HAVE been hugely privileged to be AFF’s Chief Executive for the last three years, writes outgoing AFF Chief Executive Catherine Spencer.

It’s been immensely rewarding as well as enormously hard work and I have been fortunate to be supported by an amazing team of dedicated and inspiring colleagues.

I’m off to Bangladesh in November, where I’ll face many of the compromises and challenges familiar to all Army spouses.

AFF has been exceptionally busy and we have been re-shaping our organisation to meet the changing needs of our families.

Since working for AFF in 2008 as Director Germany, followed by two years as Director of Communications, I can really see how much progress has been made in encouraging the Army to change its thinking.

We now have much greater recognition of the need for spousal employment and a second salary, not least because of the soldier’s declining financial package after a sustained assault on pay and pensions, but also the cost of living and difficulty getting on the property ladder.

Since working for AFF in 2008 as Director Germany, followed by two years as Director of Communications, I can really see how much progress has been made in encouraging the Army to change its thinking

There’s also a real drive to accept and embrace diversity; work is ongoing to ensure that dual-serving and same-sex couples and single parents’ needs are better accommodated – the modern Army family has many different forms.

Army housing continues to need significant modernisation – we persistently highlight the need for the MOD to invest heavily in upgrading SFA.

AFF works face-to-face and online with families and we also survey families for their views. Our most recent Big Survey asked “what keeps you in, and what drives you out?”.

You told us that sacrificing your career, loss of independence and lack of second income are the biggest compromises you’ve made. We’ll ensure command is aware of all the findings.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Army&You on its 100th edition – we are immensely proud of our publication and will continue to communicate to Army families wherever you live.

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