These flats are particularly aimed at serving single-parent families - although all personnel may use them subject to availability - and they provide a safe and comfortable environment for quality downtime for families in a climate of ever-increasing operational tempo, and provide an alternative to expensive hotels and inappropriate temporary accommodation which many parents had previously had to resort to in order to spend time with their children.
The Family Flats are fully equipped with every home comfort and a wide selection of games and toys, giving separated families the opportunity for some quality time together. 140 different families made use of the Family Flats in Portsmouth during the course of 2018.
Petty Officer Thomas Handley, first made use of the Family Flats in Portsmouth following a fire at his childrens’ home and has used the facility several times since.
“Sometimes, the most difficult thing about the job”, he says, “is the separation from my children – whether that be 30 miles away or 3,000 miles away. This facility allows single parents like myself to have somewhere cosy and nice for the children just to live a normal life.
My children refer to this place as the ‘holiday home’. They say, ‘Dad, is it the holiday home we’re going to this weekend? They do get really excited about coming here; they know just what toys to expect. It’s just good to have that homely setting. If I didn’t have this facility available to me, I’m not really sure what I would have done.”