Service Leavers who are likely to struggle to adapt to civilian life should be identified by the Ministry of Defence before they leave the Armed Forces and offered tailored support to help transition effectively, according to two Veterans’ organisations…

Armed Forces charities Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and Stoll, the leading provider of supported housing for Veterans, are calling for services to be developed across the UK that ensure the most vulnerable Service Leavers receive the health and welfare support they need, and avoid homelessness and unemployment.

Service Leavers who are most likely to struggle with adapting to civilian life include people with mental health issues, and those with no settled home or family life to go to after their transition into civilian life.

New independent research, funded by FiMT, shows that Stoll’s Outreach Transition Service, the first ever service of its kind targeting these specific individuals, has been highly effective in helping vulnerable Service Leavers make a successful transition from the Armed Forces into civilian life. The research covered a pilot service in which 44 Veterans were found appropriate accommodation, 36 were supported into employment and 85 people received mental health advice and support.

The charities have also published a joint call to action which is being shared with the Ministry of Defence policy staff, Regional Brigades, and Local Authorities as well as homelessness and Veterans’ organisations. The call to action highlights the importance of identifying vulnerable Service Leavers, making sure that they have the right information at the right time, and are offered appropriate, tailored support.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of FiMT, said: “Most people transition from the Armed Forces to civilian life successfully; but for a small number without the right support, the challenges can prove overwhelming. That is why providing tailored support to those who are most likely to struggle, as early as possible, is an approach we firmly advocate.

"I am pleased that this two-year pilot project has shown the efficacy of Stoll’s transition service in London. The report’s findings demonstrate that timely and targeted support services can transform the lives of vulnerable Service Leavers, and that this is a model that is worth funding and expanding to improve the transition of Service Leavers.”

Ed Tytherleigh, Chief Executive of Stoll, said: “We are pleased that the evidence shows our service is helping those in the London area; we must now ensure there is effective transition support available for Service Leavers in other parts of the country, notably those in the South and South East where the shortfall in appropriate accommodation for Veterans is most acute.”