Forces in Mind Trust has awarded funding to the University of Chester for a new research project which aims to understand the impact of serving in the UK Armed Forces for veterans and their families whose heritage is from the Indian sub-continent or the West Indies.

The two-year project, led by Professor Alan Finnegan and Lieutenant Colonel Professor Bhairavi Sapre, will focus on transition to civilian life for veterans and their families, but will also seek to understand the full experience of these veterans throughout their service. The research will include a survey and then interviews with veterans from the West Indies and Indian sub-continent. The University of Chester’s Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans will be working with statutory and non-statutory services including the Defence Hindu Network and the Why are West Indians in this country? project to connect with participants who may wish to be involved in this study.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic personnel account for 9.2% of the UK Regular Armed Forces. Alongside women, they are overrepresented in the Service Complaints system. The researchers intend for this project to gain an understanding of their experiences to generate sustained change to improve the lives of this group of ex-Service personnel and their families.

Mike Ellicock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said “This is an important and under-researched area. We know that Service personnel and veterans from ethnic minority groups may face additional challenges and are overrepresented in the complaints system. This research will seek to understand the lived experience of veterans from a West Indian or Indian sub-continent heritage, to understand how this may impact their transition from the military to civilian life. At Forces in Mind Trust, we believe no one should be disadvantaged because of their service; this research project will help us to explore how improvements can be made, and whether more tailored support should be provided to these groups.”

Alan Finnegan, Professor of Nursing and Military Mental Health said “I was very fortunate when serving in the Armed Forces to work alongside multi-national friends and colleagues. I therefore embrace the opportunity offered by Forces in Mind Trust to try and get an understanding of the lived experiences of those predominately from a West Indian or Indian sub-continent heritage. We want to highlight both the challenges and the positives.  We are very fortunate in securing the support of a strong and expert reference group that will be Chaired by Estephanie Dunn to make sure the study succeeds.”

Lieutenant Colonel Professor Bhairavi Sapre said “This study comes at a time when the status and contribution of ethnic minorities in British society are in the spotlight. As a member of the UK Armed Forces from an ethnic minority group, I’m excited at the prospect of gaining greater understanding of the lived experience of this group as little research has taken place in this area. We are grateful to the Forces in Mind Trust for recognising this gap and supporting us to develop this research which in turn will help to shape the way in which this minority group is supported in the future.”



About Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT was founded in November 2011 by a £35 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund (now The National Lottery Community Fund). As a member of Cobseo – the Confederation of Service Charities and a permanent member of its Executive Committee, the Trust works within the Armed Forces charities sector, and much more widely, to support the UK’s Armed Forces Community.

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’s grants and commissions are designed to generate sustained change that improves the lives of ex-Service personnel and their families. FiMT awards grants to support its Change Model based on six outcomes: Housing; Employment; Health; Finance; Criminal Justice System and Relationships.



What we fund:

Twitter: @FiMTrust

About University of Chester – Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans

The Centre supports the Armed Forces community through research, educational provision and community engagement.

Colonel (Rtd) Alan Finnegan, Professor of Nursing and Military Health is the University’s Armed Forces Champion and develops and supports the University’s Armed Forces Network as well as being Director of the Centre.

The University is part of numerous national and international military networks that are striving to support and improve the health and well-being of the Armed Forces Community. Locally, the University is a member of the Cheshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership, which is a commitment by civilian organisations in collaboration with the MoD to support the Armed Forces community. It is an opportunity to recognise the value of serving personnel, both regulars and reservists, veterans and military families and their contribution to the UK.

The Cheshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership comprises Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington Councils, the NHS, Clinical Commissioning Groups, charities, the Department of Work and Pensions, the emergency services, veterans, military families and the MoD and the University of Chester.

Professor Finnegan is Chair of this Committee, which enables the University access to networks and information sharing which in turn gives the ability to provide members of our own internal Armed Forces Network with the relevant advice, guidance and practical support that may be needed by this community.

Professor Finnegan is also the Chair for the Armed Forces Network North West which is the regional focus for the NHS.