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Sincere thanks to everyone who generously gave their time to respond to our childcare survey. The survey is now closed. We will keep you updated via our website and social media channels once the final report becomes available. We will take your thoughts and concerns to the government and the Chain of Command to inform change.

 

If you missed the survey deadline, please email us at contactus@nff.org.uk as we would still like to document your ‘lived experience’ about this and any other issues that concern you.

 

 

You may recall that the NFF conducted a Childcare survey back in 2016.  Thank you for your excellent responses which we collated and used to advocate strongly for change to remove disadvantage in this area. The whole report can be downloaded here. 

 

As a result of our advocacy, the MOD has now agreed to consider how Service families can be better supported with childcare.  We now have an opportunity to directly inform any potential changes and decisions and wish the specific needs of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families to be represented.

 

By completing this survey, you will be informing us and helping us to build a clearer picture of the childcare issues that affect you.

 

This survey should take about 10 minutes to complete: surveymonkey.co.uk/r/nff-childcare

 

Posted on: 13th February, 2020
Updated on: 20th April, 2020

 

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity announced the release of a new survey report written by the FANDF committee. This powerful report shares the voices of this sometimes-overlooked Additional Needs and Disability community within the Armed Forces. This is the first time that this demographic has shared these insights and their experiences in an official capacity with the Ministry of Defence.

 

Under the MOD’s Defence and Inclusion (D&I) strategy, efforts are being made to shine a light into every corner of the Forces community. In order to better support these families, their opinions and personal experiences have been collated and their own on-the-ground-recommendations are being shared.

 

Key report findings:

  • Lack of a ‘normal’ family routine caused by military lifestyle leaves those families with additional needs and disabilities struggling to climb waiting lists and access specialist services required
  • Children’s education can suffer as stretched local authorities subconsciously under-resource support for children who will ‘move on’ shortly. The report finds ongoing issues with obtaining an educational diagnosis and support for children, according to 29% of respondents surveyed
  • Access to continuity of health care is a big concern, with health and educational records taking time to be transferred and those families claiming access to support having to start again from scratch every time they move
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder is the most common additional need identified by 48% of respondents, and specialist support for military families dealing with this is necessary

 

Click here to read the report in full. 

 

Posted on: 27th January, 2020

Researchers at King’s College London are carrying out a new study into maternal mental health in the Armed Forces community. Findings from the study will be used to help those providing care to spouses and partners of UK Armed Forces personnel, including NHS and Defence healthcare professionals, Armed Forces charities, community and welfare teams, and perinatal health organisations. It is hoped that this will lead to improvements in services for spouses and partners of Service personnel during and after pregnancy.  

Background

Pregnancy and the arrival of a new baby signifies a period of unprecedented change, excitement and hope for the future for most women. However, for some, it can be a particularly difficult time due to mental health issues, which may arise during or after pregnancy.  The spouses and partners of Armed Forces personnel may be at increased risk of developing a mental health problem in the perinatal period (pregnancy and up to 12 months following birth) as they are exposed to unique factors associated with this unique lifestyle. 

However, we know very little about what pregnancy and early motherhood is like for UK Armed Forces spouses and partners, with the majority of available evidence coming from the US. 

About this study

The study is being supported by the three Families Federations and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The project is being conducted via an online survey.

To take part in the study, participants should be: 

  • Currently pregnant (by a minimum of 12-weeks) or up to12 months postnatal 
  • 16 years old or above 
  • NHS registered  
  • Currently living in the UK  
  • In a relationship (married/civil partnership or other) 
  • Partner currently on regular or Full-time Reserve Service (FTRS) in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army or Royal Air Force OR in full-time civilian employment  

Please click this link to participate in the research.

Get in touch

If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:  

Posted on: 22nd January, 2020

It was announced in 2019 that Service personnel who are in a long-term relationship or have residential responsibility for a child will now be able to apply to live together in surplus Service Family Accommodation (SFA) at all UK bases where properties are available. Before that, only married couples, those in civil partnerships and those with legally dependent children could live in SFA.

 

Service personnel wishing to cohabit in surplus SFA in the UK will still be required to comply with Para 0301 of JSP 464, Vol 1, Part 1 as follows:

  • Be aged 18 or over;
  • Have completed Phase 1 training;
  • Be serving on a regular engagement in the UK Armed Forces or be a Full Commitment Reservist as defined in single-Service regulations.

 

Please note that this is NOT part of Future Accommodation Model (FAM), but rather a new policy. This is not an entitlement to SFA – if there is no surplus SFA at your place of work (50 miles within your assignment location), you will not be able to take advantage of this new policy.

For more details, please refer to 2020DIN01-014 (available via Dii).
Posted on: 19th September, 2019
Updated on: 28th January, 2020

 

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has launched a new, open consultation to discover how those within, and working with, the Armed Forces community feel funding could be best used to support them. The consultation comes ahead of the re-launch of the Armed Forces Covenant: Local Grants programme, which has successfully supported hundreds of local projects over the last five years, strengthening the Armed Forces community both in terms of integration and delivery of local services.

 

By seeking valuable feedback as part of this eight-week consultation, the Trust will shape a new programme, based on the needs and priorities identified at a local level, and will use the evidence gathered to inform their overall priority for 2020 of Integration and Engagement.

 

Your views are vital

As well as which groups of people you feel are most in need of funding support, your views of grant size and how those grants are made are also welcomed. The consultation is live from 13 January until 6 March 2020. To take part, visit the Trust’s website where details can be found on their homepage.

 

Posted on: 15th January, 2020

 

 

The 2019 Covenant Annual Report was published today (20th December 2019). The NFF was delighted to have the opportunity again this year to set out our Formal Observations on the report (p.15-17).

 

Further support delivered this year includes:
  • The Forces Families Jobs website has been launched, providing free access to employment and training opportunities to families in the Armed Forces
  • Introduction of flexible service allowing regular personnel to temporarily work part time
  • The launch of the Future Accommodation Model pilot, looking at how the accommodation offer for Service personnel and their families can be improved
  • Extension of the Forces Help to Buy scheme to December 2022, helping armed forces personnel to get on the property ladder

 

As set out in the Queen’s Speech this week, the Armed Forces Covenant will be further incorporated into law over the course of this Parliament. The legislation will seek to strengthen current arrangements to remove disadvantage and improve the consistency of Covenant outcomes for the Armed Forces community.

 

We would encourage you to read through the Report to learn more about the work being undertaken to support you and your family. If you have any comments on the Report, or would like to raise a concern which you believe falls within the remit of the Armed Forces Covenant, please get in touch with us via our website.

 

Posted on: 20th December 2019

Located in New Forest National Park, the Poppy Pod Village is the Tile Barn Outdoor Centre’s legacy to Armed Forces personnel. These Pods are here in perpetuity to recognise and remember the sacrifices made and faced by the Armed Forces Community.

 

With the help of the Armed Forces Covenant, the Royal British Legion (Brockenhurst Branch) and Hampshire County Council, this project has been made possible.

 

In the campsite, you will find wooden camping pods, which are sustainable and environmentally friendly with solar panels. Inside each pod, you will find a fixed double bed/ seating area, two folding camp beds, USB phone charging socket, and LED lighting. The campsite is also fully equipped with toilets and showers, fridge/freezer, car park and more.

 

Adventurous activities run every Saturday morning for weekend bookings or Tuesday/Thursday mornings for week bookings. Visit this page for more information on their Adventure Days.

 

The Poppy Pod Membership for 2020 is now open for purchase. Serving personnel (Regular and Reservists) and Veterans can join this scheme via Hampshire County Council and use the facility for free, along with their family members, at weekends and school holidays.

 

 

Posted on: 18th July, 2016
Last updated: 18th December, 2019

We wish you a very Happy Christmas from all of us here at the Naval Families Federation. Please note that our offices will be closed from Friday 20th December 2019 to Thursday 2nd January 2020. Should you require urgent assistance over this period, you can find emergency contact details here:

Combat Stress Mental Health Helpline

If you’re currently serving in the UK Armed Forces, you can call Combat Stress’ 24-hour mental health helpline. A team of specially-trained professionals are available day and night to provide free confidential advice and support. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their contact details are as follows:

The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion supports serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families. They will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Their Contact Centre helpline will be available to call for the rest of the period:

  • 0808 802 8080 from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week (calls are free from UK landlines and main mobile networks) for all enquiries.
  • From overseas: +44 (0)20 3376 8080 (full rate)
The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC)

If circumstances should arise, whilst your relative is deployed overseas that make it necessary for you to apply for his or her return home on compassionate grounds, such as a death in the family or a serious illness, you should contact JCCC at +44 (0)14 5251 9951. This number is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days per week throughout the Christmas period.

Naval Service Family & People Support (NS FPS)

If you have a concern or issue over the Christmas period that needs some support, especially if your Serving person is away from home please call NS FPS. Please click here to see their opening hours and emergency contact details for the Christmas period.

The Samaritans

The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day all year around.

Please call:

  • UK – 116 123
  • Welsh Language Line – 0808 164 0123 (Not 24-Hour, please see link above)
  • Republic of Ireland – 116 123
Posted on: 10th December, 2018
Updated on: 17th December, 2019

 

As the holiday celebrations get under way, the NFF wants to feature YOU on our social media!

Our unique lifestyle sometimes demands an amazing sense of humour, and we want to share your less than ‘picture-perfect’ stories. Eligible story entries* will go into the hat to win a £100 Amazon gift card. If you have a printable ‘funny’ about holiday mishaps then please let us know: surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Advent-Capers

 

We will be posting a story every weekday from 9th to 20th December. Follow us to read all about it: Facebook; Instagram; Twitter

 

Here is an example of what we are looking for:

‘Elf on the shelf – a regular occurrence in our household from the 1st December..  Buddy the elf comes to visit and each day is found in a different place up to something naughty. He returns back to the North Pole every night to report on the children’s behaviour (an amazing parenting technique to regulate (or attempt to regulate) behaviour).  What isn’t represented in this photo is the hours of work and effort that go into planning and organising what this naughty elf is going to do every day; the blind panic that hits you in the morning when you wake up and you remember that you forgot to put him out the night before – resulting in you creeping down the stairs, praying desperately that the kids don’t wake up (or god forbid haven’t woken up and are already downstairs and noticed) whilst you go to position said elf; the pressure that comes from Instagraming/Facebook posting the latest position of said elf to trump the children’s friends elves; the sheer relief that sweeps over parents on Christmas Eve when said elf returns to the North Pole for another year on to return in 330 odd days!!!!’

 

*Prize draw T&C:

By submitting your story and picture(s), you consent for the NFF to share them via FacebookTwitterInstagram and/or LinkedIn. We would still love to hear from you if you are not eligible to entering the prize draw.

Prize draw closes at 23:59 on Friday 20th December 2019. It is open to currently serving Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their family members only and you must be 18 or over. One winner will be randomly selected and will be contacted by the NFF via email (info@nff.org.uk) no later than 1pm on Friday 10th January 2020. Winners will have 72 hours to reply to the email to confirm their contact details. If we receive no communication from the winner within the time limit, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner. One entry per person, extra entries will be voided.

By entering this prize draw, you agree to the above T&C and the NFF’s privacy policy. All data will be destroyed once the voucher has been sent out. The NFF reserves the right to cancel or amend the prize draw and these terms and conditions without notice. The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prize is not transferable.

 

Posted on: 2nd December, 2019

 

Armed Forces personnel and their families are to receive enhanced support from the MOD as they re-join civilian life, the Defence Secretary has announced today.

 

The expanded support includes the launch a new organisation, the Defence Transition Services (DTS), which will provide comprehensive support to service leavers.

 

Dedicated MOD staff across the country will help those few service leavers who may struggle as they transition into civilian life. More responsibility will also be placed on commanders to identify those who are likely to face the greatest challenges in making a successful transition.

 

Previously, transition support was mainly focussed on ensuring that personnel find jobs when leaving service, through the MOD’s longstanding and successful Career Transition Partnership (CTP). Now, personnel and their families will also receive expanded support and guidance, including in areas such as personal finance, accessing healthcare, housing costs and paying council tax.

 

The new measures announced today also include:

 

  • Regionally based teams with dedicated staff will provide support to individuals and their families assessed as facing the greatest challenges during the transition stage
  • Placing responsibility on a service person’s unit to assess each service leaver’s preparedness for transitioning into civilian life. Those assessed as someone who may struggle in civilian life will then be referred to Defence Transition Services
  • New guidance for all service leavers on issues to consider when leaving the armed forces, including housing, finances and access to healthcare, as well as the crucial issue of their family’s transition away from being an integral part of Service life
  • A new Defence Holistic Transition Policy

 

Bespoke support from the DTS is provided for a member of the armed forces while they approach their date of discharge and will not stop start when they leave the military. The support can continue for as long as it is needed.

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“We have a duty of care to our service personnel and veterans and today’s stepped up support will help ensure that no veteran is left behind.

“While the vast majority of those who leave the armed forces go on the lead happy, healthy and successful lives, we need to do everything we can for those who do struggle.

“Providing more comprehensive support at the crucial transition stage will help in giving service leavers an extra boost when they re-join civilian life.”

 

A successful transition is key for the majority of service leavers to ensure they build successful lives as civilians. The MOD recognises its crucial role in ensuring its service leavers are as well prepared and supported as possible to re-enter civilian society.

 

Today’s announcement also delivers against the government-wide Strategy for Our Veterans, ensuring the approximate 15,000 service leavers each year contribute fully to society and setting the standard for future recruitment to the armed forces.

 

The new initiatives, which will be run by the MOD, will ensure that service leavers are fully considering all relevant aspects of their departure from the Armed Forces, the effect of that departure on their families, and the appropriate steps to be taken to ensure that the transition, both in the short and long term, is as successful as possible.

 

Providing an extra layer of care for those preparing to leave the military, DTS will deliver specialist support for personnel who are most likely to face challenges as they adjust to civilian life. Service leavers will be offered unique solutions to the challenges they face, including help with employment.

 

The DTS will also be responsible for providing signposting and connecting with external support from other government departments and public bodies, as well as trusted charities.

 

The increased support comes after the Government established the Office for Veterans Affairs, bringing together all relevant Government departments to ensure that veterans are receiving the support they need and deserve.

 

We are pleased that the tri-Families Federation research Lifting the Lid on Transition has helped to inform this new policy.

 

The Naval Families Federation welcomes your feedback. Please do contact us via our website with any comments you make have. Click here to access the NFF’s Transition Guide for Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.

 

Posted on: 1st November, 2019