The ever-popular Family Values Award appeals to a wide number of nominators, as it encompasses so many people within the wider Armed Forces community. The Award honours a person, family or group whose selfless commitment, dedication and support for others in the Armed Forces Community ensures that they are cared for, supported or helped. This selfless act is therefore a shining example to society.
The Award is generously sponsored by The Military Mutual, a military family focused business set up by ex-serving members of the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force. The Military Mutual seeks to recognise the specialist and bespoke financial services needs of those currently serving with HM Armed Forces, veterans, their families and the community of organisations that support them. You can find out more here.
Lee Mooney, Chief Executive Officer of The Military Mutual, says, “The Family Values category recognises remarkable people whose selfless commitment provides a support mechanism for those in the Armed Forces Community. The values of this category are very much aligned to our guiding principal at The Military Mutual, as we are owned by the Military Family to support the wider Military Family. Once again we extend our warmest congratulations to the 2021 Finalists.”
The Ambassador for this category is Vicki Michelle MBE. You can read about Vicki’s support for the Soldiering On Awards here.
The Finalists for the Family Values Award are:
Give Us Time
Give Us Time is a small Armed Services charity that provides relief by sending military families on respite breaks. As we know, many military families are affected by the impact of bereavement, injury, stress, separation or financial hardship, all of which have a detrimental effect on family dynamics. Realising that the uplift in medical and welfare support to armed forces personnel was not available to these families, Give Us Time was formed in 2013 to fill this gap in the delivery of support. Uniquely, the breaks are donated ‘in kind’ by hotels, resorts and individuals.
The respite breaks help to address dysfunctional relationships between children, parents and spouses, restoring the bonds that can prevent personal and family breakdowns and the dangerous paths that this can cause people to take. Data shows that these breaks increase self-confidence and give family members a positive outlook, which can be a life-changing experience for all the participants.
“You are not just providing a vital holiday to a military family. You are not giving us a handout. You are giving us a hand up. And that is priceless.”
Covid-19 has brought great focus on families and their interactions. Whilst the hospitality industry has been devastated, its interaction with Give Us Time has continued to grow. During the pandemic, the charity adapted and launched new initiatives to make sure it could continue to provide military families in need with time together in the toughest of circumstances.
Between 2014 and January 2021, Give Us Time assisted 591 families (2,327 individuals).
“An award to this charity would finally recognise the quiet way they have added value to the lives of others, and interventions that have prevented sad times becoming dark nightmares.”
Mutual Support was started 30 years ago to support serving and ex-serving members of the Armed Forces affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS), as well as their dependents and carers. Funded by tri-service charities and run by volunteers, it’s the only MS charity to offer tailored support and guidance for the specialist and geographical needs of the military community.
The charity provides safe environments for members to share their experiences and talk about the impact the disease has had on their lives. Through liaisons with medical professionals, the DWP and associated agencies, the group is able to disseminate information to over 1000 members, who receive support from before their medical discharge, when the devastating news puts enormous pressure on the whole family, throughout their MS journeys. Equally, Veteran members benefit from being surrounded by their service ‘family’.
“Mutual Support has shown me a huge amount of warmth and sympathy which has helped me to cope at difficult times. Without them, I don’t know where we would be now. My family and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Engaging with a group of like-minded people has an incredibly positive and powerful effect on individuals who have often come to Mutual Support feeling despondent, depressed and sometimes suicidal. Support and respite weekends inform, engage and support those members who are suffering displacement, isolation and deprivation.
“I believe you cannot put a price on the benefit of the Support Weekends. People come broken and return home whole; people come lonely and go home with friends; whole families who come fractured go home in one piece; children who come as young carers go home as themselves once more. These benefits are priceless, life-affirming, and life-changing.”
WO2 Emma Sagar
In 2010, Cpl Emma Sagar’s baby son Matthew was diagnosed with a progressive congenital neurological disease. Sadly, he died in 2013.
Despite the tragedy, Emma began campaigning tirelessly for the provision of improved support services for serving personnel caring for someone with a terminal illness. She co-founded the Armed Forces Candid Network and began fundraising for the local hospice. She established The Matthew Seren Trust, a charity supporting families with seriously ill children.
Rather than focussing on her own unsurmountable tragedy, Emma courageously supports hundreds of civilian and service families who sadly find themselves in a similar situation.
“When going through a tricky time myself, Emma gave me a safe haven, this was while Matthew was dying. I was amazed at the depth of her love for others, her positivity, her strength of character.”
Emma has achieved all this whilst fighting with the agonising condition endometriosis, which causes pain and debilitation. In fact, whist her campaigning was ongoing, Emma and her husband Paul went through the exhausting process of IVF (because of the endometriosis) and she lobbied for support to be given to service personnel going through IVF and adoption.
Emma has represented the Intelligence Corps at polo, she is a part-time university student and volunteers with the Ambulance service and Covid Emergency Response Teams. All of this is whilst operating from CJSU, RAF Akrotiri, caring for a young daughter, fundraising and running the AF Candid Network and The Matthew Seren Trust!
“Emma should be championed as an example of courage, compassion, empathy, integrity, strength and perseverance for all servicewomen to aspire to. Emma is quite frankly a star.”