This section focuses on spouses and civil partners as well as Service personnel – whether you are single or are in a long term relationship. You may also find it useful both as a reminder to put things in order before deployment and as a guide of where to turn to for help.

RAF welfare support can extend to everyone – spouse, civil partner, partner, mother, father, son or daughter.

Starting with your local HIVE

You all have someone to turn to and a good starting point is to contact your local HIVE on your station in the first instance (or contact us first and we can direct you). All staff are bound to a Code of Confidentiality and whilst not trained in welfare counselling, they are able to offer initial support to you and can make referrals to the best professional service for you. This article written by the HIVE Team shares ‘What is deployment and what support is on offer?’

If you don’t live on a Station or are based remotely overseas

Contact the team at the RAF FF in the first instance through our online form and we will get in touch with you.

Alpha Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, boarding an RAF A400M Atlas to fly from Barbados into the British Virgin Islands

Start by writing down the details/service number of your Serving family member going away as you will need them nearly every time you make a phone call about them to someone in the RAF.

Before they leave your serving partner will be given the opportunity to provide a ‘nominated Point of Contact’ (POC) who should be a first point of contact for most matters. He/she should then advise you who that person is. When nominating a POC consideration should be given on whether the nominee is likely to deploy themselves during the same period.  Usually the POC is someone Serving at the same Unit but this does not have to be the case.  Nominating somebody from another Unit is fine if both the Serving person and their partner feel more comfortable with the arrangement.

Your friends and family will probably be your strongest support network. There are also closed groups on social media for military ‘partners of’ on each RAF Station, our RAF FF Families group too and some military professional networks for partners such as the Military Coworking Network and Milspo Network. All networks welcome and support you if you are based overseas too.

However, if you have any issues you feel unable to handle, or you just need to talk, please remember that there is always someone in the RAF or its support services you can turn to for advice and support. Or contact us here at the RAF Families Federation and we’ll direct you to the right team/person.

See also RAF FF overseas section

In a family emergency call: 01452 519951

See what to do in a family emergency.

For non-emergency enquiries you can contact your assigned single Point of Contact (POC).

New to deployments?

Your POC will be someone in the RAF (who is not deploying) you know or are happy to contact if you need them. Your Serving partner will be responsible for arranging who this is with you. If they haven’t then you can contact us in the first instance and we can happily link you up with who you need to be speaking to.

How to keep in touch with your deployed partner

There are now many methods of communication which are getting better with time and technology.

Full instructions on sending mail (including parcels) to British Forces Post Office (BFPO) addresses is on the GOV.UK website.

Blueys (Forces Free Air Letters)

Obtained from the Post Office or the HIVE and can be sent FREEPOST to most British Forces Post Office (BFPO) numbers.

Full instructions on sending Blueys is on the Royal Mail website.

EMAIL

Your deployed partner will be able to receive and send emails from dedicated email terminals on most deployments.

SKYPE

Skype can be used by most deployed personnel depending on bandwidth restrictions or sensitive areas of operation.

To prepare for their return, your partner can download and share our Coming Home or Return and Reunion booklets, available through the MOD’s internal pages (accessible to Service personnel only). There is also an online checklist provided in our Overseas section (we are happy to amend/update this list so feedback is very welcome when you use it).

Should you and your partner find that you are struggling to adjust to their return, you may wish to consider some relationship counselling. The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund has a contract with Relate, to provide up to six free sessions with a relationship counsellor; full details are on the Family and Relationships page.  As well as relationship support, this section helps link you up with a wide range of support, courses and counselling to RAF families.

You might also find our Overseas section useful which holds a whole host of useful information and signposting to make your preparation, duration and return journeys from an overseas posting easier.

There are also other areas of deployment support available

Support for our children

Service children

There are many resources for children to access both generally and also during periods of deployment.

We have a section sharing good books that are available for children as well as general wellbeing resources for you to make use of for your children or school.

DEPLOYMENT SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN

Specific to Service personnel

RAF personnel on deployment @Crown copyright

As a Service person, most of your deployment briefing documents are stored on your internal MOD network. Online safety and security is a major factor of deployment and the RAF’s Get Safe Online campaign team has issued a booklet sharing practical tips to help keep you, your unit and the RAF keep safe and secure.

KEEPING SAFE AND SECURE

Mental health

Mental health support image showing scrabble looking squares with the words 'mental health' on.

Looking after our mental health is as important as maintaining our fitness levels. This section signposts you to mental health support for RAF personnel, including Reservists and their families.

EXPLORE MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

Health

Scrabble pieces spelling out the word Health

This online section provides support to both Service personnel as well as family members. There is also a Policy Advisor at the RAF FF for Health and Additional Needs who is on hand to help you,

ACCESS HEALTH-RELATED INFORMATION