DSC Sector Insight: Armed Forces Charities

August, 2020

This report is designed as a tool to help readers understand not just the current size and
shape of the armed forces charity sector but also its characteristics and changing topography. The report also provides insights on where the sector is now and where it may be heading in the future.


The 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. Charities which serve the armed forces community are just as subject as other charities to the changing face of the charity sector. In such a changing climate, it is important to generate knowledge and evidence, and it is vital to keep that knowledge up to date. Armed forces charities cater for the needs of a potential beneficiary population comprising approximately 6.3 million people. This includes 191,600 serving UK armed forces personnel with around 261,000 dependants (MOD, 2019a; Royal British Legion and Compass Partnership, 2014), 2.5 million ex-Service personnel (MOD, 2019b) with 3.1 million dependants, and a ‘hidden’ population of 190,000 to 290,000 ex-Service members in places such as care homes (Royal British Legion and Compass Partnership, 2014).

Full Reference

Directory of Social Change, 2020. Sector Insight: Armed Forces Charities. Available at: <>.

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