AFF recently commissioned a report by researcher Anna Verey to help us understand more about geographically dispersed Army families.

We specifically wanted to know the reasons you choose to live unaccompanied in your own home instead of in Service Families Accommodation (SFA), and the challenges or benefits this brings.

The families included in the report had all made the move from SFA and therefore were ideally placed to compare the support available.

Army&You chatted to those who have made the leap out of SFA and into their own homes about what support they would like to see.

Vicki, who lives in her own house in Hampshire, told us: “I don’t have any direct contact from my husband’s unit but if there was a real emergency I’ve got one of those JCCC cards.

“A business card or contact details of someone in the welfare office would be good.

“I do go to the social events on the base still, which is a nice way to keep in touch with the ‘best bits’ of Army life.”

Claire, who lives in Oxfordshire added: “I receive a monthly list of events that have been scheduled or are going on in the area close to my husband’s camp.

“I am quite self-sufficient – I don’t need any help but would tap into the system if I needed it.”

“Whether you live in SFA or your own house, it is important to have friends who know how it is [in the Army] and who don’t mind being leant on.

“Friendships are more quickly formed when living in SFA so if you choose to live in your own home, make a point of getting the details for your soldier’s unit welfare team. That way you have the reassurance of knowing that they’re at hand to provide support if it is needed.”

The full report is available at www.aff.org.uk

AFF is here to support all Army families no matter where you are living, so if you have an issue, do get in touch with us at us@aff.org.uk or come to AFF’s Big Debate on 21 October.

Report recommendations

  • Developing a “Contact Pack” which could be sent to each newly-housed military spouse/family containing useful information of relevant support networks
  • More invitations for the spouse to attend events on base
  • Standardising the military welfare support system

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