At AFF we support all types of army family and their individual needs, whether they are in a long-term relationship, living apart, a dual-serving couple, single parent or a blended family.

The recently published independent report Living in our Shoes: Understanding the needs of UK Armed Forces families, which was commissioned by the MOD and led by Andrew Selous MP, noted that the concept of family in the 21st century has changed to become more fluid and diverse.

I’m sure that this is reflected in many of our personal experiences. I’ve been in an army family for the last 20 years but married only since 2014 – and we also spent our first years together as a dual-serving couple and have had long periods of living apart. Those aren’t unusual family choices – but you might have thought so from the difficulties we faced in navigating rules and accessing services!

Progress made

So, it’s good to see the progress that the army and defence have made in recent years in recognising and supporting different types of families – and this edition of A&Y reflects some of your stories and experiences of this. But there is still more to do.

The rules and regs can be very complex, and it can take a lot of effort and determination to navigate your way through those complexities. AFF is here to help you.

Confusing at times

We are also here to raise issues that aren’t being addressed – or where there’s confusion over what support is available.

Recently you told us about issues surrounding entitlement to larger Service Family Accommodation for families with step-children. There’s more detail in this magazine, and under the Future Accommodation Model pilot, ways to help families in this situation are being looked at.

While support is improving for more diverse army family life, there is still more work to be done for families who are overseas. Some things will depend on the host nation’s rules or agreements, but the differences compared to the UK are much more apparent and, for some of you, difficult to face.

Get in touch

If you’d like to tell us about your issues and concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – see the AFF website for all our details.

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