Families officer Jason Broad, from Waterloo Lines in Warminster, works closely with AFF’s Wiltshire Co-ordinator Carol Morris. He tells us about his daily duties…
What is a typical day?
No two days are the same. You have to be reactive to a family’s needs and if it means dropping what you are doing then that’s the right thing to do. We are prepared for anything. One minute we are running a coffee morning and chatting to families and then it can be an appointment to sort out a divorce and give advice.
How do you work with AFF?
Coffee mornings are a good time to meet with AFF co-ordinators and find out about issues not only in our area but across the UK. Most of the issues are focused around housing and understanding how AFF can help and get involved. AFF workshops and roadshows are good for welfare officers to attend as they update us on upcoming trends.
How do you reach families living in their own homes?
The best way is by social media. I prefer Facebook as you can use Messenger and most families use it. Some families are concerned that contacting their UWO will reflect badly on their soldier. I get this all the time and it isn’t true. By educating new soldiers, they grow up knowing that it’s not true and are happy to pass on concerns to their welfare office.
How do you establish networks with other support organisations?
It comes from time in the job and reaching out and getting yourself known. You are soon invited to meetings and asked to help out or get involved in the local community.
What advice would you give to a new UWO?
Enjoy the post and the role! It has its rewards and you get to understand how to help a family and give advice and guidance. You can influence change that will help make a family’s time at your unit rewarding. Listen, be prepared for anything and don’t pre-judge. Every day is a learning day. By involving the families at the start of a posting you get to see the soldier leave, hopefully with promotion, and the family understanding Army life. Be happy in yourself knowing that every day you get to change people’s lives and build a safe community that understands Army life and all that it brings.