Armed Forces charities help quarter of a million people with physical health issues

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and the Directory of Social Change (DSC) today (25 January) release the report Focus On: Armed Forces Charities’ Physical Health Provision, which reveals that 121 charities deliver services to at least 250,000 beneficiaries in the Armed Forces Community.

This ground-breaking research maps for the first time Armed Forces charities’ physical health support with the charities spending at least £103 million on physical health provision last year.

One charity to every 2,070 beneficiaries

The report reveals there is approximately one charity to every 2,070 beneficiaries accessing support for physical health. By comparison, this was roughly seven-times greater than the number of people accessing education/employment (one charity to every 450 beneficiaries) and 25 times greater than those accessing mental health support (one charity to every 130 beneficiaries). This finding highlights the huge demand for physical health services placed upon a small number of Armed Forces charities.

Variety and depth of provision

Analysis shows that many charities provide lifelong support for members of the Armed Forces community, across a range of specific injury and illness types (not all of which are attributable to Service life), with ‘limited mobility’ being the most commonly supported type of injury/illness. The most commonly provided services also include recreation-based support, adapted housing provision, and respite services.

The report highlights a range of clinical and non-clinical services, from physiotherapy and nursing to adapted housing and scuba diving. DSC also explore the variety and depth of provision being made by Armed Forces charities, which can have a dramatic effect on an individual’s recuperation from injury or improved quality of life for an ageing veteran population.

Grant-making practices, best practice, partnerships between charities, and collaboration with other healthcare providers are also explored in DSC’s latest research.

Tom Traynor, Head of Research at the Directory of Social Change, said: “DSC are proud to extend our relationship with FiMT, who we have partnered with since 2014 to produce insightful research on the armed forces charity sector. The aim of the Focus On series is not only to highlight the vital work our armed forces charities do for their respective beneficiaries, but also to create a better knowledgebase for policymakers and these charities to continue to act in the best interests of our Armed Forces community.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The purpose of FiMT is to enable all ex-Service personnel and their families to make a successful and sustainable transition back into civilian life. By funding reports, such as this Focus On series, evidence-based knowledge can be presented to policy makers and service deliverers to influence and bring about change where needed.

“This detailed report provides an important insight into the physical health support a relatively small number of charities provide to the Armed Forces Community across the UK.”

Focus On: Armed Forces Charities’ Physical Health Provision is the third of six reports from DSC which provide detailed information on Armed Forces Charities’ support for key areas of need. Download the free report at


Note to Editor: 

DSC Research Manager – Stuart Cole, is available for comment or interview via or 0151 708 0136.

About DSC: Founded in 1974, the Directory of Social Change (DSC) is a national charity which champions an independent voluntary sector through campaigning, training and publications. DSC is the largest supplier of information and training to the voluntary sector, and its work helps tens of thousands of organisations every year achieve their aims. Learn more at

Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916.

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.

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.

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