Top
 

Relationships

 

On the 1st September ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, a new offer of support for all Royal Navy families, will officially launch.

 

Strengthening Families – By Your Side has been developed by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Naval Families Federation (NFF), in partnership with the Royal Navy, Kings Active Foundation, Home-Start UK and Relate. This project is supported by funding over the next three years from the Armed Forces Covenant. In addition to this, the RNRMC have also brought together funded projects from the Naval Children’s Charity, Aggie Weston’s and KIDS to provide a comprehensive support package to service families whenever and wherever they need it.

 

This groundbreaking partnership will work collaboratively to address some of the key issues underlined in the RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report, primarily looking at the gap between the support available for dispersed families nationwide compared to support available for those living in or near base ports.

 

 

Professor Janet Walker, who has been instrumental in the project’s development, said:

“Increasingly, as Royal Navy families choose to live away from their home base, many are experiencing loneliness and social isolation, the absence of a military peer group who understand and share the same pressures, relationship difficulties caused by time spent apart during deployments and weekending, and the unpredictability of home-comings and family time.”

“‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’ can break down the barriers to seeking support and will assist members of Navy families, wherever you live and whoever you are, to access confidential and personalised practical and emotional help.”

 

The importance of support for dispersed families was echoed by Anna Wright, CEO of NFF:

“From my perspective the most exciting aspect of this project is that it supports our dispersed community.  With 39% living away from bases, having located in every county in the UK, it is essential that RNRM families can access appropriate support on the ground. And being able to self-refer to this support as a naval family is vital. We are delighted to be working with a group of charities that are collaborative, flexible and committed to supporting the naval lifestyle.

 

Mandy Lindley, Director of Relationships and Funding at the RNRMC added:

“By working together, we can deliver the improvement in quality of life that is needed by our service families. Strengthening Families – By Your Side is about early intervention and prevention, providing a range of services leading to improved family cohesion, conflict resolution, health and well-being, and increased levels of happiness.”

 

Further information

For more information about the full range of support available and how to access it please visit: rnrmc.org.uk/how-we-help/families-and-relationships

 

Posted on: 1st September, 2020

Whether it is ‘weekending’ or deployment, we understand that Royal Navy and Royal Marines families spend a considerable amount of time away from each other.

Pile of books including 'My Daddy's going away'

 

For the past 2 years, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) has been providing serving personnel and their families with book resources to help them during periods of separation and deployment.

 

Thanks to your positive feedback and ongoing demand, the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) has kindly agreed to fund a continuation of the project, which has been further enhanced with additional resources relevant to the current Covid-19 lockdown.

 

The project includes resources to assist with times of parental absence, relationships, parenting, anxiety, bereavement and more.

 

Guidelines for provision of books/ resources

  • Full list of books from the NFF family resource projectA maximum of one book for each child/ family member of currently serving Royal Navy/ Royal Marines personnel.
  • You will be asked to provide your (or your serving person’s) Service number for eligibility purposes.
  • 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.
  • Provision of particular titles is subject to availability.
  • Please note that during the current COVID – 19 situation there may be a slight delay.
Posted on: 4th May, 2020

 

We want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the people who are working as part of the national response to Covid-19.

 

Many key workers in the NHS, the Armed Forces (Regular and Reserve) and other vital services are working away from home at the moment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are living away from your family, here are some tried and tested tips from the experience of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families which may help you to navigate this time of separation.

 

You can download our resource free here.

 

 

Posted on: 30th April, 2020

 

 

The Naval Families Federation (NFF) is delighted to announce the launch of ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, a new offer of support for all Royal Navy and Royal Marines families. This project is supported by funding from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), as well as funds awarded by the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Strengthening Families – By Your Side has been developed by the RNRMC and the NFF, in partnership with the Royal Navy, Kings Active Foundation, Home-Start UK and Relate. Initial funding of project activities, provided by the RNRMC and the Armed Forces Covenant, is to be rolled out over the next three years. The offer aims to provide comprehensive support to Naval Service families whenever and wherever they need it.

 

This groundbreaking partnership will work collaboratively to address some of the key issues underlined in the RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report, primarily looking at the gap between the support available for dispersed families nationwide compared to support available for those living in or near base ports.  The RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report highlighted that dispersed Naval Service families, i.e. families distributed throughout the country, are less likely than those who live close to base ports to be aware of available help and support and far more likely to have difficulties accessing the support available.

 

The project also seeks to tackle problems reported by Naval Service personnel and their families to the Naval Families Federation and the Royal Navy Chaplaincy. These can include a sense of isolation, relationship and parenting issues or mental health difficulties.

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation said:

‘We are delighted to have been involved in this vital initiative, particularly in the case of our isolated families.

Royal Navy and Royal Marines families are more widely dispersed than those of our sister Services, which brings its own challenges in terms of mutual support, gleaning information and access to the range of services that are available to families near base ports and other Naval establishments.

This kind of partnership between ourselves, the RNRMC and other stakeholders points to a potentially more effective way of using scare resources to greater effect.’

 

Mandy Lindley, Director of Relationships and Funding at the RNRMC said:

‘By working together, we can deliver the improvement in quality of life that is needed by our service families. Strengthening Families – By Your Side is about early intervention and prevention, providing a range of services leading to improved family cohesion, conflict resolution, health and well-being, and increased levels of happiness.’

 

More information about Strengthening Families – By Your Side will be coming soon to our website.

 

Posted on: 6th March, 2020

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced a range of measures to tackle inappropriate behaviour in the Armed Forces.

 

Measures planned include instilling a shift in culture, led by those responsible for managing day-to-day discipline, as well as overhauling the complaints system so the most serious allegations are investigated quickly and, if appropriate, outside the chain of command. New training and reporting will also be implemented.

 

The announcement follows the publication of a review into inappropriate behaviour in the Forces, conducted by Air Marshal Michael Wigston. Prompted by a number of allegations, the review was designed to analyse Service culture and make recommendations on further action, and the Naval Families Federation was invited to contribute first-hand evidence of the effects of inappropriate behaviours on Naval families to add to the overall picture.

 

The report found that while good behaviour was the norm and Service personnel could by and large be trusted to behave appropriately, there is still an unacceptable level of inappropriate behaviour in the military. A key recommendation was the creation of a new Defence Authority, which will provide centralised oversight on how the recommendations are delivered and share best practice across Defence.

 

It will also have a role in investigating allegations such as sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination. This change to the complaints system is to ensure the most serious allegations are dealt with quickly and personnel have confidence to step forward – an approach based on similar systems which have proved successful in the Canadian, Australian and American Armed Forces. There will be new ways to  anonymously report inappropriate behaviour through the creation of a hotline, a phone-based app and website forms. The Authority will also be the central point for the coordination of policy relating to inappropriate behaviour, as well as sharing best practice across Defence.

 

To address this, the MOD aims to embed a new culture and set of standards across the Services, including mandatory diversity and inclusion training and a new harassment survey, to be conducted in 2021, that will track data on the culture change across Defence.

 

Chief of Defence Staff Gen Sir Nick Carter and MOD Permanent Secretary Sir Stephen Lovegrove have written to all senior commanders to update them on the review and stress the importance of implementing its findings, and the respective heads of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF are also writing to all staff on the outcome of the review.

 

A copy of the full report can be found here.

 

Posted on: 18th July, 2019

In December 2016, the first phase of the Portsmouth Naval Base Navy Mews were opened.  The vision was to transform unused office space and to re-purpose them into bespoke, self-contained units, which would give single serving parents the ideal environment to spend time and build relationships with their children when not away on deployment.

 

Explained by Commander Martin Evans, the Naval Base Executive Officer, the need for single parents to maintain quality time in a safe homely environment with their children was first identified back in 2010. The collaborative working between the Chain of Command, Accommodation Officer Sara Williams and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) has successfully delivered the scheme.

During his last week as First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones unveiled a plaque during the opening of the two additional flats at HMS Nelson alongside Accommodation Officer Sara Williams. (@MOD Crown Copyright, 2019)

 

However, it became apparent that the need for Service personnel to retain contact with family went far beyond purely single parents and 2 additional flats were created in 2019. The expansion of the scheme is to assist in maintaining moral component of operational capacity for all Portsmouth Naval Base Service personnel as well as indirectly support operational outputs as a retention positive measure.

 

These facilities are located in Dreadnought Building and have been funded jointly by RNRMC, Naval Base Commander (Portsmouth) and HMS Nelson’s Leisure and Amenities Funds (LAF). Additional collaboration has also come in the form of many generous donations from a number of sources. Most rooms benefit from donated toys, games and books, providing the perfect environment for relationships to flourish.

 

All Service personnel are eligible to apply and each booking will be given a priority code (A, highest – E, lowest). Priority will be given to single separated parents with children. It is also worth noting that the cost of each flat varies according to the date(s) of the week required as well as the priority code you have been given, plus a mandatory payment per booking to cover accident insurance held by the LAF. There must be an Armed Forces sponsor to escort and remain with their guests at all times.

HRH The Princess Royal met LS Hooper, a single parent based at HMS Nelson, and his two daughters as she spent time visiting Navy Mews in late June 2019. (@MOD Crown Copyright, 2019)

 

The above information is to be reviewed by the Accommodation Office by May 2020. Please refer to Portsmouth Naval Base Temporary Memoranda (PNBTM) 32/19 for prices and full T&C. For booking and all other enquiries, please visit the Accommodation Office in Jervis Block. Alternatively, you can email Navynbcp-navynews@mod.uk or phone 02392 7222090.

 

Posted on: 21st June, 2017
Updated on: 11th July, 2019

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Relate have launched a free relationship counselling portal for Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their partners.

 

The RNRMC Building Stronger Families portal is a self-directed online learning programme supporting naval couple and family relationships.

 

This project is a joint venture between the RNRMC, the National Charity of the Royal Navy, and the UK’s leading relationships charity, Relate, and builds on the successful relationship and family counselling introduced in 2016.

 

Both serving and former RN and RM personnel and their partners can sign up to the service for free, where they will then have access to seven different modules.

 

The courses are intended to support RNRM relationships with topics ranging from Military Life, Sexual Communication and Intimacy, to Family Life and Parenting.

 

The Building Stronger Families portal can be accessed here. For more information please visit here.

 

Posted on: 12th February, 2019

Pioneering research into the effects of ‘weekending’ – non-operational separations – on Naval Service families has been unveiled by the Naval Families Federation at Admiralty House in London.

 

At a gathering of influential military and civilian supporters of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, drawn from the Services, charities and industry, NFF Chief Executive Anna Wright said the new research indicated that the effects of weekending on spouses and children matched those of longer deployments, affecting relationships, spousal employment and general wellbeing.

 

With the Naval Service keen to recruit and retain the best talent to its ranks, this research will improve understanding of the families’ perceptions of the challenges and opportunities they face, which can affect serving personnel, particularly as their place of work is often far from the family home.

 

Anna said that “of the three Services, the Naval Service has the most separation in terms of military deployments. That is an issue in its own right.

 

“What is less well-known is that, of the three Services, the Naval Service also has the most non-operational separation.”

 

Drawing on their own family experiences, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones both acknowledged the importance of families in the operational effectiveness of the Naval Service, and the challenges caused by such separations.

 

Mr Williamson noted that ‘family’ is an important concept in the Service, and thanked the NFF for undertaking the project.

 

He also told the audience, representing Naval Service families and their support network, that “we always recognise that you being stronger, our Armed Forces are stronger.”

 

Speaking of the research, Admiral Jones said: “Many aspects of Service life, including time spent away from home as a result of working for the Royal Navy, are not easily compatible with family life and I am acutely aware that we ask a lot of our people and their families too.

 

“We are constantly looking to improve the wellbeing of our Naval Service families and there is much work in progress with Royal Navy Royal Marine Welfare, NFF and the Service charities.

 

“However, we can only change things for the better if we have a clear understanding of what really matters to all who serve and the families upon whose unswerving support we all rely.

 

“So I really welcome this report by the NFF which provides really valuable insights on which we can act, and in so doing ensure that life in the Naval Service is as good as it can be for our people and their families.”

Speaker behind a lectern.
Speaker behind a lectern.

The third guest speaker was NFF Homeport magazine columnist, blogger and Naval wife ‘Olive Oyl’, who gave her own take on separation from husband ‘Popeye’ in a sparkling speech that prompted laughter and knowing looks from many in the audience.

 

Summing up the findings, Anna said the challenges faced by families included difficulties in balancing careers with childcare while the partner is away, the placing of more responsibility on older children and a feeling of being under pressure to cram weekends with ‘quality time’ as a family.

 

Many spouses, said Anna, spoke of the sense of ‘just coping’ with the additional responsibilities, resulting in stress, anxiety and tiredness – though she reminded those gathered that Naval families are a resilient group, and there was no question of whingeing.

 

“So there we have it – we have an in-tray to tackle,” she concluded.

 

“The NFF are up for it, and we hope that you are too – our ‘just-coping’ families deserve no less.”

 

The findings of the research – commissioned by the NFF and carried out by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), funded by Greenwich Hospital – will be used by the MOD, senior military personnel and military charities to help improve support for Naval Service families.

 

Read the executive summary here. The full report can be downloaded here.

 

One immediate result of the project is the production by the NFF of a resource for parents and carers.

 

Titled ‘A Guide for Parents and Adults Supporting Children and Young People’, the publication – described by Anna as ‘light-hearted and empowering’ – was created by Bridget Nicholson of the NFF to offer strategies and encouragement for families affected by all forms of separation and those who support them; one finding of the research was that there is a general lack of appreciation that shorter separations still have a significant impact, and the booklet is in part designed to help address that.

 

The publication is available in hard-copy format from the NFF, or can be downloaded here. *Regrettably, we are only able to send hard copies to our beneficiaries due to resource constraints.*

Gallery
Crowd talking.
Speaker behind a lectern.
The Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Alexander Williamson and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones addressing guests at the Naval Families Federation.
Crowd talking.
Team photo.
Crowd talking.

Images UK MOD Crown Copyright 2019

Posted on: 7th February, 2019
Updated on: 21st June, 2019

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 new 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. 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 contactus@nff.org.uk to request a hard copy. Regrettably, we are only able to send hard copies to our beneficiaries due to resource constraints.

 

Posted on: 6th February, 2019

Reading Force is a shared reading initiative for Service families. The charity provides free books and scrapbooks to Service children of all ages, in order to support and encourage Armed Forces families with shared reading both at home or when separated.

 

Through this programme, participating families experience the following benefits:
• Maintaining good contact with a parent when they are away from home;
• Increased contact with extended family, especially grandparents;
• Improved communication within the whole family;
• More fathers get involved with their children’s reading;
• A sense of community and affirmed identity.

 

Please see this brochure to find out more about their causes, and use this link to sign up for your copy.

 

Posted on: 6th September, 2018
Updated on: 21st June, 2019