Today the Government published its UK Armed Forces Families’ Strategy 2022-32 which sets out its commitment to ensuring that Armed Forces families are empowered to live rich and fulfilling lives and that their needs are recognised and supported.

Mike Ellicock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust says:

“The Families Strategy is a welcome development for the Armed Forces Community. It recognises the additional burdens that the Armed Forces lifestyle can place on families and sets out a way forward that reflects modern family structures. We hope very much that in practice this will mean that no family member experiences disadvantage as a result of being a member of the Armed Forces Community, and instead they are able to access support when needed that enables them to flourish.

The Armed Forces is a positive experience for the majority of Service families who are proud to be part of the military community. However, our previous research including Living in Our Shoes, and Lifting the Lid, both of which feature in the Strategy, uncovered the barriers and specific challenges experienced by Armed Forces families across several areas including health, employment, education, and relationships. We welcome the Strategy’s eight core workstreams, and we look forward to seeing the how the six sister strategies develop alongside these. We hope this will result in clear objectives to address the barriers and ensure a consistent level of support wherever families live in the UK.

We have been encouraged by the recent initiatives already implemented to empower families, such as the wraparound childcare scheme, and the collaborative approach taken by Ministry of Defence in creating this UK-wide Strategy. In particular, we welcomed the opportunity to convene consultation events with the Armed Forces charities sector to help inform it. As set out in the Strategy, partnership working, with clear communication and accountability, will be a key strand and integral to effective implementation across the UK and impact on the ground.

We look forward to seeing how the Strategy is implemented at both a national and local level, and how its success will be measured over the next 10 years; we are pleased to see the inclusion of an update in the Armed Forces Covenant and Veterans Annual Report. We would also welcome a strong campaign to run alongside this Strategy to ensure that it is effectively communicated to both those with responsibility for delivering it, and to those it is seeking to empower.”

The mission of Forces in Mind Trust is for all ex-Service personnel and their families to make a successful and sustainable transition into civilian life. Our Policy Statement on Relationships highlights the challenges of military life on families and sets out clear recommendations for ways they can be better supported. We look forward to working with government and the wider sector as we continue to fund research and other activities, to better understand and remove the barriers to successful transition.