Policy, campaigns & research, Research

DSC to explore the impact of Covid-19 on the Armed Forces charities sector

DSC has been funded to explore the impact of Covid-19 on the Armed Forces charities sector through a new £271,000 grant from the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £271,000 to Directory of Social Change (DSC) to continue the successful Armed Forces Charities Project, expanding knowledge and evidence for the sector from 2021-2023 and examining the impact of Covid-19.

The project will include regular surveys on the impact of Covid-19 for Cobseo (the Confederation of Service Charities) Members, an online dashboard of key sector metrics and a new Sector Insight report. This follows a previous group of reports produced by DSC and funded by FiMT, which have given an overview of the sector, and which recently provided vital evidence to secure government funding for charities struggling due to the impact of Covid-19 in 2020.

Prior to the pandemic, comprehensive Sector Insight reports were published in 2014 and 2020 and these have been well-used resources for the sector. DSC will produce the next report in 2023 to give an overview of the economic and social impact of the pandemic on Armed Forces charities, as well as an insight into the sector’s trajectory.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, saidThe most recent of DSC’s Cobseo Members surveys last October found that 60% of respondents reported an increase in beneficiary numbers since May, with demand for mental health support increasing by 74%. Meanwhile, 72% of Service charities reported a decrease in monthly income. Undeniably, Covid-19 is having serious consequences for Armed Forces charities – and the impact is far from over.

“Previous research as part of this project has been a great help to the sector. We are delighted to be able to continue our fruitful relationship with DSC over the coming years, to provide the sector with vital insights through this uncertain period.’


Stuart Cole, DSC’s Research Development Manager, saidWe are very proud of the impact we have achieved in partnership with Forces in Mind Trust. From definitive sector guides in our Focus On and Sector Insight series, to delivering key evidence through our Cobseo surveys; we are committed to providing research that informs policy and practice for charities serving the Armed Forces community.

My colleagues and I are extremely grateful to FiMT for their ongoing support and commitment. We very much look forward to continuing this excellent partnership and important work in the wake of the pandemic.’

For more information about the project, please contact research@dsc.org.uk.

About the Directory of Social Change (DSC)

DSC has a vision of an independent voluntary sector at the heart of social change. DSC believes the activities of independent charities, voluntary organisations and community groups are fundamental to achieve social change, and DSC exists to help these organisations and the people who support them to achieve their goals. It does this by:

  • providing practical tools that organisations and activists need, including online and printed publications, training courses, and conferences on a huge range of topics
  • acting as a ‘concerned citizen’ in public policy debates, often on behalf of smaller charities, voluntary organisations and community groups
  • leading campaigns and stimulating debate on key policy issues that affect those groups
  • carrying out research and providing information to influence policymakers.

DSC is the leading provider of information and training for the voluntary sector and publishes an extensive range of guides and handbooks covering subjects such as fundraising, management, communication, finance and law. Since 2014, DSC has worked with the Forces in Mind Trust to research and analyse the armed forces charities sector in the UK and has become the foremost expert in this field.

Twitter: @DSC_Charity

About Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT)

FiMT was founded in November 2011 by a £35 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund (now The National Lottery Community Fund). As a member of Cobseo – the Confederation of Service Charities and a permanent member of its Executive Committee, the Trust works within the Armed Forces charities sector, and much more widely, to support the UK’s Armed Forces Community.

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’s grants and commissions are designed to generate sustained change that improves the lives of ex-Service personnel and their families. FiMT awards grants to support its Change Model based on six outcomes: Housing; Employment; Health; Finance; Criminal Justice System and Relationships.

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

What FiMT fund: www.fim-trust.org/what-we-fund/

Twitter: @FiMTrust