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Author: NFF

There is no need for children of Service families to suffer in silence if they’re facing difficulties of any kind. The leading relationship charity Relate offers support for all the family, not just couples and not just adults.

Counsellors receive specialised training to help children and young people deal with whatever issues concern them, be it their parents’ separation, bullying, trouble settling in at a new school, or the unique challenges children of Service families may face, such as the long absence of a parent who’s serving on a ship or submarine and cannot be contacted.

Naval Service families can access sessions with Relate for free, paid for by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC). With the majority of Naval Service families now in private, rather than Service Family Accommodation, and many living away from a Royal Navy or Royal Marines base, it can be lonely and isolating. It isn’t always possible to know where the serving family member is and they could be away for six to nine months with contact severely restricted. A Relate centre may be a lot nearer than another Service family or base.

Relate’s counsellors are aware of the special issues faced by children of Service personnel and can help them by talking through their issues and working with them on coping strategies.

Counselling lets the children talk freely about how they feel away from the school and home environment. It’s something that’s just for them, not their parents, siblings or anyone else. This focus can be very reassuring and comforting for a child in distress.

Many of Relate’s youngest clients say they feel happier after they see a Relate counsellor and are better able to deal with their problems.

Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel or their partners can self-refer to Relate by calling the RNRMC dedicated number 01302 380 279 which will be answered by a Relate professional and is confidential.

If you would like more information please click here.

Posted on: 22nd February, 2017

O2 are offering a discount for Service personnel and up to 5 members of their family on their mobile phone contracts.

You can apply for two discounts at any one time, one on the Airtime Plan of a qualifying O2 Refresh phone contract, and one on an Airtime Plan of a qualifying O2 Refresh tablet or mobile broadband contract:

• 25% off Airtime Plans with 3GB data and above,

• 15% off Airtime Plans below 3GB.

To register you will need to a give a five character O2 Open company code, which for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines is NAV01.

For more details, please click here.

 

Vodafone are offering up to 30% off on plans for Service personnel and a maximum of 6 discounts that they can choose to share with their family and friends.  There is also an offer to save up to 20% off monthly price plans.

How to get the offer:

1. Buy an eligible Pay monthly plan or upgrade your existing one in a Vodafone store,

2. Apply for your discount by presenting your MOD ID or your DDS membership card.

Your application for discount must be made within 30 days of purchase to be eligible.

Whether you’re a new customer or an existing customer eligible to upgrade, you can make the most of their offers:

  • 15% off Pay monthly bundles when you buy a device
  • 15% off any Pay monthly phone, iPad or tablet bundle – including Vodafone Outlet offers,*
  • 30% off SIM only bundles
  • 30% off any Pay monthly SIM only bundles* The Vodafone Advantage discount can’t be used with any other promotional discount.

Please note that there is a £10 membership fee which applies to each connection.

You can also save 10% on accessories in store when you sign up to this scheme.

To find out more, please click here.

 

Posted on: 21st February, 2017

Service children are subject to mobility as a result of their parents’ service and there is good evidence to show that this mobility can have an impact on their education.

 

With this in mind, the Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) have put together a downloadable resource aimed at Service families, welfare staff as well as professionals within schools and local authorities. The aim is to share good practice and open people’s eyes to the opportunities and challenges that exist around Service children.

 

Please click here to read the resource online and/or download.

 

Posted on: 9th February, 2017
Updated on: 26th November, 2018

Smart Works is a UK charity that provides high quality interview clothes, styling advice and interview training to any woman with a confirmed interview. They give women the confidence, the self-belief and the practical tools they require to succeed at interview and start a new chapter of their life.

At the core of their service is a dressing and interview appointment at one of their Smart Works centres.  During her visit, each woman receives a high-quality interview outfit (theirs to keep) tailored to their taste and style by Smart Works’ stylists. This is followed by dedicated one-to-one interview training with an experienced recruitment, HR or coaching professional.

The Smart Works service is currently run in six locations across the UK: North London, West London, Edinburgh, Greater Manchester, Reading and Birmingham, with more on the way.

Case studies

Tina Singh

Tina came to visit Smart Works for the first time in September 2015 and was successful in securing a role as a catering assistant in early October.

I had no smart clothes to wear for interviews and my confidence was at an all time low when I was referred to Smart Works in September.

The dressers at Smart Works made me look super sharp for my interview.  They were so kind and friendly; they knew how to dress me and gave me lots of styling advice.  They really were experts.

The interview techniques and tips I learnt during the interview coaching was also so very useful, and really helped me prepare for my interview properly.

Everyone at Smart Works made me feel worthy.  They really built up my confidence and I would recommend the service to anyone.”

Letitia Adu-Sarkodie

Letitia visited Smart Works in April 2015 having applied for over 30 jobs unsuccessfully in the previous 6 months.  Shortly after coming to Smart Works Letitia secured a job at Google in their HR department.

 “Being unemployed for a long time and being unsuccessful in so many applications had really impacted negatively on my sense of self worth and confidence.  I didn’t really believe in myself at interview which I am sure showed, and I know I wasn’t instilling confidence in the people interviewing me.

 Coming to Smart Works gave me a real confidence boost, it was a fantastic experience.

 The Interview session was priceless as it gave me so many good tips on how to answer tricky interview questions.  I really appreciated being able to go through my CV and I learnt how to speak about my skills and experience positively.

 I definitely left with a smile, and to top it all off I survived a very hard three hour interview and got the job!”

Appointments at Smart Works are by referral only. Each local Smart Works works with a large range of referral partners who support women back into work. If you are unsure you can find contact numbers here and they will be able to advice you.

 

For further information, please click here.

 

Posted on: 30th January, 2017

Grandparents caring for grandchildren under 12 could qualify for National Insurance credits that can top up their income in retirement.

Many working-age grandmothers and fathers could qualify for Class 3 National Insurance credits for looking after children aged under 12 – which can be used to top up their income in retirement.

Half of Britain’s 7 million working-age grandparents have a grandchild under the age of 16.

Working parents can give up the Child Benefit credits they receive and donate them to their child’s grandparents or other adult family members for the previous tax year. Grandparents and parents must apply for the credits to be transferred.

 

Top grandparent facts

Top grandparent facts include:

  • 1 in 4 working families and 1 in 3 working mothers use grandparents for childcare
  • 63% of all grandparents with grandchildren under 16 help out with childcare
  • 1 in 5 grandmothers provide at least 10 hours a week of childcare
  • the proportion of grandparents who are of working age is set to grow as the retirement age gradually rises

 

More information

Applications for NI credits for caring for children under 12 need to be made to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and must be signed by both the adult carer and the Child Benefit recipient. Applications need to be made in the October following the end of the tax year in which the caring took place.

The credit is a Class 3 National Insurance credit and protects entitlement to basic State Pension and bereavement benefits for spouses and civil partners.

There is no minimum requirement for the number of hours of care in a week as long as the credit is transferred for a full week. For details of who can apply and how, visit here or phone the National Insurance Helpline on 0845 302 1479.

The new flat-rate State Pension, set above today’s means-tested support, is designed to provide certainty to people about what they will get in retirement. It will benefit women, and also the self-employed, who are currently excluded from qualifying for state second pension.

Figures in this release come from the Grandparents Plus briefing paper on grandparental childcare and their publication Doing it all?

 

Posted on: 20th January, 2017

Armed Forces personnel redeployed within the UK will now be able to rent out their homes without facing higher costs or having to change their mortgage.

 

This commitment from the majority of the UK’s high street banks and building societies is an extension to the offer made back in January 2016, which allowed service personnel posted overseas to rent out their homes at no extra cost.

 

Previously, members of the Armed Forces who rented out their homes during deployment could have been required to change their residential mortgage to a buy-to-let mortgage, often incurring new charges and an increased rate of interest. Under the new agreement they will no longer have to do this, saving both time and money.

 

The initiative is supported by 47 of the UK’s largest banks and building societies, including Barclays, HSBC and Nationwide, and the change will benefit almost 265,000 people in the UK and abroad.

 

British Bankers’ Association CEO Anthony Browne said:

“Members of our Armed Forces work all over the world to look after us, so it’s only right that we look after them. The extra support provided by the main mortgage providers will make sure service personnel and their families are not disadvantaged when they are required to work away from home and want to rent out their house, and make their mortgages fairer”.

 

Posted on: 10th January, 2017

If you need two tonnes of sand moving from underneath a beach hut, who else would you call on but ‘Royal’.

Adam’s Hoofing Hut is a wonderful memorial to an extraordinary young man, Adam Brown, who made the ultimate sacrifice whilst serving his country in Afghanistan. On the beautiful Dorset coast, in his favourite holiday location of Mudeford, the Hut is a perfect retreat for Royal Marines families and friends to relax, unwind and reflect.

Thanks to the continued hard work of Adam’s family the ‘Hut’ needed more space to house the Sea Kayaks and other equipment that is now available to those visiting; what the family did need however, was a bit of muscle to get the site ready.

Step forward some Royal Marines Cadets from Yeovil who were itching to help out. In true Corps style they literally ‘dug out blind’ to get the sand moved and prepared the area ready for the new equipment to be safely stored. The cadets talked about what being able to help meant to them; ‘It was an honour to be involved in the project and thank you to our MSSC representative, Charlie Wilson for linking us up with the family so we could carry out this task’.

You can find out more about the fundraising and how to book here.

 

Posted on: 7th December, 2016

The Marine Society are now offering a discount on education courses, through their partnership with Greenwich Hospital.

 

They are offering GCSE, IGCSE, AS and A Level courses in a number of subjects at a 50% discount for all Royal Navy and Royal Marines spouses.

 

Subjects include: Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Economics, English, Geography, History, Maths, Physics, Law, Psychology, Religious Studies and Sociology.

 

For more information please email education@ms-sc.org.

 

Posted on: 7th December, 2016

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has pledged to support Service spouses and partners in gaining the leadership qualifications to help them further their career.

 

Ensuring that Service spouses and partners are not disadvantaged in finding and staying in employment due to service life is a key part of the Armed Force Covenant, which states that: The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

 

The Chartered Management Institute has sought to uphold this promise by signing the Armed Forces Covenant. In their pledges, the CMI support Service spouses and civil partners through their MOD Family Membership Scheme, which provides access to Leadership, Mentoring and Coaching qualifications, helping Service spouses to gain the key skills and professional recognition which can help Service family members to find employment.

 

The Scheme is also available free to children of Service personnel (aged 16-18) and allows them to become a Campus CMI Affiliate with access to all the benefits of online resources, including study support.

 

CMI’s pledges offer a discount on their qualifications and membership for family members of Service personnel who are CMI members, and a commitment to support Service spouses or Reservists who they employ with flexible working arrangements, where possible.

 

Chief of Defence People, Lieutenant General Richard Nugee is a CMI companion and participated in the signing of the Covenant at an event on 14 November. He said:

“The families of our Service personnel are an important part of the Covenant. We value and are grateful to them – the unsung heroes who support our Armed Forces. Knowing that the nation, and organisations like the Chartered Management Institute recognises this is extremely important and fundamental in making the Armed Forces Covenant work.”

 

Posted on: 18th November, 2016

If your sole/main residence in England is left empty, due to Service-related reasons, then you should be eligible for a council tax discount of 50% on that home for the duration it remains unoccupied. However, in order to qualify for that discount, you must demonstrate that your current home is job-related, by meeting at least one of the criteria set out within the regulations approved by Parliament.

 

These regulations state that a dwelling is job-related for a person if it is provided for you by reason of your employment or for your spouse or civil partner by reason of the spouse’s/civil partner’s employment, in any of the following cases:

  1. Where it is necessary for the proper performance of the individual’s duties that they should reside in the dwelling;
  2. Where the dwelling is provided for the better performance of the individual’s duties and their employment is one of the kinds in which it is customary for the employer to provide dwellings to their employees;
  3. Where there is a special threat to the individual’s security which means that special security arrangements are in force and the individual resides in the dwelling as part of these arrangements.

 

It is for the local authority to consider Service personnel’s particular circumstances and evidence, and decide whether the provisions apply or not. If the local authority is satisfied that the provisions have been met, a 50% discount will apply. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government) has written to local authorities to remind them of their duties under the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

What does this mean for Service personnel?

If their home is unoccupied because the Service person has been provided with Service accommodation (by reason of employment), then Service personnel should be eligible for this discount. However, it is ultimately for them to demonstrate to their local authority their eligibility by providing evidence to satisfy at least one of the three criteria above. They may also be eligible for the discount if the dwelling has been provided to the spouse or civil partner by reason of that person’s employment.

 

What to do next?

Service Personnel should approach their local authority to find out if they are eligible for the discount. In doing so, they may be asked to provide any confirmation they might have from their Service employer regarding the applicability of any of the three categories set out above. This could include a copy of their Assignment Order and/or the MOD Licence to Occupy. When a Service person believes that they should be eligible but their local authority refuses to provide the full discount, you should contact us here at the Naval Families Federation and we can engage directly with the MOD Armed Forces Covenant team.

 

Further information

This letter reminds local authorities about the position of service personnel when applying for a job-related Council Tax discount.

 

Posted on: 17th November, 2016
Last updated on: 7th June, 2018