If you choose to accompany your soldier on their postings, sooner or later you may face one to a rural area. This is likely to increase as rebasing plans see the expansion of some isolated camps. Jill Baines, AFF UK Director, visited Cottesmore in Rutland to find out more about life for families living in this picturesque area of the country…

 

COTTESMORE, located between Peterborough and Leicester, is home to 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment and is due to expand in the next few years with the arrival of a large number of relocating troops and their families.

Remote area transport

Talking to those of you already living there, one of the major issues is lack of regular public transport.

The first thing I learnt is that a relatively small distance on the map, when translated to country roads, can be a very long journey!

Whilst there are buses, they don’t run regularly and if you are seeking employment, need access to secondary healthcare providers or you have young adults travelling to college etc, there’s not a realistic choice of travel options.

Cottesmore does have a good family shop which was praised by those I spoke to, however, for greater choice you have to travel to the larger supermarkets some distance away.

If you have moved from somewhere with accessibility to fast roads and motorways, this can come as a surprise.

One issue was raised at Cottesmore that I had not heard before; an Army spouse told me: “After moving here having been overseas for several years, I was looking forward to seeing more of my family, however, they are reluctant to visit us as it takes so long to get here!”

Support and planning

I am delighted to say that my trip to Cottesmore included conducting interviews for a new AFF Co-ordinator for the area, with Katherine Bangurah now in post.

If you have issues you would like to raise or suggestions which could improve things for families in remote areas, our AFF Co-ordinators are always available or speak to your unit welfare staff.

If you are posted to one of the more isolated camps, start thinking about what you can do to plan for your move:

  • If you don’t drive, think about learning
  • Explore employment opportunities in advance
  • Research local schools and their local authorities’ transport arrangements.

If there’s one thing that’s certain about Army life, you can’t always choose where you live but you can make the very most of every posting. If you have concerns on any aspect of rebasing, see our special feature on pages 22-23 or email us@aff.org.uk

For details on your local AFF Co-ordinator, see page 5 or visit www.aff.org.uk

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