Statement from Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, in response to the Covid-19 crisis:
“The reaction to the economic impact of the Covid-19 response in the charities sector has been largely as you’d expect from a shock of such magnitude. Since the start of the crisis, Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has been in touch with all our grant holders. A few are unaffected. Some have asked for time extensions for their projects. Some will need more funding to deliver against their original programme. For some projects which were nearing their end, we have brought forward final payments to help with cash flow; and for those launches we had planned, we’re applying a mixture of delay, and launch in a different way.
“More interesting are the projects that want to adapt. We’ve had a relationship with the Directory of Social Change for over seven years and they’ve delivered some of our most influential work through the Armed Force Charities project. Their knowledge of the inner working of our sector is unparalleled, and fiercely independent. When Cobseo, the Confederation of Service Charities, needed information on the financial impact of Covid-19, we were able quickly to produce insightful and accurate data and analysis.
“I would argue though that the biggest contribution we can make to the country is to stand back from the immediate and look ahead – around the corner, up the stairs and out through the window. Our mission, to enable successful and sustainable transition from military to civilian life hasn’t changed. Neither has our strategy. But the environment within which we will be operating most certainly has.
“Needs will change, and so will the means with which they are met. Will the Armed Forces Covenant survive in its current form? Who would argue that a soldier with two years’ national service in the 1950s is more deserving than an intensive care nurse, veteran of Covid-19? Coming out of lockdown and losing some of that national unity, and then the gradual removal of emergency powers within the Coronavirus Bill will quite possibly be more challenging than anything we’ve faced so far.
“Our contribution is to look for important and impactful work. We are continuing to award grants where we believe this to be the case, and will shortly announce the latest batch, some of which were made before the extent of the pandemic was known. But we’re not ignoring the here and now, and as a permanent member of its Executive Committee, we’re at the heart of Cobseo’s work. We’ve augmented its communications capability to assist the whole membership, ensured that its Headquarters is well informed as it lobbies for better Government support, and are looking out through the Covid-19 fog to see what the landscape looks like beyond – and to help prepare the sector for it.
“Looking ahead, working collaboratively, supporting others. Persuading, convening. Cajoling. This is what we’re good at, and this is how we’re going to help the Armed Forces Community through Covid-19.”
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.
Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/