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Author: NFF

*Event Expired*

 

Little Troopers Annual calendar competition launches today. The charity wants to find 13 new stars for their 2019 Military moments calendar. This competition helps the charity find pictures of those special moments between our serving personnel and their families. The popular calendar helps to raise funds for the charity to continue its work in supporting military families.

 

Louise Fetigan, founder and operations manager of the charity, said: “Mums and Dads who serve our country as part of the British Armed Forces can spend up to nine months a year away from their children. The time they have together with their children and family is precious. Capturing those moments when they are reunited at a homecoming, sharing a military occasion or staying connected while apart provide some of the best memories for our families. We are privileged that so many choose to share them with us.”

 

Everyone who enters an image will have the chance to win one of three great prizes. There are also nine runner-up places:

 

1st Prize –£75 cinema voucher, Little Trooper hoodie, and a featured month in the calendar
2nd Prize – £50 cinema voucher, Little Trooper hoodie, and a featured month in the calendar
3rd Prize – £25 cinema voucher, Little Trooper hoodie, and a featured month in the calendar
10 runner-ups will all get their pictures featured as a month in the calendar

 

Louise encourages any family who has a parent serving in the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force or the Reserves to enter.

 

The charity behind the calendar Little Troopers aims to help maintain the family bond through events, online resources and initiatives. The Little Troopers: ‘Military moments’ calendar shows a side of forces life very rarely shared. The seventh calendar (2019) will be on sale for £9.99 and can be pre-ordered at www.LittleTroopers.net.

 

Photos should be emailed to competition@LittleTroopers.net alternatively you can post them to Little Troopers, 4b 80 High Street Egham Surrey TW20 9HE. All entries should be marked ‘Calendar Competition’ and include your name, address, contact email, phone number and your Little Troopers name and age. Closing date is the 5th September 2018 and all Terms and Conditions (which must be read prior to entry) can be found here.

 

If you have any further enquiries or would like to set up an interview please call Cheryl Randeria on 078 1069 7957.

 

Posted on: 14th August, 2018

Update: The survey results are here. Please read on to find out more. 

 

We need your help to find out how Royal Navy and Royal Marines families are finding the provision of mental health care. We know that your time is precious, and so we have tried to keep this survey as short as possible, whilst giving an opportunity to you to comment on the key questions. You can skip any parts that are not relevant to you. The survey is here.

 

To find out more about why we are carrying out this survey, keep reading below.

 

Why are we asking you these questions?

The House of Commons Defence Committee is carrying out an inquiry about the Mental Health of the Armed Forces. It makes recommendations for change. On 25 July 2018 it published Part 1 of its report into the Mental Health of the Armed Forces, which considers the scale of mental health issues. The Naval Families Federation provided evidence for this report. We now have details of the next phase of the inquiry and want to make sure that we accurately represent your views and experiences.

 

The Committee accepted our view that mental health should be considered in a more holistic way, rather than focussing solely on the serving person. We want to find out more about the impact of military service and lifestyles on the mental health of family members, to make sure you are properly supported. The Committee’s report acknowledges that families’ mental health can be affected by the stresses of Service life and by traumatic events experienced by their military partners.

 

The report makes a number of recommendations, including that the Ministry of Defence, in conjunction with the health departments of the four nations, places a greater focus on Service and veterans’ families as part of its mental health care provision. This should include supporting further research into the mental health of current and former Service families to determine what provision is needed. The Ministry of Defence should also monitor how this provision is applied across the UK as part of its annual report on the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

You can read the full report here and our evidence here.

 

Update

Thank you to everyone who responded to our recent survey about mental health for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families. Your feedback is extremely valuable and helps us to represent accurately your views and experiences. The results of the survey are here.

 

Posted on: 27th July, 2018
Updated on: 5th September, 2018

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