How often has the thought of meeting people when moving to a new area filled you with dread? AFF Regional Manager Central, Sarah Gilbody, went out and about to get some top tips to help you settle in…

TRADITIONALLY in Army life, coffee mornings are the way to make friends, but with so many spouses working, there are lots of other ways you can get involved in your local community. 

Sharon, who lives in Catterick, runs Clubbercise, an aerobics class set to club music.

She said: “I have always enjoyed keeping fit and gained my qualification so I could take my job wherever we went.

“By taking the class, I have met so many people and absolutely love it. It’s not just keep-fit, it’s a social event.”

Informal get-togethers

The growing network of Military Wives Choirs means there’s likely to be one nearby wherever you’re posted.

If singing or sports is not your thing, perhaps try something crafty or creative.

Sarah works full-time and can’t get to events during the day. When she heard about a local cooking club she was keen to join in.

She explained: “I joined a group of seven others and we take it in turns to host dinner at our house. One person brings a starter, another brings dessert, and the person hosting cooks the main course. It’s a great way to meet others and share our passion for food.”

Hannah told us about a local group supporting families with “hidden” disorders such as ADHD and autism.

“We found that everyone who attends the group knows what it is like to have a child with needs like ours and we can relax knowing that meltdowns are not a problem,” she said.

“We share experiences and other parents have suggestions for how to alleviate the stress caused by some of the behaviours our son displays. It has been a lifeline meeting others who understand.”

Whatever you’re into, there’s sure to be something to make that move seem less daunting and ensure new friendships are just around the corner.

Useful Links

Army Welfare Service

02072 189000


Your Unit Welfare Office

AFF Co-ordinators

Check community centre noticeboards

Military Wives Choir

Health & additional needs enquiries

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