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 £137,605 to Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, to carry out a two-year study into the impact of traumatic limb loss on the families of those who have been injured.

The research will explore the experiences of traumatic limb loss from the perspective of the veteran and their family unit, in order to provide insight into, and understanding of, their needs and how they experience, manage and adapt to living with limb loss.

Blesma has tasked the Veterans & Families Institute (VFI) at Anglia Ruskin University, led by Matt Fossey, Director of the Institute, and Dr Hilary Engward, a senior researcher, to conduct the research as experts in the field.

Matt said: “There is currently very little research into the impact of traumatic limb loss on families. We are delighted to be working with Blesma to understand more about how families are affected by these life-altering injuries. Furthermore in this important study we will also be looking at veterans whose injuries were not sustained in combat. This is important as this is a group often overlooked by the media.”

Blesma currently supports widows and surviving partners of Members (serving military personnel and veterans who have lost limb(s), the use of limbs or eyesight) and is now looking to extend that support to families, reflecting the new generation of younger amputees.

From their work directly supporting Members, Blesma Support Officers based across the UK became aware that the families of Members are also affected by the limb loss of their loved one. Blesma commissioned a literature review in 2014 conducted by Matt Fossey and Professor Jamie Hacker-Hughes of the VFI to consider the most relevant and up-to-date studies of the impact of traumatic limb loss on families.

The review concluded that there is no UK research exploring the impact on the families of veterans living with limb loss, so it was natural progression for Blesma to commission a study into the subject.

It is expected that the study will provide charities who work with amputees, statutory bodies delivering health and social care and other interested parties with credible information to assist with future decisions that affect the families of those living with limb loss.

Barry Le Grys MBE, Chief Executive of Blesma said: “Blesma has done comprehensive preparatory work in advance of this project and we know it is much needed.  We are most confident the findings will make a difference to not just the services offered to our Members but much more widely; we anticipate policy makers and service providers nationally will find the results significant.”

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This is an important study that will build on the work already completed by Blesma.  It will enable statutory providers and relevant charities, including Blesma, to be able to improve their support to ex-Service personnel and their families affected by limb loss. By better understanding the impact of traumatic limb loss, we will be contributing to the credible evidence base needed to ensure that policy-makers, commissioners and service deliverers can prioritise and direct resources to greatest effect.”


Notes to Editor

For further information about the study, please go to: or call Matt Fossey on 01245 684608.

About Blesma, The Limbless Veterans

Blesma, The Limbless Veterans is the national charity for all limbless serving and ex-service men and women, their widows and dependants.  It is a membership organisation which helps wounded service men and women rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support. Their membership includes those who have lost the use of a limb, an eye or the sight of an eye.

Blesma was formed in the years following the First World War and became a national charity in 1932.  Blesma today has around 3,500 Members and widows. The membership consists of men and women who have served during the Second World War and the many subsequent conflicts and peacekeeping operations since, including the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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For further information on Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, contact

Bryony Stevens,

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.  Since 2004 the Fund has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans.
  • Our Vision is that all ex-Service personnel and their families lead successful and fulfilled civilian lives. Our Mission is to enable them to make a successful and sustainable transition. Our Strategy is to use our spend-out endowment to fund targeted, conceptually sound, evidence generation and influence activities that will cause policy makers and service deliverers to support our Mission.
  • FiMT awards grants (both reactive and proactive) and commissions research along three key themes: Evidence, Innovation and Collaboration.  All work is published to a high standard of reportage to add to the evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.
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