THE role of an AFF co-ordinator can involve working closely alongside unit welfare officers (UWOs) and regimental operations support officers (ROSOs). Abi Wrigley, AFF’s Wales Co-ordinator, said: “We have regular meetings with our local UWOs on a range of issues that affect families.”
As well as through direct enquiries, co-ordinators meet families at coffee mornings and UWOs are often on hand for a chat. Abi explained: “I have found this useful as I can see how comfortable families are talking to the UWO, something that I can then take forward when handling certain cases brought to my attention.”
Together with the UWOs, AFF co-ordinators cover problems such as when you hit a brick wall with a housing problem, or you’re struggling to cope when your soldier is away.
Abi said: “I’ve tried to build a working relationship with the UWOs in my area so that they feel that I am an addition to their team and not working against them. We want the same result – making sure all families feel fully supported.”
WO2 Parry, from the unit welfare team at the Infantry Battle School in Brecon, added: “It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside AFF. Abi has been instrumental in helping families to find employment in the rural areas of Powys.
“Some spouses struggled after living in more affluent areas of the UK and Abi arranged for Powys Council’s employment officer to attend a coffee morning to dispel the myth about the lack of jobs. There are now quite a few family members in full-time and part-time jobs after initially thinking there was nothing out there.
“AFF is an asset that no welfare team can do without. The support the charity provides is second-to-none.”