Research, Armed Forces charities research

Sector Insight: Armed Forces Charities 2024

What is the purpose of the report? 

The Armed Forces charity sector is neither static nor homogeneous. Charities come and go as beneficiary needs change, economic and social pressures shift, and public support peaks and dwindles.

The last few years have been a particularly turbulent period. External pressures, including the covid-19 pandemic, the rising cost of living and a challenging economic environment have had a significant impact on charities and the many beneficiaries they serve.

In such a changing climate, it is important to generate knowledge and evidence, and it is vital to keep that knowledge up to date. This report gives readers the latest analysis on Armed Forces charities, providing valuable trends and insights on where the sector may be heading in the future.

What does it cover? 

As part of the Sector Insight series, this latest report provides a detailed overview of the Armed Forces charities sector as a whole.

The report provides the reader with insights, including:

  • Total numbers and types of charities
  • Changing composition of the sector over time
  • Financial size and characteristics of the sector
  • Financial health of the sector over time
  • Financial journeys of individual charities over time
  • An overview of charities by beneficiary groups supported
  • Longitudinal trends in opening and closing charities
  • Examples of collaboration, evaluation and grant-making practices
  • Impact analysis of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis

In addition, the report includes numerous detailed case studies and interview quotes which demonstrate specific aspects of the sector’s work.

Who is it for? 

This report provides a body of evidence to inform policy, practice, and research. This is a unique resource for charities, the government, policymakers, and researchers to understand the topography and nature of the UK’s Armed Forces charity sector.

What did people say? 

Professor Nicola T. Fear, King’s College London said:

‘This is an important piece of work, which those of us working in and with the Armed Forces community need to be aware of. Armed Forces charities have played and will continue to play a key role in supporting the health and wellbeing of the armed forces community.’


Michelle Alston, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust said:

‘This research shows that despite ongoing challenges for the charity sector, Armed Forces charities have continued to deliver for Service personnel, ex-Service personnel and families. However, Armed Forces charities are far from immune to the long-term trends that have shaped and will continue to reshape the charity sector. Adapting to the evolving needs of beneficiaries, retaining staff, and sustainable finances will require action from the sector.  I encourage all involved to look to the future and consider how greater collaboration can enhance the invaluable support that charities offer the Armed Forces Community.’


Rhiannon Doherty, Research Coordinator, Directory of Social Change said:

‘This new independent research explores the changing landscape of the Armed Forces charity sector over the past decade and highlights the incredible resilience of Armed Forces charities, which have continued to serve their beneficiaries with dedication, while facing unprecedented external challenges. This report provides the most up-to-date comprehensive evidence base about the sector, which practitioners and policymakers can use to underpin their decision-making and inform their actions, for the continued benefit of the Armed Forces community.’


Launch presentation video


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