Rebasing back to the UK – we got this!
By Gemma Richardson, Paderborn Co-ordinator
With over 4,000 people due to move from Germany to the UK rebasing is Go! Go! Go!
Myself and the rest of the AFF team have attended more briefings than you can count, worked with and questioned the chain of command where needed and we’re working tirelessly to support the whole community.
School and house applications, march-outs, removal allowances, hotel bookings, vet check-ups, de-BFGing cars; if you’ve ever moved (who are we kidding, you’re an Army family, of course you have!) you’ll know what I mean when I say it isn’t easy.
The big difference
This move is the biggest the Army has seen so far. The scale of it, and our role has been, and will remain, to support families through this challenging, and sometimes stress-inducing process.
Perhaps you’re one of the families who’ve lived in Germany for their entire military career? Maybe your children have never set foot on verdant UK soil. If so, you may (understandably) be finding the thought of moving daunting.
However, terrible tales of British weather aside most Forces families are looking forward to their return to the UK. To fish and chips and afternoon tea, to the cocktail of customer service and lack of language barrier, to spending time with family and – most importantly – the free babysitting services they may bring!
“Our role has been, and will remain, to support families through this challenging, and sometimes stress-inducing, process.”
Behind the scenes, a huge amount of work has been put in, not least by Unit Welfare Officers (UWO’s) who have been doing their best to ensure families remain the focus of rebasing.
Salisbury Plain rooms, Woodbridge maps and local information stands have all been created and crafted, supported by the HIVE and local schools.
We’ve even seen spouses sent on UK reconnaissance missions, soldier-style! Though armed with FAQs and notepads rather than cam cream and rifles…
At AFF we’ve held and attended a huge variety of coffee mornings, all happily punctuated with much cake (obviously), and unhappily, the proceeding extra pounds.
Recently, our lovely Wiltshire AFF team visited to give families a real sense of the local area back in the UK. Of the Beacon hills that dominate the backdrop of Salisbury Plain, of the local Tesco that you can do a whole week’s shop in (imagine!) and much more.
The road to rebasing, I’ll be honest, hasn’t been an entirely smooth one, with more bumps expected. But, there is a definite, becoming-ever-more-luminous, light at the end.
We’ve done all we can to make the transition from German to UK life as easy as possible. Yes life will be different, but as Army families you’ll no doubt do what you’ve always done – make your new posting, your new house, a home.
A home, or at least my home, that may or may not be filled with the smell of fish and chips…