Many military families face a very mobile life, and feel that they are constantly on the move. In fact 22 per cent moved for service reasons in the last year* – with the army being the most mobile of the three services.

This unique aspect of service life can place additional stresses on families compared to civilian life. For example, difficulties with securing a school or nursery place for your children, problems transferring your healthcare to a new location (less than half of families who moved whilst undergoing treatment were able to continue their treatment without difficulty last year*), and the well documented challenges of finding employment in each new location. Yes, the civilian community moves too – but few experience the level of constant change that army families can face, throughout or at points in their service experience.

Families also face the emotional effects of mobile service life, which can include the strain put on relationships, distance from support networks of family and friends, and effects on children’s wellbeing from the disruption of moving schools time and again.

Being an army family overseas can also present its own unique set of challenges, making partner employment even more difficult – 47 per cent of overseas spouses were employed last year in comparison with 85 per cent in England.*

A large proportion of the staff at AFF have lived, or are still living, military life, so are well placed to help and guide you during your army journey as well as offering professional expertise.

Rachel Smith, AFF Head of Policy

Rachel Smith, AFF Head of Policy

We have experienced the unpredictability of army life and have a wealth of experience and information to help you to make the right decisions for your family as the next posting comes around.

We have recently welcomed a new Head of Policy, Rachel Smith. Rachel joins AFF from a public sector grant-making organisation that provides charitable funding to the armed forces community, where she specialised in policy, impact, evaluation and research.

She has been a member of the armed forces community for most of her life, wearing a number of different ‘hats’ as daughter, partner, wife, war widow and now wife of a veteran, and will be bringing her experience and understanding to the role in support of army families.

To get in touch with the team, email

*Source: FAMCAS 2023

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