Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What support for the families of reservists?

The armed forces have been hit by terrible cuts in 2010, and in an attempt to contain the damage they have been directed to better and more extensively use the Reserve. This change has brought reservists closer to the spotlight, but not so their families: what can be done to better support the families of reservists, as part of the wider plan? If reservist are to successfully expand their role and face more frequent deployments, it will be important to ensure they get the support they need. 

FRAME-SW (Families of Reservists, A Mapping Exercise for Support and Welfare) is a research project that is attempting to gather information about the support provided to reserve families. The research will only be effective if it reaches the largest possible number of families, so i've welcomed the FRAME-SW call for help and i'm providing a signal boost. Below you can find the details about the project and an example of e-mail that can be used to involve other people into the survey.  

The Government and the MOD have a publically declared obligation to support all members of the Armed Forces and their families, through the Armed Forces Covenant. Defence recognises the importance of understanding and supporting the needs of families. However, there has been relatively little research on the families of Army reservists to date.

Around nine in ten volunteer Reservists agreed that their family supports their Reserve service and a higher proportion of Reservists than regulars were satisfied with the support their family received when they were last deployed on operations. This is a positive view from the Reservist but it would be useful to know how much Reservist families are aware of all the support and welfare provision that is potentially available to them. This would help to best target support and welfare for the future and to identify if there are any current gaps in provision.

Most Reservists are not employed full time and their families may have little to do with military life until their family member takes part in operations or extended training. Therefore, it can be difficult to reach the families of Reservists through traditional study recruitment methods. Reservist family members may not tend to think of themselves as part of the service community. This can prevent their views being heard. We have set up an online survey on the web and are running a social media campaign to reach out to reservist family members. However, if you are a Reservist we would like you to please help us by passing on details of our study to your family members. This also includes the family members of Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) personnel.

The study is open to all adult family members aged 18 or over of a Reservist - mother, father, husband, wife, partner, in-law, child, sibling, relation, and friends who are considered to be part of the family. There are several ways for family members to share their opinions, including completing an anonymous online survey at www.frame-sw.org.uk , taking part in a focus group, or by phone. Please visit the website for more details www.frame-sw.org.uk , email us on reservists@brookes.ac.uk, or call the team on 01865 48 2988.

This study is funded by the Ministry of Defence and is being carried out by researchers at Oxford Brookes University, King’s College London, and Aberdeen University. The study has received ethics approval from the Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee. Reservists and their family members can also visit our website for a signposting guide to the current welfare services for Reservists and their families. We are always after some feedback on our survey, website and signposting guide so please do have a look and contact us.

This example e-mail can be used to help spread the word among reservists: 

FRAME-SW: Families of Reservists, A Mapping Exercise for Support and Welfare.

Would your family members like to have their say on the welfare and support provision for Reservists’ families?  
We are inviting the family members of UK Reservists to complete a survey about the welfare and support offered to the families of Reservists currently serving as part of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, or Royal Air Force. 
Your family members can take part if they are at least 18 years old and a Reservist’s parent or step-parent, brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, grandparent, spouse, civil partner, long-term partner, child, step-child, aunt or uncle, cousin, or close friend. 
The aim of the study is to help us to understand what is important to your family. We want to understand how much families know about their entitlement to welfare and support services, their experiences and opinions about these services, and their views on ideal levels of welfare and support services when you are deployed, and on a day to day basis. We will use this information to make recommendations to the Ministry of Defence.
Please ask a family member to follow this link to complete our survey http://www.frame-sw.org.uk/ or email reservists@brookes.ac.uk; or telephone us on 01865 482988. It can be completed in about 15 minutes online.
We will also be looking for family members to take part in focus groups or telephone interviews. Full details are on our website and how they can register their interest.
You can also follow us on Twitter (Frame-SW) and can message us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/framesw).

Yours sincerely,

The FRAME-SW team,
Professor Vince Connelly – Oxford Brookes University
Professor Nicola Fear – Kings College London
Dr Zoe Morrison – University of Aberdeen
Dr Sarah Hennelly – Oxford Brookes University 
Ms Joanna Smith – Oxford Brookes University

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