Other sources of support for military families | Cruse Bereavement Care

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This page gives a list of useful service, ex-service and charity contacts. To go to the website, please click on the organisation name. It includes


General service sites


Support groups for parents, widows and others

The three services have widows' support groups which are run by widows for widows, widowers and partners, and there are also pan-service organisations

The Military Families Support Group offers: 'Help, support, information and guidance for anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one while serving with the UK Armed Forces. We can also offer help and support to injured and traumatised service men and women, and also their families.'

Parents of young service personnel who lose their lives through natural causes or are killed in action, often have particular issues to deal with that are not recognized by the 'system'.

Particular problems sometimes arise where girlfriends / partners and others are involved as Next of Kin, or when parents have divorced and remarried and not all information is shared. Although the Military Families Support Group is for all family members, it has a large number of parents who use the site, offering mutual understanding, and who also meet each other and offer telephone support.

The War Widows Association of Great Britain is essentially a pressure group and exists to improve the conditions of War Widows and their dependants in Great Britain. Its work encompasses those who have suffered bereavement as a result of World War II and all conflicts since, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

The WWA also represents those who have suffered the loss of their spouse in peacetime, when his death was attributable to his service life. It is able to help all those whose spouse or partner’s death was attributable to their service life by giving them advice and support. Widows are able to join a msn messaging group or a group formed through facebook.

The Naval Families Federation is the independent voice of Royal Naval and Royal Marines families.

The Royal Navy/Royal Marines Widows Association supports those who are bereaved, formed recently with the aim to bring friendship, support, and guidance to those bereaved within the Navy/Marines community, widows/widowers and those in receipt of a forces pension.

The Army Widows Association was formed by widows in 2004. It aims to offer comfort, support and friendship to all new widows, widowers or recognised partners at this very difficult time. The AWA writes to all new widows, this letter and information will be delivered by the Visiting Officer as contact details are not allowed to be passed on without the direct permission of the widow. All members of the AWA have lost their spouse and it aims to offer support as and when you need it drawing from their many and varied experiences. The AWA has good links with those in the Army responsible for the aftercare to widows (and their children) and works hard to maintain and improve this care.

The Army Families Federation is the independent voice of Army families, works to improve the quality of life for Army families worldwide on any aspect that is affected by the Army lifestyle.

The Royal Air Force Widows Association offers support, comfort and advice to those newly bereaved, whose spouse was serving in the Royal Air Force at the time of their death. It works with the Royal Air Force and the Ministry of Defence to encourage them to recognise their responsibilities to their widows and to make widows an integral part of the community service, and to address matters relating to Royal Air Force Widows and their children. Regrettably, membership cannot be extended to widows whose husband died more than 10 years ago, or who had left the RAF more than two years before their death. The Association welcomes contact from servicepersons who have been widowed and who need help with problems or issues.

The RAF Families Federation represents the concerns of RAF personnel and their families (spouses, partners, parents, children, siblings).

The Officers' Association supports Officers, Retired Officers and their families seeking employment, advice, assistance and accommodation.

Lady Grover's Fund was founded in 1911 and gives financial assistance to dependants of officers of all three services, whether serving or retired; supports officers’ wives, husbands, widows, widowers, and dependant children with contributions to hospital fees, nursing and home help following injury or illness. The subscription is £35 a year.


Ex-Services charities offering support

The ex-service charities may well be a useful source of advice and support. Each charity has a particular purpose but increasingly they are working together to best meet the needs of the wider military family and its dependents – and yes, the bereaved dependents are regarded as part of that family!

The Royal British Legion provides practical care, advice and support to serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSASFA) helps and supports those who serve in our Armed Forces and those who used to serve - even if it was only for a single day - and their families.

SSAFA Forces Line is a free and confidential helpline that is completely independent of the military chain of command. Experienced civilian staff provide a supportive, listening and signposting service for serving personnel and their families as well as former members of the Armed Forces. The service can be accessed from anywhere in the world and their phone line is open on Monday to Friday from 10.30am - 19.30pm (UK local time).

The RAF Association (RAFA) is a membership organisation of serving and former members of the Royal Air Force, their families and dependants and all those supporting the aims of the Association.

The ABF the Soldiers' Charity provides support to soldiers, former soldiers and their families in times of need

The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is the RAF's leading welfare charity, providing financial, practical and emotional support to all members of the RAF family. It helps serving and former members of the RAF, as well as their partners and dependants, on a very wide range of issues.

The Veterans UK, an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence, provides pay, pension and support services.

The Armed Forces Community Welfare Pathway is a conceptual pathway, which provides the Armed Forces community - all Service Personnel, veterans, their families and widow(er)s - with a means of more easily and effectively accessing the help and advice they may need. The Pathway does not replace existing signposting mechanisms but seeks to reinforce them by ensuring that people don’t slip through the net. You can contact the pathway by calling 08000 223366.

Veterans First Point A one-stop-shop for veterans living in Lothian in Scotland, offering help and assistance to veterans whatever their needs may be.


Other help

Afghan Heroes is a charity supporting military families affected by the conflict in Afghanistan.

Forces Discounts - the discounts and benefits provided in the Defence Discount Directory and website are aimed at the Defence Community in its widest sense.

Civvy Street is a website for Service leavers and anyone who has ever served and their dependants with information about resettlement, learning. Part of the British Legion's Poppy Advice, civvy street is a good place to go for information, advice and guidance.



Everyone’s circumstances are different and it may take a little while to get your exact entitlement sorted out. Veterans UK may be able to help.

The Forces Pension Society - exists to ensure that serving and retired members of the Armed Forces, their widows, widowers, surviving partners, civil partners and dependants receive the pension to which they are entitled and which they deserve.

Our thanks to all those who have contributed to the material provided on the site.