From January 2018 to July 2018, the sector contracted by 4.5%.
New research published today, Thursday 21st March, by the Directory of Social Change (DSC) and funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), shows the Armed Forces charity sector is shrinking, with Scottish charities and local association branches* most affected.
There are currently 1,888 Armed Forces charities in the UK. This is a relatively small number compared to other charity subsectors, such as health, which is estimated to include 6,500 charities, and education, 7,650 charities1.
Since 2012, 65 Armed Forces charities have closed, with Scottish charities closing at double the rate of those opening2. While there are still 633 membership association branches in the UK, which offer social and comradeship activities, there are now 152 fewer branches than in 2012.
DSC found a high turnover of Armed Forces welfare charities opening and closing over the past six years3, with close to a third of these charities having an operational lifespan of less than ten years. In total, welfare charities account for approximately two-thirds of all sector income4.
Total sector income grew year on year from £741 million in 2012 to £1 billion in 2015, before dipping slightly in 2016. Overall, the 45 financially largest charities generate almost three-quarters (74.1%) of all sector income.
The report highlights the need for further research to assess:
- The extent to which mainstream charities support the Armed Forces Community
- If the Community prefers to access help from sector specific charities
- The level of provision that is available at regional level
Commenting on the launch of the report today, DSC Senior Researcher and lead author, Rhiannon Doherty said:
“This report holds a mirror to the armed forces charity sector and highlights signiﬁcant sector trends from 2012 to 2018. It contributes to DSC’s growing evidence base which seeks to accurately proﬁle the ever-changing armed forces charity landscape.”
Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust said:
“This latest report in the Focus On series is a must read for those making decisions about resources, how they can be generated and where they are best deployed, as well as for those who commentate responsibly about the sector. There is a common myth that there are too many Armed Forces charities; evidence from this report shows this is untrue.
“The recently published UK Government’s ‘Strategy for our Veterans’ draws on previous DSC work, and rightly so. This latest report is both authoritative and illuminating: rare, but invaluable, qualities.”
Download the free report at www.armedforcescharities.org.uk/sectortrends.
Focus On: Armed Forces Charities – Sector Trends is the fifth of six reports from DSC, which provide detailed information on armed forces charities and the support which they provide. Download the free report at www.armedforcescharities.org.uk/sectortrends.
*Association Branch – regional or local branches of a parent association, supporting comradeship through social gatherings.
1.Armed Forces Charities make up 1.1% of all UK Charities. Health Charities make up 3.9% and Education Charities 4.5% Figures from NCVO 9 May 2018 here data.ncvo.org.uk/a/almanac18/grant-making-2015-16
2.111 charities closing and 56 opening
3.173 charities opening and 135 closing
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.
Research Manager – Stuart Cole, is available for comment or interview via email@example.com or 0151 708 0136.
About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):
FiMT came about from a partnership between the Community 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 – www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk.
The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life. FiMT delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery, and by strengthening the Armed Forces charities sector through collaboration and leadership, and by building its capacity.
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 www.vfrhub.com. 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.
Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped
About the Mental Health Research Programme: www.fim-trust.org/mental-health/research-programme
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. Find out more at www.dsc.org.uk.