For those of you who live in England, you may have noticed that AFF has made a slight change to the geographical areas we cover. The addition of three virtual assistants working remotely, plus our new central contact number, means we’re better placed to support you, wherever you’re living and whatever time you need us.
Carole says: “I meet weekly with each member individually and as a team, so we can discuss what we’ve achieved for families in their areas, track trends, highlight concerns and decide whether these need to be addressed at regular brigade level meetings and/or internally with our specialists.
“The virtual assistants are our ‘eyes’ in the virtual world. They scan and capture issues, linking in with our regional leads, who then raise these issues with key contacts in their area, to hopefully resolve things swiftly. They’re also our first point of contact on our centralised phone number and email, for families globally.
“Our work pattern is dictated by the pace of meetings, enquiries and concerns from stakeholders and families alike, which presents a dynamic working week!”
Meet your team…
REGIONAL LEAD NORTH: Kirsty Street
MILITARY CONNECTION: I’ve been engaged to an army major for more than ten years.
AREAS COVERED: The North East, including Catterick, Newcastle, York, Ripon across to Hull to the North West – Preston, Blackpool and Chester.
Kirsty says: “Building relationships with key organisations is vital to support families. I have recently spoken with the relevant agencies to try to improve security and antisocial behaviour issues on service family estates, as well as many others in my area.
“Pre-COVID, I attended welfare-led family events, as well as visiting the housing office and other charities.
“One of the most interesting ways I’ve engaged with families is during a cooking session at Chester. Families followed a recipe and then enjoyed it for lunch. The most challenging part was trying to stop the kids eating whilst making it!
“I have lots of ideas going forward to meet with stakeholders and families alike, both virtually and face-to-face.
“Please do contact me if you would like some support.”
REGIONAL LEAD CENTRAL: Melinda Stanford
MILITARY CONNECTION: My husband has been in the RLC for 14 years. We currently live in Colchester on the patch with my three-year-old daughter and our Labrador.
AREAS COVERED: East Anglia including Colchester, Wimbish, Wattisham and Woodbridge. East Midlands including Cottesmore, Chilwell, Grantham, Luffenham, Chicksands and Bassingbourn.
Melinda says: “I’m quite new to AFF. It has been a little difficult at times due to the lockdown, however, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting my head around the role and helping to support those in similar scenarios to myself.
“I’ve been collaborating with regimental welfare teams, other welfare support providers, army charities, Amey reps and county councils as well as meeting some of you via video meetings, phone calls and emails.
“I’m very much looking forward to attending community and regimental events post lockdown. Do get in touch to raise any concerns or issues that you’d like to discuss or may need support with. I’m here to listen and to be your voice.”
REGIONAL LEAD SOUTH WEST: Carol Morris
MILITARY CONNECTION: Married to a veteran of six years after 27 years in the army.
AREAS COVERED: Wiltshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and the West Country.
Carol says: “During our third lockdown, like most of us many of you have understandably struggled with not being able to have a social bubble.
“Add into the mix that your loved ones have been away on operational tour, exercise or training, and it’s made family life a little more challenging. With the welfare teams working both in the office and from home, it has helped me engage with them to ensure that you have the right level of support.”
REGIONAL LEAD SOUTH: Maeve Novak
MILITARY CONNECTION: My wife has now served for 11 years. We’re currently living in Andover.
AREAS COVERED: Hampshire, Kent, Surrey and London.
Maeve says: “I took on the role in February after working as a primary school teacher for 11 years. I feel so passionate about helping you as I have lived experience of some of the difficulties faced due to the transient nature of the army.
“I’ve been getting to know the unit welfare teams and Army Welfare Service in my areas, as well as organisations that work closely with families such as Amey, DIO, local councils and the Royal British Legion.
“Working together with our AFF specialists is key – tapping into their truly impressive knowledge and experience.
“I look forward to the day I can get out and about to meet you all in person. In the meantime, if there’s anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!”
Look out for more on our regional leads covering the devolved areas in the autumn edition of Army&You. You can find all AFF’s contact details at aff.org.uk