LAST year AFF saw a 37 per cent increase in Army families coming to us for support, information and guidance, writes AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade.
I’m of course delighted that so many of you trust us to help you amidst the confusion of Army life, so I would like to start by saying thank you for allowing us to help you – and please continue to get in touch!
Thirty seven per cent is, however, a significant rise and we’ve checked whether there are any specific areas that have generated more enquiries, but it’s clear the increase is across all different areas of Army family life.
What is a common denominator is that more and more of you are approaching us for information. This supports the message that I have often written about and argued widely on – the need for better, timelier and more honest communication from the Army and the MOD direct to families.
This was also the focus of my speech at our recent networking event, when I shared the stage with the Chief of the General Staff and Chief of Defence People, to discuss the importance of engagement with Army families. It was good to hear directly from the people in charge that you continue to be at the centre of all that the Army does.
But it was also an opportunity for us to remind them that if they want to keep families at the centre, then there needs to be better engagement and communication with you.
Long gone are the days when Army spouses sat waiting for their soldier to come home and tell them what they need to know about their home, move etc. It’s therefore crucial that the Army and
MOD don’t just step up their communication but also ensure it is delivered in a timely, appropriate and easily-accessible way.
My message was loud and clear and well received by all at the event, but we will continue to drum home this point. The Army can’t afford to lose the trust of its families, otherwise it will affect retention.
Meanwhile we will continue to ensure you are seen as a key part of the picture. Get in touch at aff.org.uk if we can help.
AFF’s stats: 2018 enquiries increased in every area of Army life:
- Employment +121%
- Transition +18%
- Relationship Breakdown +56%
- Money +53%
- Housing +28%
- Foreign & Commonwealth +13%
- Additional Needs +76%
- Family life +21%
- Education & Childcare +43%
- Health +105%
- Training/Deployment +21%