Military Support Organisations
Our reason for mentioning the various Service support organisations in this section is that these organisations tend to be 'in tune' with the RAF – their staff speak our language and many of them have served in the military themselves; they understand the vagaries of Service life, the mobility issues, separation from loved ones, etc. Each has strength in particular areas and we list below the key agencies which you may wish to contact if you require financial or practical welfare support:
Established to provide friendship, help and support to serving and ex-serving RAF personnel and their families, the RAF Association is making an increasing contribution to the welfare of serving personnel via Contact Houses, Internet Cafes, their Miles More Minutes campaign and parenting of the RAF Families Federation. The Association also provides respite care and sheltered housing. It has a network of welfare officers across the country and overseas to whom RAF personnel can turn. Most units also have a RAFA Liaison Officer (RAFALO) who is a good first point of contact.
One of the other amazing services they offer is Storybook Wings. The RAF Association provides recording equipment to parents for them to record their chosen stories. Once edited, a soundtrack is added to give each story a really special feel. The completed CD is then sent to the children in a personalised CD cover, and is ready for them to listen to whenever they like. Contact your local Hive for further information.
A RAF welfare charity providing practical, financial and, in some cases, emotional support to all members of the RAF family, from childhood through to old age. They help with issues from childcare and relationship difficulties to injury and disability and from financial hardship and debt to illness and bereavement.
SSAFA-FH is a well-established Association which provides welfare support to all three Services, both serving and veterans. They have a confidential support line, ‘home-from-home’ accommodation for the families of badly injured servicemen and women being treated at Selly Oak Hospital and Headley Court and a Family Escort Service for Service families who need emergency, or compassionate help with complex travel arrangements.
SSAFA-FH also hold a formal contract with the RAF to provide professional Social Work Practioners and Personnel and Family Support Workers in support of RAF personnel and their families. Many units have SSAFA Volunteers who provide practical support particularly to those whose partners are away from home.
Best known for their annual Poppy Appeal the Royal British Legion is the largest of the Service charities and supports veterans and serving personnel in all three Services. It also engages in lobbying the Government on in support of Service and Ex-Serving personnel. The Legion has a high profile and has significant funds at its disposal for the support of the military family.
St Clement Danes is the Central Church of the Royal Air Force. Located in the heart of London the impressive church sits on an island in the middle of the Strand. An atmosphere of peace and quiet prevails, quite set apart from the noise and traffic outside.
The Other Families Federations
Both the Navy and the Army have Families Federations:
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