Forces in Mind Trust has awarded funds of £126,872 to seAp, a charity that provides free advocacy services, to conduct a three-year evaluation of their Military Advocacy Service.
Initially a pilot scheme in Oxfordshire in 2013, the service was founded through seAp’s statutory mental health advocacy work, where they encountered ex-Service personnel who felt unable to access statutory services to meet their specific needs.
Developed through collaboration with local partners including: housing associations; Veterans UK; and Armed Forces charities such as Combat Stress, SSAFA, and TRBL, the service received Treasury funding to expand into the Thames Valley, North Hampshire, Plymouth, Wiltshire and Essex in 2016.
The evaluation will assess the impact of the advocacy provision on ex-Service personnel’s use of services such as: NHS and social care services; housing providers and homelessness agencies; drug and alcohol support agencies; police and criminal justice agencies; benefits system; and labour market.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Forces in Mind Trust was created to enable all ex-Service personnel to have a successful and sustainable transition back into civilian life. The majority face no major problems, but for some, transition present a real challenge. By funding research, such as this seAp project, we can inform policy makers and service providers and so ensure that the decisions they make are based on the very best available evidence.
“The value of advocacy, and the benefits it can bring, are well recognized. However, the specific needs of the Armed Forces Community and the gaps in statutory provision, suggest that a tailored service would be appropriate. Our award to seAp to pilot this approach will generate the necessary evidence and help build sector capacity, and it’s a good example of the practical and impactful work the Trust is increasingly undertaking.”
Marie Casey, Chief Executive of seAp Advocacy, said “We have seen the transformative effect advocacy has on the lives of ex-Service personnel who face physical and mental health challenges. We look forward to providing academic proof of the positive effect of specialist tailored support to veterans and their families”
Note to Editor: Ray Lock is available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on firstname.lastname@example.org 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. 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.
- Website: www.fim-trust.org www.seap.org.uk
- Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/
- Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/
- Twitter: @FiMTrust @seap
- About the Mental Health Research Programme: www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/research-programme/
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.