OVER the last few months, AFF has been looking at how families are supported whilst posted overseas. Many of you contact us because you are unaware of what help is available, or because you feel that the assistance is not meeting your family’s needs.

If we feel confident that our children are supported in school, that we have a suitable home and that our health needs are met, then we have pretty stable ground to face most challenges. However, when one or more of those elements is not working, it is natural to feel let down ñ especially if you are overseas and away from your family support network.

It is therefore disappointing to see that an increasing amount of you have contacted us about the lack of support in health, education and housing when overseas. What is interesting is that many of the concerns raised could have been avoided had more information been available to you prior to your posting.

At the moment, most information seems to be available to the soldier via internal Defence communication channels. Much of the information is only accessible once an assignment order has been issued.

Making an informed choice

I strongly believe that more information needs to be available at a much earlier stage to give you an opportunity to make an informed  choice of which location would be best for you as a family. Support currently varies greatly.

I’m delighted that Lt Gen Richard Nugee, Chief of Defence People, recognised this in a recent government meeting.

Your concerns have been heard and the MOD, together with Joint Forces Command, is now looking into this in more depth. The fact that itís now recognised as an area that needs more work is a positive first step.

We will continue to push for clearer information about what support is available in the different overseas postings and will keep you updated with any progress.

Get in touch

If you’re experiencing issues with supportability abroad, contact our Regional Manager Overseas Esther Thomas (rmoverseas@aff.org.uk) or Health & Additional Needs Specialist Karen Ross (additionalneeds@aff.org.uk).

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