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News: 19th January 2022 

 

Our Armed Forces families are the anchor of this community providing their unwavering support to help our Service people deliver their commitments to protect the UK. In doing this though, they often have to deal with lengthy separations from their loved one, relocations around the country and overseas, gaps in their employment records, and obstacles when accessing education and healthcare. These are just some of the added challenges our families routinely face and we thank them for their courage and the sacrifices they make.   

 

Today the Ministry of Defence (MOD) launched the Armed Forces Families Strategy (2022-32) to inspire partnership working across the UK. This will honour the enduring pledge of the Armed Forces Covenant and to provide direction to policy makers, the single Services and public service providers to empower Armed Forces families to live rich and fulfilling lives alongside their loved ones. 

 

The MOD’s visions are for families to be: 

  • Recognised and respected; 
  • Informed and empowered; 
  • Listened to and understood. 

 

Sarah Clewes, NFF Interim CEO says:

‘I am delighted to see the publication of the  UK Armed Forces Families Strategy.

Royal Navy and Royal Marines families have a crucial role in support of the operational effectiveness of the Naval Service and the wider Ministry of Defence, and that role is recognised in the government’s strategy, which addresses challenges including deployment and separation, accommodation, healthcare, education and mobility.

The Naval Families Federation is at the heart of the dialogue between families and government, and will continue to ensure families’ voices are heard at the highest levels while providing timely and accessible information to empower those families.

Building on recommendations produced by MP Andrew Selous’s ‘Living In Our Shoes’ report, the new strategy and action plan will be delivered in partnership with the devolved administrations, the charitable and private sectors – including the NFF, using our network of contacts, social media and virtual channels to reach all families, including those dispersed around the UK and overseas.

Exciting times ahead! 

 

The NFF welcome the publication of the strategy. We would strongly encourage you to take a look at the actions that have been drawn up to support you. If you have any comments or concerns, do contact us. 

 

Dear Families,

 

The festive season is often a time of reflection for the things we are most grateful for. For most, it’s a time to be thankful for your family and friends and an opportunity to spend time and make memories together. For the Service families separated at this time of year it is especially tough and the personal sacrifices you make can feel all the more acute. Now more than ever you should be proud of the crucial role that you play in ensuring that our Armed Forces continue to be among the best in the world at what they do.

 

This year I am especially thankful for the incredible work that was done during the short-notice deployment of Service personnel to Afghanistan over the summer: a difficult and at times harrowing deployment which saved so many lives.  This year our brave Service personnel have also continued to deliver critical support to communities up and down the UK as we continue to recover from the pandemic, from testing and vaccinations, to logistics and planning, there has been an incredible effort from all three Services.

 

I am keenly aware of what this has meant for you, and I know that without your support this vital contribution would not have been possible. At the Ministry of Defence, my Ministers and I are determined to ensure we keep modernising the Services so that a career in the Armed Forces doesn’t mean accepting sacrifices for your family.

 

This is why we are launching a new Armed Forces Family Strategy which will set ambitious changes for the next ten years. The strategy will drive improved policies, bringing practical benefits which will help strike a better balance between home life and the demands of Service life. It focusses on the elements you have told us matter most to you including access to healthcare, improved housing, better educational outcomes for your children, and the ability for serving and non-serving partners to have fulfilling and successful careers.

 

Last week we also passed the Armed Forces Act 2021 in Parliament which in it, created a new duty that means public bodies must consider the unique nature of Service life when running healthcare, housing and education services. This means you and your family should never be disadvantaged when accessing these because of your role in the Armed Forces.

 

There is still more change to deliver and we will continue to listen to you. Your Ministry of Defence Team and I speak regularly with the Families Federations to ensure we give due attention to the issues you raise. It is encouraging to see an increase in family engagement through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus the use of other platforms such as the Royal Navy Forum and Army HIVE Blog and I urge you to continue to use the Families Federations and social media to get your voice heard.

 

Naval Families Federation 

Army Families Federation

RAF Families Federation

 

Once again, I would like to thank you personally for all that you continue to do in support of your loved ones. Whether Regular or Reserve, your support helps them to deliver in the professional manner for which they are renowned worldwide.

 

I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas.

 

Yours sincerely,

THE RT HON BEN WALLACE MP

On 30th September 2018, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced a new package to help Armed Forces personnel and their family members throughout their careers and their transitions into civilian life.

 

He said:

‘’The bravery and dedication of our people is second to none. Whether they are in service, have served, or support the service of a loved one, we owe them a great debt of gratitude for their work in keeping this country safe. It is only right that we give our Armed Forces every opportunity to develop their skills to reach their potential, while ensuring that their spouses and civil partners are just as valued for the part they play.

The vast majority of those who have served in our Armed Forces go on to lead successful and rewarding lives, but it’s important we recognise that the transition is not always smooth. We are dedicated to upholding the support they receive while in uniform as they take this next step, and I’m delighted to be adding an extra helping hand to those most in need.‘’

 

The new package will include the following schemes:

  • Launching a new transition programme and ID cards for Service leavers. A new Defence Transition Service will deliver specialist support for Service personnel to adjust to civilian life, including help with housing and employment. New ID cards will be available to Service leavers shortly, and those who have already made the transition will be able to apply for an ID card in 2019. These cards will allow easy access to the range of support available from the public and charitable sectors, including registering with your local authority for priority healthcare and housing;

 

  • A new fund will be dedicated to support the careers of Service spouses and partners, following the success of the MOD’s Spouse Employment Support trial. This will facilitate access to vocational training and development opportunities to entering new sectors or self-employment;

 

  • By the end of 2020, all serving personnel will have access to their own Professional and Personal Development Plan, a scheme that will enable them to hone the skills they need to succeed throughout their service, and to equip them for the next stage of their careers. It can also help create a support network for those living with significant illness, caring for others.

 

We will share further details as they become available. The Naval Families Federation welcomes your feedback on these and other issues. Please do contact us via our website with any comments you make have.

 

Posted on: 1st October, 2018