Building on their award-winning Armed Forces charities research, the Directory of Social Change (DSC), funded by Forces in Mind Trust, has today launched a new online tool, The Cobseo Covid-19 Impact Database, a unique and interactive source of data on how Armed Forces charities are affected by Covid-19.

This rich and unique data source contains key data on Armed Forces charities, collected bi-annually by DSC directly from Cobseo, the Confederation of Service Charity Members. It covers key metrics such as changes in beneficiary needs, service delivery, income and expenditure, and risks facing charities both now and in the future. The database launches one year after DSC started to survey Cobseo Members and provides a clear picture of how charities have operated and the challenges they have faced throughout the past twelve months.

Last year, DSC’s evidence from Cobseo Members helped secure £6 million in government support to Armed Forces charities to help them manage the impact of the pandemic. This interactive evidence base, combined with DSC’s written reports on successive surveys, will help direct strategic decision making.

Insightful, interactive visuals can be created in just a few clicks, placing the latest evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on Cobseo’s Members at the fingertips. The most recent survey shows that Cobseo Members continued to experience large increases in demand for key services, including mental health support (68% of respondents) and loneliness support (64% of respondents).

The database further shows how Cobseo Members are facing increased demand for support with decreasing resources, with 60% of respondents reporting a decrease in income.

DSC’s written report, also published today, provides extra, in-depth analysis of the latest survey and dissects emerging trends over time, in addition to fresh qualitative insights from Cobseo Members, which highlight charities’ experiences on the ground.

The report calls for close monitoring of the current situation, particularly for mental health and wellbeing, to develop a detailed understanding of funding and service delivery challenges, to continue to inform and influence policy.

Commenting on the launch today, DSC Research Development Manager and lead author, Stuart Cole said:

“The Cobseo Impact Database is a unique resource for monitoring the impact of the pandemic. With just a few clicks, users can answer key questions about how Cobseo Members are reporting being affected. The Impact Database combined with DSC’s three written reports on the topic to date are key tools for enabling evidence-based strategic thinking and action for Cobseo and its Members.”

Mike Ellicock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said:

“We know that the impact of the pandemic is being felt by many charities providing vital support for the Armed Forces Community. Thanks to Cobseo and DSC, with this new interactive database, we can now clearly demonstrate the challenges the sector is facing, and help charities and policymakers see how and where support is most needed. Forces in Mind Trust is delighted to have funded this important tool, and would encourage those across the sector to use the data we have gathered to support their own work.”

General Sir John McColl KCB CBE DSO, Chair of Cobseo said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all and we know that our Members have faced some incredibly difficult circumstances, with increases in demand across the full spectrum of support contrasted with deep cuts in funding. Whilst the findings in the latest Cobseo COVID-19 impact survey paint a somewhat bleak picture of the demands continuing to face our membership, gathering first-hand quantitative and qualitative data has provided Cobseo with the evidence necessary to inform current dialogue, future planning, and the development of services to Members.

“The efforts of the sector to continue supporting those who have often made the greatest sacrifices through their service to the country have been remarkable, and we should all be very proud of how the Sector has come through the worst of all years. Our Members have been innovative, robust, and determined throughout the past twelve months to continue supporting the Armed Forces Community and we will continue to monitor the impact being felt by the sector through future survey work.”



Notes to editors:
Access the dashboard for free here.

For more information about the project, please contact

About the project
Since 2014, Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has funded DSC to gather data and provide illuminating analysis of the Armed Forces charity sector. The interactive dashboard is designed to accompany the analysis provided in the Sector Insight reports on the sector as a whole, and the Focus On reports on key topics of support. All DSC’s written reports can be found here.

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 Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities):
Cobseo, the Confederation of Service Charities represents, promotes, and furthers the interest of the Armed Forces Community. Its purpose is to maximise the effectiveness, efficiency, and influence of the Service Charity Sector to positively enhance the lives of beneficiaries in the Armed Forces Community.

As a membership organisation, it provides a single point of contact for interaction with Government and all other key stakeholders on behalf of its Members. It achieves its aims by facilitating the exchange and co-ordination of information, identifying issues of common concern and co-ordinating any appropriate action, and representing and supporting the needs and opinions of members. Cobseo represents 1,000 Member, Associate, and Affiliate organisations.

Cobseo’s principal mechanism for embedding co-operation and collaboration across the Sector is through a series of functional Clusters where organisations specialising in each Cluster subject area come together to raise issues, identify solutions, make recommendations for action and/or improvement, and determine best practice.


Twitter: @Cobseo

About the Directory of Social Change (DSC):
DSC has a vision of an independent voluntary sector at the heart of social change. DSC believes the activities of independent charities, voluntary organisations and community groups are fundamental to achieve social change, and DSC exists to help these organisations and the people who support them to achieve their goals. It does this by:

  • providing practical tools that organisations and activists need, including online and printed publications, training courses, and conferences on a huge range of topics
  • acting as a ‘concerned citizen’ in public policy debates, often on behalf of smaller charities, voluntary organisations and community groups
  • leading campaigns and stimulating debate on key policy issues that affect those groups
    carrying out research and providing information to influence policymakers.

DSC is the leading provider of information and training for the voluntary sector and publishes an extensive range of guides and handbooks covering subjects such as fundraising, management, communication, finance and law. Since 2014, DSC has worked with the Forces in Mind Trust to research and analyse the Armed Forces charities sector in the UK and has become the foremost expert in this field.

Twitter: @DSC_Charity