SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, provided funding towards a day out for families who had, until recently, been separated because of military deployment.
The families, from 16 Medical Regiment, based in Colchester, Essex, had been apart because the Unit had been deployed overseas. Reintegrating after a long separation is difficult and can be traumatic for families, especially those with children.
Michele Turner-Everett, SSAFA Colchester Serving Community Chair said:
“SSAFA are proud to support our serving personnel and especially the families, who get left behind. The spouses just get on with their lives alone, running homes and looking after children, regularly becoming a single parent for six months or more at a time. Getting to know your partner again after a long deployment isn’t easy.”
Fitting back into a family environment after a deployment can be difficult. There is often high emotion surrounding the return of the service person. With this can come behavioural problems in children and resentment from spouses, who have managed for so long alone.
“Some of these families are strapped for cash with the cost of living crisis. By helping them to go on a day out together they can decompress, and the kids can get used to the returning parent, without any pressure, and in a neutral environment.”
In 2024 over 20,000 UK troops will deploy overseas. Thousands of families will suffer separation, which can bring with it isolation and loneliness. SSAFA, a military charity which was established in 1885 to look after the wives and children of service people, is still providing this service today, with specialist volunteers who are trained to spot people who are struggling and give practical and emotional support.
One military wife said:
“You often get told “You knew what you were marrying into,” when you complain about being on your own. But the truth is, you don’t understand how hard it can be until you have lived this life. Sometimes it is alright, we have a great community and get through it together, and sometimes it’s awful and I don’t know how I’ll make it through the day.”
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with military life call Forcesline 0800 260 6767