MBE for Naval families champion
Jane Williams has been championing the cause of Naval families for more than a decade – and now she has won official recognition for her efforts.
Jane, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) Director of Operations and Families Engagement, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, a fitting finale as she leaves the NFF to accompany her husband, a Royal Navy officer, on an overseas assignment.
During her 12 years at the Federation Jane has played her part in establishing the charity as a vital component in the research and policymaking process, improving the lives of Naval families in terms of accommodation, health, education, finance and employment, amongst other things.
And while NFF research and resources provide support and improvements across the board, Jane, who lives in Stubbington, near Fareham in Hampshire, has also rolled up her sleeves and helped individual cases when they get bogged down by bureaucracy or a unique situation needs to be resolved.
Whether strategic or tactical, at the heart of the NFF approach is the fact that its staff talk to families and listen to what they say, passing that on to those who need to hear it – and it’s something Jane has always enjoyed, and at which she excelled.
“Getting out and talking to Royal Navy and Royal Marines families? What a privilege!” she said. “They are just awesome!”
Jane said she has always been amazed at the range and breadth of subjects raised by families, and the fact that they might not have an issue with something, but they will often have a thoughtful and intelligent opinion from their own experiences which will help policymakers.
“People making policies and decisions have an appetite to understand what it means to our families – their ears are pinned back and they are listening,” said Jane.
“They have to prioritise operational output but they are very keen to take families into account.
“Over the time I have been with the NFF I have seen a significant change in the right direction, for the good, and I think that’s because of what the NFF can bring to the table.
“It is well researched and carefully thought through – we have never sold anybody a pup!”
NFF Chief Executive Anna Wright said: “Jane is a powerhouse of energy who has devoted 12 years on the staff of the NFF, striving to improve the lot for families of serving Royal Navy personnel.
“She is absolutely at her best when dealing with families directly.
“She has the ability to take the most intractable problems, roll up her sleeves and get to work for the family.”
Anna added that by using “her contacts, knowledge of regulations, guile and charm” she gets the best result possible – “not always what the family were seeking, but always a solution that can be managed.”
Anna concluded: “Jane puts others first and has helped to drive the agenda for families a long way forward in her time.
“Her superpower is being a people-focused dynamo, putting a human face on the intractable problems of SFA and immigration; by helping those responsible for the regulations to do their best.”