client services Claire Lees, and Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT). Ray Lock spoke about the challenges of an unsuccessful transition at the ceremony which was also attended by Richard Dowsett, Funding Manager at the Big Lottery Fund (BIG).

FiMT continues BIG’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded by BIG in 2012.

The VTS was developed following consultation with other charities and organisations within the Armed Forces community. STS gives residents access to training and employment opportunities, helping them gain life-skills and enable them to move on to self-supported living.

Ray Lock said: “Most Service Leavers make a successful transition into civilian life but for a few it can be fraught with challenges. We are delighted to be involved with projects like the Stonham Veterans Service, which will equip this particularly vulnerable cohort with a secure place to live and invaluable life skills to help them make their transition a success.  The independent evaluation will also allow us to use the learning from this innovative programme to influence national policy and service delivery.”

About the Roland Elcock Building

  • The Roland Elcock building, was named after Major Roland Elcock, a soldier from the local area who served in both world wars and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 15 October 1918 south-east of Capelle St. Catherine, France.

About Home Group Limited:

  • Home Group is one of the UK’s largest providers of high quality housing and supported housing services and products.
  • Home Group is a social enterprise and a charity (Charitable Community Benefit Society No. 22981R) with a turnover of £327m.
  • Our mission is “to help our customers and clients to open doors to new opportunities and healthy lives.”
  • We provide general needs housing and supported housing services targeted towards helping some of society’s most vulnerable people take control of their own lives. We:
    • house more than 120,000 people a year in 55,000 homes across 200 local authority areas in England, Scotland and Wales.
    • work with almost 30,000 vulnerable people through 500+ supported housing, justice and health services each year.
  • Care and Support services focus on housing related support, criminal justice and health services.

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wiltshire mind

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 £97,539 to Wiltshire Mind to deliver and evaluate a pilot online support service to carers of people suffering from severe mental illness (SMI) in the Armed Forces Community over a one-year period.

Caring for loved ones who have SMI can be incredibly difficult, leaving many carers feeling lost and helpless as to how best to provide support.  Many are unable to access appropriate services which can assist with their particular circumstances.  The online service, which will be facilitated by Wiltshire Mind and run by Healios in collaboration with the Army Families Federation, will enable carers to easily access resources to help build their understanding of mental health difficulties and acquire some of the skills necessary to care for their loved ones.  This service will be particularly important for those making the transition from military to civilian life.

The pilot project intends to recruit 50 carers from the Armed Forces Community based in the Wiltshire Area who are currently looking after a family member with SMI.   Wiltshire Mind expects that the evidence generated from the independent evaluation of this innovative model of support will be used to refine and to develop [the approach more widely.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust said: “Giving carers access to vital support and resources will help them in turn provide the type of support their loved ones need.  The evaluation of this pilot programme will provide the evidence-base we need to improve support to carers across the Armed Forces Community and indeed across the general population too, and we are extremely proud to partner with Wiltshire Mind in this innovative project.”

David Mckeigue, Chief Executive of Wiltshire Mind said “This is a unique online service which  focuses on helping the carer deliver significantly better outcomes for themselves and indeed their loved one, and, because of the way the service is delivered, the number of carers that can access the service is significantly higher than conventional face to face methods. Wiltshire Mind is delighted to be partnering with both the AFF and Healios on this exciting pilot. The innovative approach and unique service delivery of Healios is of huge value and benefit to all carers wherever they may be located.”

For more information, please contact Alice Farrow at The PR Office on  / mobile:  07788 540 924 / direct dial: 020 7284 6955

About Wiltshire Mind

Wiltshire Mind, established in 1993, is a voluntary independent Mental Health Charity, which provides county-wide services. It is affiliated with Mind and works to improve the quality of life for vulnerable people with mental health issues by providing services such as peer support groups and professional counselling services. The charity last year supported over 3000 service user visits to their peer support groups and delivered some 500 counselling sessions.

About Healios

Healios is an international organisation, which exists to support carers of people with mental illness, and in turn make a positive impact on the future recovery of the person with the illness.

Healios offers carers clinically effective techniques to use as they care for their loved one, combined with tailored education and support. Carers are able to schedule sessions to fit in with their daily routine – via phone or video call – with Healios’ team of clinicians, making it possible for carers across the UK to have access to a highly professional service.  Since launching in June 2013, Healios has provided over 2,000 sessions to carers across the UK. Both qualitative and quantitative feedback has demonstrated the value and effectiveness of the service.

About the AFF

The Army Families Federation (AFF) is the independent voice of Army families and works hard to improve the quality of life for Army families around the world – on any aspect that is affected by the Army lifestyle.


Despite the rightful attention given to our armed forces during the centenary of the First World War, new data revealed today shows signs that the number of armed forces charities and the amount of money donated to them are in decline.

The most comprehensive analysis of the UK armed forces charities sector ever undertaken shows that the number of charities serving armed forces personnel declined by 7% over the last 5 years. In addition in 2012 the income of the majority of armed forces welfare charities declined for the first time since 2008. This is during a period when the needs of beneficiaries are set to increase due to the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the restructure of the Armed Forces, and cuts to the Ministry of Defence, NHS and other public services.

The analysis challenges common misconceptions held by some politicians and sections of the media that there are too many armed forces charities, they are uncoordinated and they are sitting on too much money.

In fact armed forces charities make up just 1.1% of the whole of the register of charities in England and Wales and have only 1.3% of the overall income. The total annual revenue of armed forces charities is only £807 million, compared to for example the £6.4 billion revenue generated by healthcare charities.

Despite these challenges the armed forces charitable sector shows high levels of co-ordination, co-operation and cohesiveness in serving a beneficiary base of over 6 million current and ex-service personnel and their dependants. 

Sector Insight: UK Armed Forces Charities delves into the finances, purposes and functions of over 2200 armed forces charities and is accompanied by the website, This valuable new resource provides a comprehensive searchable database of the sector for anyone wishing to better understand the armed forces charities sector. Both the publication and the website have been produced by the charity Directory of Social Change, with funding from the Forces in Mind Trust, and in collaboration with the Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo).

Commenting on the project, DSC Chief Executive Debra Allcock Tyler said: ‘I have seen at first hand the brilliant work and crucial support provided by Armed Forces Charities.   Today we’re shining a light on them and the critical role they play by providing much needed evidence to donors, politicians and other decision makers. Our aim is that better information will lead to better policy and decision making.  This is about the future of support for our brave service folk and their families. They deserve it.’

Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, Ray Lock, said:  “The findings of this unique project highlight some fundamental aspects about the health and development of the military charity sector.. Now, more than ever, the need for collaboration within (and indeed without) the sector is key to its successful future.  The report shows evidence of a high degree of collaboration and cooperation relative to other charitable sub-sectors, but this is no reason to be complacent. The aim of FiMT is to provide independent, evidence-based knowledge that can be used to improve every aspect of the sector, from policy to delivery, and the reputation and track record of DSC made it the obvious partner for this seminal guide.”

Follow this link for a downloadable version of the report.


For more information please contact Alice Farrow, FiMT Press Office ( or phone (0207 284 6955 or 07788 540 924).

Press Briefing – Armed Forces Charities Insight


The publication Sector Insight: Armed Forces Charities and the accompanying website have been developed to improve understanding of the size and nature of support provided by the UK armed forces charity sector. The project has involved researching the purposes, functions and finances of over 2,200 UK-registered armed forces charities. The results show a complex but on the whole well-coordinated sector with a fine-tuned division of labour.


Key Findings

  • Claims about there being too many armed forces charities are partly driven by a lack of understanding of the huge diversity of armed forces charities operating in the sector. Contrary to received wisdom, the sector has actually contracted recently.
  • Armed forces charities cater for the needs of a potential beneficiary population of over 6 million serving personnel, ex-Service personnel and their dependants.
  • The armed forces charity sector in Great Britain generated an income of £872 million in 2012, much of which is concentrated in a relatively small number of organisations. The top 122 armed forces charities command 84% of total sector income.
  • During the recession, and contrary to the rest of the UK voluntary sector, armed forces charities overall experienced an increase in their income. However, in 2012 income for the majority of armed forces charities fell.
  • Armed forces welfare charities raise £4.37 for every £1 spent on fundraising and publicity, compared to an average of £4.86 for the UK voluntary sector as a whole.
  • The level of free reserves held by armed forces welfare charities equates to 10.9 months’ expenditure, compared to 15.4 months’ expenditure for the UK voluntary sector as a whole.
  • The armed forces charity sector shows a high degree of collaboration and cooperation relative to other charitable sub-sectors. The benevolent grant-making process in particular appears to be highly coordinated and flexible in responding to the needs of beneficiaries.
  •  New entrants into the sector are having a generally positive effect, creating new income growth which benefits the sector as a whole, as well as by addressing new needs in innovative ways.
  • At present, data on armed forces charities registered in Scotland and Northern Ireland is limited by the lack of comparable regulatory systems and standards to England and Wales, particularly access to information in charity reports and accounts. Further data would help to complete the funding picture across the UK.
  • Data on the location and needs of the Armed Forces Community (serving personnel, ex-Service personnel, and their dependants) needs to be improved. Statutory bodies such as the MOD and NHS should work with the sector to introduce better systems to identify beneficiaries and their needs.
  • About the Directory of Social Change (DSC): Founded in 1974, the Directory of Social Change (DSC) is a national charity which supports 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