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Later this month the RAF Benevolent Fund will be hosting a new four-part series of online wellbeing workshops for the partners of serving RAF personnel. The course will focus on the topic of managing anxiety, allowing participants to explore the physical effects of anxiety, potential triggers, habits, and solutions to help ease these worries.

The workshops, starting on Wednesday 27th April at 8pm, are 90 minutes long and take place at the same time every Wednesday for four consecutive weeks. To learn more about Thrive and sign up for this course, please visit rafbf.org/thrive.

At the beginning of the pandemic, RAF spouse Jenni Marchant’s husband Doug was deployed for six months, leaving Jenni at home at RAF Lossiemouth with their two teenage children. Looking for some extra support during such an uncertain time, she was referred to the Fund’s Thrive initiative.

Jenni said: “With my husband going away and my job being quite consuming my anxiety levels had gone through the roof. Even getting out of the house and going to the shops was a challenge.

“The four Thrive courses I have done have just changed the way I think about things. It has been really effective at managing a mindset change. I learned about the different steps you can take, small changes you can make, especially changes in the language I use with myself – understanding that Inner Critic. I am so different now, than when I started the courses.

“Without this support I think I would still be lacking in confidence particularly in my own work life – that has been one of the biggest revelations for me, feeling much more in control of that. Thinking, ‘Yes, I am doing a good and worthwhile job’.”

Research carried out by the Fund found the main employment challenges for partners of serving RAF personnel are not a lack of job experience or qualifications, CV writing skills or interview practice. Instead, the difficulties they face are identifying what they want to achieve and the appropriate routes to do this. The Thrive programme aims to help RAF partners overcome these barriers by increasing their self-belief, boosting their skillset and employability, exploring alternatives to paid employment, improving wellbeing and emotional resilience, and reducing social isolation.

Lauren Cooper, Welfare Programmes Coordinator at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “The Thrive workshops are a great way for the partners of serving RAF personnel to come together and share experiences, provide peer support and learn new skills. We have heard some great feedback from previous participants, who reported feeling better prepared for the future and feeling less lonely and isolated following the workshops.”

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