Dispersed Families

Dispersed Families Project

The RAF Families Federation is currently running a two year project to investigate the additional challenges faced by dispersed families, those living ‘outside the wire’. Recently the Federation has seen an increase in the number of issues raised by these families, both regulars and reserves, and as a result we have recognised a need to fully understand what the issues are and what help can be put in place.

This is an independent project for RAF families, run by the RAF Families’ Federation and funded through a Libor grant.

What is a dispersed family?

During our research we focussed on families who lived 10 or more miles away from their parent unit; we did this to make sure that the evidence gathered isolated the benefits and issues of being located away from the unit.  However, some families who live in private accommodation or outlying SFA within 10 miles may also consider themselves to be dispersed if they do not have regular contact with the local RAF community.

Our research has shown us that dispersed families can be Regulars or Reservists, married or unmarried, and may have either one or both adults in the family who are currently serving in the UK Armed Forces.  Some families may be part of the diaspora – working alone or in smaller units, in the UK or overseas – or could located away from the RAF, either in tri-service establishments or working with the other Services.

What are we doing to help these families?

During our research phase we collected the views of dispersed families through online surveys and face-to-face meetings.  We also carried out a survey of Community Support teams on RAF Stations across the UK in order to gain an insight into their experiences of supporting dispersed families.  Our full interim report is currently being shared and discussed with RAF and Ministry of Defence stakeholders; the shorter summary version will be available publicly soon.

We have made a series of recommendations as a result of our findings, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the RAF, MoD and other organisations during the next phase of the project.

About the Project Manager

Tor Johnson is our Dispersed Families Project Manager and can be contacted by email on tor.johnson@raf-ff.org.uk, or telephone her on 07376 083352. Tor is an RAF wife herself; she is currently living in SFA, but spent nearly 9 years living in private accommodation away from her husband’s postings prior to their current tour. This, combined with her time previously serving in the RAF, gives her personal experience of the issues faced by dispersed families, and she is keen to help other families in this position.

Keep up to date with the latest project news

We will be updating this section throughout the project to ensure that families have access to all of the latest information and guidance. To keep ahead of future developments on our dispersed families’ work, you can also sign up to our free weekly eBULLETIN* or join the conversation on Twitter with the #notonthepatch hashtag.

*It’s easy to unsubscribe and we do not share your details with any other organisation.

Facebook group for RAF Dispersed Families

The RAF Families’ Federation runs a Facebook group for families who live away from their parent station. This is as a result of research carried out through the Dispersed Families project, with a number of families commenting that it would be great to be able to get in touch with others in a similar position. This is a closed group, but any current serving RAF personnel and their families are welcome to join. Request to join

Other information

Please also take a look at our Useful Links page which is updated periodically to ensure that the information is relevant to our dispersed families.

Image: © MOD Crown Copyright 2017 (Cpl P Robertshaw)