Service Leavers who are likely to struggle to adapt to civilian life should be identified by the Ministry of Defence before they leave the Armed Forces and offered tailored support to help transition effectively, according to two Veterans’ organisations. Armed Forces charities Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and Stoll, the leading provider of supported housing for Veterans, are calling for services to be developed across the UK that ensure the most vulnerable Service Leavers receive the health and welfare support they need, and avoid homelessness and unemployment. Service Leavers who are most likely to struggle with adapting to civilian life include people with mental health issues, and those with no settled home or family life to go to after their transition into civilian life.
New independent research, funded by FiMT, shows that Stoll’s Outreach Transition Service, the first ever service of its kind targeting these specific individuals, has been highly effective in helping vulnerable Service Leavers make a successful transition from the Armed Forces into civilian life. The research covered a pilot service in which 44 Veterans were found appropriate accommodation, 36 were supported into employment and 85 people received mental health advice and support.
The charities have also published a joint call to action which is being shared with the Ministry of Defence policy staff, Regional Brigades, and Local Authorities as well as homelessness and Veterans’ organisations. The call to action highlights the importance of identifying vulnerable Service Leavers, making sure that they have the right information at the right time, and are offered appropriate, tailored support.
Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of FiMT, said: “Most people transition from the Armed Forces to civilian life successfully; but for a small number without the right support, the challenges can prove overwhelming. That is why providing tailored support to those who are most likely to struggle, as early as possible, is an approach we firmly advocate. I am pleased that this two-year pilot project has shown the efficacy of Stoll’s transition service in London. The report’s findings demonstrate that timely and targeted support services can transform the lives of vulnerable Service Leavers, and that this is a model that is worth funding and expanding to improve the transition of Service Leavers.”
Ed Tytherleigh, Chief Executive of Stoll, said: “We are pleased that the evidence shows our service is helping those in the London area; we must now ensure there is effective transition support available for Service Leavers in other parts of the country, notably those in the South and South East where the shortfall in appropriate accommodation for Veterans is most acute.”
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Notes to editors
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. http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.
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.
Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/
About the Mental Health Research Programme: www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/research-programme/
FiMT’s ‘Transition Mapping Study’ which reviewed how the entire transition process from military to civilian life currently works and how it is viewed by stakeholders and recent Service leavers was produced with Stoll and launched in 2013.
- Stoll is one of the UK’s oldest Veterans’ charities – the leading provider of supported housing for Veterans
- Stoll provides a unique combination of housing, health and wellbeing support to vulnerable and disabled ex-Service men and women
- Stoll provides safe and secure housing that allows Veterans to live comfortably and independently
- Stoll is supported by Walking With The Wounded to help get Veterans back into training or work. Since November 2015 our employment advisor has worked with 51 beneficiaries, supporting 26 into sustainable employment.
- As well as providing supported housing, Stoll accesses specialist services to help vulnerable Veterans improve their physical and mental health
- For more information, please visit our website: www.stoll.org.uk