Family Values Award Finalists 2024

An award to honour 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.

In partnership with Right Management.

Introducing the Finalists...

Lt Col Georgie Symonds

Lieutenant Colonel Georgie Symonds is an Army Reservist, commanding 165 Regiment, RLC, as well as a parent-carer to her disabled daughter. For over a decade, Georgie has consistently demonstrated a selfless commitment to military and civilian personnel and their families, working as an unpaid volunteer and champion within disability networks.  

With a fierce determination to break down the barriers faced by carers, Georgie was selected to establish and Chair the Defence Disability Network, then assisted with managing the Army Carers Network, providing valuable advice and driving improvements to disability policy. For her Reservists she has established a partnership with Princess Yachts to target women as an underrepresented group within the maritime industry. 

With a view that Defence personnel are her extended family, Georgie is passionate about maximising talent across the Armed Forces through peer-to-peer support. Described as an ‘exceptional mentor’, Georgie has impacted countless individuals with support that is selfless and unwavering. By offering to help underrepresented groups despite requiring her own support, Georgie is proof of the results that can be realised by educating, championing others, and sharing personal experiences. These activities and her achievements are undoubtedly a shining example to society. 

John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation

The John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation (JTYAF) was set up in 2008 by the parents (Peter and Linda) and brother (Ian) of the late Lt John (JT) Thornton RM. JT was a passionate advocate for access to development opportunities for all young people regardless of social background, whether that be adventure, creative, cultural, or academic. Also believing that JT’s positive experiences as a Cadet allowed him to grow into the man that he became, Peter, Linda and Ian along with 7 trustees, established the foundation to honour JT’s values so that young people can ‘climb as high as they can dream’.  

JTYAF has raised and distributed over £1 million in awards for young people and established 20 partnerships with schools and Cadet Forces in Dorset and Wiltshire. Individual bursaries and scholarships enable award winners to pursue career development opportunities, and creative or sporting professions.  

Transforming a personal loss into 16 years of life changing experiences and opportunities, the JTYAF family embody the dedication and hope central to JT’s values. The many beneficiaries of JTYAF will all become a shining example to society with a significant number of award winners also successfully enlisting as officers across all three services. 

Military Coworking Network

The Military Coworking Network (MCN) story began in 2017 on a military base in Leuchars, Scotland. Born out of a desire to do something positive for the spousal community, a group of spouses secured a space where they could set up a coworking hub, providing a professional space where they could work, study, and connect with like-minded people. Today MCN is a professional membership organisation with thriving hub and online communities. 

Working in a shared space saw immediate success; improving wellbeing, productivity, and allowing spouses to feel better connected with their community and share experiences. It wasn’t long before word spread, and demand grew. After securing funding in 2020 and opening a further eight hubs across the UK by 2022, MCN now has ca.1,500 members and 300 military spouses have used their coworking hubs. In fact, such has been the success of MCN, many more spouses are looking for hubs to open in their areas.  

Their success is evident, with 77% of users stating that they now have a successful career alongside military life, and 91% reporting a better work-life balance. MCN is a powerful force that is clearly enabling spouses and partners to achieve and maintain their professional lives without compromise; ensuring they are being cared for, supported, and helped. 

Congratulate the finalists and join in with our celebrations on social media: #SoldieringOnAwards

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