Today I went down to my local Royal British Legion “Pop In” centre to meet some of the lovely people working with the Naval Families Federation (NFF).
Before I get on with all that- just as a side note- WHEN did the Royal British Legion get all hip and trendy and- dare I say it- cool? The centre in Southampton was all swanky and smart and brightly lit. And modern. And the staff there were young, friendly and normal.
I’m not gonna lie- I went there thinking it would be a run down social club, with years of fag smoke ingrained in the wood chipped walls. Possibly with a well trod dark plum carpet and dimly lit booths hiding old veterans eyeing me in my pink Vans and baby sling with suspicion.
I was so so wrong. I have been on a reccy and I can report back- the Royal British Legion is NOT just for (grumpy) WWII veterans anymore! It’s for those youthful hipsters who have served or are serving! Spread the word! Their bars have cheap drinks! Oh yes, and they do a bit for charity too, by the by.
Now, admitting this is quite embarrassing considering I have been a navy wife for a good few years now, and that I’ve read their magazine Homeport for a good few years longer. Aaaaand also because I’m now writing in said NFF magazine. But I am putting my ignorance/stupidity out there for the greater good, the bigger picture, the grand scheme; I.e you lot.
Yes I had no idea what they were about. I thought they were a bit possibly welfare-y, knew they had good competitions in their magazine, they explained to me a lot about what the Royal Navy actually do (apparently there’s more to it than breaking down again and again and getting drunk-who knew!) and that they talk about the mysterious “Armed Forces Covenant” a lot.
(You know when you start a new job and your new boss tells you a co workers name- you instantly forget that name. You see them every day at lunch or whatever and have a quick chat. Time goes by and soon it’s been waaaay too long and it would be waaay to embarrassing to ask their name so you just pray to god that someone else at work will ask them something using their name before you get found out? Yeah well basically that’s how it was between me and the NFF. Awkward.)
So what do the NFF do?
Basically we (as in us super duper navy families- or any forces family for that matter) cannot and should not be discriminated against because our loved one is in the Armed Forces. This can be obvious or accidental discrimination.
Like how if you move to a new area because of a draft you shouldn’t have to go to the bottom of a waiting list for a treatment on the NHS, or how mortgages shouldn’t screw us over if we have to rent out our homes because “ooh goody we’re off to live in gib for X years- what fun” or to make sure we’ve all heard of and applied for Pupil Premiums so our kids get what they’re entitled to from their school. It’s anything means you are at an unfair disadvantage because of your Popeyes job.
The NFF have the welly, clout, guts, moxy and balls to take issues higher and higher up with companys or the actual proper government until such problems are rectified. All because of the Armed Forces Covenant says that we shouldn’t have to encounter stupid unfair crap from the rest of the world when there is enough official unfair crap flung our way courtesy of the Royal Navy. Or Army. Or RAF.
(Note: The Armed Forces Covenant does not word it like this. This is the gist of it because I can’t remember exactly how Nicola from the NFF explained it.)
The NFF is just for RN and RM families though. They are totally independent of the Royal Navy or Royal Marines. So they are really really on our side.
The Army and the RAF have their own equivalent crack teams on the case. Like CSI Las Vegas, CSI NY and CSI Miami.
I’ve totally gone off on a tangent.
So yes the NFF are there to sort unfair stuff out, to fight on our behalf if needed and generally be a voice to us families to stop us getting screwed over in a civvy world.
Hope this was interesting for you- I can now officially join in serious grown up conversations about government policies, society, the Covenenant and the NFF and not just nod/shake my head along with everyone else! Huzzah! No more blagging it for Olive!