Parental Absence and Family Support – Useful Resources
1. NFF Parental Absence Resource
Being a parent and raising children is exciting and rewarding, but it can be tough at times for any family. The amount, patterns and types of parental absence faced by Royal Navy and Royal Marines families present additional challenges that are not routinely experienced by most civilian families.
In response to feedback from families, the Naval Families Federation has produced a resource about the experience of parental absence. The purpose of the resource is to draw together some useful information about parental absence and separation, and provide some strategies to help families thrive.
Request a copy
If you are a parent, it may also be helpful to give a copy to your child’s school, or to other people in your network, to help them to understand your circumstances.
You can download a free copy here.
Alternatively, Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, and those supporting them, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy. Regrettably, we are only able to send hard copies to our beneficiaries due to resource constraints.
*Please note: Since its publication, some of the supporting organisations/ charities have undergone rebranding. We are currently working on updating this resource. Please double check their contact details before making contact.
2. Books for All
Separation and deployment are part and parcel of Royal Navy and Royal Marines Service life. For the past few years, the NFF has been providing RN/RM personnel and their loved ones with book resources to help them through the challenges Service life may bring.
With thanks to your fantastic feedback, we are delighted to receive further funding from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) to launch the ‘Books for All’ project.
Our book list includes a wide range of topics suitable for all ages. What’s more, in recognition that RN/RM children experience the most parental absence of all three Armed Forces, we have expanded the eligibility to schools with at least one RN/RM Service pupil enrolled. Carers/Service parents are encouraged to engage with your school(s) to encourage sign-ups.
Thank you for your fantastic feedback on our Books for All project. We are delighted to see that it has been incredibly well-received. Please note that due to popular demand, the deadline for applications is midday 27th May 2022.
Eligibility/Terms and Conditions
- For Service families: A maximum of one book for each family member of currently serving Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel. You will be asked to provide your (or your serving person’s) Service number for eligibility purposes.
- For schools: Limited to 10 books per school, staff are welcome to put these in their library or use them in any particular work they do with Service children. To apply, you must have at least one RN/RM Service child enrolled in your setting.
- While every effort will be made to process orders quickly, this project is not supported by any additional staffing resource, so please be patient with us.
- The provision of resources is subject to funding and availability, we will contact you if there is an issue with the book that you requested.
- By applying to this project, you consent to be contacted by the NFF to collect feedback.
3. Strengthening Families – By Your Side
‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, an offer of support for all Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, was officially launched on 1st September 2020. Developed by the NFF and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), the project aims to provide RN/RM families the right support, at the right time. Please note, this programme officially extended its eligibility to serving RFA families as of April 2022.
Please click on the images to view the enlarged version. Find out more about how this can help you and your loved ones from the sections below or click here to visit RNRMC’s website for further details.
Relate are the UK’s largest provider of relationship support.
- ‘Building Stronger Families’ is a free-of-charge, self-directed relationship online learning portal for RN/RM Service personnel and their partners.
- Free face-to-face, online and telephone counselling is also available. They can help with relationships, family life and parenting, separation and divorce and help for children, young people and young adults. It also includes bereavement and loss support. You can contact them via their dedicated RN/RM hotline (01302 380 279) or visit this page.
Support for children and young people
Dame Agnes Weston’s Royal Charity for the Naval Service (or “Aggie Weston’s”) is one of the oldest Naval charities. Aggies supports RN, RM, QARNNS and RFA personnel, together with their families.
- Aggie’s Pastoral Workers offer support by phone, through social media, at events, or on occasions through home visits. The team are to listen, encourage, signpost and provide practical support.
KIDS provides a wide range of support services to disabled children, young people and their families across England, supporting over 13,500 families each year. They work with children with any disability from birth to 25 years of age, offering support to the whole family with the aim of giving disabled children a brighter future.
- KIDS support young carers aged 7-19 across England.
- They also run weekly Staying Positive group for young disabled people aged 14-25 (Gosport and Havant).
Kings Active Foundation exist to get children active, having fun and learning together.
- Kings run activity camps at Naval establishments over school holidays for children aged 5-17 with a serving parent. The cost is subsidised by the RNRMC. Those who live away from base port areas can also take part in the camps at a civilian location near them with the same subsidised cost.
- Teenagers aged between 15-17 and take part in the Rookie Academy. It is a sports leadership programme where participants will learn how to coach and be a young leader through practical, hands-on activities. This qualification can be added to their CV and included in any future application where part of the assessment is on practical leadership skills.
Aggies supports RN, RM, QARNNS and RFA personnel, together with their families.
- Aggies holds groups and events for spouses/partners and toddlers, including but not limited to after-school homework clubs, Storybook Waves book clubs, financial management courses.
Home-Start is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. They are there for parents when they need help the most, because childhood can’t wait. Please make contact via their dedicated RN/RM phone line: 0116 464 5450
- Local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young people through challenging times, including 1-to-1 sessions, group support, linking to other local support networks.
- 2-hour weekly support sessions by a volunteer to support you during challenging times (e.g. isolation health, bereavement).
Mellow Mums is an 8-week digital support group that is ‘postcode blind’. It aims to support mums in the RN/RM community with children under 2. It has been developed to reduce isolation and to support better perinatal mental health. Participants will have the opportunity to meet other mums in the community and share their experience too.
- 8-week informal, confidential one-hour session delivered on Zoom with a Home-Start coordinator. Please email email@example.com for further information.
The Naval Children’s Charity (NCC, formerly the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Children’s Fund) offers help to children up to the age of 25 with a parent or guardian who is a current or former member of the Royal Navy including the Reserves and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
- NCC offers help to their beneficiaries by providing grants, advice and guidance.
- NCC offers free books to help children to understand feelings when a parent goes away.
Information and support
Have you signed up to the Royal Navy Forum yet?
The Royal Navy Forum is a safe and secure environment to engage with RN/RM Families to ensure they are INFORMED INVOLVED INTOUCH with the Royal Navy and its stakeholders. The topics area works as a notice board to inform readers on all aspects and updates from the MOD and external stakeholders – this is an open area – should you wish to have these updates into your mailbox then all you need to do is join and subscribe to the areas you are interested in.
Inside the Members area, you will find Local Support groups, Unit and Network areas, Overseas and Training Establishments which provide more bespoke information and discussion areas to engage with like-minded people.
To join, you or your family and friends need your full name as it is on JPA and your Service Number. Once in, navigate to the areas of interest and ask to join – the RN Forum Team will let you in. Don’t forget to click on the bell to follow and receive regular updates to your inbox.
4. Subsidised holiday camps for young people
As part of ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’ (see section above), young people from serving RN/RM/RFA families can apply to access sports and activity camps right across the UK at a subsidised rate. This is a partnership between the RNRMC and the Kings Active Foundation.
5 - 14 years olds
- Baseport areas: The camps are available at selected bases and establishments during school holidays. Please check out the RNRMC’s website and their social media channels for the latest news and updates.
- Other locations: For those who live away from baseport areas, you can also book your children onto any of Kings Camp’s 55 nationwide non-military locations – click here for a list of venue. When making the booking, please mention that you a RN/RM family in order to recieve the discount.
15 - 17 years olds
Rookie Academy is a sports leadership programme where participants will learn how to coach and be a young leader through practical, hands-on activities. This qualification can be added to their CV and included in any future application where part of the assessment is on practical leadership skills.