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Deployment and Separation

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

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

 

Supporting Children and Families during Deployment

The Service Children’s Education (SCE) organisation has put together a number of resources to support families during these times. The SCE provide guidance which draws on the experiences of service families and a wide range of support organisations. Visit their website here to access helpful resources.

 

Private Fostering

If you are due to deploy and are organising childcare arrangements with a relative or close friend, please check the regulations regarding private fostering. If an individual is looking after someone else’s child for more than 28 days they must notify their local council – failure to do so is a criminal offence. Click here for further details.

 

Posted on: 21st October, 2016

Families often talk to us about their experiences of parental absence, whether through deployment, weekending, or other causes. In response to their feedback, and in consultation with YoungMinds, we have produced a resource to help to support parents, carers and schools. You can download a copy here.

 

Other sources of support for parents and children during deployment:

Aggie’s Storybook Waves

Helps members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines maintain the link with their children by recording a bedtime story for them to listen to when a parent is serving away from home. Click here to find out more.

 

Gingerbread

Expert advice, practical support and campaigning for single parents.

Helpline: 0808 802 0925

For their website, please click here.

 

Little Troopers

A registered charity supporting all children with parents serving in the British Armed Forces, regular or reserve. Resources, initiatives and events to ease and aid repeated separation periods aiming to keep parent and child connected and bonded even when miles apart. Click here to find out more.

 

NSPCC

Charity championing child protection. Useful resources and guidance for keeping children safe, to give the primary caregiver during deployment confidence in their choices. Their ‘Home Alone’ guide gives sound advice and useful tips to help parents decide in which situations they may leave their children home alone, and what they need to do to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Their ‘Out Alone’ guide provides advice and practical tips to parents on judging if a child is ready to be out on their own and how to prepare them for different situations such as walking to and from school by themselves, attending sports or holiday clubs, or going out to play with friends.

Click here and search ‘home alone’ or ‘out alone’ to download free copies.

 

Naval Service Family & People Support (NS FPS)

Support and information for serving people, their families and friends.

Tel: +44(0)2392 728777

Family Lives (formerly Parentline Plus)

Advice and support for parents.

24 hour helpline: 0808 800 2222

Please click here to find out more.

 

 

Huggable Heroes

Personalised Huggable Heroes, perfect for cuddles when loved ones are not at home. Click here to find out more.

 

Military Kids’ Club Heroes (formerly HMS Heroes)

A national support group for the children of Service men and women and their relatives. A tri-Service network of after-school clubs, MKC Heroes brings together members of Service families aged between 3 and 18 years old from all over the country. Click here to find out more.

 

Reading Force

Reading Force provides free books and scrapbooks to Service children of all ages, to support and encourage Service families with shared reading both at home or when separated by assignment orders. To read more about this programme, click here. You can apply to receive free resources here.

 

YoungMinds

UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Helpline and information for parents concerned about a child or young person.

Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 or email parents@youngminds.org.uk.

Find out more here.

Posted on: 21st October, 2016
Updated on: 2nd December, 2019