Support Services for the Armed Forces Community

iStock_000007846780smallAll military units have an established welfare support structure to call upon.  Local management of this is carried out by The Royal Naval Divisional System, Army Unit Welfare Officers and RAF Personnel staffs.  Although these organisations are service specific, when serving in joint units, serving personnel and their families can access whichever welfare organisation is best suited to meet their needs.  Beyond this there is an extensive support network that can be accessed by the armed forces community.  This network is outlined below, with additional information for reservists and veterans detailed within the ‘Other Information’ section.

Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare. Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare (RNRMW) offer confidential advice and welfare support for all Royal Naval and Royal Marine personnel and their families.  They work to a single point of contact called the RNRMW Portal, which allows easy access to all welfare services for families, service personnel and unit staff.  The portal can be accessed by telephone, 02392 728777, or by e-mail at navypers-welfare@mod.uk.   More information on the service provided by RNRMW can be found here.  If ongoing face to face support is required, this will be discussed and accessed by the Portal and the caller will be allocated a caseworker at the most appropriate welfare office.

Army Welfare Service (AWS).   AWS provides specialist welfare support to serving soldiers and their families. Staff can be contacted from 8:30am – 4:30pm UK local time during the working day. Tel: +44 (0)1904 882053. E-Mail: AWS-HQ-IAT@mod.uk

RAF – SSAFA Support. In addition to the wider support available through SSAFA, the RAF has commissioned a UK based personal support and social work service.  Support is controlled on a regional basis, with all large and medium sized stations having SSAFA fieldworkers.  The personal support and social work service can be accessed by all RAF personnel, including Reserves, and their families.  More information on this support service, as well as regional contact details, can be found at SSAFA Support.  Help and advice concerning domestic abuse is also available by phoning SSAFA direct on 0207 4639255 (0207 4639358 for out of hours).

Forcesline. Forcesline is a free, confidential telephone helpline and e-mail service run by SSAFA.  Experienced staff provide a supportive listening and signposting service for current and former members of the Armed Forces and their families.  The relevant telephone numbers are:

UK                               0800 731 4880

Germany                     0800 1827 395

Cyprus                        800 91065

Falkland Islands          # 6111

The rest of the world   +44(0)207 463 9292

More information can be found at Forcesline.

Chaplaincy Support. Chaplains work within each of the Armed Services and are located with units throughout the world.  Chaplaincy support, which is confidential and outside of the Chain of Command, is available to all service personnel and their families.  Chaplains provide spiritual leadership, moral guidance, and pastoral support, regardless of religion or belief; the Padre is around to talk to and help everyone.  Chaplaincy support can be accessed locally, with further details available through the HIVE Information Centres (see sub-section below).

Families Federation. Each of the three Services has a Families Federation that is there to represent the needs of the service family; they are independent organisations that will offer confidential advice, signposting as well as a voice on any relevant issue.  They can be contacted either by telephone or e-mail, with key information outlined on their websites which are detailed below:

HIVE Information Centres. The HIVE is an information network available to all members of the Service community.  HIVE Information Centres provide up to date, relevant information and can be contacted in person or by either telephone or e-mail; for locations and contact details see the websites detailed below:

Joint Service Housing Advisory Office.   The Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) provides housing information and advice to Service personnel and their families to assist them in their transition to civilian life. Further information and contact details can be found here.

Relocation and Transitional Support.   When a couple separate and their marital status is changed they will both still be entitled to support from military welfare providers, and where necessary they will be actively supported as they transition out of the military community. It should be recognised that entitlements to a number of allowances and benefits will change, and will be driven by who has primary care for any children in the family. AGAI 83 outlines Army policy that details the support available to a family as it transitions out of the Armed Forces community; this includes the co-ordination of links between military welfare providers and the aftercare community. Similar policy for the RAF can be found in AP 3392 Volume 2.

Charity Support. There are many charities that support the armed forces community.  Links to two of the main organisations are detailed below.

  • SSAFASSAFA.  In addition, the attached guide has been produced by SSAFA and gives additional information on non-immigration aspects of divorce and relationship breakdown.
  • Royal British Legion (RBL) – The Royal British Legion (RBL) provides lifelong support for members of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force, Reservists, veterans and their families all year round.  It is a national organisation that works in local communities across the UK, delivering information, advice and support.  The Legion’s support does not automatically end should you divorce or separate from your spouse or partner. Please follow this link to find out more on eligibility or speak directly with Legion staff.  Find out more by visiting the Legion online advice centre here, or by calling 0808 802 8080 (8am to 8 pm, 7 days a week) or popping into one of the Legion information centres across the country.  The phone line is free from UK landlines and main mobile networks.