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Author: NFF

A new compensation scheme has been announced for military personnel affected by increases in Scottish tax – an issue that was flagged up by the Naval Families Federation.

 

When Scotland’s new income tax regime came into force earlier this year, anyone who lived in Scotland and earned more than about £26,000 started paying more income tax than they would do if they lived elsewhere in the UK.

 

It is thought that around 8,000 serving personnel fall into that category.

 

When the Scottish government first announced its ‘progressive’ system, the Naval Families Federation acted on behalf of Naval Service families and conveyed their concerns to Defence ministers.

 

We firmly believe that serving personnel north of the border should not be worse off than colleagues who are posted elsewhere, and that all should be treated equally.

 

The NFF is delighted that the MOD has listened and responded with the new scheme of ‘mitigation payments’ announced by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson today, which will see affected personnel receive a compensation payment ensuring all serving people effectively pay the same rate of tax, wherever they work, in the current tax year.

 

Only Regular personnel whose main place of residence is in Scotland and who are worse off by a minimum of £12 a year will be eligible, while a cap of £1,500 has also been set.

 

The payment will be retrospective, ie paid after the end of the 2018-19 tax year, and the scheme will be reviewed on an annual basis by the MOD. More details of this year’s scheme will follow later in the year.

 

This is a great example of how the NFF acts as a bridge between our community and the Government to promote equality for you and your family. We will continue to monitor changes in policies to act on your behalf.

 

For those in the Armed Forces, details are available in a Defence Internal Brief, serial number 2018DIB/08.

 

You can access BBC’s news article on the compensation scheme here.

 

Posted on: 19th July, 2018
Updated on: 6th August, 2018

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, recently published a report looking at the lives and experiences of children who grow up in an Armed Forces family. The Naval Families Federation attended the launch of the report, and spoke with the Children’s Commissioner afterwards about particular challenges experienced by Naval Service families.

 

The report, ‘Kin and Country: Growing up as an Armed Forces Child’, explores how primary and secondary school children with parents in the Armed Forces feel about moving school or country, how their lives at home and school change with deployment and whether or not they feel they receive the support they need.

 

The Children’s Commissioner’s Office spoke to children up and down the country whose parents are currently serving in the Army, Navy or RAF, as well as speaking to teachers, parents and members of the Armed Forces to build a clear picture of where there are gaps in provision for children, and why these gaps exist.

 

The report shows that most children in Armed Forces families are growing up living happy lives, despite the unique challenges they face. It is clear though that the lifestyle can be tough, and that multiple school moves often leave children feeling unsettled and anxious. For children with additional needs or teenagers in the middle of exam courses, moving around adds another layer of complication.

 

Alongside the impact of mobility, service children describe a range of complex emotional responses to the deployment of their parents, sharing the impact that parental absence has at home, with changing family dynamics and increased responsibility for siblings and household tasks. For children who had both parents deployed at the same time, these issues are exacerbated by the need to move to stay with another family member for a significant period of time.

 

You can read the full report, and its recommendations, here.

 

Posted on: 17th July, 2018

** This article is about our work with the Armed Forces Covenant/ Defence Select Committee in 2018. If you would like to read an update of the work carried out in 2019, please click here. **

 

As part of our work with the Armed Forces Covenant, each year we are asked to comment formally on the Covenant Annual Report, alongside the AFF and RAF FF. In addition to our written observations, our Chief Executive Anna Wright also appeared as a witness before the Defence Select Committee (DSC) earlier this year to talk about the Covenant, how it is being delivered and how it is affecting our people and their families.

 

The DSC Report has now been published and we are delighted to see that the Committee have listened to the evidence presented by the NFF and have included some of our suggestions in their recommendations. For example, during her evidence session, Anna told the Committee that, whilst we would like to see the Service Pupil Premium amount increased, our priority would be for it to be extended to early years and up to 18 years, because there were gaps at either end in terms of pastoral support.

 

As a result, the Committee have recommended that:

“We call on the Government to review the Service Pupil Premium for England, with particular reference to whether it should be increased and whether its range should be extended to under-5s and to all Service children, including those aged 16–18 years across the UK. We also call upon the Government to provide target guidance to help schools use the Service Pupil Premium appropriately.”

(Defence Select Committee Report on the Covenant, paragraph 135)

 

This is a great example of how we are speaking up on your behalf, at all levels within government, to try and make life better for you and your family. If you want to know more about our evidence and the Committees findings, you can access the full report here.

 

Posted on: 16th July, 2018
Updated on: 22nd October, 2019

There are several travel offers available for Serving personnel and their families. Whether you are travelling home, or planning a mini break, the following discounts may help reduce the cost:

 

National Express
  • Members of the Armed Forces can book their travel with a 60% discount with a MOD90 ID card or a Defence Privilege Card.
  • Spouses and partners of the Serving person and other members of Defence Discount Service can claim a 30% discount off with a Defence Privilege Card.

For more information on your eligibility and T&C, please visit here.

 

Virgin Atlantic
  • You can save up to 12% off.

This discount will expire on 5th September 2019. Please log onto your account on Discount Defence Service for more information.

 

Loganair
  • 10% off all return flights

This discount will expire on 30th April 2020. Please log onto your account on Discount Defence Service for more information.

 

EuropCar
  • You can save up to 20% off your UK car hire.
  •  Up to 35% discount for bookings made before 29th July 2018 and pick up before 30th September 2018 during their Summer Sale.

For more information and their T&C, please visit here.

 

Forces Car Hire
  • This site offers cheap car rentals around the world for members of the Armed Forces.

Please visit this site for quotes, bookings, and T&C.

 

Forces Travel Ferries
  • You could claim up to 15% off your travel with some of UK’s biggest ferry operators.

Please visit this site to plan your journey and claim your discount.

 

HM Forces Railcard
  • For £21 per year, you can save 1/3 on most rail fares throughout Great Britain within 12 months. This card is available to members of the Regular Forces and their spouse/ civil partner.

You can read about this discount here. Please contact your local UPO to apply for yours.

 

Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • You can save up to 5% off.

This discount is for Defence Privilege Card holders. Read about their T&C here.

 

 

Other discounts

There is so much more available to the Armed Forces community and their family members. You can find out more about other discount services here to explore your options, and you can read about other holiday offers here.

 

Posted on: 13th July, 2018
Updated on: 17th July, 2019

The Scottish Government has published a welcome guide, specifically written for Naval Service families.

 

This booklet provides information you may need to help settle in. It covers aspects such as housing, education, healthcare, employment, benefits and social care, other useful information, and a list of supporting organisations.

 

If you are considering, or are due to move to Scotland for an upcoming assignment order, you can read this guide online here. The Scottish Government is planning to distribute this booklet in hard copy in the near future, though no dates have been confirmed. We will keep you updated.

 

Posted on: 5th July, 2018

*Update: Application for the Annington Challenge 2019 is now open. Please visit this link for more information*

 

Thanks to additional funding, the Annington Challenge is delighted to offer 2 places to young people aged 15-19 from Armed Forces families for their forthcoming Outward Bound Skills for Life Award. This 19-day course is filled with fun but challenging outdoor adventures, and takes place in Wales from 30th July to 17th August. The course is usually priced at £1,699, but will be discounted at £399 for young people of Naval Service families.

 

What are the purposes of The Annington Challenge?

The Annington Challenge is more than ‘just a summer camp’. It encourages teenagers to reach out of their comfort zone and take on new challenges. It aims to boost participants’ self-confidence and self-belief, to improve their communication skills and to be more confident in working as a team. The programme aims to achieve the following outcomes:

Checkmark Self confidence and self belief Checkmark Communication Checkmark Team working Checkmark Self management CheckmarkMaking the most of opportunities Checkmark Problem solving Checkmark Resilience

 

Eligibility and Application

To apply for this course, you must be between the ages of 15 and 19. You can find out more about your eligibility, any other general information, or apply for this course here.

 

Other Useful Information

To find out more about the Annington Challenge, its participants’ testimonials and stories, you can read their feature story in Homeport Autumn ’17 (pages 20-21) and Homeport Winter ’18 (pages 54-55). The links to these issues can be found here.

 

Posted on: 1st June, 2018
Updated on: 15th January, 2019

What do you know about the Armed Forces Covenant?

Warwickshire County Council, on behalf of the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Armed Forces Covenant partnership has launched an innovative e-learning resource for Armed Forces personnel and their families.

 

This training programme has been designed to support those leaving or who have left the Armed Forces and helps in the process of adjusting to life outside of the Armed Forces.  It addresses issues that are commonly experienced within the transition and adjustment process such as acquiring accommodation, employment, health as well as personal and family adjustment.  It also raises awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant and highlight how it can support them in reducing disadvantages that can occur as a result of their service.

 

These modules were created by the Armed Forces Covenant Team within the Council, in collaboration with ex-serving personnel, the Naval Families Federation and the Army and RAF Families Federations.

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation said:

“I am delighted to lend my support to this fifth, and final, Armed Forces Covenant e-learning module, which has been developed by the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Covenant Partnership. We have worked with Phil Deakin and his colleagues on all of these modules and have been thrilled to see how successful they have been in not only raising awareness of the issues faced by serving personnel and their families, but also providing advice about how the Covenant can help to overcome them.

This final module really strikes a chord as it coincides with the research that we and the other Families Federations have recently published, in partnership with the Forces in Mind Trust, which puts the spotlight on how families transition out of the Armed Forces. I am sure that the module will help the individual and whole family make a successful move back to civilian life”

 

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:

“I am very pleased to welcome this new resource focused on Service Leavers and Veterans.  We know that the period of transition and adjustment to civilian life can be difficult for some individuals and families and this e-learning will aid them in settling back into civilian life.  One excellent feature is the ‘Three Top Tips’ being shared from veterans of all 3 services as well as spouses who have made the transition.”

 

You can access these e-learning resources here.

 

Posted on: 14th May, 2018
Updated on: 8th May, 2019

The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) survey results have now been published. These will be used as part of the on-going policy development for the FAM, which will combine the survey with other results (e.g. the single Service Families Federations’ surveys) and Focus Group findings to refine the accommodation offer based on your feedback.

 

A Tri-Service FAM pilot scheme will be carried out in several locations throughout the UK. This was due to start in December 2018 but will now take place in 2019. Ministers are expected to confirm locations and start dates next year. The scheme is planned to run for two years and there will be a consultation period on completion of this. FAM is expected to be gradually introduced once the consultation period is complete.

 

To read the report in full please click here.

 

In addition, thank you to everyone who took part in our Future of Accommodation Model survey.

 

Here are the headlines of our findings from the Naval community.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Last updated on: 25th October, 2018

There are many organisations that offer free employment and financial support, from CV and interview skills to starting your very own business. There are also organisations that advertise positions specifically aimed at Service spouses and partners.

 

Employment Support
Career Transition Partnership (CTP)

CTP is a partnering agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Right Management Ltd that provides resettlement services for those leaving the Armed Services.

 

Forces Families Jobs (FFJ)

FFJ is a Tri-Service platform to enable family members of serving personnel to have a ‘one stop shop’ where they can apply for jobs directly with employers who have signed the Armed Forces Covenant as well as find signposting to other career and training opportunities. Listen to this podcast to find out more about the platform. Click here to read about the success stories.

 

Recruit for Spouses (RfS)

RfS is the leading organisation helping Armed Forces spouses all over the UK into employment. To hear more about how they can help you if you are an employer or a spouse please take a look at their promotional video here or visit their website.

 

RFEA The Forces Employment Charity

RFEA has launched a programme to help the spouses and partners of serving and ex-Forces personnel into employment with the support of a dedicated Families Employment Advisor. The help includes career diagnostics, individual employment case-working support, access to vocational training funding and job-brokerage to suitable and sustainable jobs through their extensive database of employers.

 

SORTED!

SORTED! comprises of seven well established charities, which provide a wide range of employment related services and support for the Forces community (including spouses/partners and family members) to find and stay in work.

 

X-Forces

X-Forces is an award-winning Community Interest Company that nurtures entrepreneurial ambition in the UK military community, by supporting start-up and scale-up businesses.

 

Unsung Hero Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme

Funded by HSBC and delivered by the University of Wolverhampton, this programme has been developed specifically for Armed Forces families to provide them with the transferable skills and support required to start and maintain a business that will not be restricted to a geographical area, allowing families to become more financially stable and break the cycle of being unable to work.

 

Training Opportunities
Amazon Web Services – Restart

Covenant signatory Amazon Web Services (AWS) have pledged support for the military community with the launch of their free four-week AWS re:Start programme, which aims to provide training and potential employment opportunities in computing technology.

 

Apprenticeships

The Government has put together an information hub for members of the public to access information on becoming an apprentice.

 

Essential Training

Essential Teaching UK is a recognised education and training organisation delivering high quality training throughout the UK. They offer Service spouses and partners payment for courses in installments with 0% interest.

 

Lifeworks

Lifeworks Families is a Royal British Legions Industries programme, delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, providing fantastic free employment courses.

 

National Careers Service

This website provides careers advice and information on a wide range of jobs, training course resources and funding.

 

Social Media Spouses

Funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, BFBS has launched a free online social media training programme for Service spouses and partners. Social Media Spouses is a 12-week course that is designed by social media experts, to offer spouses/partners the opportunity to build up professional skills.

 

Funding
President’s Award Scheme

Women’s Section President’s Award Scheme provides educational sponsorship by way of educational grants and scholarships to spouses of non-commissioned officers, both serving and ex-serving Armed Forces personnel. Assistance is awarded to those seeking first degrees, and grants are awarded towards re-training programmes, books, travel costs and other related costs.

 

X-Forces Business Start-up Loan

X-Forces (see ‘Employment Support’) has set up a business start-up loan scheme to help the Armed Forces community to start their own business.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 10th June, 2020

There are houses or flats available to personnel who need temporary accommodation for short periods of time, either for themselves or their family. To find Contact Housing in your area, please visit the NS FPS website.

 

Short Term Family Accommodation (STFA)

Short Term Family Accommodation is a group of Service Family Accommodation properties which have been set aside for use as temporary self-catering accommodation primarily for welfare reasons.

The Scheme is aimed at enabling Service personnel to utilise these facilities for both themselves and visiting friends or family members with priority always given to welfare/compassionate cases.

Service Personnel, Veterans, MOD civilians and their families can expect fully equipped Service Family Accommodation with everything they need, from duvets and linen, to TV/DVD players and cooking facilities. Properties are available for a minimum stay of two nights to a maximum stay of six months.

For further information, please click here.

 

Cotswold Centre

The Services Cotswold Centre provides secure and affordable temporary housing for serving personnel and their families from all three services.

The Centre is primarily open to those that are:

  • subject of emergency evacuation from overseas;
  • in transit between postings or retiring;
  • with welfare housing issues.

The accommodation is located near Corsham, Wiltshire. It can provide accommodation for up to six months. It comprises of 60 self-contained homes.

The three bedroom chalets and converted flatlets are all self catering. They are fully furnished and include a TV, fridge/freezer, crockery, bedding and towels. On-site facilities include a primary school.

Families may be accommodated if they are:

  • a Service person and/or their spouse/civil partner, whether or not they are accompanied by children or any other authorised immediate family members;
  • estranged families/spouses/civil partners of personnel who are able to cover the costs of their accommodation and living expenses;
  • injured personnel, their carers and/or immediate family members, where authorised by the Officer Commanding of the Centre and welfare providers – for the purposes of recuperation during rehabilitation.

This may include those in receipt of a Family Maintenance Grant. Families in UK SFA will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances – with authority from the single Service Housing Colonels.

Where a requirement falls outside of this eligibility, the parent Unit should seek advice from the Officer Commanding of the Centre.

Personnel should see 2015DIN01-029 on the Defence Intranet for further details, including the full eligibility criteria and the priority order for housing people in the Centre.

 

Navy Mews

The plan to take a tired and unused office space and re-purpose it into bespoke, self-contained units has been through many phases and challenges. However, as the New Year started, the official opening of the Royal Navy’s three new single parent units in Dreadnaught Block, HMS Nelson, turned plans into reality.

The aim behind the project is to give single serving parents the ideal environment to spend time and build relationships with their children when not away on deployment.

For some time a solution has been sought to address the challenges of finding a safe and comfortable place for personnel to use, and the Royal Navy hopes this will prove to be a huge step in helping separated families.

Commander Martin Evans, the Naval Base Executive Officer, explained:

“We identified a need back in 2010. If a Service person is the primary care-giver in a child’s life, the MOD will always provide a permanent home, however, separated single parents often struggle to retain quality contact because of a combination of the constraints imposed by Service life, the costs involved and significantly, the lack of an accessible home from home facility. We wanted to provide somewhere where these parents can have a semblance of normality, where they can eat together, play together and bond in a home environment – rather than a hotel and a weekend of fast food.

The project is a great example of collaborative working. RNRMC took on the mantle of securing the funding needed to deliver the project, successfully bidding for and raising the £250,000 required. This was just the tip of the iceberg in a project of this size and ambition. RNRMC’s Director of Relationships and Funding, Mandy Lindley said, “I am really delighted to see this project materialize. The close cooperative working with the Chain of Command and the Accommodation Officer, Sara Williams, has delivered, despite the many challenges that presented themselves as we progressed this plan. I have been involved with this project since arriving with RNRMC some 18 months ago and have seen the highs and the lows, and witnessed the sheer determination and innovation needed to ensure that this truly valuable resource could be made available for families.”

The three apartments each have a theme: ‘Poppy’ which has been adapted for any visitors who may need easier access or who have additional needs: ‘Shabby Chic’; and ‘Beach’. The finishing touches for each of the themed ‘Mews’ have been supplied via an innovative scheme which has involved the creative work of the wives and partners who attend ‘Friends at No 10’ (a Community House for Armed Forces families living in Portsmouth). Working with the Portsmouth based ‘Company of Makers’, the group from ‘Friends at No 10′ have created bespoke throws and cushions for the flats. Volunteers who attend the Friday sewing class, crafted unique, soft furnishings to help visitors feel welcome and at home.

Additional collaboration has come in the form of many generous donation from a number of sources, particularly from within the Service families’ community. Each room benefits from donated toys, games and books, providing the perfect environment for relationships to flourish.

To book Navy Mews, please call 02392 723 165 or email: NAVYNBCP-NAVYMEWS@mod.uk.

 

Stepping Stones

SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) have two Stepping Stones Homes in North West London and in Tyne & Wear. The Homes offer temporary supported accommodation to women with a Service connection (with or without children), who are in need of a secure environment and emergency accommodation. Applications should be made through the Welfare Authorities or Families Officers to SSAFA. More information can be found on the SSAFA website.

 

Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO)

The Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) website has information for those who need re-housing. There is information on homelessness, Council housing, and affordable housing schemes etc. You can also get information on JSHAO’s regular housing briefings and their Housing Matters Magazine. Click here to visit their website.

 

Contact Houses/Welcome Houses

Contact Houses or Welcome Houses are the houses or flats on an estate, which are available to personnel who need temporary accommodation for short periods of time, either for themselves or their family. To find Contact Housing in your area, please visit the NS FPS website.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 2nd December, 2019