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Forces in Mind Trust awards funds for the trial of an alcohol reduction app

Forces in Mind Trust has awarded a grant of £310,144 to the King’s Centre for Military Health Research at King’s College London to conduct a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of a veteran-specific smartphone app to assess its effectiveness in helping ex-Service personnel to reduce their alcohol consumption.

The app was developed by researchers at King’s in collaboration with the University of Liverpool to enable self-monitoring and management of alcohol consumption in ex-Service personnel who drink at hazardous or harmful levels. Distinguishing it from similar products, this app was co-designed with ex-Service personnel and uses military terminology, language and content. It also offers feedback and generates tailored text messaging. The app adapts to users’ needs with a novel personalisation framework which focuses on short-term consequences such as impact on fitness, mood, relationships and finances which helps motivate ex-Service personnel to reduce their alcohol consumption.

This RCT will be the first time an app aimed at UK ex-Service personnel has been academically tested.  A focus group of 10 ex-Service personnel will be recruited to review and refine the app as part of a co-design process and 600 participants will take part in the trial. Using data from the app, the research team will assess the effectiveness of the app in reducing alcohol consumption in a real-world setting and the impact on participants’ quality of life. The research team will also conduct a literature review to evaluate the benefits of using digital technology in the management and treatment of alcohol misuse.

Dr Daniel Leightley, project lead, King’s Centre for Military Health Research, King’s College London, said: “We are delighted to be working with Forces in Mind Trust and Combat Stress to trial our app with ex-Service personnel. Our study not only aims to understand if our app is helpful in reducing the amount ex-Service personnel drink, but also aims to improve understanding on how digital technology can be used to support Service charities and the Armed Forces Community.”

Dr Dominic Murphy, project lead, Combat Stress, said: “This is an exciting project that aims to support ex-Service personnel with alcohol difficulties by testing the use of an app-based treatment package that will allow individuals to access support digitally 24 hours a day at a time and location that suits them.”

Dr Laura Goodwin, project lead, Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, said: “We know that ex-Service personnel with mental health problems are more likely to require support for alcohol misuse, but this support is often difficult to obtain. We are pleased to be able to trial this mobile app with ex-Service personnel using Combat Stress to understand whether it can help them reduce their drinking”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Previous research has shown that more than 50% of ex-Service personnel meet the criteria for hazardous alcohol use and, while there is a range of treatment pathways available for alcohol misuse, not all ex-Service personnel are able, or want, to access support services. Digital interventions such as this can provide a novel alternative to conventional help seeking and have been shown to be as effective as face-to-interventions at a lower cost to society. The app has the potential to catalyse real change and this RCT will help us to understand whether it can be used as an effective treatment tool in lowering harmful alcohol use in the Armed Forces Community.”

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Edward Haynes at edward@amazonpr.co.uk / 020 7700 6952

Daniel Leightley is available for interview. To arrange please contact Robin Bisson, Senior Press Officer, King’s College London on +44 20 7848 5377/+44 7718 697176 / robin.bisson@kcl.ac.uk.

About King’s College London

King’s College London is one of the top 10 UK universities in the world (QS World University Rankings, 2018/19) and is among the oldest universities in England. King’s has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research.  Since our foundation, King’s students and staff have dedicated themselves in the service of society. King’s will continue to focus on world-leading education, research and service, and will have an increasingly proactive role to play in a more interconnected, complex world.

www.kcl.ac.uk

About Forces in Mind Trust
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 to make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life. FiMT delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery, and by strengthening the Armed Forces charities sector through collaboration and leadership, and by building its capacity.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model 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

In response to today’s election pledges by the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive at Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), says:

“We welcome policies that support members of our armed forces as they move into civilian life and urge all parties to prioritise help for those who need it most.

“Moving to civilian employment is generally considered to be one of the indicators of a successful transition from military to civilian life. We know, from our research, that nearly one fifth (18%) of UK organisations are unlikely to consider hiring veterans because they hold negative perceptions about their time spent serving. Veterans face significant challenges which can only be tackled if we all work together – government, charities, the public sector and businesses. The Office for Veterans’ Affairs must take the lead on this issue and we hope to see the next government reflect this in the Strategy for our Veterans.

“Parties must also pledge to grow and develop the Armed Forces Covenant. Our research indicates wide variations in the quality of social and healthcare services delivered. The Covenant must be further boosted through greater engagement with businesses and better awareness across all parts of government.

“In addition, the recent creation of the Defence Transition Services is a welcome step forward, offering enhanced support to the most vulnerable among our veterans. But as a modest resource, it will only work if it is properly targeted at those who need it most.

“We look forward to working with the next government to ensure that every person who has served our country makes a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life.”

FiMT funds study to better understand the employment barriers faced by the ex-Service community and small and medium size enterprises

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded funds of £87,140 to Good People to conduct a six-month study and feasibility assessment of an innovative new pilot aimed at improving employment outcomes for ex-Service personnel and their partners.

The project is  focussed in the Solent area, working with veterans, employers and civil society to understand the employment challenges faced by the veteran community as well as small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) seeking access to this resource pool, and to develop a new model for veteran employment.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Forces in Mind Trust has funded this research to address two key issues in the employment of ex-Service personnel.  Firstly, current recruitment methods are largely focused on CVs and job titles rather than skills and core competencies. This can be an obstacle for ex-Service personnel when seeking employment where there is a lack of understanding about transferable skills.  Secondly, smaller business, such as SMEs and Start-Ups, are often unable to engage in veteran recruitment and transition services, which have largely been focused toward large employers.

By identifying and understanding the twin challenges of engaging smaller businesses and skills-translation, the research will provide new insight into, and potential solutions for, the challenges faced by ex-Service personnel and their partners in employment.”

Richard Tyrie, Chief Executive of GoodPeople, said: “We are pleased to be supported by FiMT to explore the barriers faced by veterans and their families in navigating the rapidly changing jobs market. The transferable skills that veterans offer can be invaluable to employers big and small but knowing how military skills translate into a civilian environment can be a challenge for both employers and veterans alike. Understanding these challenges and the opportunities to overcome them is the first step towards a better working future for veterans.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact James Gillies at james@amazonpr.co.uk / 020 7700 6952 or Ana Carvallo-Phillips, Ana@amazonpr.co.uk / 020 7700 6952.

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/

Forces in Mind Trust publishes evaluation of Armed Forces Covenant training programme for local authorities across Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire

Today (7th November 2019), Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has published an evaluation report on the Charnwood, Melton and Rushcliffe (CMR) Borough Councils Partnership, which examines the development and delivery of an Armed Forces Covenant training programme for local authority staff across Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

Bringing the Armed Forces Covenant to Life was a one-day training event funded by FiMT. It was designed to build awareness of the Covenant across the two counties and was attended by staff from 13 local authorities and two universities.

In the months following the event, attendees reported increased levels of confidence and knowledge in how they can support their Armed Forces communities. They also noted improvements in their action plans and policies, better awareness of training for front-line staff, increased knowledge of the needs of the Armed Forces community and new partnerships with local organisations.

The training programme was a result of an announcement by the Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, which encouraged local authorities to consider how they could ensure that Covenant initiatives remained current and continued to support the Armed Forces community. This, coupled with available funding from FiMT, enabled the CMR Partnership to employ a Covenant expert to deliver the training programme and carry out a consultation exercise across the counties.

The evaluation follows the journey of the local authorities as they build a better awareness of the Covenant in their organisations and the CMR Partnership in designing and delivering the programme, exploring what it means in practice, and how local authorities can continue to best support their Armed Forces Communities.

The full report is available here.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive at FiMT says:

“This evaluation shows that by collaborating, and with relatively little funding, local authorities can develop and share good practice to improve delivery of their commitments under the Armed Forces Covenant. In just a matter of months, local authorities across Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire have built partnerships, renewed their commitments under the Covenant and understood how the principles can be embedded into their organisations. This isn’t complicated, but it does require commitment, and I’d encourage all local authorities to read the report and implement the lessons that will help improve the support they give to their own Armed Forces Communities.”

Julie Robinson, project lead for the Charnwood, Melton and Rushcliffe Armed Forces Covenant Partnership, says:

 “We are very proud of the Charnwood, Melton and Rushcliffe partnership and through its work we have helped a number of organisations become more aware of issues relating to Armed Forces personnel and how they can support them.”

“We were delighted to share this learning with colleagues from other organisations and we are sure it will help them deliver better services to support serving and former Armed Forces personnel.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact James Gillies at james@amazonpr.co.uk / 020 7700 6952 or Ana Carvallo-Phillips, Ana@amazonpr.co.uk / 020 7700 6952.

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

Responding to the MOD’s announcement of increased support for Service Leavers Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive at Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), says:

“The creation of the Defence Transition Service is a welcome step in the right direction. The enhanced support it offers the most vulnerable will have a big impact; but as a modest resource, it has to be targeted at those who need it most to be effective. The majority of people who leave the Armed Forces make a smooth transition to civilian life. But some do struggle, and they must be given the right support when they first need it.

“There is already much excellent work being done to support ex-Service personnel as they rejoin civilian life. The new Defence Transition Service will need to integrate with existing services provided by the public and charitable sectors. Service leavers, and in particular the most vulnerable, need to be identified early and signposted to the most appropriate services available.

“The 2016 FiMT-funded Stoll outreach programme in London demonstrated how those facing particular difficulties during transition, such as housing, employment and health issues, can be targeted to ensure they receive the best support possible (Report here). We are pleased to see that the Government is now developing a more holistic approach to the support that the Defence Transition Service promises to provide.”

“The Forces in Mind Trust has been promoting a holistic approach to transition since 2013 when it published its TMS Report, highlighting that ‘the whole family is transitioning, not just the Service leaver.”

“The MOD is stepping up its support for veterans’ transition to civilian life. The acid test though will be whether the Defence Holistic Transition Policy published today translates into practice, particularly on such key areas as the translation of military skills into the workplace, overcoming misperceptions of veterans, and sharing data”.