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Forces in Mind Trust supports SSAFA’s Glasgow Helping Heroes Project

Forces in Mind Trust has pledged to donate over £110,000 to SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity to support an external evaluation of their Glasgow Helping Heroes initiative, in partnership with Glasgow City Council.  

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity are delighted to announce that Forces in Mind Trust has awarded £112,074 to support an external evaluation of SSAFA’s Glasgow Helping Heroes initiative over the next 18 months.

The Glasgow Helping Heroes initiative, led by SSAFA and delivered in partnership with Glasgow City Council, is a ‘one stop shop’ for the Armed Forces community in the Glasgow area. The initiative was set up in 2010 and has provided support to over 2,000 veterans and their families in need so far.

The project provides advice and information on a range of issues including, housing and homelessness, to a population of around 50,000 veterans in Glasgow. In 2018, the project supported over 270 people, helping 21 to gain employment and 39 into secured tenancies. In 2019, the project supported over 310 people, helping 19 to gain employment and 42 into secured tenancies.

The evaluation will be led by Dr Steve Rolfe at the University of Stirling and will provide valuable insight for the military charity sector on this unique approach to supporting ex-service personnel and their families.

Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity said: “We are extremely grateful for this exceptionally generous contribution from Forces in Mind Trust to help support our Glasgow Helping Heroes Project, with Glasgow City Council. Working in partnership with leading academics in this field, this grant will help us to evaluate our work in Glasgow and our support for the Armed Forces community.

“The Glasgow Helping Heroes project is a brilliant example of the sector coming together to support those who need us most. The support provided by Forces in Mind Trust will enable us to independently evidence the impact that we are having through this service and the difference that we making to the lives of so many who need our support.”

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: We are delighted to be supporting this project. Awarding grants to support evidence-based projects which lead to long-term solutions to the challenges faced by the Armed Forces Community lies at the very heart of FiMT’s mission and purpose. Together with SSAFA, our grant will allow for a thorough evaluation and assessment of Glasgow Helping Heroes project. This will highlight particular areas of success and opportunities for improvement similar service providers can draw upon across the UK.

“FiMT’s vision is that all ex-Service personnel and their families lead fulfilled civilian lives, and we seek to promote this through working on six particular outcomes. Two of these are employment and housing, and it is particularly pleasing to be able to support a project so focused on these areas.”

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, provides lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the forces, and their families. This includes both regulars and reserves.

ENDS 

Notes to editors

About SSAFA:

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. Last year, our teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 82,000 people in need, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts, and their families. SSAFA understands that behind every uniform is a person. And we are here for that person – any time they need us, in any way they need us, for as long as they need us.

For more information visit www.ssafa.org.uk and follow us on Twitter: @SSAFA.

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.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FiMTrust

GDPR

We work for charities, public bodies and health brands. We have obtained your contact details from Cision media database and use this information, as well as any other information you give us, in accordance with our Privacy Policy. We are contacting you today about our client, Forces in Mind Trust. If you do not wish to be contacted by us, please let us know by replying to this email and we will delete your details from our records.

Research reveals the ‘invisible’ needs of veterans in custody, their families and children

New research from Barnardo’s provides a glimpse into the ‘invisible’ lives of the children and families of veterans in custody.

The charity was commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust to assess their unique needs as part of a two year project.

This follows previous work by Barnardo’s supporting children affected by parental offending and highlighting the importance of maintaining family relationships.

The new report identifies complicating factors for veterans such as a loss of identity and a lack of holistic support services, and suggests early interventions, peer support and a family-based approach to prison work.

The findings and the recommendations will be shared at the official launch of the report in Birmingham on Monday 10 February which is due to be attended by police officers, charities and academics.

Barnardo’s researcher Leonie Harvey-Rolfe said: “Previous work has clearly demonstrated the importance of offenders maintaining family ties, and the impact of parental imprisonment on their children.

“This includes an increased risk of isolation, depression, bullying and truancy which can then affect their educational achievement and future prospects.

“However, the voices and experiences of children and families of veterans in custody have largely been absent – which is why this research is so vitally important.

“It is apparent that prisons, military charities and peer support groups often don’t collect information on dependants or family situations so this group is likely to remain invisible and their needs unmet.

“There is no doubt that more specialist support is needed.”

The research reveals that many former military personnel don’t identify as veterans because they think it only applies to those with long-service or active-service backgrounds.

Others fear revealing their past military careers could damage their relationship with their former units, or they view seeking support as an admission of weakness – which means many veterans don’t seek help for themselves and their family until they reach a crisis.

Shame also plays a role. One prisoner said: “I saw coming to prison as a failure so I didn’t say I was a military veteran because that’s a double-failure. I didn’t say anything for a long time.”

Key findings include:

  • Family breakdown levels are high amongst the sample and often this separation has occurred before the father went into custody
  • Mirroring the transition from military to civilian life, the greatest challenge is at the point of release from custody when transitioning back into the community
  • When veterans and families do access support on offer, feedback is largely positive

Key recommendations include:

  • Opportunities need to be developed to facilitate peer support for veterans, partners and children
  • Consistent and funded veteran support services should be in operation across all prison estates
  • One agency should take responsibility for overseeing and coordinating support for children of offenders before, during and after their parent is in custody

Leonie added: “No matter who their parents are or what they’ve done, the child is entirely innocent and should not be left to suffer in silence.

“What is needed is a change in systems and culture so that veterans, their partners and most importantly their children receive the right support at the right time.

“Only then can we truly start to improve the life chances of veterans and their families.”

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Until now, the impact on the children and families of Service personnel who are serving prison sentences has been poorly understood and under-researched. It is the role of charities such as ours and Barnardo’s to work to ensure that those who are most vulnerable are given the necessary support to rebuild their lives. This study provides much-needed data on the unique needs of an almost invisible group, and FiMT calls for whatever action is necessary for the research recommendations to be acted upon”.

For more information, visit www.nicco.org.uk.

-Ends-

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 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.

About Barnardo’s:

In 2018/19 nearly 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s.

We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we cannot do it without you.

Visit www.barnardos.org.uk to find out how you can get involved. Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605

Follow Barnardo’s media team on Twitter @BarnardosNews

Forces in Mind Trust’s response to the Civil Service’s guaranteed interview initiative for ex-Service personnel

Responding to the Government’s announcement that veterans will be guaranteed interviews for some public sector jobs, Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive at the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), says:

“The guaranteed interview initiative is a positive step forward to removing disadvantage. Negative stereotypes can prevent ex-Service personnel accessing the same employment opportunities as their civilian counterparts. Studies consistently show that organizations who do employ veterans are highly positive about the extra value they bring. So such misperceptions damage not only the individual, but also UK business.

“With this guaranteed interview initiative, the Civil Service is taking an important and valuable step towards providing equality of access to employment for ex-Service personnel whilst meeting the intent of the UK Armed Forces Covenant. The public sector is setting a good example that all, not just some, within the private sector, could follow.”

In October 2019, the Forces in Mind Trust published a Policy Statement on Employment which can be found here.

-Ends-

Note to Editor:  Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange an interview or if you have any queries, please contact Edward Haynes at Amazon PR (working on behalf of FIMT) at edward@amazonpr.co.uk or 0207 700 6952.

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 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.

GDPR

We work for charities, public bodies and health brands. We have obtained your contact details from Cision media database and use this information, as well as any other information you give us, in accordance with our Privacy Policy. We are contacting you today about our client, Forces in Mind Trust. If you do not wish to be contacted by us, please let us know by replying to this email and we will delete your details from our records.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FiMTrust

FiMT funds military sector participants in Clore Social Leadership’s Experienced Leader Programme

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) is delighted to announce the five specialist fellows who have been selected to take part in the 2020 Clore Experienced Leader Programme:

  • Allie Bennington, Help for Heroes
  • Beverley Russell, Stoll
  • Tom Adam, The Poppy Factory
  • Tom Barham, Alabaré
  • Tommy Watson, Walking with the Wounded

This intensive 12-month programme is designed for leaders in the social sector with over 6 years’ experience who seek to build their leadership capabilities and make a lasting difference within the sector.

The programme offers access to individual coaching, residentials, peer-to-peer learning, online courses, and more, all designed to fit around existing time commitments.  Participants will be supported, challenged and inspired by a group of like-minded social sector leaders and learn through real-world challenges, while using a variety of techniques.

Commenting on the 2020 Experienced Leader cohort, Tom McBarnet, Director of Programmes at Forces in Mind Trust, said: “We continue to believe that Clore Social Leadership’s Experienced Leader Programme (ELP) offers significant benefit to its participants, their organisations, and those they work with.  Capacity-building within the military charity sector is one of FiMT’s core objectives, so we are delighted to support the five programme Fellows from the military charity sector.  We have no doubt that through ELP these individuals’ capabilities will be significantly enhanced.  That is not only an excellent result for these Fellows but of huge value to the Sector itself where we strongly hope their skills can be brought to bear both for near term advantage and also lasting benefit.

Clore Social Leadership’s Programme Director, Jamie Audsley said: “We’re thrilled to welcome a new cohort of participants and support them on their leadership development journey.  We look forward to a challenging, inspiring, and rewarding year ahead which will seek to build new relationships, strengthen existing leadership skills and discover new ones, and amplify the positive impact of social leadership on our sector.”

For more information about the programme participants Forces in Mind Trust is funding, please email co@fim-trust.org.

FiMT’s statement on Veterans’ Strategy Consultation Response by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs

Commenting on today’s publication of the Veterans’ Strategy Consultation Response by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, Tom McBarnet, Director of Programmes at the Forces in Mind Trust, says:

“We welcome this analysis and the publication of an action plan. While the majority of those leaving the Armed Forces do so successfully, it is important that we prioritise help for those who need it most. The Office for Veterans’ Affairs is right to focus on employment, housing and health, and we support the drive towards greater collaboration and co-ordination between government, charities, academia and the private sector.

“We look forward to co-operating with and supporting Government to ensure that misperceptions of veterans among employers in particular and the public more widely do not cause unfair disadvantage. Veterans and their families are a fantastic asset and society can benefit hugely from the skills they bring.

“For those Service leavers that do need more support, though, we must make sure it is sufficiently resourced, and accessible at the time of need. The collection of accurate data on veterans is a vital part of this – without it, we have an incomplete picture of what our veteran population looks like and needs. But while the evidence base is essential, we welcome the recognition that a collaborative approach across Government and with other partners is also important. This way, vulnerable Service leavers can be identified early and signposted to the most appropriate support available.

“The Strategy for our Veterans has the potential to transform how ex-Service personnel and their families are supported by the Nation. Government alone cannot deliver this, but the Veterans’ Strategy Consultation Response is to be welcomed because it sets the conditions for success. We look forward to holding Government to account for delivery of the Initial UK Government Action Plan.”

NOTES TO EDITORS: 

Tom McBarnet is available for interview. To arrange please contact Edward Haynes at edward@amazonpr.co.uk / 020 7700 6952.

 

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 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.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FiMTrust

GDPR

We work for charities, public bodies and health brands. We have obtained your contact details from Cision media database and use this information, as well as any other information you give us, in accordance with our Privacy Policy. We are contacting you today about our client, Forces in Mind Trust. If you do not wish to be contacted by us, please let us know by replying to this email and we will delete your details from our records.

Veterans face ‘branding issue’

Senior military officers, business leaders, civil servants and politicians gathered at the headquarters of Deloitte today, to discuss the employment barriers and ‘brand issues’ faced by armed forces veterans.

The Veterans Work Consortium, consisting of Deloitte, the Forces in Mind Trust (FIMT) and the Officers’ Association (OA), used the gathering of policymakers to release new research revealing just how little the general public know about veterans.

Only 8% of respondents to the survey of 1001 British adults were able to correctly identify that to be defined as a ‘veteran’, you need only have served for one day in the armed forces.

One in five (19%) British adults, incorrectly believe that in order to be classified as a ‘veteran’, you must have been wounded during your time in the Services, while a quarter think you can only call yourself a ‘veteran’, if you are over the age of 65.

A quarter (24%) also thought that in order to be defined as a ‘veteran’ you must have served in either World War One or World War Two, while nearly half (47%) think that you can only be classified as a veteran if you have served in the British Army – disregarding both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

Deloitte partner and Chair of the Veterans Work Consortium, Chris Recchia said: “Whilst a great level of work is being done to positively enhance the veteran brand, we can see how much work still needs to be done to ensure the community is being portrayed in a true and fair light – especially with those responsible for recruiting and employing veterans. It’s vital there is an understanding of the skills they bring back into civilian society’.

The survey asked, ‘to the best of your knowledge, have you ever met or talked to a veteran?’ – only 64% came back and said ‘yes’.

Mr Recchia said: “The number who have actually met or spoken to a veteran will, of course, be higher, but sadly a lack of informed interaction with the community, is leading to 39% of the population having their view of ex-service personnel influenced by often inaccurate data, myths and what they see on television and in films.”

British adults believe nearly half (48%) of all veterans have a mental health problem, despite research from the Centre for Mental Health showing that rates of mental illness amongst UK veterans are generally lower than that of the wider population: one in five compared to one in four in the general population.

The study also revealed that British adults believe, on average, 41% of the veteran population have an alcohol abuse problem and a third (33%) of the homeless population are likely to be veterans, despite best estimates putting the figure at closer to 0.72%

The data revealed that British adults believe, on average, 24% of the prison population are veterans, when again, official statistics from the Ministry of Justice place the actual figure at a much lower 4%.

Forces in Mind Trust’s Director of Programmes, Thomas McBarnet said: “These findings show clearly that there is public misperception and misunderstanding about veterans that we need to work together to address

The survey revealed 87% of those surveyed think veterans struggle to adapt to new working environments when they leave the armed forces, while 30% felt that veterans were not suited to civilian employment entirely.

Mr McBarnet continued: “Such misperceptions are unfounded and damaging to veterans’ employment opportunities.  Employers must ensure these unhelpful perceptions are addressed in their recruitment processes, so that they benefit from the skills that veterans can bring to their organisation.”

The research revealed that 39% of respondents, have their opinion of veterans shaped by what they see and hear on TV, radio and in films, with more than half (52%) saying veterans are, ‘unfairly portrayed’ by the news media.

Lee Holloway, OA Chief Executive Officer said: “There are too many occasions when the perception of veterans has been distorted against the largely positive reality.  We have a responsibility to ensure the tone and language we are using when talking about veterans reflects this reality – whether you’re an employer, charity or part of the media.”

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said: “The perception that veterans are ‘mad, sad and bad’ is wrong and outdated. As a former Army officer and serving Defence Minister, I have met and worked with hundreds of veterans throughout my career and their drive, skills and confidence are second to none.

“We must all do more to challenge the negative stereotypes surrounding veterans and recognise the enormous value they can add to society.”

-ENDS-

NOTES TO EDITORS

Methodology

All surveys were conducted by RWB between 6th January 2020 and 9th January 2020. The sample comprised 1,001 UK adults. All research conducted adheres to the UK Market Research Society (MRS) code of conduct (2019). RWB is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and complies with the DPA (1998).

About the Deloitte Military Transition and Talent Programme

The programme, one of the first of its kind, aims to help current and ex-military personnel find out about roles in the private sector. It provides information on the skills needed to succeed in business, offers networking opportunities and help with applying for roles within Deloitte.

In 2013, Deloitte recruited 15 ex-servicemen and women through the programme, taking its total number of ex-military recruits to more than 70. Deloitte also provided work placements tailored for the individual needs of seven military personnel, some of whom were wounded in service. Since its inception, Deloitte has provided guidance and advice to over 1000 individuals, helping them into work.

In 2015 a total of 50 ex-military recruits joined 150 existing ex-military staff, taking its current veteran community to 200.

Social Media:

Facebook: fb.me/VeteransWorkUK

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VeteransWork

Hashtag: #VeteransWork

Media enquiries:

Please contact:

Liam Maguire, T. 074649 85052, E. lmaguire@newsfeedpr.co.uk

Jack Baine, T. 07970 105 453, E. JBaine@goodbroadcast.co.uk

James Rollinson, T. 07834 603 270, E. JRollinson@newsfeedpr.co.uk

In response to today’s Queen’s Speech, Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive at the Forces in Mind Trust, the leading research and policy grant-making charity working in the Armed Forces community, has cautiously welcomed the announcements included.

He 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 edward@amazonpr.co.uk / 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.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FiMTrust

GDPR

We work for charities, public bodies and health brands. We have obtained your contact details from Cision media database and use this information, as well as any other information you give us, in accordance with our Privacy Policy. We are contacting you today about our client, Forces in Mind Trust. If you do not wish to be contacted by us, please let us know by replying to this email and we will delete your details from our records.

Specialist military advocacy service evaluation shows improved mental wellbeing and financial position

Today (18th December) Forces in Mind Trust has published an interim evaluation of an advocacy programme which helps ex-Service personnel and their families to navigate support services and get their lives back on track. The military Advocacy service (mAs) is run by specialist charity seAp (Support, Empower, Advocate, Promote).

The FiMT-funded evaluation, being conducted by University of Plymouth research unit SERIO, has found that the support provided by mAs has been positive for members of the Armed Forces community and has also been useful for other support providers.  Organisations in the charity sector felt the service is complementary to the support they offer, fills a gap in existing provision and is flexible and responsive to the needs of the community.

Using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, and backed by in-depth client interviews, the evaluation found that those who accessed support from mAs reported significant improvements in their mental wellbeing and in their ability to deal with problems. The clients also felt that that they were being listened to and that their issues were being taken seriously.  The fact that mAs is designed specifically for the Armed Forces community, and many of the advocates have an Armed Forces background, was found to be particularly helpful by clients who had previously been reluctant to access, or continue accessing, more generic support services.

Ex-Service personnel and their families accessed mAs for a range of reasons, most commonly for help with benefits payments, health and social care and housing.  Over a two-year period, the evaluation found that mAs supported 140 cases with financial difficulties which resulted in positive financial gains of over £750,000 for clients through grants, benefit and pension gains and written-off debts.

While the report found that the service is positive, many stakeholders felt there is a need to increase awareness of mAs and better communicate its offer to stakeholders. It also found that there is appetite for a greater level of service coverage, both in terms of geographical reach and the number of advocates, to ensure that more of the Armed Forces community can benefit from the services offered.

The report can be accessed here and a final report, which will include a social return on investment analysis of mAs, is due to be published in 2020.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “While the majority of ex-Service personnel transition successfully from military to civilian life, previous research has shown that for some, transition can be a challenge and they can face difficulties in knowing where to go for support.  mAs seeks to help them with this by providing a tailored, client led, and peer delivered advocacy service for ex-Service personnel to ensure they receive the support they are entitled to.  FiMT funded this evaluation to generate an evidence base of the impact of mAs, and the interim report is already showcasing the positive outcomes for ex-Service personnel who have used the service.”

Liz Fenton, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of seAp, said: “Advocacy is about standing alongside clients with the aim of helping those clients get their voices heard. Here at seAp we have been really excited to see how well this approach translates to working alongside veterans with complex problems and to see the impact our mAs work can have. At a time when ensuring investment in even the best services is difficult, it is heartening to see such powerful evidence that the work we do is really worthwhile”.

Ends

Notes to editors:

Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact James Gillies at james@amazonpr.co.uk / 020 7700 6952 or Ana Carvallo-Phillips, Ana@amazonpr.co.uk / 020 7700 6952.

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 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.

Useful links:

Website: www.fim-trust.org
Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/
Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/
Twitter: @FiMTrust

About seAp

seAp is an independent charity that specialises in the provision of advocacy and related services. seAp’s Advocates support people, especially those who are most vulnerable in society, to have their voice heard, access their rights and have more control over their lives.

Advocacy support is provided through well-trained and highly-motivated advocates who enable their clients to express themselves, ensuring that everyone who uses health and social care services can have their voice heard on issues that are important to them.

Staff are committed to the central advocacy principles of independence, confidentiality and empowerment.

seAp stands for the following values

Supporting people to express their views and wishes, especially those who are vulnerable, isolated or marginalised.

Empowering people to have their voice heard so that they can access their rights and take a central role in decisions that are made about their lives.

Advocates on behalf of our clients to ensure that their views influence the planning, delivery and development of services that affect their lives.

Promoting the value of advocacy by sharing our knowledge, experience and values with others and championing the involvement of service-users in the design and delivery of health and social care services.

SeAp Facebook: facebook.com/seap

Forces in Mind Trust awards capacity-building grant to ensure the Armed Forces community receives the best possible mental health support

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded funds of £50,500 to the Contact Group to support its programme of work over two years.

The Contact Group is the collaboration of third sector, statutory providers and support organisations which deliver mental health support to the UK Armed Forces community.  Contact members work to ensure that the Armed Forces community is provided with the best possible mental health advice and support, and that treatment pathways are as good as they can be.

The award will fund a project officer and help with travel costs for the Group. This will enable Contact to continue to develop a substantial programme of work to help it achieve its aims of increasing the capacity of mental health services, developing best practice guidelines, supporting the planning of future services and understanding the needs of veterans.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, says: “Contact is a unique and important organisation which plays a significant role in bringing together mental health providers from across the UK. This grant will provide Contact with the capacity it needs to continue its work in helping organisations to provide the best possible mental health support to the Armed Forces community.”

Dr Charles Winstanley, Chair of Contact Group, says: “Contact is grateful for this critical FiMT support. It will enable us to energetically collaborate within the sector, develop and promote consistency of approach, and provide an impartial view of the UK’s progress in looking after the mental health of the Armed Forces community.”

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 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.

Useful links:

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FiMTrust

About Contact Group:

Contact was established in 2016, and was initially funded by The Royal Foundation.

The core membership of Contact comprises the UK’s statutory and third sector providers of mental health services to the Armed Forces community, health policy makers and commissioners in England, Scotland, and Wales, together with sector researchers.

Associate members of Contact comprise organisations providing clinical and relevant non-clinical services to the armed forces community.

Contact is the mental health cluster for COBSEO.

The independent Chair of Contact is appointed in open competition, and is an unpaid role. Dr Charles Winstanley has a background in NHS leadership and is a former soldier.

The Group meet quarterly and hosts an annual sector workshop.

The FiMT grant provides all of Contact’s operating costs, principally the salary of a part-time project officer.

Useful links:

Website: www.contactarmedforces.co.uk

Twitter: @Contact_AF