A study released today, Thursday 1st November, by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has revealed that more awareness about the demands of transition is needed for families of Service leavers.
The report contains a list of recommendations including the need for:
- A shift in culture (for policy makers, service providers, Service leavers and families themselves), which better appreciates the breadth of transition and the need to engage with it from an earlier point in a Service leaver’s career.
- Raising awareness of the importance of advance planning.
- An education piece to cover transition entitlement and processes.
- Tailoring support to families’ specific needs.
The report, the first to specifically look at the lived experience of Service families, reveals the complex nature of transition and affirms the six ‘elements’ of transition: housing, health, education and children, employment, finances and wellbeing.
Authors of the report – the Naval, Army and RAF Families Federations – highlight the need for further research to better understand specific cohorts of families such as Foreign & Commonwealth, those whose Service leaver is being medically discharged and the challenges faced by Service children.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said:
“The process of transition is not solely about the Service personnel, it affects the entire family unit. What has become clear, from the library of research funded by FiMT, is that the earlier planning for leaving the Armed Forces starts, the more successful and sustainable is the transition.
“The recommendations within this report highlight the need to do more to ensure that the families of Service personnel are given the support required to successfully navigate the transition pathway.”
Sara Baade, Chief Executive, Army Families Federation said:
“The Army Families Federation is very grateful to FiMT for the opportunity to conduct much-needed research showing more needs to be done to support those going through transition out of the military. This work strengthens existing evidence in this area and the report’s recommendations are invaluable in supporting the case for improved resources and services that families can use to ensure their transition is successful, whatever their make-up. This key evidence also supports the Veterans’ Strategy announced by the Defence Secretary earlier this year; those transitioning out of the Forces are the veterans of tomorrow, and ensuring families overcome the many challenges transition can pose goes some way to ensuring a successful civilian life.”
Anna Wright, CEO Naval Families Federation, said:
“The unique nature of Naval Service life is reflected by the ‘can do’ attitude of our families. However, it doesn’t automatically follow that all Naval Service families find the transition process to be without challenge. This report provides those in decision making roles with an insightful and honest bank of information to help support their thinking and consider the needs of Naval Service families when reviewing or updating appropriate policies.
“We are hugely grateful to all the families who took part in the research, offering their time and
sharing their ‘lived experience’ to inform this report.”
Graeme Spark, Acting Director, RAF FF said:
“We have been delighted to have been part of this project – understanding completely the need for a holistic approach to transition to best support RAF families now and in the future. We now look forward to helping deliver where we can some of its recommendations.”
You can read the full report here.