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 £91,416 to the RFEA: The Forces Employment Charity for Anglia Ruskin University to measure the effectiveness and outcomes of Project Nova.

Project Nova is a “first of its kind” partnership which involves the RFEA, Walking with the Wounded and Norfolk and Suffolk Police Force working together to support Veterans who have entered Police Custody. The project is an 18-month trial which will provide advice, guidance and support to Veterans in Norfolk and Suffolk using a network of military charities and organisations who can assist Veterans depending on their individual needs. Project Nova will be underpinned by an academic evaluation carried out by Anglia Ruskin University.

Project Nova will be coordinated by the RFEA’s Colin Back, who has already been working closely with the Norfolk and Suffolk Police Custody Suites to support and engage with the vulnerable Veterans they identify. Colin served in the Army for six years, leaving in 1983; he then served with Norfolk and Kent Police until joining the RFEA charity in 2011 as a specialist employment consultant, working with Veterans in Prison. Colin has strong links across both counties and actively supports Veterans in the Criminal Justice System, linking them into the military charity network available to them.

This is FiMT’s second grant award to the RFEA, the first being the Future Horizons Programme, a pilot project based in Catterick Garrison assisting Early Service Leavers in their transition back into civilian life.  Future Horizons is now being funded by the MoD and is offered to Early Service Leavers from all three Services.

Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, Ray Lock, said: “This project will provide an invaluable insight into an extremely vulnerable cohort.

“FiMT is very pleased to provide funding for this type of research, which adds to the strong evidence-base to which we are contributing across the sector. The findings will enable support services to improve the intervention we can offer Veterans entering police custody, ensuring they have the necessary additional help to take their place in society.”

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The Big Lottery Fund (BIG): The Forces in Mind Trust continues BIG’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.