NFF News

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:

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.” 

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

Updated on: 30th November 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

*APPLICATIONS CLOSED – thank you for your interest*


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

Salary £24,000 pa pro rata. 


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 Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. 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 Devolved Administrations Families Engagement Officer & Partner Employment Lead, who is also based in Scotland, and the role will extend into developing a more in-depth knowledge base as a policy lead for Transition (from the Royal Navy).   

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 job specification.
  • Click here to download the application form.
  • Applicants are welcome to have an informal chat about the role with the Devolved Administrations Families Engagement Officer & Partner Employment Lead on telephone number 07469660696. 
  • Send completed application forms to or by post to: Building 25, HMS EXCELLENT, Portsmouth PO2 8ER
  • Applications close at midday on Wednesday 30th June 2021. 
  • Interviews for the vacancy will be held at the Drumfork Community Centre on Tuesday 6th July 2021. 


Naval Families Federation 

CEO: Anna Wright