Legion members chatting

RBL’s new Network for Carers project is a national network of social groups offering support to carers in the Armed Forces community. 

These peer-to-peer social groups will connect carers who have both caring responsibilities and an armed forces connection in common, making these groups unique in their ability for carers to share experiences, build friendships and support one another.

Network for Carers offers face-to-face and virtual social groups for carers in the Armed Forces community. We welcome the option of attending a mixture of both face-to-face and virtual sessions. We know that joining a new group can feel daunting, but our team are on hand to support you every step of the way. To register your interest or find out more about Network for Carers please get in touch with us and a member of the team will get back to you.

Network for carers volunteer Clare Ashmoore
It is important to take time out away from your role as a carer to find yourself and recognise your own needs. Clare Ashmore

Network for Carers volunteer

Who we support

We consider an adult or child to be a carer if they look after or give help to a family member, partner, friend, or neighbour who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem, or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. [Reference: RBL's unpaid Carers in the Armed Forces community report]

Examples of who we support include:

  • Veterans who have caring responsibilities
  • Civilians who care for a former or currently serving member of the Armed Forces community
  • Currently serving UK Armed Forces personnel who have caring responsibilities

Network for Carers groups are open to individuals aged 18 years and over. We are currently working on developing groups for young carers in the Armed Forces community, please see the young carers section below for more information.

Please note, Network for Carers is not aimed at paid care workers who provide care as part of their employment.

If you are unsure whether you or someone close to you is eligible, please get in touch to discuss it with a member of the team.

Network for Carers has a flexible programme of support which includes:

Face-to-face social groups

  • Monthly face-to-face social groups
  • Sessions last approximately 90 minutes
  • Each group will be actively involved in developing the activities, events, and discussions they wish to undertake, allowing the sessions to be tailored to the interests of the group.
  • Hosted at venues connected to the Armed Forces community
  • Sessions are facilitated by dedicated Support Group Facilitator volunteers
  • An optional welcome call with a member of the Network for Carers team

For details of where our groups are located, please see our ‘Where to find us’ section below.

For more information or to register your interest in attending a face-to-face social group, please get in touch with us and a member of the team will get back to you.

Virtual social groups

  • Virtual sessions provide more frequent opportunities for carers to interact with one another
  • A wide range of different interest, activity and social groups will be available and will be based on input from carers
  • Virtual sessions are hosted via Microsoft Teams - additional guidance and support is available from the team to help you feel more comfortable attending virtual sessions
  • Sessions are facilitated by dedicated Virtual Support Group Facilitator volunteers
  • An optional welcome call with a member of the Network for Carers team

For more information, including dates and times of the virtual sessions or to register your interest, please get in touch and a member of the team will get back to you.

Young carers

We are currently working on developing groups for young carers in the Armed Forces community.

  • Regular virtual sessions providing an opportunity for young carers to connect with one another
  • Open to young carers under the age of 18
  • A wide range of different interest and activity groups will be available and will be based on input from young carers
  • An optional welcome call to include yourself, your parent or guardian, and a member of the Network for Carers team

For more information or to register your interest, please get in touch and a member of the team will get back to you.

Additional support

We know that it is often difficult for carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities that’s why we aim to provide support, if needed, to help with attendance at our face-to-face and virtual groups. Examples of support that we may be able to provide are: 

  • Advice on accessing respite care and support with care costs
  • Travel costs
  • Digital - supporting you to familiarise yourself with Microsoft Teams to make you feel more comfortable attending virtual sessions

Please note financial support will be means tested.

You will have the opportunity to discuss your requirements in greater detail with a member of the team during your welcome call.

FAQs

General

I am worried about attending a group session.

Being anxious about attending a new group is completely normal. Please let us know if you feel this way and we will support you to feel more at ease before attending your first session.  Always remember that everyone will be feeling nervous, you are all in the same boat.

I’m not sure if I’m considered a carer in the Armed Forces community.

Please see our 'who we support’ section above for more information. If you are still unsure and would like to talk to a member of the team, please get in touch with us.

Is there an age requirement for attendance?

Network for Carers social groups are open to individuals aged 18 years and over, there is no upper age limit. We are also developing groups for young carers in the Armed Forces community, please see the young carers section for more information.

How do I get involved as a volunteer?

For information on RBL volunteering opportunities, please see our volunteering page.

How can my venue host a Network for Carers group?

If you are interested in hosting a Network for Carers group, please use the free text box in our contact form to tell us more and a member of the team will be in touch.

Face-to-face

Can I come along to a face-to-face session to see what it’s like before committing?

Yes, you are welcome to attend a session to see if its right for you before completing the registration forms. We do ask that you register your interest and confirm with a member of the team that you’ll be attending a session, so we know who to expect at each session.

Do I have to attend each monthly face-to-face session?

We would like you to attend each monthly session, if possible, as this will help build relationships in the group. However, we understand that you may not be able to commit to coming every month, so we take a flexible approach to group attendance.

Do I have to stay for the duration of the face-to-face session?

No, if for whatever reason you wish to leave the session early you may

How long can I attend the face-to-face group sessions for?

You can attend the monthly group sessions for as long as you like.

Can I attend both face-to-face and virtual sessions?

You are welcome to attend virtual sessions in addition to a face-to-face group.

Virtual

I want to attend the virtual sessions but don’t feel confident enough with IT skills.

The team can talk you through how to use Microsoft Teams so that you feel comfortable and prepared before joining your first session.

How often do the virtual groups meet?

Virtual sessions have more flexibility and are held more frequently. We will provide you with a timetable of available sessions for you to choose from.

How do I join a virtual session?

Register your interest and a member of the team will be in touch, supplying you with a link to the virtual sessions and instructions on how to join.

How many virtual sessions can I attend?

You can attend as many virtual sessions as you like, subject to availability, and you can attend the virtual sessions for as long as you like.

How long is each virtual session and do I have to stay for the duration of the session?

Virtual sessions are of varying length, please contact us for more details. You do not need to stay for the duration of the sessions, if for whatever reason you wish to leave the session early you may.

Can I attend both face-to-face and virtual sessions?

You are welcome to attend virtual sessions in addition to a face-to-face group.

 

Where to find us

  • Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, Shropshire, TF11 8UP: Meets every third Friday of the month.
  • National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire, DE13 7AR: Meets every third Thursday of the month.
  • Historic Dockyard Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TZ: Meets every second Saturday of the month.
  • Galanos House Community Hub, Warwickshire, CV47 2BL: Meets every second Tuesday of the month.
  • Imperial War Museum London, SE1 6HZ: Meets every second Friday of the month from 13 May onwards.
  • Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire, CB22 4QR: Meets every second Wednesday of the month from 11 May onwards.
  • Royal British Legion Southport Branch, Merseyside, PR8 1BN: Dates to be confirmed.

For more information on locations, times and dates, please register your interest and a member of the team will be in touch.

Network for carers volunteer Kirky Kirkhope
This is a unique opportunity to support veterans by supporting the carers who support them. Kirky Kirkhope

Network for Carers volunteer and RAF veteran

Get in touch

If you would like to attend one of our social groups or require additional information, please use our contact form.

Complete our form to register your interest
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