The RAF Benevolent Fund will soon host two new online wellbeing workshops for RAF partners, the first of which will begin next month. The Thrive programme provides a range of courses aimed at helping spouses overcome employment challenges.
The first course, 'developing courage', starts on 12 May and will teach participants how to boost their confidence and self-belief. The second course, which is due to start on 1 July, will focus on 'understanding yourself', teaching participants how to increase self-awareness and self-reflection to help develop professional and personal relationships. You can learn more about Thrive and sign up for either or both courses at rafbf.org/thrive.
Returning to the UK from an overseas posting, RAF spouse Laura Baker (29) felt in need of wellbeing support and career direction, so she signed up to the Fund's Thrive classes. Since taking part in August 2020, the mum of two has set up a successful new business selling eco-friendly greetings cards.
Laura said: "The sessions were really accessible as they took place online via Zoom, which meant I could juggle other family commitments. It always felt like a safe, welcoming environment where we were encouraged to talk about our own experiences and challenges."
"Thrive has honestly changed my life and I’d encourage any other RAF partners to consider signing up. It’s a fantastic service and I’m so grateful to the RAF Benevolent Fund for giving me this opportunity."
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."
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.
Claire Moody, course facilitator, said: "The Fund’s Thrive workshops are a tremendous support for partners of RAF personnel who deal with all the adversity that comes with military life. Many have given up careers or taken up childcare responsibilities, often setting their own goals and needs aside."
“Since Thrive launched it has been evident just how needed this initiative is. The workshops provide the opportunity to meet others in the same predicament, learn new skills, and gain the confidence to move forward in life.”