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TRANSITION

Moving on from the military: Army families who have gone through transition include (clockwise from top left) Louie and Laura; Will and Rachel; Paul and Andria; Neil and Becky; Ruth and Tim

RUTH & TIM

NEIL & BECKY

RACHEL & WILL

Ruth and Tim Gilbert were both in the Army for 16 years. They lived in several SFA before buying their own home a year before leaving the Army. “Before relocating to Devon, we spent a few months travelling, making the most of the time together whilst the children are still young and now that we are no longer tied to the Army.” Ruth and Tim had decided early on where they wanted to live and what kind of lifestyle they wanted. They looked for work that would fit their vision of post-Army life and both accepted Army Reserve roles, supplemented by both of their Army pensions. “After a stint of home schooling for the children whilst we were travelling overseas, we’ve thankfully had no difficulties securing school and nursery places once we were back in the UK.” They recommend for others to be proactive and to not be afraid of doing something different. “We’ve had a relatively smooth transition so far and did a lot of planning in advance to mitigate the possible risks.”

After 20 years’ service, Neil was medically discharged from the Army in 2017. He and his wife Becky moved from their SFA in Devon to a privately-rented property nearby with their two daughters. “We were looking forward to a fresh start as a family after a difficult final few years in the Army.” As well as the challenges Neil faced in dealing with his medical condition, Becky was surprised by how much there was to manage during transition. “Two years for resettlement has not been enough for us, particularly as Neil was discharged two years earlier than we had planned to leave, giving us less time to make decisions and put plans in place.” Of all the challenges, their finances have been the most stressful. Private rent and bigger household bills alongside Neil being unable to work at that time, has put the family under financial pressure. Fortunately, Becky has been able to maintain her job throughout providing an essential income. “I would encourage other Army families to think about transition sooner rather than later. I appreciate first-hand how much there is to think about and how expensive setting up a new life can be.”

Will left the Army in 2015 after seven years’ service. He had enjoyed his career, which included an accompanied overseas posting, and he and his wife Rachel started a family. Will invested heavily in researching what he wanted to do after leaving the Army, working out what suited his aspirations and their family life best. He identified that his job needed to meet his development needs as well as provide a good salary and be enjoyable. “Think hard about what you want from a job beyond the pay. Networking has been really important in securing my new job.” Will and Rachel found house buying to be a stressful part of their transition. They had chosen an expensive area and found saving for a deposit difficult. “In the end, a developer’s scheme to support first-time buyers proved invaluable to us.” Will and Rachel were familiar with their new area having lived in SFA. “We miss the social side of being in the Army, but have made friends in our new local community by joining a tennis club and by meeting people through our children.”

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