Specialist Support for Service and ex-Service Families

Why this project?

As practitioners with strong connections to the armed forces, we have been aware for some time of the difficulties in making the link between specialist help and those who need it (including individuals and families). As well as our own anecdotal experience, we have looked at the research and determined that Purple Initiative will be an effective way of closing the gap. Please see FAQ’s for more information.


Recent studies by the Forces in Mind Trust, The Mental Health Foundation and the Royal British Legion (The Mental Health of Serving Personnel (Mental Health Foundation/Forces in Mind Trust, May 2013), The Transition Mapping Study (The Futures Company/Forces in Mind Trust August 2013, Health, Welfare & Social Needs of the Armed Forces Community March 2011) have highlighted the role of the family as an important source of support for serving personnel and veterans.

Failed transition cost the State upwards of £113 million in 2012, and the financial cost to the charity sector and to the individual was many times more – not to mention the quality-of-life cost to the individual of ill-health, imprisonment or family breakdown.

Admiral the Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE DL

Patron, Forces in Mind Trust, and a former Chief of the Defence Staff. (p2 Transition Mapping Study, August 2013)

Homelessness accounts for £5.5 million of costs, and prison £4.4 million. (p7 Transition Mapping Study, Forces in Mind Trust, August 2013).

The incidence of hazardous alcohol consumption within the services is high: 67% of men and 49% of women compared to 38% of men and 16% of women (op cit).

SSAFA alone helped more than 61,000 individuals in need in 2015, over 36,000 of whom were veterans and their dependents living in local communities across the UK. Over the last 10 years the proportion of veterans and dependents aged under 60 has increased from 25% to 45% (The New Frontline: Voices of Veterans in Need July 2016).

Purple Initiative proposes to reduce these statistics by providing support for service and ex-service families at an early stage to prevent major and often intractable crisis/breakdown which can result in alcohol dependency, imprisonment, homelessness or even premature death.

Specialist Support for Service and ex-Service Families