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Royals join forces with Lottery funded trust to support military and veterans

8 January 2012

The Lottery-funded FORCES IN MIND TRUST (FIMT) is launching today with Royal backing from The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry to bring support to former UK military and their families.

Forces in Mind soldiers

£35 million has been invested by the Big Lottery Fund to bring the Forces in Mind Trust into action today.  FIMT, a partnership of UK forces charities and mental health organisations, led by the Confederation of Service Charities (COBSEO), has been given partnership support from The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry which will back the Trust with its own grants over a three-year programme as well as helping raise awareness of the issues facing veterans.

Over the next 20 years, the Forces in Mind Trust will provide UK-wide long-term support and advocacy for Service personnel and Veterans to make a successful transition to civilian life.The focus will be on addressing a range of problems that some ex-service personnel and their families can experience back in civilian life, such as poor mental health, family breakdown and alcohol-related problems.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend the UK Premiere of DreamWorks Pictures’ ‘War Horse’ in aid of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry [Sunday 8 January]. Over 600 serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families have been invited to the Premiere, alongside beneficiaries of military charities, with the aim of raising awareness of the issue surrounding transition to civilian life.

The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry was set up by the Princes in September 2009 to enable them to take forward their charitable ambitions. Supporting former forces personnel through the challenges of returning to civilian life and providing support for their families is a priority they share with the Forces in Mind Trust.

Peter Ainsworth, Big Lottery Fund UK Chair said: “I am delighted that The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry will be working in partnership with the Forces in Mind Trust as its vital work to support former forces and their families moves into action.”

He Added: “By investing this £35 million, the BIG Lottery Fund is enabling a ground-breaking programme of expertly-designed interventions and activities, offering essential assistance which will not only improve to the lives of ex-service people directly but inform national policy and practice more widely.

Some 20,000 people leave the forces each year.  There is so much more we can and should do to support their transition and the work of the Trust will pinpoint gaps and deliver improvements in evidenced fashion to the benefit of veterans and their families.”

Nick Booth, CEO of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, said:

“We are incredibly excited about this partnership with Forces in Mind. Taking a direct lead from our Patrons, the Foundation is committed to ensuring those who have given so much serving their country in the Armed Forces are, in turn, given as much support as they and their families need to re-integrate into civilian society. We hope the Foundation’s involvement and resources will further allow the Forces in Mind Trust to become a major new source of support and leadership in this incredibly important sector.”

The Chairman of the Forces in Mind Trust, Air Vice-Marshal Tony Stables said:

“Our intention is to give those leaving the armed services, and their families, the best opportunity for a successful return to civilian life so that they can fully participate in society. As a first step, the Forces In Mind Trust will undertake a comprehensive review of the transition process from military service to civilian life for all service men and women, and their families.

“The aim is to ensure that we are able to provide the evidence needed to deliver projects, either directly or in partnership with other charities and organisations, so that those undergoing transition have a positive outcome.

“This is a unique opportunity and the support for this initiative and our partnerships with the Big Lottery Fund and the Foundation for Prince William and Prince Harry will enable us to make a positive difference to the transition process and to be able to fund projects like the Early Service Leavers trial starting this month in Catterick Garrison.”

The pilot at Catterick in Yorkshire will provide 12 months of enhanced support and guidance on employment, accommodation, educational needs, and mental health issues for approximately 1,000 early service leavers from across the UK.

The Trust’s work will also include commissioning research to improve knowledge of the issues affecting veterans and their families, which will help shape new services and inform national policy. The Trust will also undertake awareness raising campaigns, and provide peer advice and support particularly to those veterans who are most vulnerable.

 

The Forces in Mind Trust continues BIG’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK. Since 2004 the Fund has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans. The Fund’s Heroes Return initiative has enabled over 51,000 Second World War veterans, widows, spouses and carers to journey back to the places where they served and fought or where their loved ones died.

Apart from COBSEO Members, key supporting charities are: The Mental Health Foundation, Centre for Mental Health and Shaw Trust. COBSEO represents, promotes and furthers the interests of Service and ex-Service men and women of all ranks, and of their spouses and dependants, by all practical, legal and proper means. COBSEO’s membership consists of about 167 Service and ex-Service organisations including 65 regimental associations.

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