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Author: NFF

The following is a brief overview of the Armed Forces Covenant. For more details about the changes that have already been implemented as a result of the Covenant, and how this can have an impact on you and your family, please visit the Armed Forces Covenant website for further information.

 

You can also watch a short video about the Covenant here, which has been put together by the RN Two-Six team.

 

What is the Armed Forces Covenant?

To those who proudly protect our nation, who do so with honour, courage, and commitment, the Armed Forces Covenant is the nation’s commitment to you.

It is a pledge that together we acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.

It’s about making sure that you are not disadvantaged as a result of your service or your connection to the Armed Forces – giving you a ‘level playing field’.

 

The Covenant in the Community

The Covenant in the Community is a voluntary pledge of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces community. Local authorities and the Armed Forces in your area are working together in order to:

 

  • Encourage local communities to support the Armed Forces community in their areas, and to increase understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces;
  • Recognise and remember the sacrifices faced by the Armed Forces community;
  • Encourage activities that help to integrate the Armed Forces community into local life;
  • Encourage the Armed Forces community to help and support the wider community, whether through participation in events and joint projects, or other forms of engagement.

 

Covenants in the Community may look quite different from one location to another; the nature of the support offered will be determined by need and capacity. The delivery of the Covenant is usually managed locally by an Armed Forces Covenant lead officer working within the local authority, in conjunction with a partnership board. Visit your local authority website for more details and contact information.

 

The Covenant in Business

This involves businesses and charitable organisations making a written and publicised voluntary pledge which expresses their support to the Armed Forces community, and demonstrates how they have committed to ways in which they can provide support.

 

These Covenants include a core statement of commitment, which covers the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant:

 

  • No member of the Armed Forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen;
  • In some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved.

 

Each organisation is also encouraged to offer support in a way most appropriate to their situation. The pledge document includes a menu of options for organisations to sign up to, including; employment support for Veterans, Reservists, Service spouses and partners, support for Cadet Units, participation in Armed Forces Day, and offering discounts to the community. There is also an opportunity for organisations to add their own commitments based on local circumstances.

 

The Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS)  acknowledges employers who have provided exceptional support to the Armed Forces community and defence by going above and beyond their Covenant pledges.

Through a 3 tier approach of bronze, silver and gold awards, the scheme recognises the different levels of commitment provided by employers. This allows the Ministry of Defence to publicly thank and honour those organisations for their support.

 

You can nominate yourself for a bronze awardSilver and gold awards are bestowed to organisations meeting specific criteria.

 

The Covenant in Government

The Armed Forces Covenant is a cross-Government commitment which involves many central government departments, such as the Departments for Work and Pensions, Health and Social Care and Education, as well as the NHS.

Many topics covered are devolved matters i.e. education, and therefore the Devolved Governments of Wales and Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Executive, are responsible for their delivery.

 

Wales
The Welsh Government contributes to the Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report. It has appointed an Armed Forces Advocate to represent Wales on the Covenant Reference Group, and has established an Expert Group to consider the needs of the Armed Forces community in Wales. The NFF is part of this Expert Group. Click here for further information.

 

Scotland
In 2012, the Scottish Government published ‘Our Commitments: Scottish Government Support for the Armed Forces Community in Scotland’. This document illustrated how the Scottish Government was addressing the needs of its Armed Forces community. They then revisited their Commitments in 2016, with the publication of their Renewing our Commitments document. Furthermore, in response to the reports issued by the Scottish Veterans Commissioner, the Scottish Government then issued guidance which outlines the support that is being offered to the Armed Forces Community – click here to read this document.

The Scottish Government contributes to the Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report, and has appointed an Armed Forces and Veterans Advocate to represent Scotland on the Covenant Reference Group.

 

Northern Ireland
In July 2013, the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee produced a report that stated that the UK Government must identify any shortfalls in the provision of services to the Armed Forces Community in Northern Ireland, and report on how these will be met. The Committee called for closer engagement between the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive on support for the Armed Forces Community. Click here for details.

 

Full details about all aspects of the Armed Forces Covenant can be found on the MOD website here.

 

Armed Forces Covenant Fund

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust run a programme which makes grants of up to £20,000 for local projects that support the Armed Forces Community.

Further information on the priorities, eligibility and application process can be found on the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust website. If you have any questions which are not covered by the guidance, you can contact the team at enquiries@covenantfund.org.uk

 

Posted on: 20th November, 2018
Updated: 18th March, 2019

X-Forces has set up a scheme to help Service Leavers, Reservists, and Spouses/ Partners to start their own business.

 

This scheme offers low interest start-up loans to individuals over 18 who have a viable business idea but no access to traditional finance.

 

Successful candidates will receive a 12-month free monitoring service, free training events and more.

 

Please see this page for more information and to apply for your Start Up Loan.

 

Posted on: 16th November, 2018

*Update*: We are pleased that a tri-Families Federation research has helped to inform a new Holistic Transition Policy, announced by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on 1st November, 2019. Read more about this here.

 

The government have today released The Strategy for our Veterans, which sets out how they will seek to fulfill their vision “to see those who have served in the UK Armed Forces, and their families, transition smoothly back into civilian life and contribute fully to a society that understands and values what they have done and what they have to offer.”

 

The strategy calls for greater collaboration and coordination between organisations and charities that support veterans and their families. It identifies six key themes: community and relationships; employment skills and education, finance and debt, health and wellbeing; making a home in civilian society; veterans and the law.

 

Importantly for our families, it also stated that the MOD is introducing a new Defence Holistic transition policy, which will contain life skills material which will be made available to Service Personnel and their families throughout their time in the Armed Forces to help better prepare them for civilian life. It has also been announced that there will be a new Defence Transition Service to support those families with more complex transition needs.

 

This is the first time that families are being recognised as integral to the transition process when their Service person leaves the Armed Forces. It will provide more support and information in areas such as housing, finance, health and wellbeing. It also recognises the complex and nuanced needs of Foreign and Commonwealth families who chose to stay in the UK after they leave the Armed Forces and will provide tailored information to support them in the process of applying for and financing the cost of visas and other housing needs.

 

We look forward to working closely with the Royal Navy to see how this new Veterans Strategy and Defence Holistic Transition Policy will be implemented and how this will benefit our families.

 

Posted on: 14th November, 2018
Updated on: 20th January, 2020

Support for Care Leavers

Young people who have been in care at any point in their childhood are more likely to face additional challenges in securing suitable employment and establishing an independent life for themselves than their peers. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has signed the Care Leaver Covenant, which commits it to a number of actions, including developing protocols for young people joining the Armed Forces. As part of its commitment, the MOD has launched a survey to help it to understand how best to improve the support it offers. You can access the survey here and via defnet, or arrange to speak to someone in person by emailing DCYP-CareLeavers@mod.gov.uk .

 

You can find out more about support for Care Leavers from the Care Leavers’ Association.

 

Support for Estranged Adults

Not all adults have a close or supportive family support network. Family estrangement can involve stigma and social isolation. This may be especially keenly felt when combined with some of the challenges faced by Armed Forces people and their loved ones. You can find out more about family estrangement, and get support, from Stand Alone.

 

Posted on: 14th November, 2018
Updated on: 30th November, 2018

In preparation for presenting evidence to the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) 2018, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) carried out a short online survey on pay. The survey was open for 4 weeks between early September and early October 2018. The survey was identical to that carried out in 2017, to allow comparison of the results.

 

Your Voice Heard

This year the response rate was lower than last year, with only 178 responses compared to 440 responses in 2017. A few factors may be relevant to the decline in response rate, e.g. this survey was carried out directly after the NFF’s major 2018 survey, which had a large response rate.

 

In 2017, 26% of respondents felt satisfied with their financial situation always or a lot of the time, compared to only 18% in 2018.

 

92 of you chose to provide us with invaluable free text feedback. Some of the most common topics are (in no particular order): the 2018 pay award, pensions, difficulties meeting living costs, the affordability of housing.

 

Over the past year, the proportion of spouses/partners increasing working hours or changing jobs to boost the household income has increased by 5%; there has been an increase of 12% in cutting back on holidays and leisure activities.

 

To read the results in full, please click here.

 

Posted on: 12th November, 2018

HALO survey

The Helping Armed Forces Loved Ones Survey (the ‘HALO’ survey) aims to better understand the needs and experiences of people who are worried about the mental health of a loved one who services or has served in the Armed Forces.

 

The second wave of the study is now underway. This part of the study focuses on mood swings.

 

If this sounds like something that may be relevant to you, please take 10 minutes or so to complete the confidential online survey. Upon completion, you can opt in to enter into a prize draw to win one of 5 Amazon gift vouchers (worth up to £50). The survey is here.

 

 

Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds

The HALO survey is part of a bigger HALO study that gives you the option to seek support directly from Help for Heroes ‘Hidden Wounds’ programmes. ‘Hidden Wounds’ can help if you are worried about the mental health of a family member, partner or loved one serving in the Armed Forces. It can help you, too, if you are worried about the effect of their mental health on your own wellbeing. To find out more visit the website and use the contact form or email.

 

HALO social media

Facebook

Twitter

 

Posted on: 5th November, 2018
Updated on: 30th January, 2019

A two-year tri-Federation project comes to fruition today (Thursday 1st November) with the publication of a report into transition. This report, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), has revealed that more awareness about the demands of transition is needed for families of Service leavers.

 

The report contains a list of recommendations including the need for:

  • A shift in culture (for policy makers, service providers, Service leavers and families themselves), which better appreciates the breadth of transition and the need to engage with it from an earlier point in a Service leaver’s career.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of advance planning.
  • An education piece to cover transition entitlement and processes.
  • Tailoring support to families’ specific needs.

 

The report, the first to specifically look at the lived experience of Service families, reveals the complex nature of transition and affirms the six ‘elements’ of transition: housing, health, education and children, employment, finances and wellbeing.

 

It also highlights the need for further research to better understand specific cohorts of families such as Foreign & Commonwealth, those whose Service leaver is being medically discharged and the challenges faced by Service children.

 

Anna Wright, CEO Naval Families Federation, said:

“The unique nature of Naval Service life is reflected by the ‘can do’ attitude of our families. However, it doesn’t automatically follow that all Naval Service families find the transition process to be without challenge. This report provides those in decision making roles with an insightful and honest bank of information to help support their thinking and consider the needs of Naval Service families when reviewing or updating appropriate policies.

“We are hugely grateful to all the families who took part in the research, offering their time and

sharing their ‘lived experience’ to inform this report.”

 

Sara Baade, Chief Executive, Army Families Federation said:

“The Army Families Federation is very grateful to FiMT for the opportunity to conduct much-needed research showing more needs to be done to support those going through transition out of the military. This work strengthens existing evidence in this area and the report’s recommendations are invaluable in supporting the case for improved resources and services that families can use to ensure their transition is successful, whatever their make-up. This key evidence also supports the Veterans’ Strategy announced by the Defence Secretary earlier this year; those transitioning out of the Forces are the veterans of tomorrow, and ensuring families overcome the many challenges transition can pose goes some way to ensuring a successful civilian life.”

 

Graeme Spark, Acting Director, RAF FF said:

“We have been delighted to have been part of this project – understanding completely the need for a holistic approach to transition to best support RAF families now and in the future. We now look forward to helping deliver where we can some of its recommendations.”

 

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said:

“The process of transition is not solely about the Service personnel, it affects the entire family unit. What has become clear, from the library of research funded by FiMT, is that the earlier planning for leaving the Armed Forces starts, the more successful and sustainable is the transition.

“The recommendations within this report highlight the need to do more to ensure that the families of Service personnel are given the support required to successfully navigate the transition pathway.”

 

You can read the full report here. Please contact us if you would like to obtain a hard copy.

 

If you have an experience of transition that you’d like to share or have any questions or concerns, contact: transition@nff.org.uk.

 

Posted on: 1st November, 2018
Updated on: 14th November, 2018

Update: Please note that the information on this page is for 2018 and has now expired. Please check back around November for 2019 posting dates. 

 

BFPO has announced the latest recommended posting deadlines for this Christmas. There is also a list of overseas locations and operations that are entitled to the Christmas Families Free Mail Service (CFFMS), which runs from 26th October 18 – 23rd November 18.

 

If you wish to send your loved ones a letter or parcel this Christmas, please kindly visit this link and follow the advised dates to ensure they arrive on time.

 

Posted on: 16th October, 2018
Updated on: 24th October, 2018

*Edit: This competition is now closed* 

 

The Trafalgar Way, which runs from Falmouth in Cornwall to the Admiralty in central London, was created in 2005 to commemorate the journey over land made by Lt John Richards Lapenotiere who carried the momentous news of victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and of the death of Admiral Lord Nelson.

 

They have now launched a short story competition, themed ‘An Urgent Message’, to help put the Trafalgar Way on the map and into the national consciousness. Entries should be an original story about an urgent message – a great event or something that matters to only one person, or animal. There is no restriction on the tone of the story, whether it is funny or serious, happy or sad.

 

This competition is only open to:

– Individuals (aged between 7 – 21) and schools from the counties along the Trafalgar Way (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey, and South-West London); OR

– Sea Cadets and serving Royal Naval personnel under the age of 22 resident anywhere.

 

This competition is divided into three age categories with specific length requirements:

  • 7-11 (500 words maximum)
  • 12-16 (1000 words maximum)
  • 17-21 (2500 words maximum)

 

The closing date for this competition is at 1am on the 6th November, 2018, which falls on the same day and time as Vice-Admiral Collingwood’s dispatches from the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Entries will be judged by a panel of writers and journalists.

 

You can read a specially commissioned story here for inspiration.

 

All winners will have their story published in print and have their prizes presented on Nelson’s Flagship in a special ceremony. First place prizes for each age group will include a trip to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for a presentation with family and friends; second and third place prizes will include book tokens. There is also a cash prize for the first places in each age group.

 

Please visit this link for more information and to submit your entry.

 

Posted on: 16th October, 2018
Updated on: 8th November, 2018

*Event Expired*

 

An ‘Insight into Financial Service Operations’ programme hosted by BarclaysAFTER (Armed Forces Transition Employment Resettlement) takes place in Glasgow this October.

 

This one week (22nd to 26th) work placement will give Naval Service spouses and partners valuable insight into the Financial Services sector. Successful candidates will:

  • Discover how a financial institution operates;
  • Have the opportunity to network with individuals across the businesses and functional areas;
  • Develop tangible career skills, including CV enhancement and interview techniques.

 

There will also be a rotation between key businesses and functional area. This is aim to cover:

  • Introduction to Barclays;
  • Interview and CV skills;
  • Human resources/ Learning & Development;
  • Change and Lean;
  • Technology;
  • Compliance and Risk; and more.

 

There is also an additional day available for you to deep dive into a department of your choice to explore the sector. This placement is set for entry-level to middle management level candidates.

 

Should you be interested, please send a covering letter to outline your motivations, along with your CV, to Chris.cadman@barclays.com and sarahlouise.x.flood@barclays.com.

 

Posted on: 4th October, 2018