Communicate before the wheels fall off

Communicate before the wheels fall off  

– by Nicci Shayler, AFF Comms & Marketing Editor 

I recently realised it was time for a new family car. I had a few vital criteria in mind: red, fast, big boot – you know, the important things. The next day I found a car that fitted my exact requirements! I paid my money at the side of the road, adjusted the rear-view mirror and off I drove… for a few miles, until the engine light came on, the window wound down on its own and the exhaust started rattling. 

Of course, this is not how we spend our hard-earned money  

We plan, we research, we do everything we can to ensure the end result – in this case a new car – is a success. The point of my story? This scenario is on the brink of happening right now within our Armed Forces. The end result could be a whole host of new Foreign & Commonwealth (F&C) Forces families with insufficient support and information for them to lead a successful Army life. 

You’ve probably heard that the Army is now actively recruiting larger numbers of F&C soldiers. It’s our hope that the proper preliminary support, such as detailed visa and financial requirement information, is made easily accessible to F&C families prior to them signing up. 

“The solution, for now, is one of strong communication – at all levels.” 

We’re currently doing as much as we can  

Already it’s good to see that control over this issue is becoming more centralised – those who need to know what’s happening in order to improve things are beginning to understand the lay of the land. 

In the meantime, we’re bracing ourselves for a barrage of enquiries, issues and a growing workload. Our team will continue to do all they can to support F&C families with the challenges they’re facing – it’s what we do best. But our own research highlights that many welfare roles within the Army are affected by this issue too, as well as the families themselves. 

The solution, for now, is one of strong communication – at all levels  

And that is where we’ll continue to focus our efforts.  

We’ll research, we’ll speak to others, we’ll find out what’s needed. Above all, we’ll put in the miles to get the best results. 


    I don’t think the Armed Forces Covenant applies to the F&C families. We am not being treated fairly since we are forced to do second jobs in order to bring our kids to leave with us in the UK. My Wife and I are always in tears when we FaceTime our 4 year old son who is left in Ghana because I can’t meet the financial requirement to bring him over. I require £22,400 to bring him but I earn £20,200. I’m stationed in Germany with my Mrs and so I cannot so a second job to meet the requirements. I hope the government does something about this.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us Christopher and sorry for the delay in coming back to you. We are working at the very highest level to champion this issue. We’re pleased that it has now been accepted as a Covenant issue, and what’s more, two separate judges have now ruled that it is not in the public interest to keep military families separated in this way. I encourage you to get in touch with me, so we can discuss your family’s case in more detail. Drop me a line at adding ‘blog post’ in the subject line.

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