latest news

Forces in Mind Trust response to COVID-19

These are challenging times for society, and especially for those within the Armed Forces Community, who we were established to help live fulfilled civilian lives. The nature of what we do, and our strategic approach to how we do it, are such that we enable others to be more effective in the vital work that they carry out. We have committed to London Funders statement on COVID-19, and this note explains how Forces in Mind Trust is contributing to the national response.

Current grant holders

Our projects are at many different stages, and we know that we will have to delay some and provide additional funding for others. Some will be more affected than others, and some might now seem less important (and impactful) in a post-COVID-19 world. We have a number of projects where we have recently made a funding offer, but have yet to sign a contract. These will be our top priority as we look with you at every project individually. In the coming weeks, we would like you to tell us what you need us to do to deliver a successful project. But we won’t hassle you – you will have many other crocodiles nearer the canoe – just drop us an email or give us a call when you can. To help, the project officer you’re familiar with will message you in the next few days to let you know we’re here for you. We can offer advice, flexibility, funding and virtual tea.

Current grant applicants

If you’re in the process of applying to us, we need you to continue with the process for now. We don’t want to arrive in 2021 with a trickle of work in our pipeline. Every applicant will now be asked to include explicit consideration of the impact of COVID-19. But it might be that now is not the right time for that brilliant idea, nor indeed might it even be the right project anymore. We’re considering whether we should continue accepting new applications, and we’re subjecting our commissions to the same rigorous test of ‘right time, right project?’

The Armed Forces Charities sector

We are looking to see what we can do to support the Armed Forces Community through the current crisis. It’s still early days, but we’re working closely with Cobseo so that we target our limited resources in the most effective manner.

Our events

Sadly we’ve had to postpone this week’s Research Centre Conference and dinner, but have fixed a new Conference date of Tuesday 29th September. Our Directory of Social Change ‘Sector Insight’ report launch event in the House of Lords on 23rd April, and the launch of the ‘Service Leavers aged 50+’ report in partnership with the Officers’ Association planned for 29th April, have both been cancelled. We’re investigating how to get the reports published in a way that still ensures they make an impact.

The Soldier on Awards gala night at which our ‘Working Together’ award was to be presented has been pushed back provisionally to later this year.

Our financial position

We are in the privileged position of being an endowed spend-out Trust. Whilst our equities (the stock market) have reduced in value considerably, the prudent measures we took a couple of years ago to increase our cash holdings mean that we have sufficient liquidity to maintain our programme as planned for the immediate future as we re-plan against an anticipated eventual stock market recovery.

The FiMT Staff

We are now all working from home, and our office in Mountbarrow House is closed. We are well used to remote working, and you should be able to interact with us (apart from face-to-face) with ease. You will always get a reply from our Contact Form.

We are very proud of our staff who serve in the Armed Forces Reserves, and the Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps, and we’re sure you will understand if they do not respond to you in the normal speedy fashion.

Our Board

We are fortunate to have such a determined, well-connected and forward-looking set of Trustees and Advisers who populate our Board and Committees. We know they also face challenges in their own professional and personal lives, and we are enormously grateful for their unstinting support.

Forces in Mind Trust awards longer-term employment outcomes commission to QinetiQ

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) is delighted to announce that it has awarded QinetiQ a grant of £265,744 to produce a longer-term employment outcomes report, which FiMT commissioned in September 2019.

This report will be a comprehensive piece of research examining longer-term employment outcomes for ex-Service personnel. It aims to better understand how a person’s time in service and the support received during their transition to civilian life impacts their longer-term employment outcomes.

This research will be carried out in conjunction with the University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research. It is expected to take eighteen months, and is due for publication by Autumn 2021.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive at FiMT says:

“Securing meaningful long-term employment is often regarded as a measurement of how successful an ex-Service person’s transition to civilian life has been.  Although the majority of ex-Service personnel are able to find employment, little consideration has been given to the longevity or quality of these roles.

This report will establish what the longer-term employment prospects for ex-Service personnel are, and how a person’s time in service (including education, training and experience) and the support received during their transition impacts longer-term employment outcomes.

Working towards all ex-Service personnel having a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life is at the heart of Forces in Mind Trust’s mission.  This is often partially conditional on securing appropriate employment, so we are very proud to announce a new report which promotes a better understanding of this important issue.”

Alistair Halliday, Chief Executive of RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, says:

“At RFEA we are dedicated to supporting veterans through every stage of their employment journey and, therefore, understand the specific challenges that are unique to ex-forces personnel seeking roles outside the Military.

Whilst most veterans transition easily into civilian jobs, we know that some later can struggle to find meaningful roles that enable them to thrive.

We want every ex-serviceman and woman to benefit from employment which not only provides financial security, but also makes use of their skills and experience and can boost their feelings of self-worth and contribution to wider society.

However, to help us in achieving this goal, we need to understand how many are falling short of this level of meaningful and sustainable long-term employment, and why, so that we can plug those gaps. We are proud to be able to support this research by making sure veterans’ voices are heard and listened to, so that positive changes can be made.”

Professor Clare Lyonette at the University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research says:

“Although we have done previous research on the employment outcomes of particular groups of veterans or on particular types of employment, this project is examining employment outcomes more broadly and over a longer period of time. We hope that the research findings will have real impact on the policy environment, allowing ex-Service personnel to translate the skills and experience they have gained during their time in the Armed Forces into long-lasting, meaningful and satisfying work”.

Natalie Fisher, Senior Occupational Psychologist at QinetiQ says:

“I am excited to be leading this important piece of research, working alongside colleagues at Warwick Institute for Employment Research and RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity.

For those leaving the UK Armed Forces, employment is seen a key indicator of a successful and sustainable transition. However, whilst previous research shows that the majority of ex-Service personnel gain employment after leaving, less consideration has been given towards the longevity of the employment achieved, or whether veterans are employed in the ‘right’ jobs (i.e. fulfilling and sustainable, maximising their potential).

The proposed study aims to address this gap in research by exploring the longer-term employment outcomes for ex-Service personnel and how their time in the Service impacts these outcomes. We are also looking to identify the barriers and facilitators to successful and sustainable employment as well as gain a clear understanding of how ‘successful employment’ is defined.”


Forces in Mind Trust and King’s Centre for Military Health Research hold veterans’ mental health conference in London

Today, the King’s Centre for Military Health Research is holding its annual Veterans’ Mental Health Conference at King’s College London. Co-supported and sponsored by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), this conference is providing a range of stakeholders including medical practitioners, third sector providers, academics, and government ministers with the opportunity to share knowledge, best practice, and recent research on mental health issues effecting the ex-Service community.

Johnny Mercer MP, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, is delivering this conference’s opening address. Mr Mercer will be offering an overview of the work he and the Office for Veterans’ Affairs are undertaking, with a particular focus on improving mental healthcare provision in the ex-Service community.

Three newly created Executive Summaries for recently completed FiMT-funded mental-health related research projects are also being disseminated at the Conference to help inform all attendees of the important findings. The three summaries are for each of the following projects:

  1. The mental health needs of serving and ex-Service personnel: A review of the latest evidence and key stakeholder perspectives, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research
  2. A Randomised Control Trial of modular motion-assisted memory desensitisation & reconsolidation (3MDR) for treatment resistant PTSD, by Professor Jonathan Bisson, University of Cardiff
  3. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (CPTSD) in Military Personnel, by Professor Thanos Karatzias and Dr Dominic Murphy of Edinburgh Napier University

Dr Neil Kitchiner and Professor Karatzias will each present on one of the latter two projects above (Dr Neil Kitchiner having been keenly involved in the 3MDR University of Cardiff project above). The respective presentations are entitled: ‘3MDR as a treatment for veterans with PTSD’, and ‘PTSD and Complex PTSD in veterans: Assessment & Treatment’.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive at FiMT says:

“This conference promises to be as informative as it is exciting.  It will allow researchers to showcase their excellent work on the mental health issues most affecting ex-Service personnel, as well as share this with key stakeholders who can positively impact this area.

This is the fifth such conference that the Forces in Mind Trust has sponsored.  Every year has demonstrated how much value can be gained from convening this level of expertise, and subsequent collaboration between academics and stakeholders.  We are sure that previous years’ successes will be replicated, and look forward to seeing this conference’s positive contributions towards mental healthcare provision for ex-Service personnel.”

Professor Neil Greenberg, Professor of Defence Mental Health at Kings College London says:

“As in previous years it is fantastic to bring together colleagues in academia, the military, the public sector and service charities under one roof to discuss the innovative and impactful research that is happening across the UK and further afield in this area. By working collaboratively and closely with everyone involved we really hope to ‘bridge the gap’ in terms of improving our knowledge of veteran mental health and using this to develop effective approaches to improve the lives of military personnel, serving and retired, and their families.”


FiMT’s statement on today’s Budget

In today’s Budget, the Chancellor announced that employers hiring ex-Service personnel will not pay National Insurance Contributions for the first year. Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive at the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), says:

“This is a positive step for those leaving the Armed Forces, as well as employers who have a lot to gain from hiring ex-Service personnel. Studies show that organizations, especially those that have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, benefit significantly from the extra value ex-Service personnel bring, not just in recruitment and retention, but also reputationally.

“Following the Government’s earlier announcement that ex-Service personnel will be guaranteed interviews when applying for civil service roles in certain departments, this demonstrates a further commitment to providing support for those who have served our country as they move into civilian life.

“We continue to work with partners such as X-Forces Enterprise to ensure that ex-Service personnel achieve sustainable, secure and satisfying employment, and for employers, in particular SMEs, to be able to better connect with the skills and experience of ex-Service personnel and their families. We also look forward to continuing to work with the Government on further measures to support ex-Service personnel and their families.

In October 2019, the Forces in Mind Trust published a Policy Statement on Employment which can be found here.


Clore Social Leadership announces 2020 Cobseo Emerging Leader Programme participants

Today, Clore Social announced the names of new participants on its 2020 Cobseo Emerging Leader Programme. This is an intensive six-month leadership development journey designed to strengthen networks within the Armed Forces Charity Sector and build agile, resilient, and generous leadership capabilities.

The 2020 cohort consists of leaders working across a variety of Armed Forces Charity Sector organisations, including SSAFA, Veterans Growth, Royal Navy Royal Marines Children’s Fund, Welsh Local Government Association, Naval Families Federation, ABF The Soldiers Charity, Blesma, Combat Stress, and more.

Building on a number of years’ partnership with Clore Social Leadership and Cobseo, the Forces in Mind Trust are proud to be supporting and sponsoring this leadership development programme for the third consecutive year. This partnership has been established to help increase the sector’s effectiveness and ultimately improve outcomes for the organisations’ beneficiaries. This is the innovative and system changing approach to which the partners are committed.

Commenting on this year’s cohort, Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust said:

“We are very pleased to be supporting this excellent programme for another year.  It brings together some of the best emerging Leaders in the Armed Forces Charity Sector, offering them access to a bespoke training and development programme.  Nobody should lead alone, and this programme allows its Fellows to develop a mutually supportive network across the sector.

By convening these emerging leaders on such a training programme, we are proactively investing in the future capacity of the Armed Forces Charity Sector.  The Fellows are all exceptional individuals, and we have no doubt that they will continue to make a positive mark wherever they go.”

Drawing on all aspects of Clore Social’s Social Leaders Capabilities Framework, this intensive leadership development journey aims to develop inspirational, empowering, courageous, focused, passionate and generous leadership capabilities. Participants will learn through real-world challenges, while using a variety of techniques – all designed to equip them with the tools necessary to develop their skills and effectively tackle the Armed Forces Charity Sector’s challenges.

This year’s successful Cobseo Emerging Leader Fellow are:

  • Adrian Leslie, The Royal British Legion
  • Adrienne Drury, SSAFA
  • Alice Turbine, Royal British Legion Industries
  • Andrew Kochman, The Royal British Legion
  • Charlotte Fiander, Cobseo – The Confederation of Service Charities
  • Garry Burns, Combat Stress
  • Hilary Pearce, Communities Fiji Britain
  • Isabel Summers, Forces in Mind Trust
  • Jason Stevens, Veterans Growth
  • John Harry Reed, Royal Marines Association – The Royal Marines Charity
  • Justin Phillips. SSAFA
  • Kate Billingham Wilson, ABF The Soldiers Charity
  • Lorna Dorrell, Blesma
  • Lucy Heaver, Naval Families Federation
  • Millie Taylor, Welsh Local Government Association
  • Philip Town, SSAFA
  • Rachel Tribble, SSAFA
  • Sarah Smith, Royal Navy Royal Marines Children’s Fund
  • Sarah Wilson, Veterans Growth
  • Tracey Berridge, SSAFA

Request for expressions of interest

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has issued a request for expressions of interest (REOI) to conduct research on Future Trends – their impact on the Armed Forces Community in 2031 and beyond, with a focus on transition.

The focus of the research will be on the future socio-economic and socio-political trends and their impact on transition from the Armed Forces to civilian life in 2031 and beyond. By generating enhanced knowledge and insight into the relevant trends, and the implied changing nature of the interventions and support required, FiMT is aiming to ensure that the Armed Forces Community has the best possible chance of success of making a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life.

The REOI can be found here and the deadline for expressions of interest is 2pm Monday 30th March 2020.

Forces in Mind Trust’s response to new Government plan for veterans’ mental health service

Today Johnny Mercer, the Minister for Veterans, has announced additional mental health support for vulnerable veterans.  In response, Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive at the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), the leading research and policy grant-making charity working in the armed forces community, said:

“We welcome the Minister’s announcement to bring forward plans to provide mental health support for those veterans who are most vulnerable.  All suicides are personal tragedies, and everything should be done to prevent them.  While the majority of those leaving the Armed Forces do so and lead successful civilian lives, it is vital that we prioritise help for those who need it most.

“The provision of that support must be based on evidence, and an understanding of the challenges some individuals face, as well as the efficacy of the treatment available.  We know from our research that there are many factors to consider, including service, but also issues that pre-date enlistment.

“We also know there are barriers to seeking support.  More should be done to educate members of the Armed Forces, and also to improve awareness among health professionals of the specific needs of veterans.”