Skip to content

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) have awarded a grant to the University of Chester’s Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans to conduct research into the experiences of BAME veterans and their families. The aim of this research is to identify the impact that serving in the United Kingdom Armed Forces has on the Indian Sub-Continent and West Indian veteran communities. This study will use mixed-methods (survey, interviews, focus groups) to understand the motivators behind why BAME communities choose to join the British Armed Forces, remain and ultimately their reasons for leaving. We also want to understand their experiences of health, housing, employment, education and service life including integration, benefits, challenges and what can be improved.

Whilst the study is regarding the impact of serving within the British Armed Forces for the Indian sub-continent and West Indian veteran and their families, some elements of the study will involve recruiting BAME veterans of any ethnicity (except Irish and Gurkhas as we feel this is another research project). The results should provide valuable insight into the experiences of the BAME community in the Armed Forces and indicate how these experiences influence their help seeking behaviour, physical and MH needs. In addition, the study will help those working with these communities gain understanding and awareness of the health and social issues experienced by BAME communities in the Armed Forces and help shape policy.

Who is carrying out this study?

The University of Chester’s Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans have appointed several members of staff to bring this project to fruition.

The principal researcher is Prof. Alan Finnegan (Professor of Nursing and Military Mental Health and Director of the Westminster Centre for Research in Ageing, Mental Health and Veterans at the University of Chester). Alan joined the British Army as a Nursing Officer and reached the rank of Colonel with appointments including Manager of Military Departments of Community Mental Health, the MOD Nurse Consultant in MMH and the MOD Nursing Advisor in MMH. He has a wealth of experience leading military and veterans specific research and is also an active member of many committees looking to improve the well-being of veterans and their families.

Alan is supported by Mrs Phebean Gahlé who has been appointed a researcher and joins the team from a military background. Phebean has experience of the BAME community with personal knowledge of the West Indies.

Alan and Phebean are joined by Mrs Kate Sawyers who is providing administrative assistance to the project and whose husband is currently a serving officer in the Royal Marines.

The team at the Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans are joined by an Expert Reference Group, a group of visiting staff from the NHS, RCGP, Law, Military Psychiatry, Third Sector Charity, Academia and the MOD. This group of professionals have all been approached to help ensure that the research continues to flow in such a direction that the aims and objectives of this study are all realised, and all bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding to the area being studied.

The Expert Reference Group for this study comprises the below list of professionals, all dedicated to making this project a success and in turn, helping to improve the lives of veterans and their families.

Estephanie Dunn – Regional Director, Royal College of Nursing, North-West region.

Lt Colonel Bhairavi Sapre – Consultant Psychiatrist, visiting Professor at the University of Chester, Cheshire and Mersey Perinatal Services Joint Clinical Lead, CWP LNC Chair, Military Veterans’ Clinical Champion.

Horace Barnes – Chairperson of the Why Are West Indians In This Country Project.

Mr Bruno Daniel – Inclusion Programme Lead, Royal College of Nursing.

Professor Basma Ellahi – Research Professor (Public Health and Nutrition Research with a focus on ethnic minorities), University of Chester.

Professor Andy Bacon – Armed Forces and Global Health, University of Chester.

Lt Colonel Tariq Ahmad – Senior Medical Officer, Catterick Medical Centre, British Army.

Squadron Leader Calum Ferguson – Royal Air Force, Chair Defence (MOD) Buddhist Network.

Sue Liburd MBE DL – Managing Director Sage Blue, Army veteran.

Dr Maxton Scotland - Founder and Director ImpaktX limited, Advisor United Nations Department of Global Communications (UNDGC) Youth Steering Committee, Partner NHSE Armed Forces PPV Group.

Lt Colonel Taitusi Saukuru MBE QGM - Chairman, MOD’s Fiji Support Network.


You can read the latest newsletter here: