The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), established to help ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful transition back to civilian life, is delighted to announce the award of not one but three successful FiMT Specialist Fellowships on Clore Social Leadership’s 2017 Fellowship programme: Elizabeth George, Head of Fundraising at The Poppy Factory; Louise Simpson, Policy and Research Director at the Army Families Federation; and Vikki Muir, Grants and Welfare Executive Officer at ABF-The Soldiers’ Charity.

FiMT has sponsored a Specialist Fellowship each year on Clore Social Leadership’s Fellowship programme since 2015, the aim being to build a supportive cohort of FiMT Specialist Fellows who through this leadership and network development opportunity are able to encourage deeper connections and shared learning between military charities and the wider social sector.  These connections will enable more innovative and collaborative service delivery and help ensure that future policy is supported by a more widely acknowledged and sound evidence base.  Read more about FiMT’s past, current and new Fellows below.

The 12-month programme identifies, connects and develops individuals who have the ambition to lead social change in their communities, organisations and in the world around them through a combination of personalized elements, including residential courses, coaching, mentoring, action learning sets, and a secondment, culminating in a challenging writing piece that aims to provoke debate to bring about change.

FiMT’s 2016 Specialist Fellow, Dr Marie-Louise Sharp, is in the final months of her Fellowship and will shortly release a provocative writing piece and supporting blog which questions why, of the relatively few UK Armed Forces personnel who suffer from mental health problems, do the majority still rather do so in silence and isolation, rather than seek the various avenues of help on offer (a link will be available on FiMT’s website shortly).  Read Marie-Louise’s previous blog here:

FiMT’s first Specialist Fellow, Dr Jane Rowley, completed her Fellowship in Spring 2016 after a 3- month secondment with SSAFA the armed forces charity, which put into practice all she had learned in her 2015 Fellowship.  Read Jane’s personal learning summary, entitled ‘What more can we do to support ex-Services personnel? An investigation into Post Traumatic Growth and the Role of Expert Companions’ and her final blog which reflects on the Fellowship experience.

Visit for information on when applications for FiMT’s 2018 Specialist Fellowship open.

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This will be our third year of funding a FiMT Specialist Fellowship.  Our two previous Specialist Fellows brought different approaches and experiences, but the common factor is their professionalism, drive and commitment to making the most of this leadership development year.  Not only have these Fellows grown personally through the challenging programme elements, they have each left behind a significant individual contribution to the work of the Armed Forces charities sector.  They’re tough acts to follow, but we’ve once again attracted high-calibre individuals from the military not-for-profit sector, and we’re looking forward to seeing what insights and collaborative learning opportunities our 2017 Fellows can share across this sector.”

In no particular order, Elizabeth George, Head of Fundraising at The Poppy Factory and FiMT Specialist Fellow 2017 (1), said: “Every day, I work alongside disabled members of the Armed Forces community at The Poppy Factory.  I witness daily the challenges these veterans face in the workplace and am committed to creating a more inclusive world.  I am looking forward to working with my colleagues across the social sector to address these issues and I am grateful to Forces in Mind Trust for giving me this opportunity.”

Louise Simpson, Policy & Research Director at the Army Families Federation (AFF) and FiMT Specialist Fellow 2017 (2), said: “This fellowship is not only extremely exciting for me personally but also professionally.  It will be hugely beneficial to AFF as it will allow me to engage with and implement gold standard working practices, helping AFF to support Army families in the most appropriate, innovative way, ensuring families’ needs are always at the heart of our work.”

Vikki Muir, Grants and Welfare Executive Officer at ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and FiMT Specialist Fellow 2017 (3), said: “I am very keen to better understand and explore how civilian organisations demonstrate their outcomes to potential beneficiaries and the wider world.  Using this understanding will enable ABF the Soldiers’ Charity, as well as the military charity sector as whole, to illustrate the impact that our funding makes on both our individual beneficiaries and the breadth of organisations that we support.”

Shaks Ghosh, Chief Executive of Clore Social Leadership, said: “Today’s social leaders are required to work in an increasingly complex environment.  Our new Social Leaders’ Capabilities Framework was developed incorporating current issues and foresight trends, and our 2017 Fellows will be immersed in it to ensure they understand what is required of them to help alleviate future needs and challenges.”

“Social issues are not just relevant to our sector.  We know people care and want change, that is why we are sharing this framework widely.  Everybody should be given the opportunity to become better leaders, and this framework will continue to evolve as the world does.”


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.
  • 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 Veterans’ 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.
  • Read Dr Jane Rowley’s report: ‘What more can we do to support ex-Services personnel?’
  • Find out more about Forces in Mind Trust: and who we have supported so far:
  • Read about our multi-million pound Mental Health Research Programme:

About Clore Social Leadership

Clore Social Leadership is committed to social change. The find and develop leaders with a social purpose so that they can transform their communities, organisations and the world around them. We offer a Fellowship Programme and a range of leadership development workshops.

For more information, please visit and join the conversation on Twitter @CloreSocial.