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.”