To help further the work we do on behalf of all Army families, AFF held a successful Networking Event for influential guests on 15 January to share our key messages with policy and decision makers including Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Gloucester and the head of the Army, Chief of the General Staff (CGS), General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith KCB CBE ADC Gen.
Our aim for the evening was for decision makers to see families as a key part of the picture – to engage with you and keep you informed, and to ensure proper resources and support are available.
Better communication needed
The event gave our Chief Executive Sara Baade a vital opportunity to speak directly to those making decisions that will affect families now and in the future. Opening her speech, she said: “Tonight is all about the families of those currently serving in the British Army. Those families that, despite never having signed up to be a soldier, very much live an Army life.”
She championed better communication with families, explaining that: “We need to make sure that the information provided is taking the modern family into consideration and is accessible, timely, digestible and engaging.”
The importance of family support
Also speaking at the event, CGS spoke about recognising the importance of families in recruiting and retaining soldiers. He said: “On Christmas day, there were at least ten thousand families for whom there was a space at the table and on the sofa. The moral succour and support of families…sits absolutely at the heart of the Army’s ability to generate fighting power on behalf of our nation, but also underwrites the inclination of today’s soldier to volunteer and serve. These are all issues that none of us can be complacent about.”
The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) was a hot topic amongst those present, with Chief of Defence People, Lt Gen Richard Nugee CVO CBE recognising families’ concerns.
AFF took the opportunity to live tweet from the event, to help make a high-level event more accessible to those we support. We were delighted that the head of the Army once again chose to give his support for families, tweeting ‘There can be no more important role in sustaining our @BritishArmy than the support of our families. Thank you @The_AFF for holding us to such important account. A vital national contribution.’
Discussing your issues with decision makers
Unfortunately, due to Brexit developments, many of the ministers and MPs who’d planned to attend were unable to make the event. However, AFF has ensured they too are aware of the key issues discussed and we’re already arranging to meet with many of them to raise your concerns.
Find out more
In the meantime, look out for the results of our recent Big Survey, which we launched at the Networking Event, soon. Your evidence will be hitting the desks of those making decisions to ensure the families’ voice is heard and considered.