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Throwing a Lifeline - This is Olivia's Story

Updated: Jul 11

Picture of Liv Bolton, military partner and member of Bulford Coworking Hub wit her dog on the top of a hill with mountains in the distant background
Liv Bolton, Military Partner & Coworking Hub Member

Meet Olivia - this is her story


When Olivia became part of the Armed Forces community – her partner serves in the British Army - she found military life hard. It was a lifestyle she was unfamiliar with, and she struggled to adapt. Living behind the wire, in an isolated bubble, cut off from the life she knew and separated from family and friends, she felt lonely and isolated.


In 2022, when her partner was posted to Blandford, Olivia was in the final year of her PhD.


That move threw up two important issues.


Firstly, she needed a space to work away from home, free of any of the distractions and disturbances of home, but also close to where she and her partner were stationed. She also needed stable, reliable Wi-Fi, something that Service Family Accommodation (SFA) does not always deliver on.


And secondly, she felt even more isolated. A career in academia can be a lonely experience in its own right. But combine it with the impact of military life, that sense of loneliness can take on an even bigger dimension.


And then the Military Coworking Network through her a lifeline.


A photo of hub members working at our Coworking Hub at Blandford in Dorset.
Blandford Coworking Hub

In 2022, Olivia joined the Blandford Coworking Hub, and it delivered on both – it gave her a place to work and access to a ready-made community of like-minded people.


“I joined the coworking hub in 2022 when my partner and I moved to Blandford in Dorset.

"I was in the last year of my PhD and needed a space to work that was away from home, away from distractions and most importantly stable Wi-Fi! What I didn’t expect to get was not only those things but also a community.


“It was my first time living on a military camp and after the first few months I found living behind the wire really tough. I was isolated already because of my job (academia is a pretty lonely field) and then living away from friends and family in a really unusual setting was hard for me.


“It was so nice knowing that I could go to the hub and not only work, but chat and have a coffee with people - some of which really understood my point of view.”


Another posting - this time to Bulford.


“I then fell pregnant; my partner was posted to Bulford Camp near Salisbury, Wiltshire, and we moved again. I joined the Bulford Coworking Hub for all the same reasons I had joined the Blandford one. I now have a young daughter, but I still need a stable and welcome place to work away from home and distractions. The hub is a great way to speak to like-minded people, who understand the ups, downs and everything in-between of being a military spouse.”


A photo of members working in our coworking hub at Bulford in Wiltshire.
Bulford Coworking Hub

Coworking Hubs are so much more than a place to work. They are also a place to network and socialise, a place to make friends and find support.

For many spouses and partners who suddenly find themselves thrown into a lifestyle that differs so starkly from civilian life, they become a vital lifeline.

They give them a community they can belong to, a place where they can be themselves.


“Truthfully the hubs have been a bit of a lifeline for me.

"Military life was a lifestyle I wasn’t familiar with, I was cut off from my normal work environment both by location and by having a baby and was living in a place where I knew few people. But the hubs have been a great way to connect with people, still feel like a professional person and actually get some work done!”



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