Families Against Stress and Trauma

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This article is part of the Counter-Terrorism Portal project of Spinwatch.

Families Against Stress and Trauma (FAST) describes itself as an 'independent' 'UK based organisation providing support to vulnerable families and individuals', designed to discourage young people from travelling to Syria, Iraq or being radicalised. [1] The organisation was set up in 2007, but registered at Companies House in May 2009.

The organisation's website states it recieves camapign funding from a range of sources, including the Home Office. [2]

'PREVENT' funding

FAST says to use 'professionally trained staff' to provide help and advice to 'vulnerable families and individuals', though it is not clear what specific activities FAST does to offer this support.

FAST does author a number of campaigning and informational videos, predominantly on the effects and signs of radicalisation. [3] A number of high profile videos, including those part of FAST's 2014 'Families Matter' campaign, were produced by Breakthrough Media Network [4]. The campaign included a campaign film, website, educational resources, series of workshops and PR activity, and was publicly endorsed by former home secretary Theresa May. [5]

An article in The Guardian in May 2016 revealed that Breakthrough Media is a favoured contractor of the Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU), the Home Office's propaganda arm. As part of the government's PREVENT counter-radicalisation programme, Breakthrough Media receives funding from the Home Office to produce digital material (films, Facebook profiles, websites etc) in order to 'influence online conversations by being embedded within target communities via a network of moderate organisations that are supportive of it’s [sic] goals'. These materials are then 'hosted' by civil society groups. [6]

The relationship between Breakthrough Media and FAST brings into question the independence of the latter organisation.

Product of the Home Office

An internal document by the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT), dated March 2015, was uncovered by Powerbase in 2016 (Prevent Strategy - Local Delivery Best Practice Catalogue) that included FAST in the government's 'national counter narrative' strategy, appearing to acknowledge the organisation is part of a covert propaganda strategy and directed by the Home Office’s strategic communications agency.

The document indicates the 'Families Matter' campaign was a 'RICU' product', 'led and developed' by FAST but 'supported by [...] PR and online activity'. On its website FAST gives a 'guarantee that everything that is discussed in groups, or individual sessions is 100% confidential.' Given its connection with the OSCT, legitimate questions might be raised about the reliability of the claims that everything is confidential.

In a 2015 inquiry by the Home Affairs Committee on 'countering extremism', FAST director Saleha-Begum Jaffer stated that the organisation stopped receiving direct funding from the Home Office between in 2010, but continued to work 'very closely' with the government.

At the same hearing, Theresa May stated:

'Often it is more effective to be working through groups that are recognised as having a voice and having an impact with that voice, rather than it being seen to be government trying to give a message.'


Jaffer is registered at Companies House as a former 'Ambassador for Peace' and director of the organisation Universal Peace Foundation UK (UPF). [7] She began this role in June 2008 and resigned in June 2013, the year before it is reported the RICU started funding Breakthrough Media to produce campaign videos for FAST.

In FAST's 2014 register of interest deceleration, she was listed as a 'vocational employee' at the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), raising further questions about the organisation's independence.


Contact details

  • Address:
Silverstone & Co, First Floor,
9 Tabernacle Court, 16-28 Tabernacle Street,
London, England,


  • Written evidence submitted by Prof David Miller and Dr Narzanin Massoumi to the Home Affairs Select Committee. [1]
  • Internal OSCT document. [2]


  1. FAST Home page, FAST website, accessed 6 January 2017.
  2. About us, FAST website, accessed 16 January 2017.
  3. FAST Families Against Stress and Trauma, YouTube, accessed 16 January 2017.
  4. Our work, Breakthrough Media website, accessed 16 January 2017.
  5. Home Secretary supports launch of ‘Families Matter’ campaign, GOV.uk, 21 July 2014, accessed 5 January 2017.
  6. Ian Cobain, Alice Ross, Rob Evans and Mona Mahmood, Inside Ricu, the shadowy propaganda unit inspired by the cold war, The Guardian, 2 May 2016, accessed 16 January 2017.
  7. Saleha-Begum Jaffer, Companies House, accessed 16 January 2017.