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Recruitment opens for leadership development programme for the Armed Forces charities sector

Clore Social Leadership has announced today, Thursday 11th October 2018, details of its 2019 Cobseo Emerging Leader Programme designed in partnership with the Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo) and the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).

Aimed at emerging leaders working in the Armed Forces and Service charities sector, the programme seeks to build agile, resilient, and effective leadership, while consolidating solidarity, collaboration, and joint action within the sector. Drawing on all aspects of Clore Social’s Social Leaders’ Capabilities Framework, the programme is designed to help leaders become more empowered, focused, and generous, and gain a greater understanding of their strengths, abilities and preferences.

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust said:

‘We are delighted to support the second run of the Cobseo Emerging Leader Programme. Leadership development, such as this excellent Clore programme, enables committed individuals to enhance their abilities and transform their organisations. Through investing in the development of strong and adaptive leadership, FiMT can help increase the sector’s effectiveness and ultimately improve the outcomes for the organisations’ beneficiaries. This is exactly the type of innovative and system changing approach we were established to take’.

The programme will run for 6 months and is structured to fit around existing leadership commitments, providing a blended approach which allows for self-directed learning, while offering the opportunity to work together with a group of peers who will support, challenge and inspire each other.

Fraser Gilmore, 2017 Cobseo Emerging Leader Fellow has emphasised the benefits of working and learning with other leaders:

“I understand the context of leadership in the third sector better and this has helped me grow in my role. Meeting other leaders in the sector has expanded my network and that of the organisation which has led to some interesting conversations about future work. This has created better collaboration which can only be good for the sector”

Commenting on the launch of the programme, Shaks Ghosh, Chief Executive of Clore Social Leadership said: ‘We know that effective leadership leads to stronger, more resilient and successful communities. This is why we are very excited to continue to work with the Service charities sector. Developing these dedicated future leaders will ensure their organisations adapt and thrive in times of change’.

Applications are now open with 24 places available for emerging leaders with a minimum of 3 years’ experience leading a team, department, or organisation in the social sector. Senior leaders from sector organisations are invited to nominate their most determined and talented people eager to expand their leadership skills and make a lasting difference in their organisations and sector.

For more information and to apply, please visit:

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Minister of Defence People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood MP delivers keynote speech at inaugural FiMT Research Centre Conference

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) held its inaugural Research Centre Conference today, Thursday 11th October, at Church House, Westminster and presented two awards for excellence in research.

Over 100 delegates from across the academic, Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces sectors attended, with a host of speakers including Lord Ashcroft, who was the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Veterans’ Transition from 2012 to 2018 and conducted the Veterans’ Transition Review.

The Lord Ashcroft Veterans’ Research Award went to Shared Intelligence for their ‘Our Community – Our Covenant’ project, and the FiMT Research Centre Award for Most Impactful Research went to Community Innovations Enterprise LLP for their ‘Call to Mind’ project series. Both have influenced policy makers, led to further research projects and have had an impact on services provided to veterans.

The Research Centre was launched last year to support the research needs of the Armed Forces Community. The Centre’s purpose is to facilitate research in the UK that deepens shared understanding and develops links between the academic community, government organisations, statutory and voluntary service providers, the media, and the public.

To help toward this purpose, the Veterans and Families Research Hub (VFR Hub) is part of the Centre. This is an easily-searchable and free-to-use online resource offering an authoritative source of research-related information on ex-Service personnel and their families. The VFR Hub was jointly established and initially funded by Lord Ashcroft and FiMT.

Lord Ashcroft said: “One of the main findings from my work on veterans’ transition was the need for a source of good, reliable, authoritative and easily accessible research and information on service leavers, veterans and their families. That is why we established the Veterans’ Research Hub, whose work is providing a solid basis of evidence for policymakers and will help to combat some of the myths and misapprehensions about veterans that can make the transition to civilian life harder than it needs to be. I am delighted to support this conference and congratulate the award winners for their exemplary work.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This is the first conference that the FiMT Research Centre has held. The opportunity to assemble researchers already interested in the Armed Forces Community in one place will foster collaboration and develop links which will lead to more research projects and ideas. This will enable the Forces in Mind Trust to utilise the results of research to influence policy makers and services providers as we seek to improve the transition pathway and thus succeed in our objective that all ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition back to civilian life.”


New research highlights challenges Veterans face in becoming self-employed

New report calls for broader support from the MOD to help Service personnel transitioning out of the Forces and into self-employment

A new report, ‘Self-employment and the Armed Forces Community’, has revealed the barriers ex-Service personnel face in becoming self-employed after leaving the Armed Forces.

Research conducted by The Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick, supported by defence technology company QinetiQ and X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) – which supports entrepreneurship in the military community – and funded by Forces in Mind Trust, was carried out to understand what more could be done to support ex-Service personnel successfully move into self-employment.

The report is being launched today (10th October) at the X-Forces Enterprise fifth Anniversary event at the London Stock Exchange.

The findings show that self-employment is highly desirable among veterans, with being their own boss the most attractive aspect. However, many veterans become self-employed years after leaving the Services, often as a result of disillusionment with their experiences in paid civilian employment. The survey of veterans, targeted towards those who had already moved into self-employment or had considered it upon leaving, and those currently transitioning into civilian life, found that 43% of veterans said they had planned to become self-employed on leaving the Forces, compared to 55% who said they’d seek full-time employment.

However, the research also highlights a number of barriers the ex-Service community face in becoming successfully self-employed including:

–        A lack of understanding of commercial environments and skills like marketing and communications

–        Lack of finance – with many experiencing difficulties in getting loans and having to use their own savings

–        Difficulty translating the skills they learned in the Forces into a commercial environment

–        Difficulty adapting to a civilian environment – where there was considered to be less teamwork and an overarching focus on money

–        Reality falling short of expectations – with some finding it much harder than expected

The report points to the need for better support, information and advice from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as Service personnel transition out of the Armed Forces – about the realities and practicalities of working in the civilian labour market

Asked when support would be most useful, six months before leaving the Armed Forces and two years after leaving were seen as the most crucial times – showing the importance of having long-term support to ensure the transition succeeds.

The report calls on the MOD to invest more resources into supporting members of the Armed Forces in transitioning successfully into the civilian labour market, and particularly into being self-employed. This includes the suggestion of a ‘skills for life’ package for all veterans which gives support on how to pay bills, buy a house, manage finances and tax, as well as training in soft skills, people skills and commercial skills. It also calls for wider use of mentors, the wider promotion of Enhanced Learning Credits to ensure veterans are aware of their entitlements; and for longer-term support including access to top-up training up to 24 months after leaving.

Ren Kapur MBE, CEO and Founder of X-Forces Enterprise said:

“We’ve seen the incredible impact that self-employment can have on veterans and are proud of the work we’ve been carrying out for five years to empower ex-service men and women to reach their full potential. This research shows that challenges remain, but we were incredibly encouraged to see how many of the recommendations made are already being taken forward by organisations like ours. We welcome this in-depth look at the challenges faced by potential entrepreneurs, and look forward to helping even more veterans in the years to come.”

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust said:

“What is clear from this report is the need for broader support, advice and practical training for Service personnel before they leave the Armed Forces, and for sometime afterwards, if they are to successfully transition into the civilian labour market, and particularly into self-employment. This report contains a number of ideas of how the MOD and others can provide such support and we look forward to working together to take some of these ideas forward, such as through the recently announced Defence Transition Service.”

Professor Clare Lyonette from the Institute of Employment Research at the University of Warwick said:

“Military service develops unique skills and competencies which can underpin a successful transition into self-employment. However, our research participants reported a range of challenges which they encountered while trying to translate their skills into a civilian context.
The barriers and challenges reported to us highlight the need for a targeted, needs-based approach to support in transition – not all veterans will require the same levels of help. We hope that the practical recommendations we outline will make a real difference to all members of the Armed Forces Community, including military partners and reservists, as well as veterans.”

The research includes a full literature review looking at international comparisons and available data, as well as fresh qualitative and quantitative research with veterans, military partners and reservists.

You can read the full report here


FiMT to support six Specialist Fellows on Clore Social’s 2019 Experienced Leader Programme

Clore Social Leadership has opened recruitment for its 2019 Experienced Leader Programme. The one-year programme, starting in February, is open to individuals with six or more years’ experience as a social sector leader and the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has pledged support for six funded Specialist Fellowships.

The Experienced Leader Programme helps build social leadership capabilities, confidence, effectiveness, self-awareness, resilience and overall impact through working with others, and comprises a number of activities including executive coaching, action learning and a secondment.  The FiMT Fellowships aim to promote leadership within and connections between the military and social sectors, for those who have ambition to drive social change in their communities and organisations and have an interest in the Armed Forces Community.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said:

“We are delighted to continue the support for the Clore programme for Experienced Leaders that we began in 2015. This opportunity will further grow our cohort of some 10 Clore FiMT specialist fellows, and we know will offer great benefits to the individuals involved and their respective organisations.  If we invest in the leaders of today we will increase the capability of the sector to make innovative and lasting change.”

Shaks Ghosh, Chief Executive of Clore Social Leadership said:

“The Armed Forces and Service Charities sector is a great example of like-minded organisations working together to address shared challenges by supporting and investing in their current and future leaders. We are delighted that the Forces in Mind Trust is supporting our 2019 Experienced Leader Programme and look forward to working with a new cohort of FiMT supported leaders over the next year.”

For more information and to apply see


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex PTSD in ex-Service personnel

Thanks to a grant award of £97,444 by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) to Edinburgh Napier University, an innovative research project will test how prevalent a new type of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), known as Complex PTSD (CPTSD)*, is in ex-Service personnel in order to provide more appropriate treatment.

This is the first study to test the theory on ex-Service personnel, though 10 previous studies have supported there being a difference between the two disorders. CPTSD culminates from childhood trauma and multiple traumatisation and there is a need for a different treatment approach to PTSD.

Previous research has shown CPTSD often requires a more lengthy, well-coordinated treatment plan with different interventions than that offered to those suffering non-complex PTSD.

There is evidence to suggest a substantially high percentage of military personnel will have been exposed to childhood trauma and/or multiple combat stressors commonly associated with CPTSD and, following various studies suggesting veterans with PTSD have poorer treatment responses to non-veterans, researchers of this study believe the reason for this is that many veterans would meet the criteria for CPTSD and as such, require a different treatment approach for it to be successful.

Researchers will determine the prevalence of this new category of PTSD in UK ex-Service personnel for the first time using the International Trauma Questionnaire. This will determine if there are distinct groups of participants with symptoms reflecting the two differing sibling disorders of PTSD and CPTSD, and will determine how presentations of PTSD and CPTSD differ in these groups.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said:

“This is highly significant research that will enable more tailored treatment to be provided to ex-Service personnel suffering Complex PTSD. Findings from this project have the potential to transform how the post-Service community are cared for in the UK, improving the well-being of the individuals concerned, and indirectly the quality of life of their families.”

Professor Thanos Karatzias, Professor of Mental Health and Director of Research at Edinburgh Napier University, said:

“We are really excited to have received funding to explore the newly released ICD-11 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (CPTSD) in military personnel for the very first time. CPTSD requires a different, more intensive treatment approach than PTSD but at the moment it is unknown how many people are affected by it. By describing the nature and extent of these two conditions, we will be in a better position to describe how to triage veterans presenting with traumatic stress in order to identify those individuals who require more intensive treatment.

“We envisage that findings from this study will help improve service user experiences of treatment, reduce treatment drop-out and improve treatment outcomes for veterans with CPTSD.”


Novel approach sees success in treating former Service personnel with PTSD

A new approach in offering treatment to former Service personnel with mental health conditions including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) launched today, Thursday 6th September, has revealed positive results.

A year-long tele-therapy pilot study, funded by The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and undertaken by Combat Stress, has shown it to be an accessible, flexible and cost-effective approach to delivering trauma-focused therapies. Tele-therapy provides therapy through a live video connection, over the internet such as Skype.

The purpose was to trial an alternative type of therapy to overcome issues that prevent veterans from seeking help. Despite there being a higher prevalence of mental health difficulties among former service personnel compared to the general population, research of UK veterans has suggested that only 30-50% of those with mental health issues access services for support. A number of reasons have been suggested for this, including issues related to stigma, practical issues around not being able to access services due to time constraints, and not knowing where to turn for support.

Evidence from the tele-therapy study shows it to be an accessible, flexible and cost-effective approach to delivering trauma-focused therapies.

Recommendations were made by Dr Dominic Murphy, lead author of the study, about using tele-therapy to treat more veterans in future, these include:

  • Preparing veterans for the demands of the therapy.
  • Ensuring tele-therapy is offered formally in the same way as outpatient therapy, e.g. a formal attendance and appointment policy.
  • Allowing flexibility by creating evening appointments to ensure veterans can attend.
  • Having a clear protocol to deal with technical difficulties, such as poor internet connection, which can result in sudden termination of therapy-session communication.

Veterans attending Combat Stress’ treatment centres were invited to take part in tele-therapy, with a total of 54 people asked, resulting in 27 participants.

Data was collected about treatment uptake, attendance, drop-out rates, time to complete therapy and the cost per case. Quantitative analyses were used to assess the effectiveness of tele-therapy using self-report measures of PTSD, anxiety, depression, anger and alcohol use.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The findings from this pilot study show that tele-therapy is an approach to treatment that could benefit ex-Service personnel, in particular those who find it difficult to engage in face-to-face therapy. The recommendations and lessons learned in this trial offer an opportunity for policymakers and service providers to take tele-therapy forward as a cost-effective, feasible and acceptable service for UK Veterans with PTSD.”

Dr Dominic Murphy, Head of Research at Combat Stress and lead author of the study, said: “We were pleased with our results. Importantly, we had positive feedback from veterans telling us they found tele-therapy to be a good way to receive support.  Several people told us that they were not able to engage in face-to-face therapy but tele-therapy allowed to them to complete treatment.”

You can read the full report here


Ex-Service personnel use of performance enhancing drugs and supplements to be explored

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £42,357 to the University of Sunderland to conduct a year-long project to identify the prevalence, motivations and mental health status of users of Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs and Supplements (PIEDS) amongst ex-Service personnel.

The study is taking place in the North East of England and will be facilitated by Finchale College, Durham, where researchers will explore why ex-Service personnel take body enhancing drugs, when they became users (pre-, during or post-service), the processes involved, and the level of awareness users have of the negative consequences of PIEDS, in order to inform the development of interventions and education programmes.

Previous or current histories of PIEDS users within the Criminal Justice System will also be investigated, as will any link between usage of body enhancement drugs and supplements with mental health and wellbeing of ex-Service personnel.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “It is important to get a better understanding of the reasons why ex-Service personnel take performance enhancing drugs and supplements and how and when they become users, particularly given the negative consequences of their use.

“This research is important as for many years there have been concerns about the use of such drugs in sport, and more recently, those concerns have transferred to the wider population, particularly to enhance strength and body image.  The Armed Forces as part of wider society are not immune to this problem, particularly given their need to be physically robust. We look forward to this research to help determine the degree, if any, of this problem amongst our ex-Service personnel to ensure that the appropriate support is in place.”

Dr Ian Whyte, Team Leader and Principal Lecturer in Sport and Exercise at the University of Sunderland, said: “I am delighted to receive this research grant to take forward a project in such a developing and important topic.  Working with the Forces in Mind Trust has already been exceptionally beneficial, both from a personal level as well as for the University of Sunderland as this is the first time that we have worked together.

“The Forces in Mind Trust is a very well managed and professional organisation with outstanding support staff.  I have already received considerable support and encouragement from the organisation and look forward to a mutually beneficial collaboration and the development of a long-term relationship.”



The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) are continuing their support of Soldiering On Awards for the fourth consecutive year with sponsorship of the ‘Working Together’ award.

The ‘Working Together’ award recognises the commitment and innovative approach to collaboration by an individual, team or organisation within the Armed Forces Community, and will be presented as part of the annual Soldiering On Awards.

FiMT, supported by Soldiering On Awards, is currently evaluating the impact that the Awards have had on winners, nominees and more importantly on the way in which the wider Armed Forces sector collaborates.

Nominations for the 2019 ‘Working Together’ award are now open. Make your nomination via the Soldiering on website

Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, Ray Lock, said:

“One of Forces in Mind Trust’s objectives is to enhance the effectiveness of the Armed Forces charities sector, in part by improving collaboration across the wide spectrum of people and organizations who support the Armed Forces community. Through our sponsorship of the ‘Working Together’ award we are continuing to innovate and we’re looking to identify and highlight really good examples of collaboration, and so spread the lessons across the sector. I’m already anticipating a great crop of nominations for 2019 following the outstanding 2018 winners, the Cobseo Housing Cluster.”

Managing Director of the Soldiering On Awards, Anne Donoghue, said:

“We are delighted to have the continued support of Forces in Mind Trust. Through this support over the past three years we have been able to shine a light on outstanding results achieved through many examples of collaboration and working together taking place outside of traditional boundaries in support of the Armed Forces community; fantastic examples that the whole sector can learn from.”


Examining trends in Scottish veterans’ health

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded the University of Glasgow £182,265 to conduct a three-year retrospective study examining the long-term health of Scottish veterans.

This is a follow up study to the original Scottish Veterans’ Health Study (2012-2015), which provided the first insight into the long-term health of 57,000 veterans (born between 1945 and 1985) and compared their health profile to non-veterans.

Researchers propose to examine a further five years of health data to compare the findings with those of the original study to detect emerging trends in ill-health over time, assess the implications for service provision and to evaluate the effectiveness of recent interventions, especially initiatives arising from the Armed Forces Covenant.

A further 10 years of birth cohort data (birth years 1986-1995) will be incorporated, which will include veterans who would have been 19 years of age at the end of operations in Afghanistan, in order to examine important mental health outcomes in these young veterans. There will also be additional health outcomes included in the study such as post-service amputations and joint replacement surgery as they have a bearing on care needs.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said:
“This latest research into the long-term health of veterans living in Scotland will help identify important areas of ongoing risk, unmet need, and trends in veterans’ health over time.

“This information will be of great value to service providers and government departments UK wide as the results are expected to be generalisable, and should help inform where interventions and support may be required to close any gap in unmet need, manage ongoing risk, and plan for future needs of this population.”

Dr Beverly Bergman, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, said: “The original Scottish Veterans Health Study has provided an unprecedented insight into long-term conditions, both physical and mental, in veterans who served as far back as 1960. We want to build on that to see not only how these older veterans are doing as they age, but also to look at emerging problems in younger veterans who have served on recent operations. We are delighted that FiMT is making this possible for us.”