New Forces in Mind Trust award: Anglia Ruskin University to research ways of supporting Commonwealth Personnel and families

A grant of £28,664 has been awarded to Anglia Ruskin University, to conduct an audit of services available for, and provided to, Commonwealth serving and ex-Service personnel and their families in order to identify their specific needs. This eight-month study will be an important first step in understanding the issues facing Commonwealth personnel and their families during their transition from military to civilian life.

This is the first time the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has funded a project or research specifically around the Commonwealth cohort serving in the UK Armed Forces, and/or their families, and it has been commissioned jointly with the Cobseo Foreign and Commonwealth (F&C) Cluster. There is little understanding of the transition into civilian life for this unique cohort, the scale of success, or how to enable successful and sustainable transition, although there is anecdotal evidence that the cohort experiences a disproportionately high number of issues.

The project will use a mixture of stakeholder interviews, surveys and desk research to build a better understanding of the issues and needs of the cohort so as to identify priorities for further research and to influence future policy and service delivery for the Cobseo F&C Cluster Group and wider organisations supporting the Commonwealth cohort.

Matt Fossey, Director of the Veterans and Families Institute at Anglia Ruskin University said, “We are delighted to be working with Cobseo to explore the services available for Commonwealth personnel and their families. This is a very important piece of work that will help to inform improvements in service provision for a section of our military who experience their own unique challenges.”

Louise Simpson, AFF Policy & Research Director and Chair of the Cobseo Foreign and Commonwealth Cluster, said: “As Chair of the F&C Cobseo Cluster Group AFF is delighted at the news of this funding as it will really help us as a group to develop an action plan around tackling Commonwealth issues.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “There is an evidence gap around the unique challenges faced by the Commonwealth cohort and the services and support available to them. It is right that there should be a proactive approach to ensure all groups of ex-Service personnel and their families receive focused support to improve their chances of a successful transition. This unique study, which we are very pleased to fund, offers the opportunity to better understand, and identify, future ways to improve outcomes for these ex-Service personnel and their families as they transition into civilian life.”


Ray Lock is available for interviews. To arrange an interview please contact Jack Rodway at or on 07824 119 171 or 0207 284 6961 or Kate Turner at or on 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944.

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 Veterans’ 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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Anglia Ruskin is an innovative global university, brimming with ambition. Students from 177 countries gain qualifications with us in four continents. Students, academics, businesses and partners all benefit from our outstanding facilities; we’ve invested £100 million over the last five years and plan to invest a further £91 million over the next five years.

Anglia Ruskin’s Research Institutes and five faculties bridge scientific, technical and creative fields. We deliver impactful research which tackles pressing issues and makes a real difference, from saving lives to conserving water. Our academic excellence has been recognised by the UK’s Higher Education funding bodies, with 12 areas classed as generating world-leading research.

In 2016 we were ranked in the top 350 institutions in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, featured in a list of the 20 “rising stars” in global Higher Education compiled by strategy consultants Firetail, and were named as one of the top 20 UK universities for teaching quality in The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide.

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