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Author: NFF

Bringing up children can be a great joy, but also has its challenges, particularly during periods of separation. Sometimes undertaking a parenting course can help parents or carers to feel more confident in their approach. There are various courses available through local Children and Family Hubs (sometimes called Sure Start Centres or Children’s Centres). Evidence based courses such as the Incredible Years and Triple P – Positive Parenting Program can be a good starting place.

 

Families often talk to us about their experiences of parental absence, whether through deployment, weekending, or other causes. In response to their feedback, and in consultation with YoungMinds, we have produced a resource to help to support parents, carers and schools. You can download a copy here.

 

Family Lives is a charity that supports parents and others raising children in having the best relationship possible with the children they care for. They offer a telephone support helpline and online forums. Find out more here.

 

Family Fund

Family Fund provides grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. They provide grants for a wide range of items. Please visit their website here.

 

Online Safety

For helpful advice and tools you can use to help keep your child safe online visit the NSPCC’s Online Safety Guide.

How to decide if your child is ready to be home alone –

Deciding if your child is ready to be left home alone can be a tricky decision. The NSPCC’s very helpful guide explains what you need to consider.

Little Troopers support children with parents in the Armed Forces, Regular or Reserve. You can buy separation packs and other resources from their online shop. You can visit their website here.

HMS Heroes is a national support group for children of serving people. They provide a tri-Service network of after-school clubs. Please read more here.

When your family is mobile, or you are living away from your support network, it can really help to develop relationships with other parents in your area. One way to do this is through National Childbirth Trust’s ante and post-natal groups.  You can search their website to find a ‘Bumps and Babies’ event near you. They also offer UK wide online e-groups for Dads, women planning a home birth, caesarean section support and pre-term birth support.

 

 

Young Minds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. They have a free helpline and email support service, and have a range of useful resources on their website here.

 

Posted on: 17th November, 2016
Updated on: 12th February, 2019

The days of lullabies, trips to the park and help with homework are over. You have gone from being a supervisor of your child’s life to a spectator as your young person takes their first steps of independence. This can be a challenging transition for any parent, but what if your young person has decided to join the Royal Navy or Royal Marines?

 

Back in the 1960s, recruits at HMS Raleigh were given a compulsory postcard to send home to their parents in their first week of training, and were told what to write! Nowadays parents are much more likely to hear the unvarnished reality of their children’s experiences.

 

We’ve been talking with parents about their experiences of their grown up children joining the Naval Service. They have told us about some of the things that have helped them during the early days of training and moving on to first assignments. A common thread in the feedback we received from parents was that they felt confident that their ‘children’ were being well looked after and supported by the Service. Families felt that their young people knew where to get help and support, and that they had access to people who would listen to any concerns. There was good awareness among young recruits of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines’ guidance on issues such as bullying or harassment. In particular, parents mentioned Royal Navy Chaplains as providing invaluable support, whether or not the young person has a faith.

 

HMS GLOUCESTER GETS ROYAL WELCOME HOME - 25th March 2011. HRH The Duchess of Gloucester will join Type-42 destroyer HMS Gloucester as she sails back into Portsmouth on March 25 from her seven-month deployment to the South Atlantic. Pictured: Mrs Marie Grinnell and son AB (SEA) Ashley Grinnell. Model release forms held at FFRPU(E) As the ship’s sponsor the Duchess launched the ship on November 2 1982 and has been closely involved ever since – seeing her through 15 Captains, two rededications and 25 years of commissioned service. HRH The Duchess of Gloucester will join the destroyer by helicopter before meeting the ship’s company and sailing with her into Portsmouth. This will be HMS Gloucester’s final homecoming as she will be decommissioned from the Fleet in June. *** Local Caption *** Pictured: Mrs Marie Grinnell and son AB (SEA) Ashley Grinnell.

 

One mum said that young people generally get caught up in what they are doing and life with their new ‘oppos’, and tend to think about mum and dad when something goes wrong. This can be misleading for parents who may only hear about the more challenging stuff. Despite how it may sometimes feel as a parent of young people, you are very influential, and your support and ability to listen can have a huge impact on their success.

 

Parents who have experienced Service in the Armed Forces themselves said that they felt this was a huge advantage to them in helping them to feel confident and happy about what their young people were doing. One father said that he felt confident that if he approached the Navy about any concerns that he would be taken seriously. He felt it was important that parents who had not served in the Armed Forces themselves realised that people will talk to you and help you. Several parents said it was helpful to ‘buddy up’ with someone who has more experience of Naval life, and that appropriate social media groups could be helpful in reducing anxiety for parents.

 

Here are some of the top tips you shared with us:

“Simple really; don’t worry about them; they are being better looked after than we could ever dream.”

“Get them a good iron and a good ironing board!”

“Expect phone calls with tears and asking to come home from basic training. It probably won’t happen but be prepared so that you can look after your own feelings and be supportive. Talk beforehand about the fact that it will be tough and about how they can get support if they need it. Try to foster determination to stay for the basic training at least. Agree that this can be the finishing point if they want it to be, but encourage them not to give up half way through.”

“At times supporting a serving person can feel like a bit of a one-way street (like many areas of being a parent!). Care packages and letters are appreciated, although letters are not always reciprocated.”

“If you don’t hear from your young person, assume the best and not the worst. If anything serious does happen, you will get to hear about it. No news is usually good news.”

“Do your best to boost them up and be positive.”

“Make contact with other parents in the same situation. There are lots of groups and support networks online. The Royal Navy website has a forum and there is a Royal Navy Family and Community Facebook page. There are also numerous unofficial groups and networks that you can access via social media. Please be careful to avoid posting information about operations or ships’ movements, use your privacy settings to limit access to your profile, and don’t identify yourself as a Service person’s family member on your public photos and details. Parents have told us that Facebook groups have been incredibly helpful. They are not always easy to find at most are ‘secret’, so you need to find someone in real life who can introduce you. Some of the parents we spoke to had become friends with other parents of serving people, and found this very helpful.”

“If your young person is in a relationship with a long-term partner, accept that they may make that relationship a priority when they have time off, and that their time with you may need to take a back seat. This can be tough for any parent, but training and deployment can result in time to invest in relationships being in short supply. As hard as it may be, your young person may have a new centre of gravity in their life. A wise parent will foster a good relationship with their adult child’s partner, and seek to support them through times of separation in an appropriate way.”

“Equip yourself with information. Find out about what is involved. You can download ‘A Parent and Guardian’s Guide to Careers in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines’ from the RN website that will answer many of your questions. Information packs are given out at new entry training establishments, but if these don’t reach you as a parent you can find all the information you need via the Royal Navy website or from us at the Naval Families Federation.”

Thank you to all the parents who took the time to speak with our team for this article. If you would like to give any feedback about your experiences of being the parent of a serving person, please do get in touch with us here.

 

Posted on: 17th November, 2016

Many thanks to all those who took part in our ‘Wearing of Unearned Medals’ survey.

 

We shared our findings with the House of Commons Defence Select Committee who will use this evidence when The Awards for Valour (Protection) Bill has its Second Reading in the House of Commons later this month.

 

The bill is intended to ‘prohibit the wearing or public display, by a person not entitled to do so, of medals or insignia awarded for valour, with the intent to deceive’.

 

If you would like to read the results of the survey in full, please click here

 

If you would like to read the comments in Annexes A and B which are referred to in the report, please email info@nff.org.uk.

 

Thank you once again for taking the time to share your views on this important matter.

 

Posted on: 11th November, 2016

When you need something repaired
Housing Repairs (Housing team)

You have several options for reporting repairs in your home:

To raise a new, non-urgent repair, click here.

 

The website and the Customer Service Centre are available 24 hours a day, all year round. Your local (as above) Customer Service Centre hours will vary according to their location and the number of Service families they serve.

 

If something goes wrong…

If you want to register a complaint with Amey Defence Services, please phone 0800 707 6000 (option 5) to speak to their Customer Solutions Team.

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from Amey Defence Services, please phone us on 023 9265 4374 or email contactus@nff.org.uk.

 

Language line

If English is not your first language, Amey Defence Services’s Customer Service Centre offers a translation service. Just say your language when you call. Their advisor will be able to transfer you to someone who can talk to you in your own language.

 

Requesting a repair

Amey Defence Services will work with you to identify the specific details of the fault.

To ensure the repair can be completed efficiently, you will need to tell their advisor:

  • your address and contact details;
  • as much information as possible about the problem;
  • if the fault is with a piece of equipment (such as a boiler or cooker), details of the type and model.

 

Making an appointment

You will be given a job reference number and you will be sent written notification of your appointment (by post or email if requested).

If you need to change the appointment, please contact Amey Defence Services via their website or Customer Service Centre before the appointment date, quote your job reference number and they will arrange a new date and time.

You or a member of your family (who must be over 16 years of age) will need to be at home at the time of the repair appointment. If the repair is on the outside of the property, e.g., roofing, fencing works etc., they may not need you to be available.

Please ask their advisor about this when making your appointment.

 

Posted on: 26th October, 2016
Updated on: 1st August, 2019

The Welsh Government have now produced a refreshed Package of Support document – ‘Giving and Receiving – Supporting and Investing in our Armed Forces Community in Wales’ details what support is available to the Armed Forces community in Wales with devolved services.

 

It encapsulates the 2-way relationship that exists between the Armed Forces and the community in which they live.

 

They have also produced a ‘Welcome to Wales’ document for Serving Personnel and their families to make them aware of the support available on moving to Wales.

 

These 2 documents should be read in conjunction with the UK Government’s Armed Forces Covenant: Today and Tomorrow. Together they set out the UK Government’s overall intent for supporting the Armed Forces community.

 

The Government are committed to providing support for our Armed Forces community and the aim is to ensure effective and efficient provision of services which support their needs.

 

Since 2013 a number of new and developing commitments, both within Welsh Government policy areas and partner organisations have progressed.

 

Additional funding from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) has also increased resources available to the third sector and local authorities to provide specific support in essential areas.

 

This relates to the decision by the Chancellor to transfer £35m from fines levied on banks for attempting to manipulate the LIBOR interest rates to the Ministry of Defence for use in supporting the Armed Forces Community managed under the Community Covenant Fund.

 

More information

For further information relating to the Armed Forces community, please contact ArmedForces@wales.gsi.gov.uk. 

 

Document Download

Welcome to Wales (updated in June 2020)

Giving and Receiving

Posted on: 26th October, 2018
Updated on: 29th June, 2020

Amey Defence Services have put together a factsheet for dealing with damp and mould in Service Family Accommodation. They have suggested the following, which you may find useful:

 

1. Do contact the Amey customer service centre on 0800 707 6000 if you need some help with mould in your home. The Helpdesk advisor will raise a survey for the Accommodation Officer (AO) to attend the property – the AO is expected to attend the property within five full working days of the call to the Helpdesk. Please note: The day after this call is classed as day one.

 

2. AO visits the property and takes one of the following steps: a) Raises a suitable repair plan and advises the customer of the plan and time frames for the work. b) Calls in a specialist contractor and advises the customer of the appointment and what it entails. The AO passes the details to the Damp Remediation Project Manager.

 

3. Either a) happens – The repairs are undertaken, issues resolved. Or b) The specialist contractor suggests an action plan and the Damp Remediation Manager advises the customer of this and what it entails and any timeframes for the work. At this point, it may be necessary for to raise a Statement of Need (SON) for the works, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) will need to approve if the cost of the work is above £5,000 and the customer will be advised by the Damp Remediation Manager of the action, how long it will take, the impact of the work and any preparation they may need to do beforehand. If DIO approve the SON, the work will need to be appointed and the customer engaged with for suitable dates for the work to be carried out.

 

4. If DIO reject the request, the customer is able to raise a stage two complaint with DIO.

 

Posted on: 26th October, 2016
Updated on: 7th January, 2019

Supporting Children and Families during Deployment

The Service Children’s Education (SCE) organisation has put together a number of resources to support families during these times. The SCE provide guidance which draws on the experiences of service families and a wide range of support organisations. Visit their website here to access helpful resources.

 

Private Fostering

If you are due to deploy and are organising childcare arrangements with a relative or close friend, please check the regulations regarding private fostering. If an individual is looking after someone else’s child for more than 28 days they must notify their local council – failure to do so is a criminal offence. Click here for further details.

 

Posted on: 21st October, 2016

Families often talk to us about their experiences of parental absence, whether through deployment, weekending, or other causes. In response to their feedback, and in consultation with YoungMinds, we have produced a resource to help to support parents, carers and schools. You can download a copy here.

 

Other sources of support for parents and children during deployment:

Aggie’s Storybook Waves

Helps members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines maintain the link with their children by recording a bedtime story for them to listen to when a parent is serving away from home. Click here to find out more.

 

Gingerbread

Expert advice, practical support and campaigning for single parents.

Helpline: 0808 802 0925

For their website, please click here.

 

Little Troopers

A registered charity supporting all children with parents serving in the British Armed Forces, regular or reserve. Resources, initiatives and events to ease and aid repeated separation periods aiming to keep parent and child connected and bonded even when miles apart. Click here to find out more.

 

Naval Children’s Charity

The Naval Children’s Charity is the only charity dedicated to supporting the children, up to the age of 25, of serving and veteran personnel from all branches of the Royal Navy including the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, QARNNS, WRNS, Reserves and RFA.  Any need is considered and their dedicated caseworkers are always available to discuss any issues your family and children are facing. They provide grants directly to the families where there is need and have free books to support younger children understand and cope with separation. They work closely with other Charities and RN FPS to ensure you get the help you need.

 

Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS)

Support and information for serving people, their families and friends.

Tel: +44(0)2392 728777

 

YoungMinds

UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Helpline and information for parents concerned about a child or young person.

Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 or email parents@youngminds.org.uk.

Find out more here.

Family Lives (formerly Parentline Plus)

Advice and support for parents.

24 hour helpline: 0808 800 2222

Please click here to find out more.

 

 

Huggable Heroes

Personalised Huggable Heroes, perfect for cuddles when loved ones are not at home. Click here to find out more.

 

Military Kids’ Club Heroes (formerly HMS Heroes)

A national support group for the children of Service men and women and their relatives. A tri-Service network of after-school clubs, MKC Heroes brings together members of Service families aged between 3 and 18 years old from all over the country. Click here to find out more.

 

Reading Force

Reading Force provides free books and scrapbooks to Service children of all ages, to support and encourage Service families with shared reading both at home or when separated by assignment orders. To read more about this programme, click here. You can apply to receive free resources here.

 

NSPCC

Charity championing child protection. Useful resources and guidance for keeping children safe, to give the primary caregiver during deployment confidence in their choices. Their ‘Home Alone’ guide gives sound advice and useful tips to help parents decide in which situations they may leave their children home alone, and what they need to do to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Their ‘Out Alone’ guide provides advice and practical tips to parents on judging if a child is ready to be out on their own and how to prepare them for different situations such as walking to and from school by themselves, attending sports or holiday clubs, or going out to play with friends.

Click here and search ‘home alone’ or ‘out alone’ to download free copies.

Posted on: 21st October, 2016
Updated on: 24th March, 2021

We are so grateful to everyone who responded to our Childcare survey. About half of respondents were serving people and half were civilian partners. We were also delighted to hear from a number of lone parents and many dual serving couples.

 

The whole report can be downloaded here. 

 

Last week we took our findings to the Royal Navy’s Continuous Improvement event on Childcare. It was clear from your responses that cost and flexibility are key issues. You also told us about other considerations, such as being able to keep SWDC status after a child’s 11th birthday, which we are raising with the Chain of Command on your behalf.

 

Many, many thanks to you all – we could not do our job without you.

 

Posted on: 5th October, 2016

 

*Expired post*

 

Find out about applying to the new £10 million per annum Covenant Fund to support the Armed forces community.

 

Applying to the Covenant Fund

• Applications submitted by midday 30th Sept 18 will be decided before the end of Nov 18;
• Applications submitted by midday 17th Dec 18 will be decided before the end of Feb 19.

 

Community integration / delivery of local services

We would advise you read the guidance page before submitting your application.

Other information

If you are unsure whether your organisation or your project are likely to be funded, please contact covenant-grantteammailbox@mod.uk.

Further information on the priorities, eligibility and application process can be found on the guidance page. If you have any questions which are not covered by the guidance, you can contact covenant-grantteammailbox@mod.uk.

 

Posted on: 28th September, 2016
Updated on: 3rd January, 2019