Turning up alone can be more daunting than the challenge

This week is loneliness awareness week (LAW)*, an aspect of forces life which many of us will be all too familiar with.  Long deployments and moving from place to place often has the unfortunate side effect of isolation for partners of serving military and at the FWC, it is what motivates us to connect our members through exciting adventures and challenges.

As we approach the second annual FW100, which will see up to 100 FWC members climb Pen y Fan in Wales, we ask ourselves what is it that motivates these women to sign up to FWC, often attending the challenges alone?   We spoke to Katie, from Lancashire, following her first FWC event in May.

“I found out about the FWC through my local RAF hive community Facebook page.  I love all things fitness related, especially walking, and have wanted to do the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge for a while.  Not knowing anyone previously, I felt somewhat nervous and apprehensive but one of my favourite memories from the event was meeting many other fellow military wives and learning about their experiences of the challenges we face.”

In the largest study of its kind, the BBC’s Loneliness Experiment in collaboration with Wellcome Collection revealed that people who felt lonely most often also had the most intense and longest lasting feelings of loneliness.  So when we feel like we’re ‘stuck in a rut’, actually how easy is it to get out there, meet new people and try something new like the FWC?  Katie said “Just do it!  I was a little apprehensive about signing up however as soon as I arrived I met other women who like me, had come alone.  I was very welcomed and straight away felt part of the team.  There was a great sense of camaraderie and that we were all in it together.  While the event was to tackle the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, it was so much more than that! It was about opening up, listening to others and enjoying the great outdoors.”

If you are a forces wife or partner, why not come and join us in Wales on 29th June 2019 to celebrate FW100 and Armed Forces Day?  The walk will be a gentle meander up one of the most iconic mountains in the military community and afterwards we’ll be refreshing ourselves with a BBQ and a beer.  What better way!?  For more information, visit www.forceswiveschallenge.org.

*LAW is a new awareness campaign championed by the Marmalade Trust, an organisation dedicated to tackling loneliness.  If you’d like to read more about it, please visit its website at www.marmaladetrust.org.

Katie lives with her husband, Kevin of the Royal Air Force and their cat, Poppy

Katie lives with her husband, Kevin of the Royal Air Force and their cat, Poppy