New research published today by the Directory of Social Change (DSC) and commissioned by Forces in Mind Trust, shows that a relatively small number of charities are generating and spending close to £1 billion annually in support of the armed forces community – which includes over 6 million people in active service, veterans and their families.
Some of the key findings are:
- There are 1843 armed forces charities, which represent less than 1% of the UK charity sector.
- These charities mobilise £1.1bn income annually and spend £985m.
- There are 479 forces ‘welfare’ charities – providing a wide range of social services and financial assistance. These charities dominate the sector’s income.
- 60% of armed forces charities with annual incomes over £500k can cover 12 months of expenditure with reserves; conversely 40% can cover fewer than 12 months.
- The sector is highly reliant on generating income from the public, including from donations, legacies, and trading activity.
- Armed forces charities have a highly coordinated system of grant-making to support individual beneficiaries, providing at least £63.8 million in grants to organisations.
- The population of armed forces charities is contracting – losing more than 44 charities each year since 2016.
- Charities in Scotland are closing at double the rate they are opening.
- The rate of closure is highest in association branches – 196 of these closed between 2012 and 2019.
- There is significant volatility in the opening and closing of welfare charities – between 2012 and 2019 157 closed and 185 opened.