Now entering its eighth year, the RAF Benevolent Fund's partnership with relationship counselling service Relate has been so successful the service is being extended to include veterans and their partners.
To date more than 5,000 serving personnel have taken up the Fund's offer of six free Relate counselling sessions and the effects have been life-changing. The service is now open to RAF veterans and their families and includes access to a free online, Building Stronger Families course, as well as subsidised mediation sessions for couples going through separation or divorce, and family counselling.
Feedback from RAF servicemen and women and their partners who have taken up the sessions is incredibly positive, with everyone who was asked saying they would recommend the service and they felt better able to cope with difficulties they might face in the future.
One client said: "I'm not sure we would still be together or able to communicate had we not decided to have these sessions."
Another added: "Although initially apprehensive to attend any Relate sessions, it has definitely been more than worthwhile for both my own personal progression as well as my relationship."
Alison Wyman, Head of Welfare Programmes and Development, said: "The mental and emotional wellbeing of the entire RAF Family is vitally important.
"Building on the success of this partnership with Relate will allow even more of that RAF Family to access this kind of support. As we know only too well, RAF families can face unique challenges and that does not change as service leavers transition into new civilian careers.
"Relationship counselling is just one way the RAF Benevolent Fund supports the emotional wellbeing of its beneficiaries. The Fund also has partnerships with Anxiety UK and Cruse Bereavement Care to offer help to those facing anxiety and depression issues or struggling with the loss of a loved one."
To find out more about the Fund's relationship counselling support call 0845 077 5556 or visit the Building Stronger Families site to access our free online course.