6th October, 2021


A groundbreaking NFF project to gain an insight into how Naval families were feeling during the Covid-19 pandemic has reached a milestone in its progress. 


Time, On My Watch was born of the desire to reach out to families during a time of isolation when our normal face-to-face channels of communication – families days, coffee mornings and the like – were closed off to us. 


Instead, prompted by an initiative by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, we explored ways in which we could use creative processes to see how our families were coping with the additional stresses and strains which were inevitable in the uncertain times of the summer of 2020. 


Our initial engagements with families suggested that the approach would bear fruit, so we developed our bid, which was approved by the Trust. 


The next step was to enlist the considerable expertise of professional artist Tim Mann, who offered a very different perspective on what was, for the NFF, a very different initiative. 


Naval families were invited to submit their thoughts on the concept of time, and how it affected them, representing those thoughts in the form of drawings, poems, handicrafts or photography. 


The Story Behind ‘Time, On My Watch’

This collection, we believe, presents a powerful message, delivered in creative work that ranges across the emotional scale, from heartfelt words to dark doodles. 


They hint at how people seize special moments, or steel themselves for a patient wait, or watch as the sands of time slip away, highlighting some coping strategies adopted by the Naval community and the effects that separation has on both the deployed and their families back home. 


One strong theme that emerges from the works is that of the importance of the community in supporting one another – which came as no surprise to the NFF team. 


The honesty and openness displayed makes the collection all the more valuable as a means of communication – and justifies our original intention to somehow capture the spirit of the project for posterity. 


One longer-term ambition is to make the collection accessible to all, possibly in the format of an online exhibition, and a more traditional touring exhibition is also an option that could be considered. 


But the latest development is a book which presents the works anonymously as a miscellany, and which will be presented to key policy and decision-makers in the military and government to help inform their thinking, and to contributors to the project. 


Displayed on this page are some of the works submitted; our thanks go to all of you who took part and made the project so worthwhile.

Book reading video

NHS England is seeking to improve the health and wellbeing support provided to military families, and your views are helping to shape that plan. The NHS in England provides healthcare services for families of serving personnel – regulars and reservists – who have registered with an NHS GP practice. But not everyone in the NHS understands the specific health needs of Armed Forces families, and what they are entitled to under the Armed Forces Covenant. That can mean, in some cases, that such families have problems getting the right care and support, which can lead to further challenges and difficulties.


Armed Forces community support networks have been set up in some parts of the country, focussing on improving their experience of health services, and feedback from families with experience of such networks has been positive. But in many areas such links are more informal and not as well-developed, so one strand of the engagement exercise was to explore whether setting up more networks might help.


The engagement took place for two months from the end of September 2020, supported by a questionnaire and a series of online focus groups and one-to-one interviews. More than 160 organisations were contacted directly to encourage responses, and with the supporting media also playing its part, a total of 1,391 responses were received by the NHS. Armed Forces families contributed 424 responses, and more than 80 per cent of the respondents were aged between 26 and 65. Just under 20 per cent of the respondents were from, or had links to, the Royal Navy or Royal Marines.


Now the results have been analysed, the NHS is embarking on a programme of actions under the heading ‘you said, we will do…’


One general theme that emerged was that Armed Forces families believed they would benefit from more information and dedicated support to help them find and access NHS services, and that a person acting as a single point of contact outside the chain of command, rather than an array of documents and leaflets, would be more helpful. And one line of thought is that community support networks could fulfil the function of a single point of contact, as well as helping NHS organisations understand the military culture and lifestyle, as well as the implications of the Armed Forces Covenant.


Furthermore, reducing waiting times as a result of moving bases and more joined-up communication between NHS organisations and between the NHS and Defence Medical Services (DMS) would ensure that Armed Forces families do not repeatedly have to start the referral process every time they move.


Respondents also indicated that better understanding from NHS staff, particularly from GPs, would make accessing services easier.


These findings have been shared with decision makers to help shape what support could be put in place for Armed Forces families in the future – and although this engagement has been completed, the NHS will continue to seek the views and experiences of Armed Forces families to ensure that any future support put in place meets their needs. The findings will be considered by the NHS England and NHS Improvement Armed Forces Oversight Group (AFOG), who will look at what actions are needed to progress improvements in this area.


Agreed actions will be progressed in collaboration with the NHS England and NHS Improvement Armed Forces Patient and Public Voice Group, Armed Forces families/Armed Forces community, the Naval Families Federation and our two sister groups in the Army and RAF, the wider NHS, Department of Health and Social Care and Ministry of Defence.

NHS report: 'You said, we will do'
Click here to access the 'You said we will do' report.
Front cover of the NHS report
Click here to access the research findings.
Posted on: 13th September, 2021

*APPLICATIONS AR ENOW CLOSED- Thank you for your interest!*

Are you passionate about speaking up and championing the issues facing Royal Navy and Royal Marines families?  Can you speak truth to power and constructively engage Minsters and senior RN/RM officers to help them understand the effects of Service life on families?  Do you want to help families who have questions or issues that need to be resolved?  If so, you may be the right person to lead the Naval Families Federation into the next phase of its exciting growth and development as an independent charity.


We are looking for someone who ideally:
  • Has been, or is part of, the wider RN/RM community
  • Has experience in a profession and/or service in the RN/RM or as an MOD Civil Servant
  • Has experience of speaking up or advocacy
  • Has direct experience of the challenges of living in a RN/RM family
  • Has a proven track record of effective team leadership
  • Is confident and entrepreneurial
  • Is a strategic thinker
  • Can use evidence in making an argument or case


We are aware that the person we are looking for may have a CV with gaps or a succession of roles – this is very common in those who support those who serve.  We will be pleased to speak to you to see if the fit may be right.


We offer:
  • Direct access to Ministers and the top echelons of the RN/RM
  • A highly motivated and effective team in attractive offices in HMS EXCELLENT
  • A highly engaged and effective Trust Board to help and support you
  • A competitive salary with good leave and pension arrangements
  • The opportunity to be bold, creative and aspirational for Naval families


  • To discuss the role informally please contact Anna Wright on 02392 654374.
  • Please click here for a CEO’s Briefing Pack with includes a Job Description and Person Specification.
  • Applications should be 2 A4 pages describing how you match up to the person we are looking for and an up-to-date CV.
  • Closing date for applications is 1500 30 Sep 21. Applications to . Interviews week commencing 4 Oct 21.


Posted on: 10th September, 2021

The NFF’s advocacy for Naval families has hit the gold standard with the award of the highest accolade in the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).


A year after achieving silver status, the Federation has gone one step further for our support to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines community, in this case specifically for our commitment in the field of employment.


The ERS was launched in 2014 by the then Prime Minister David Cameron to recognise employer support for the wider principles of the Armed Forces Covenant and the full spectrum of Defence personnel, including Reservists, spouses, and service leavers.


Gold status is reserved for those organisations that go beyond the Covenant pledge and show the highest levels of commitment to the military community, both in their own recruitment practices and in their advocacy for employing members of that community.


NFF Chief Executive Anna Wright said: “We are delighted and honoured to have been granted ERS Gold Award status”


“We have long championed the case for employing Naval family members, particularly Naval spouses, and our own recruitment policy recognises the challenges such families face as well as the impressive skill set they have developed as a result of those challenges.”


“More than 90 per cent of our team has either served or is a close relative of a serving person or veteran, so we walk the walk as well as talking the talk!”


“I am also enormously proud of the role the Naval Families Federation played in setting up the successful Forces Families Jobs platform, taking our advocacy a step further to provide real jobs and training for our enormously talented Naval families.”


Announcing the latest tranche of successful bids for the prestigious award, Defence Minister Leo Docherty said today that 140 organisations have received the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award for their outstanding support towards the Armed Forces community.


“I would like to thank all the organisations who have proven their support for the Defence community during such unprecedented and challenging times,” said Mr Docherty, the Minister for Defence People and Veterans.


“The vast range of those recognised this year demonstrates how employing the Armed Forces community makes a truly positive and beneficial impact for all employers, regardless of size, sector or location.”


Winners alongside the Naval Families Federation included international business process outsourcing and professional services company Capita, construction and engineering giant Costain, the Isle of Man Government, Lloyds Banking Group, Manchester City Council, Merseyside Police, Norfolk County Council, Recruit for Spouses, Saab UK, Scottish Power and the Victory Services Club in London.


This year’s announcement brings the total number of Gold holders to 493.


The full list of Employer Recognition Scheme Gold, Silver, and Bronze award winners is available here

More information on the Armed Forces Covenant, the promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly, can be found here


Posted on: 16th July 2021


The Naval Families Federation has joined 11 other military charities in calling for the strengthening of the Armed Forces Bill which is currently going through Parliament.


The 12 organisations have signed an open letter urging the government and MPs to widen the scope of the Bill, delivering on the full promise of the Armed Forces Covenant.


A new Bill is introduced every five years to renew the Armed Forces Act, allowing additions and amendments to be made before each Bill become law.


One of the key elements of the latest Bill is the proposal to make it a legal duty for public bodies to consider the Armed Forces Covenant when creating policy or making decisions.


The Covenant, which was enshrined in law in 2011, is the promise by the nation that Service personnel, veterans, and their families will not be at a disadvantage as a result of military service.


While senior figures in the military charity sector broadly welcomed provisions in the new Bill they believe that it does not go far enough in covering the full range of day-to-day issues that affect the Armed Forces community and which are regularly raised by families contacting the NFF.


In particular, the new legal obligations introduced by the Bill would only apply to local councils and some limited public bodies delivering housing, health and education – the national government and devolved administrations would be exempt from this duty, which the charities identify as a “major gap” in the Bill.


The letter states that this is “compounded by the omission of important topics including employment, pensions, compensation, social care, criminal justice, and immigration from the Bill’s scope.”


The open letter to MPs has been signed by NFF Chief Executive Anna Wright, along with leading figures in the Royal British Legion, Poppyscotland, Cobseo (the Confederation of Service Charities), Veterans Scotland, SSAFA the Armed Forces charity, Help for Heroes, Combat Stress, the Forces in Mind Trust, the Army Families Federation, the RAF Families Federation and the RAF Association.


Read the full text of the letter here.


Published on: 14th July, 2021

 Vacancy for a part-time, one-year fixed term position, based in Plymouth, 24 hours per week.

Salary £24,000 per annum pro rata.

*APPLICATIONS CLOSED – thank you for your interest*

Here’s who we are:

The Naval Families Federation exists to speak up for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.  We champion families and advocate on their behalf to the relevant authorities. We represent their views and experiences to those who make the policies and decisions that affect them. We meet regularly with the Royal Navy’s Chain of Command, Government Ministers, Other Government Departments, and other key stakeholders.  We also support appropriate and relevant research.   


Here’s who we are looking for:

A self-starting team player who is happy to work from home but willing to travel across the West Country. Applicants will have current knowledge and experience of the modern Royal Navy/Royal Marines lifestyle, understanding the demands of being part of this community. They will have the ability to develop effective relationships to gain trust and build rapport with serving family members.

The successful candidate will report to the Families Engagement Officer & Immigration Adviser who is also based in the West Country, and the role will extend into developing a more in-depth knowledge base as a policy lead for Overseas Assignments.

This is a key role within a small organisation where everyone’s contribution makes a difference, so the ideal candidate will feel comfortable working as a team member and agile enough to manage several work-stands simultaneously. If you fit the description and have a tenacious approach, we would love you to put your application forward.


  • Click here to download the application form.
  • Click here to download the terms of reference.
  • Applicants are welcome to have an informal chat about the role with the Director of Operations on telephone number 023 9265 4374. If you wish to speak directly with the Families Engagement Officer, Pete Hawley, he will be available on 07884887037 from Thursday 15th July.
  • Send completed application forms to or by post to: Building 25, HMS EXCELLENT, Portsmouth PO2 8ER
  • Applications close at midday on Wednesday 21st July 2021. 
  • Interviews for the vacancy will be held at the China Fleet Club on Thursday 29th July 2021.


Naval Families Federation 

CEO: Anna Wright

New contracts to enhance maintenance and repair services across Service Family Accommodation (SFA) supporting jobs across the UK Defence supply chain over 7 years has been announced today.


Five new contracts worth £650-million have been awarded to industry to deliver crucial building and maintenance services for more than 39,000 Service families.


Forming the next phase of the Future Defence Infrastructure (FDIS) programme, the four new regional accommodation contracts will cover the maintenance of properties across the UK, including plumbing, electrical works, repair services and the maintenance support helpline.


The contracts will create and sustain thousands of jobs across the UK supply chain and SFA sites including Portsmouth, Marham, Aldershot, Edinburgh and Cumbria which are all set to benefit from it.


The NFF carried out a housing survey in 2018 and which directly informed the Ministry of Defence’s tendering process.


The seven-year contracts have been awarded to:

Region Supplier
Northern Amey Community Ltd
Central Amey Community Ltd
South East (SE) VIVO Defence Services Ltd
South West (SW) VIVO Defence Services Ltd


In addition to the facilities work, military families will also profit from a new customer service centre acting as a single point of contact to streamline and resolve accommodation issues quicker. Pinnacle Group Ltd has won a £144-million contract to deliver these services.


Announced by the Prime Minister last November, Defence has received an increase in funding of over £24-billion across the next four years. This investment reflects the MOD’s commitment to improving service accommodation and prioritising funding for critical infrastructure and services.


The new contracts will require suppliers to work differently, such as fixing faults on an initial visit to a property and undertaking simple preventative maintenance while attending properties to reduce disruption to families.


The contracts ensure industry suppliers adopt and adhere to recognised industry standards for the allocation, management and maintenance of military homes, implementing robust mechanisms to address poor performance alongside incentives to exceed contracted standards.


In the last financial year, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation spent £160-million on major improvements and the modernisation of its housing stock. The new FDIS contracts will enhance this even further.


The accommodation services contracts follow the recent announcement of a £1.6-billion to deliver hard facilities management services across the UK Defence estate. The final phase of the FDIS programme will see a contract awarded for the management and maintenance of the UK Defence Training Estate.


Homeport article about the new contracts

Article from Homeport (Summer 2021, p.9)

Posted on: 24th June, 2021

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.

Jane and her husband taking a selfie when HMS QE first entered Portsmouth in 2017.


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.”


Posted on: 12th June, 2021

Naval Families Federation immigration adviser Pete Hawley has been invited to contribute to a consultation which could result in visa fees being waived for non-UK military personnel at the end of their service.


The public consultation, launched at the end of May by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel, would change policy so that non-UK Service personnel could be offered indefinite leave to remain in the UK for free after serving at least 12 years in the Armed Forces, subject to eligibility criteria.


The proposal from the MOD and Home Office could save each applicant £2,389 in the costs of applications.


The 12-year yardstick reflects the length of time all Service personnel initially sign up to serve, known as the initial engagement period.


There are currently more than 10,000 non-UK citizens serving in the UK Armed Forces from countries around the world including Australia, Canada, Fiji, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and South Africa, many of whom may consider applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK when their service ends.


Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We owe those who showed us loyal service our loyalty in return.


“It is right that we recognise their contribution by not only smoothing the pathway to residency and citizenship, but also by lifting the financial cost of doing so after 12 years of service.”


Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I am immensely proud that brave Servicemen and women from around the world want to continue to call the UK their home after their service.


“It is only right that those who continue to do extraordinary work on behalf of our country are recognised and rewarded, and I am determined to support them settle in our wonderful communities right across the UK.”


Leo Docherty, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, said: “That so many non-UK citizens choose to bring their dedication, expertise and bravery to the UK Armed Forces is not something we take for granted, and I am pleased to support this policy proposal.


“We look forward to hearing the public’s view and working together to move these plans forward, strengthening our support to those who want to build a life in the country they bravely defended during their service.”


While Pete has been invited to provide evidence in his role as an OISC Level 1 Immigration Adviser, members of the public can also contribute to the consultation on the proposed policy changes.


The consultation will run until 7 July, and feedback will be used to further inform and shape these changes. Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the proposed policy change is expected to come into effect for Financial Year 2021/22.


Posted on: 3rd June, 2021
Updated: 1st July, 2021

*APPLICATIONS CLOSED – thank you for your interest*


Role: Director of Operations and Families Engagement
Full-time post, 36 hours per week based in Portsmouth.
Initial salary £36,000 Per Annum.


Here’s who we are:

The Naval Families Federation exists to speak up for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families. We champion families and advocate on their behalf to the relevant authorities. We represent their views and experiences to those who make the policies and decisions that affect them. We meet regularly with the Royal Navy’s Chain of Command, Government Ministers, Other Government Departments, and other key stakeholders. We also support appropriate and relevant research.


Here’s who we are looking for:

A person who thrives on problem solving and is energised by a fluid working pattern. The ideal candidate will be patient, diplomatic and be confident to calculate business priorities on the hoof. It is vital for applicants to have a thorough understanding of the nuances of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines lifestyle. The remit of the role offers an exciting range of variation including, but not limited to, delivering briefs about the work of the NFF, representing the organisation at national meetings and events, supporting a busy enquiries and family advocacy team on a wide and varied range of subjects, and everything in between. Previous people management experience is required, as is the ability to build relationships to effectively communicate on issues affecting Service families, engaging with the Chain of Command and external stakeholders.


First-hand understanding and experience of the modern Naval Service lifestyle is key to this position. This will be coupled with the ability to organise your own time to prioritise tasks and effectively communicate with colleagues. This is a key role within a small organisation where everyone’s contribution makes a difference, so the ideal applicant will feel comfortable working as a team member and agile enough to manage several work-strands simultaneously. If you fit the description and have a tenacious approach, we would love you to put your application forward.


Applicants are welcome to have an informal chat with the current post holder, telephone number: 02392 654374.

Applications close at midday on Tuesday 20th April 2021. 

First interviews for the vacancy will be held via MS Teams on Thursday 22nd April 2021.


To apply:
*APPLICATION CLOSED – thank you for your interest*
  • Click here to download the job specification. 
  • Click here to download the application form.
  • Send completed application forms to or by post to the address below:

Naval Families Federation

CEO: Anna Wright

Building 25, HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth, PO2 8ER