Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive at the Forces in Mind Trust said: “The ‘Strategy for our Veterans’ has the potential to transform how ex-Service personnel and their families are supported by the nation. Having understandably delayed the Government’s consultation response until after the recent general election, the Office for Veterans Affairs now has a key and immediate role in producing an action plan that will actually make a difference to people’s lives.
“Any measures Government can take to improve employment prospects of veterans are welcome. But we must be careful to avoid the narrative that veterans are in some ways needy or broken. Our research suggests such misperceptions are not just damaging, but are widespread amongst employers. The Office can lead the charge, with others such as ourselves, to dispel these myths.
“Finally, our research shows that the Covenant is widely misunderstood by the public sector and members of the Armed Forces community. I’m not convinced that legislation is the solution – better communications, active and committed local champions and leaders, and shared best practice – these are all areas that our research suggests can greatly improve support to the Armed Forces community.
“I do want to emphasize that the Armed Forces community doesn’t want to be granted an advantage over the rest of society – they just want to be treated fairly. Government needs to be careful that in taking positive action. It doesn’t inadvertently perpetuate the myths that everyone’s a special case (although some are) and that somehow veterans are a drain on society – they’re not. They are a fantastic asset that the whole country needs to tap into.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Edward Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7700 6952.
About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):
FiMT came about from a partnership between the then 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 Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families 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/