FAM stories from early users

FAM – what’s in it for me?

The first people to use the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) have been sharing their stories by telling us about the impact FAM is having on their lives as Royal Navy Service personnel making new choices about their accommodation.

The stars of these videos, which are being used online and on social media channels across the Royal Navy and MOD, are fellow Service personnel who are benefitting by choosing to live in a different way, with different people or in a different location.

The films bring to life what FAM offers individuals, those in relationships and Service personnel with families.

These stories will help personnel to think about what choice might be best for them under the new FAM policy if they already live at HMNB Clyde, Aldershot Garrison or RAF Wittering. The films will also help personnel being posted to the FAM sites during the three year pilot period.

Here we highlight just some of those stories, to help you answer the question “what’s in it for me?”.

If you pay for SLA during the working week, and own a home more than 50 miles away you could get the FAM core payment

For SMEO Kris Chard, FAM seemed too good to be true! Kris is separated from his wife and owns a home more than 50 miles from the base. This means Kris lives in SLA during the working week. Whilst this was paid for when he was married, as soon as he separated he had to cover the cost of his SLA as well as the mortgage on his own home. By opting in to FAM Kris now gets the £125 monthly payment from MOD, on top of his Get You Home allowance. Kris says: “The FAM pilot has allowed me now to receive the Core Payment, which helps me pay for my accommodation. It’s a very quick process and it benefits the single person like myself. I feel like I’m on a level playing field now, and not being penalised for not being married.”

If you have custody of children for more than 80 nights a year, the property you will be entitled to – whether in SFA or privately rented – will be bigger to meet your needs.

At her previous posting LMA Tracey Meadowcroft was used to asking permission for her husband to come and stay with her in SLA. They also had to plan really carefully when they could see his children. When Tracey got her draft order to a FAM pilot site she spoke to her husband, and together they decided that Service Family Accommodation (SFA) was the route they wanted to go down at her new base. Tracey says: “On the old scheme I don’t think we would have been entitled to bedrooms for my husband’s children, whereas now with FAM we have three bedrooms – which has made the whole move a lot better. It’s a good feeling, because we don’t have to worry and we can have the children visit as much as we want.”

If you want to buy a home with FAM there is financial support from MOD. You can also use Forces Help to Buy

For POPT Peter Oswald and his wife, a move to Scotland made them think about buying their own home. They looked at a few places and found somewhere they loved. That’s when Pete was told about FAM for home buyers: £125 per month towards his mortgage, money covering legal fees because he is a first time buyer, disturbance allowance, plus the chance to use Forces Help to Buy. Pete says: “We couldn’t have timed it any better. With FAM our dream house can become a reality. To be able to buy a house within 50 miles of your workplace and have the costs covered is such a good way to help personnel develop a good home life. We’ve bought a forever home, and that’s massively thanks to FAM.”

If you want a family home away from the patch

Hannah Chapman was struggling with the lack of space in the service family accommodation she shared with her sailor husband Aaron, and their children. It was making everyone unhappy. This meant the introduction of FAM at HMNB Clyde was music to the Chapman’s ears. They used the opportunity to move out of married quarters and now rent a four bed house with front and back garden and a garage, all for a similar price that they were paying for SFA.  Talking about the impact FAM has had on her family Hannah says: “Our whole life has changed. It was breath-taking how easy it was, and we now have so much space. We’re so happy. It just shows – your home really is everything”.

If you want more space between home and work

MA Damien Duffey was ready to have his own space, after five years of living in a single room. He was keen to have more separation between work and home, and a break from camp. With Damien’s fiancée moving up to join him, FAM opened up a new way of living and they have chosen to rent in the local area. “My other half’s a nurse, and has recently got a job in Glasgow. With FAM support, we’ve found, agreed and signed for our own place where we can be a family, with Sandy our dog. Our flat is in a great location for us – it’s partway between both our places of work.” He adds: “This FAM thing is amazing, it’s fantastic and such a big difference!”

If you want more freedom to have friends and family to stay

Within two weeks of finding a flat to rent LH Shane Watson was moved in, thanks to FAM. For Shane his choice was about a lot more freedom: from freedom to cook for himself to the freedom to have family and friends come to stay with him. Having his own place means friends and family – who have never been able to do it before – can now spend more time with Shane, and not have to worry about expensive hotel bills. Now comfortable in his apartment Shane says: “I’d recommend FAM to anyone. It was five minutes on JPA to fill out the form, and then I was able to search and look for places to live off the base.”

If you are in a long term relationship

LH Tom Lockyear and his partner are expecting their first baby. Under FAM as they are in a long term established relationship they have the same options as couples who are married or in civil partnerships, and don’t have to rely on there being surplus SFA. Tom and his girlfriend have chosen to rent, giving Tom more freedom from work and a sense of escape from behind the wire and providing his partner with more stability. Speaking about their decision he says:  “It’s the security of a house we choose to be in, in an area we choose to be in. I’ll be able to come home, take my uniform off at the end of the day and relax with my family.”