Author: NFF

News: 19th January 2022 


Our Armed Forces families are the anchor of this community providing their unwavering support to help our Service people deliver their commitments to protect the UK. In doing this though, they often have to deal with lengthy separations from their loved one, relocations around the country and overseas, gaps in their employment records, and obstacles when accessing education and healthcare. These are just some of the added challenges our families routinely face and we thank them for their courage and the sacrifices they make.   


Today the Ministry of Defence (MOD) launched the Armed Forces Families Strategy (2022-32) to inspire partnership working across the UK. This will honour the enduring pledge of the Armed Forces Covenant and to provide direction to policy makers, the single Services and public service providers to empower Armed Forces families to live rich and fulfilling lives alongside their loved ones. 


The MOD’s visions are for families to be: 

  • Recognised and respected; 
  • Informed and empowered; 
  • Listened to and understood. 


Sarah Clewes, NFF Interim CEO says:

‘I am delighted to see the publication of the  UK Armed Forces Families Strategy.

Royal Navy and Royal Marines families have a crucial role in support of the operational effectiveness of the Naval Service and the wider Ministry of Defence, and that role is recognised in the government’s strategy, which addresses challenges including deployment and separation, accommodation, healthcare, education and mobility.

The Naval Families Federation is at the heart of the dialogue between families and government, and will continue to ensure families’ voices are heard at the highest levels while providing timely and accessible information to empower those families.

Building on recommendations produced by MP Andrew Selous’s ‘Living In Our Shoes’ report, the new strategy and action plan will be delivered in partnership with the devolved administrations, the charitable and private sectors – including the NFF, using our network of contacts, social media and virtual channels to reach all families, including those dispersed around the UK and overseas.

Exciting times ahead! 


The NFF welcome the publication of the strategy. We would strongly encourage you to take a look at the actions that have been drawn up to support you. If you have any comments or concerns, do contact us. 

News: 18th January, 2022


The NFF are delighted to support a new Royal Navy initiative which will see the Headspace App made available, for free, to all serving personnel and their families. Last year we successfully delivered a year-long pilot Headspace project with support from the Royal Navy wellbeing team. Your fantastic feedback and support for the project has provided the evidence to show that this platform is a key resource which can help support mental health and wellbeing within our community.

What to do next?
  • Serving RN, RM, RFA personnel & RN Civil Servants: Visit this page to sign up. Please reference RNTM 07-001/22.


  • Non-serving family members: Your Service person has to create their account first. Once they have done that, they will then be able to invite you to open an account too. Please refer to the FAQ section below for further clarification. If you know that your Service person is due to deploy on an exercise or operations, and therefore may have limited access to the internet, please make sure that they have created their account and sent you that invite BEFORE they go, so that you can access the App while they are away.  If you have further questions or technical issues please reach out to


  • If you already have a Headspace account, either as part of the NFF/RN FPS pilot or because you had accessed the platform independently, please refer to the FAQs below for further explanation.


*Please note that this is a new contract with Headspace, so there are particular steps that you will need to take to ensure that you get access to the full range of support that they offer.*

FAQ/ troubleshoot

Please refer to the FAQ below. If you have further questions or technical issues please reach out to

How do I sign up?

Q: How do I sign up for Headspace for the Royal Navy?


A: Signing up for Headspace is a 3-step process: Sign up/Log In, Verify and Finish. If you’re new to Headspace, you can sign up for an account by following the below instructions. You can also link an existing account by following the instructions below.

1. Visit the enrollment page. You will be asked if you have an existing Headspace account. Choose “No, create a new account”
2. Fill in the requested information, using your civilian email address for the registration, and click “Sign up”
3. Verify your account by entering your ‘’ email address
4. New members will receive two emails: one to confirm your new Headspace account, and one to verify your organisation email address
5. Download the Headspace app in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store
6. Open the app and log in using your Headspace login details
7. Get some Headspace

How do family members sign up to this project?

Q: My loved one is currently serving in the RN/RM/RFA. Where can I sign up?


A: Your serving loved one must create a Headspace account first. They will then be able to create a family license under Headspace for the Royal Navy scheme. Once they have registered for a Headspace account they will be sent a message on Headspace to register a family member. This offer is limited to 3000 licenses and will be on a first come first served basis.

I have an existing Headspace account. What do I do?

Q: Can I link my existing Headspace account to a Headspace for the Royal Navy membership?


A: Yes, If you’re already a Headspace user, you can link your existing account. Follow the below instructions:

1. Visit this page.
2. You will be asked if you have an existing Headspace account. Choose “Yes, I have an existing account.”
3. Enter your existing Headspace login information
4. Verify your account by entering your ‘’ email address.

Please Note: If you purchased an individual membership, your Headspace Plus auto-renew was turned off automatically. If you have a student plan, family plan, or signed up through Apple iTunes, Google Play, or Spotify you will need to turn off auto-renew to cancel your billing and avoid being charged. Please see the next questions for instructions.

What if I leave the Royal Navy?

Q: What if I leave the Service?


A: If you leave the RN then your Headspace enrollment will continue until the end of the current contract.

I'm still being charged despite having switched to the Headspace for Royal Navy. Please help?

Q: I signed up for the Headspace for the Royal Navy but I’m still being charged. What’s happening?


A: If you’re currently a Headspace Plus member with an individual plan and you signed up through Apple iTunes, Google Play, or Spotify you will need to turn off auto-renew to cancel your billing and avoid being charged. See instructions below. If you need additional help, please contact

I'm part of a family plan, will this affect my enrollment in Headspace for the Royal Navy?

Q: I am part of a Headspace family plan, how does this affect my enrollment in Headspace for the Royal Navy?


A: If you are currently enrolled in a Headspace family plan, you will need to leave the family plan or you will continue to take up a spot in the plan. Your family plan owner has to remove you from the plan. Only the family plan owner will be able to delete someone from the family plan. Upon doing this, the family member who has been deleted will receive an email confirming these details. This opens the spot for a new family member to be added.

To remove a member from your family plan, please follow these steps:
1. Visit
2. Click the “X” button to the right of your family member’s email address

I'm the owner of a family plan, how will my enrollment in Headspace for work affect my other members?

Q: I am currently the owner of a family plan, how will my enrollment in Headspace for work affect my other members?


A: If you are the owner of a family plan and enroll in Headspace for Work, you will continue to be billed for the annual family plan subscription unless you turn off auto-renew. If you close your family plan account or turn-off auto renew all members in your family plan will lose access to their Headspace Plus membership through the family plan Account once your subscription expires. If you are enrolled in Headspace for Work and close your family plan Account, you will continue to have access to Headspace Plus through Headspace for Work and don’t need to take any further action.

If you wish to cancel your Family Plan, turn off auto renew by:
● Visit
● Log into your account
● If the button is not there, please send an email for help.

If you do not turn off auto-renew and keep your family plan, you will continue to have access to Headspace Plus should you leave the Royal Navy.

How to cancel Headspace Plus Subscription (paid versions - Apple iTunes, Google Play, Spotify Bundle)?

Q: How do I cancel my current Headspace Plus Subscription if I paid with Apple iTunes, Google Play, or the Spotify Bundle?


A: Cancellation steps can differ, depending on where you subscribed (directly through Headspace, Apple App Store or Google Play Store). Please review below to see the steps that apply to you:

If you purchased your subscription from our website:
1. Log in to your account from a desktop or mobile browser (not the mobile app) at
2. Visit and click/tap “TURN OFF AUTO RENEWAL”.
3. If the button is not there, please send an email to


If you purchased your subscription via Apple App Store:
1. Open the Settings app
2. Scroll down to “iTunes and App Store”
3. Tap Your AppleID Email
4. Select “View AppleID” (You may be asked to log in)
5. Tap “Subscriptions”
6. Select the Headspace subscription
7. Tap “Cancel Subscription” to disable it from auto-renewing at the end of the current billing cycle


If you purchased your subscription via Google Play Store:
1. Open the Google Play Store
2. Tap Menu (3 small horizontal lines) next to “Google Play”
3. Tap Account and then Subscriptions
4. Find the subscription you want to cancel
5. Tap Cancel


If you purchased your subscription via Spotify:

1. Visit and log in to view your Spotify subscription information

2. Manage your payments or cancel by visiting the “Subscription” section of your account

If you need more help with this, please visit Spotify’s Help Page or contact them directly at

I’m having issues with the app. What should I do?

Q: I’m having issues with the app. What should I do?


A: If the app is running slowly or freezing, please try to reinstall the app on your device. A strong WiFi connection is important to ensure downloads are fast and seamless. If you are still experiencing issues, please email with the make, model, and operating system of your device.

I'm not connected to the internet, will I be able to access the app?

Q: Can I use Headspace if I am not connected to the internet?


A: You can play any of your Headspace meditation sessions offline by using our mobile app for iOS or Android devices. While online, simply select and pre-download your sessions for offline use.

Can I use the subscriptions with kids?

Q: Can I use the subscriptions with kids?


A: Anyone over 13 can use subscriptions on their own. For under 13 year olds, the Kids Packs are included in your subscription and you can use these with kids without interruption in your own progress. Headspace strongly advises that no children under 13 use the app without the supervision of a parent / guardian / teacher.

What devices can I use to access Headspace?

Q: What devices can I use to access Headspace?


A: Apple iOS or Android devices: This can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes App or Google Play Store respectively. For the optimum experience, we recommend using an iOS device with iOS 9.0 or later. Android devices will require operating system 4.0 or later.

For tablets, the Headspace app can be used on any iPad with iOS 9 or later, and any Android tablet with Android 4.0 or later (including Kindle Fire tablets). Headspace also integrates with the Apple Health App and Apple Watch.

Web Browser: Headspace is optimized to run on the latest versions of the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Opera

Please Note: While you can using on your tablet’s browser, for the best experience, please download the Headspace app through the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store.

Further support

Q: I need help. Who can I contact please?


A: The Headspace Support Team is available 7 days a week:

1. Email:
2. Live Chat: If you see the orange “Chat” bubble on the bottom right-hand corner of the page, click/tap on it


Dear Families,


The festive season is often a time of reflection for the things we are most grateful for. For most, it’s a time to be thankful for your family and friends and an opportunity to spend time and make memories together. For the Service families separated at this time of year it is especially tough and the personal sacrifices you make can feel all the more acute. Now more than ever you should be proud of the crucial role that you play in ensuring that our Armed Forces continue to be among the best in the world at what they do.


This year I am especially thankful for the incredible work that was done during the short-notice deployment of Service personnel to Afghanistan over the summer: a difficult and at times harrowing deployment which saved so many lives.  This year our brave Service personnel have also continued to deliver critical support to communities up and down the UK as we continue to recover from the pandemic, from testing and vaccinations, to logistics and planning, there has been an incredible effort from all three Services.


I am keenly aware of what this has meant for you, and I know that without your support this vital contribution would not have been possible. At the Ministry of Defence, my Ministers and I are determined to ensure we keep modernising the Services so that a career in the Armed Forces doesn’t mean accepting sacrifices for your family.


This is why we are launching a new Armed Forces Family Strategy which will set ambitious changes for the next ten years. The strategy will drive improved policies, bringing practical benefits which will help strike a better balance between home life and the demands of Service life. It focusses on the elements you have told us matter most to you including access to healthcare, improved housing, better educational outcomes for your children, and the ability for serving and non-serving partners to have fulfilling and successful careers.


Last week we also passed the Armed Forces Act 2021 in Parliament which in it, created a new duty that means public bodies must consider the unique nature of Service life when running healthcare, housing and education services. This means you and your family should never be disadvantaged when accessing these because of your role in the Armed Forces.


There is still more change to deliver and we will continue to listen to you. Your Ministry of Defence Team and I speak regularly with the Families Federations to ensure we give due attention to the issues you raise. It is encouraging to see an increase in family engagement through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus the use of other platforms such as the Royal Navy Forum and Army HIVE Blog and I urge you to continue to use the Families Federations and social media to get your voice heard.


Naval Families Federation 

Army Families Federation

RAF Families Federation


Once again, I would like to thank you personally for all that you continue to do in support of your loved ones. Whether Regular or Reserve, your support helps them to deliver in the professional manner for which they are renowned worldwide.


I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas.


Yours sincerely,


The 2021 Covenant Annual Report is now available. The Naval Families Federation, together with our colleagues in the Army and RAF Families Federations, were pleased to offer our Formal Observations on the 2021 Armed Forces Covenant and Veterans Annual Report, which has been published today. Our Observations can be found on pages 13-16.


Further support delivered this year includes:



  • A new School Admissions Code for England came into force in September 2021. It includes several provisions to ensure that Service families are not disadvantaged when applying for school places, such as requiring admission authorities to allocate a school place to a Service child before the family moves to the area.


  • The Welsh Government has provided a further investment of £270,000 per year to support Service children in Wales. In addition, four Regional Schools Liaison Officers for Service children are now in post across Wales, funded by a grant from the Covenant Fund Trust


  • The MOD has delivered key recommendations from recent reports into Single Living Accommodation. The Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force are developing their infrastructure delivery plans to improve the condition and quality of Single Living Accommodation across the estate through an ambitious 10‑year programme. £66.1 million was invested in the financial year 2020/21, and the MOD plans to invest a further £1.5 billion over the next decade.


  • Building on the independent Living In Our Shoes’ report on the needs of Armed Forces families, the MOD has devised a new UK Armed Forces Families Strategy for 2022-2032. The strategy will provide a framework that reflects modern and diverse family needs and encourages recruitment to and retention in service. The strategy will be underpinned by an action plan organised around eight workstreams: family life, Service life, family home, children’s education, childcare, non‑UK families, supporting partners and health and wellbeing.


  • The Military Co‑Working Hubs project – a community of Service spouses and partners working together to create a network of co‑working spaces on military bases has been awarded funding from the Covenant Fund Trust to support its expansion.



  • The Department for Work and Pensions has introduced 11 new Armed Forces Champion Leads to oversee the 50 Armed Forces Champions working across the Jobcentre Plus network.



To access the full Report, the Executive Summary and a useful infographic, visit the MoD website here.


We would encourage you to read through the Report to learn more about the work being undertaken to support you and your family. If you have any comments on the Report, or would like to raise a concern which you believe falls within the remit of the Armed Forces Covenant, please get in touch with us via our website.


Posted on: 15th December, 2021

We wish you a very Happy Christmas from all of us here at the Naval Families Federation.


Our Christmas hours are as below:

  • Closing: 5pm on Thursday 23rd December 2021
  • Reopening: 9am on Tuesday 4th January 2022


Should you require urgent assistance over this period, you can find emergency contact details here:


Combat Stress Mental Health Helpline

Combat Stress

If you’re currently serving in the UK Armed Forces, you can call Combat Stress’ 24-hour mental health helpline. A team of specially-trained professionals are available day and night to provide free confidential advice and support. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their contact details are as follows:

The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC)

The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC)

If circumstances should arise, whilst your relative is deployed overseas that make it necessary for you to apply for his or her return home on compassionate grounds, such as a death in the family or a serious illness, you should contact JCCC at 01452 519951. This number is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days per week throughout the Christmas period.

The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion supports serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.


Their Contact Centre helpline will be open as usual:

  • 0808 802 8080 from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week
Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS)

If you have a concern or issue over the Christmas period that needs some support, especially if your Serving person is away from home please call RN FPS. They are available throughout the Christmas Period. Please visit this page for their hours and contact details.

The Samaritans

The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day all year around.


Please call:

  • UK – 116 123
  • Welsh Language Line – 0808 164 0123 (Not24-Hour, every day 1900 – 2300)
  • Republic of Ireland – 116 123
SSAFA Forces Line

SSAFA Forces Line

Strengthening Families - By Your Side

‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’ offers Royal Navy and Royal Marines families the right support at the right time. This programme has been developed by the RNRMC and Naval Families Federation, with additional funding support from the Armed Forces Covenant.


Some services may be accessible during this Christmas period. Please visit the programme partners’ websites for further details.


A5 insert, talking about strengthening families.

TrusteeFemale portrait photo.

Having experienced the pressure and rewards of naval life I feel immensely privileged and proud to be a Trustee of the Naval Families Federation.

My husband was a submariner and I remember very well how it felt to move with him to a new location with a new baby just as he went on deterrent patrol, far away from family and yet to make new friends.

I have worked in the public, private and 3rd sector and am currently the Director of People for an adult Hospice, a role I took on following a period of HR Consultancy. This role is varied with responsibility for HR, Volunteers, Payroll, Pensions, Health & Safety, Non-Clinical Education and Estates.  I am also pleased to have gained an MSc in Organisational Psychology which supports me in my Trustee and Hospice role.

In my spare time I enjoy walking, cycling, sailing, reading, and spending time with the family.

Portrait of Sarah ClewesInterim Chief Executive Officer

Sarah enjoyed a long and successful career in the Royal Navy (1991-2012) and served in HMS Coventry, HMS Invincible, HMS Argyll as well as shore bases in Plymouth, Portsmouth, and Scotland. She gained a BA (Hons) in Business via the Learning at Work partnerships offered by Portsmouth University.

Since taking voluntary redundancy from the Royal Navy, she launched her own Virtual Assistant business offering an outsourcing option to deliver projects, secure funding, produce and deliver communications plans, provide mentoring, and offer flexible business solutions to the Charity sector. Employed roles have included Events, Projects and Fundraising Manager as well as an interim role as the Deputy Director of Operations at Care after Combat, a tri-service charity supporting veterans in the criminal justice system. Sarah has also worked with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) assessing leadership training.

She has contributed to military charities in a number of voluntary roles; as the Chairman of the Royal Navy Royal Marines Widows’ Association, Trustee for the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, and as a panel member for a ‘Through Life Pathways’ funding programme, for the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity.

Sarah joins the NFF from a local Hospice; as Head of Income Generation, she led teams in both Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

EDIT (22nd November 2021): Thank you for taking part in our 2021 Armed Forces Pay survey. Your feedback has been collated into a summary report and will be presented to the AFPRB later this week. You can view the survey results here.
The NFF meets annually with the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body (AFPRB) to present feedback from Service People and their families. The AFPRB makes recommendations to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence on military pay, allowances and charges. This year’s AFPRB will meet later this month.
Please help us to speak up on your behalf by answering this short survey.  There is a free text box at the end for any further comments you may wish to make. It will close at 23:59 on 14th November, 2021.

Survey results:

Deputy Chair of TrusteesPhoto of NFF Trustee David


David served in the Royal Navy until 1983 and from then on in the Royal Naval Reserve until 2015. His current role within Portsmouth City Council is the Head of Leisure and Sports Facilities, where he has delivered a new type of Leisure Management Contract ensuring greater value for money for sports facilities.  Prior to this he was the Seafront and Events Manager and the project director for D-Day 70 events in Portsmouth.  This entailed detailed engagement with Navy Command operationally and at a strategic level to deliver one of the best events Portsmouth has seen for many years and celebrating the only VIP’s of the year, the D-Day Veterans. Before that he headed up the commercial side of Portsmouth Museums Service, including the D-Day Museum. David has the also been appointed to lead for Portsmouth for next year’s 40th Anniversary of the Falklands conflict and Armed Forces day events to be held in the Portsmouth Historic Naval Base.

A Trustee of the Royal Military Police Museum at Southwick Park since 2008 David was previously a Trustee of HMS Warrior.

Formally he was the Chair of the Portsmouth Armed Forces Covenant Partnership.  Remains an active member of the amalgamated Portsmouth Southampton and Isle of Wight partnership.


NFF News: 26th October 2021


Sarah Clewes is to take up the role of interim Chief Executive of the Naval Families Federation (NFF) from 4 January 2022. 

Having gained wide experience in the charity sector, following a long and successful career in the Royal Navy as both a rating and an officer, Sarah is well-positioned to continue the comprehensive development of the NFF that has been achieved under outgoing Chief Executive Anna Wright. 

As Chief Executive, Sarah will be responsible for ensuring that the NFF continues to improve its support for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, both by championing their cause with policymakers and senior officers, and by stepping in to help individual families when existing processes and guidance fall short. 

Sarah, who is married to a Naval veteran – for a period they were a dual-serving couple – said: “I am thrilled to be joining such a dynamic organisation as the NFF. 

“The Federation is well-known for its role championing Naval families on the basis of their lived experience, and I look forward to working across a wide range of projects and initiatives to address both ongoing and emerging issues.” 

Sarah spent 21 years in the Logistics Branch of the Royal Navy, serving in HM ships Coventry, Invincible and Argyll, and her last job was at the RN Leadership Academy at HMS Collingwood, where she taught leadership, management and coaching while also successfully undertaking a business degree. 

After taking voluntary redundancy from the Royal Navy, Sarah embarked on a new career in the charity sector in a variety of roles, running events, projects and fundraising initiatives, and also running a successful virtual assistant business. 

One of the projects for which Sarah was responsible, the Royal Naval Association’s Project Semaphore initiative to alleviate loneliness and digital isolation amongst Naval veterans through the provision of iPads, won a national award. 

Sarah has also contributed to Naval charities in a voluntary capacity, as Chairman of the Royal Navy Royal Marines Widows’ Association (RNRMWA) and as Trustee for the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust. 

Anna Wright, who leaves to take up the role of Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund (AFCFT), said she is leaving the NFF in very safe hands. 

“I am delighted that Sarah is taking up the reins at the Federation, because she has exactly the set of skills and experiences that will be of huge benefit to our families and her new colleagues,” said Anna. 

“Although I am honoured to be joining the AFCFT, and excited to build on the very strong foundations laid by my predecessor Melloney Poole, I will be sad to leave the excellent team at the NFF. 

“But I leave Whale Island confident that Sarah will pick up where I left off, and she will have the pleasure of working with some extraordinary people.” 

Chairman of the NFF Board of Trustees, Paul Quinn, said: “I have had the pleasure of working with Sarah in the past, and am delighted to welcome her to the NFF team as our Chief Executive. 

“Her experience within the Naval family and charity world ideally equips Sarah for her new and exciting role as chief advocate for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.”