A new series of online workshops aimed at supporting the partners of RAF personnel will be launched next month. The Thrive programme, which provides a range of courses aimed at helping spouses overcome employment challenges, will begin with 'developing courage' on 4 February, teaching participants how to boost their confidence and self-belief.
Lauren Cooper, Welfare Programmes Coordinator at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "The New Year is a perfect time to take stock and make positive change in your life, so we are inviting any RAF partners or spouses who’d like to overcome any personal challenges to sign up to the Thrive 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 second workshop course, which is due to start on 11 March, will focus on 'goal setting', teaching participants how to set realistic goals and create incremental, valuable change.
The 90-minute workshops will begin at 10am and take place at the same time every Thursday for four weeks. You can learn more about Thrive and sign up for either or both courses at rafbf.org/thrive.
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.
Charlie Whitford is one RAF spouse who has benefitted from the Thrive programme. She said: "The Thrive workshops looked really, really good – something to help RAF spouses find their own value and self-worth, leading to better employment prospects. I found the whole course really useful and would like to thank the RAF Benevolent Fund for supporting us in this way.
"I took part in the course in October 2019 and I’m still using some of the coping mechanisms we were shown – I've even got my children involved. Every morning we list three things we are grateful for and every day I make my bed, because even if the rest of the day is a write-off at least I have achieved something."
Last year, the RAF Benevolent Fund launched a range of welfare initiatives to support personnel and their families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It rolled a 24-hour emotional support helpline, launched an online mental wellbeing zone, and began offering Headspace memberships to RAF spouses and partners of serving personnel.
The Fund also launched rolled out a youth counselling service specifically for children and young people aged 11 to 18. A rapid response to the crisis meant that the Fund offered financial grants of up to £2,500 to RAF stations which allowed them to provide activity and wellbeing packs for RAF children and personnel who were isolated on RAF stations during the lockdown periods.