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Announcements

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

 

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

 

A government scheme to help Armed Forces families buy their own homes has been extended until the end of 2022.

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced today (22nd October 2019) that the Forces Help to Buy initiative will remain open to new applications until 2022.

 

The Forces Help to Buy scheme has lent over £280 million to over 18,000 Armed Forces applicants since its introduction in 2014. The Forces Help to Buy scheme was set up to provide more flexible support to personnel by offering a larger advance of salary to facilitate a home purchase.

 

Serving personnel who meet the criteria can borrow up to half of their annual salary, interest free – up to a maximum of £25,000 – to pay towards a deposit and other costs such as solicitor’s or estate agent’s fees.

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

‘The extension of this scheme demonstrates the value we put on our Armed Forces and means service personnel can continue to realise the ambition of owning their own home or borrowing to extend.

It has already proven very popular amongst the Armed Forces community and by extending it further we will be able to help many more service personnel make those first steps on the property ladder or expand their home to fit their family.’

 

Last month the MOD announced the official launch of the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) pilot, which was rolled out at HMNB Clyde. FAM will provide financial support to service personnel at HMNB Clyde who want to rent or buy a home within a 50 mile radius of the base, giving personnel more choice where and with whom they can live. The scheme forms a part of the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a promise from the nation that those who serve or who have served, and their families, are treated fairly and not disadvantaged.

 

The NFF are pleased to see that the Government have listened to feedback from Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.

 

Read the full news story here. If you would like to know more about this scheme and your eligibility, please visit this link here. To read more about the Future Accommodation Model (FAM), visit here.

 

Posted on: 22nd October, 2019

The Naval Families Federation (NFF) listens to and learns from our Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, and takes the information provided to influence change.

 

As part of our work, each year we are asked to set out our formal observations about the Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report. Our Chief Executive Anna Wright was by the Defence Select Committee (DSC) to give evidence earlier this year to talk about the Covenant, its delivery, and any concerns on a range of areas that may affect Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.  You can watch the session from the video below (or click here), or read the transcript here.

 

 

The DSC has now published their observations in the Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report (2018).

 

We are delighted to see that the Committee has listened to the evidence presented by the NFF on your behalf. Examples include:

 

The impact of separation on family relationships

3.58 & 3.62: Anna Wright from the Naval Families Federation thought that there was little support for families in the community who have the added burden of separation from a loved one. She believed that this was taking a toll on family relationships and impacting on retention within the Armed Forces: “A part of the retention equation is lack of family time—that is a real concern for me”… In response to our report the MoD should clarify what data it has on the number of dispersed families within the Armed Forces. It should take steps to ensure that dispersed families are aware of and have access to support services. The MoD should also continue to monitor whether its flexible working initiative has a positive impact on dispersed families.

 

Service Pupil Premium

4.85 & 4.90: Anna Wright from the Naval Families Federation told us that there was a lack of transparency: “There is a perception that you have the Service Pupil Premium in England and then there is nothing in Scotland. However with GIRFEC [Getting It Right for Every Child] every child is taken care of.” … We commend the publication of the ‘Welcome to’ packs for families moving between devolved administrations. However, we are concerned that the key information contained in these documents is not reaching Service families. We are also concerned at the lack of data from devolved administrations about Service children presented in the Covenant Annual Report. In response to our report, the MoD, in coordination with the devolved administrations, should improve its outreach processes to Service families to ensure that they are fully informed of differences in the way support is provided for Service children across the devolved administrations. The MoD should ensure data from the devolved administrations is collected and incorporated into future Covenant Annual Reports.

 

The above are some of the tangible examples of how your feedback to the NFF can influence policies that affect families, to work and make improvements for our Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.

 

We would encourage you to read through the Reports to learn more about the work being undertaken to support you and your family:

  • Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2018
  • Defence Select Committee Report

 

We welcome your thoughts on the reports. Please do contact us: contactus@nff.org.uk

 

Note: To read about our work with the Armed Forces Covenant and Defence Select Committee in 2018, please click here.

 

Posted on: 26th September, 2019

A brand new ‘one-stop-shop’ website, Forces Families Jobs (FFJ) goes live on 17th September, providing free access to employment or training opportunities to families in the UK’s Armed Forces.

 

 

Finding employment

Apply for jobs with companies and organisations who are ‘Forces family’ friendly – who understand the unique challenges that come with being a family member in the Armed Forces. Use this free-to-use website with confidence knowing that employers advertising their job vacancies have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, or are able to demonstrate their commitment to the Armed Forces. There are already thousands of vacancies on the site, with more being added all the time from companies such as Santander, Amazon UK and Royal Mail.

 

Families can search directly for live jobs online, as well as upload their CV and register for regular updates. There is also the option for employers to be able to match submitted CVs to the roles they are recruiting for, both in the UK and overseas.

 

Training and career support

FFJ is also the place to go for training on how to write a CV, preparing for an interview, business start-up programmes, volunteering roles, funding towards training, career events or insight days. All offered by well-known service charities and or organisations willing to support through training.

 

Who is eligible to use the site?
  • Spouses, partners and adult children, aged 18-25, of currently serving and reserve personnel
  • Spouses, partners, and adult children, aged 18-25, of service personnel who have left the armed forces within the last 12 months
  • Bereaved spouses, partners and adult children, aged 18-25, for up to two years, post service.

 

The need for FFJ

Recent tri-Service research, commissioned by the Army Families Federation and conducted by Warwick Institute for Employment Research resulted in a key recommendation to create a central portal for employment and training opportunities for military spouses and family members.

 

Military spouse, Jane O’Brien said:

“I thought I knew what to expect as a military wife working… I was wrong! It can be a bumpy ride and one that is very unique and underestimated. In 2018 my husband was deployed. It’s the first time I have felt alone and this had an impact on both me and my five year old son.

“However, I was fortunate in that my line manager, a Covenant signatory, was incredibly supportive and this was a huge relief.”

 

Johnny Mercer MP, Minister for Defence People and Veterans said:

“We know that being a military family member often means moving regularly, creating gaps in CVs and frequent job changes.

“This website will provide a one-stop-shop and a forces-friendly facility that will help support service families in accessing job and training opportunities.”

 

Employers looking to join FFJ

Employers who have signed the Covenant are able to use FFJ to promote their job vacancies as a free of charge service – simply contact the FFJ team and they will advise you on next steps to take. Those with training offers are also welcome to contact the FFJ team or their single Service Families Federations.

 

Launch events and further information

The three Families Federations have held events across the UK to celebrate the launch of this new portal. The NFF hosted Armed Forces families, the Chain of Command, Government representatives and businesses in Plymouth, Taunton, Portsmouth and Helensburgh. Please scroll down to browse the galleries.

 

A tri-service project

This website has been produced through collaborative working between the Naval, Army and RAF Families Federations in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence Relationship Management Team.

 

Thanks to our partners who have provided funding and support to enable FFJ to happen:

 

  • Annington Trust
  • Army Benevolent Fund (ABF)
  • Army Central Fund
  • Broadbean
  • Defence Relationship Management (DRM)
  • Manpower Group
  • Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA)
  • Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC)
  • University of Wolverhampton

 

Further Information

Please visit this page to find out how FFJ can benefit you. 

 

Gallery – FFJ National Launch (House of Lords, 17th September 2019)

Click on image to expand. (©Naval Families Federation, 2019)

Gallery – FFJ launch (China Fleet Club, 23rd September 2019)

Click on image to expand. (©Naval Families Federation, 2019)

Gallery – FFJ launch (Thye Castle Hotel Taunton, 24th September 2019)

Click on image to expand. (©Naval Families Federation, 2019)

Gallery – FFJ launch (Spinnaker Tower, 30th September 2019)

Click on image to expand. (©Naval Families Federation, 2019)

Gallery – FFJ launch (Scottish Submarine Centre, 7th October 2019)

Click on image to expand. (©David Wynne, 2019)

Posted on: 17th September, 2019
Updated on: 9th October, 2019

The Naval Families Federation exists to give all currently serving Royal Navy/ Royal Marines personnel and their families the opportunity to have their views heard by those in positions of power. We can only represent your opinions and experiences by listening to your feedback. This is why we often attend families’ and open days to meet you and to find out how you are doing. These events are great opportunities for us to understand your ‘lived experience’, and for you to present your views and concerns for us to pass on to, and to challenge, key policy-makers.

 

The following list indicates the upcoming events we will be attending. This list is regularly updated:

Regular/ Reoccurring families days
NFF visits to the Gordon Messenger Centre

Dates: Every Monday (except Bank Holidays)

Time: 09:00 – 16:00

Location: Godron Messenger Centre at CTCRM Lympstone

What’s on: Pete, who is also our OISC level 1 Immigration Advisor, will be at the Centre on a regular basis. If you are nearby, do come and have a chat and pick up some useful resources.

Other events
Last updated on: 11th May, 2021

 

*EDIT: The report, which has been seen by the Prime Minister, is now available. *

 

To collect evidence for ‘Stick or Twist’, an independent report on retention, Mark Francois MP and his research team visited multiple Naval Service agencies in Portsmouth on Thursday 23rd May. They joined the Naval Families Federation (NFF) and over a dozen dual-serving couples, Service spouses and partners to listen to their ‘lived experience’.

 

With the Armed Forces keen to retain the best talent, this research will provide insights to understand how to create an environment that ensures better retention of Service people, an objective that has been set out by 10 Downing Street.

 

One of the pressing issues highlighted related to childcare and education; there were questions about the use of Service Pupil Premium and concerns were raised about the cost of childcare and its relation to spousal employment.

 

Another theme focused on the implementation of Flexible Service. Some of the families told the team that whilst they appreciate that policy is now in place, it is unrealistic for certain branches within the Naval Service to apply, as operational needs take priority.

 

Finally, pressure on family life was discussed with some spouses describing that the ‘weekending’ lifestyle coupled with the uncertainty of Service commitments has impacted on family functioning and their mental health.

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation, said:

‘‘Following the very constructive visit of Andrew Selous MP last month, we wanted to give our families the opportunity to talk directly to Mr Francois and his team about their experiences. We are delighted that this meeting has opened up the conversation between Naval Service families and the government.

 

‘Of the three Services, the Naval Service has the most separation in terms of military deployments as well as non-operational separation. Recent research confirms what families have told us – that the Naval ‘weekending’ lifestyle could affect family-functioning and Service partners’ mental health and career progression. We look forward to seeing these and other issues related to retention addressed in the forthcoming ‘Stick or Twist’ report.”

 

‘Stick or Twist’ is now calling for evidence from serving people and their families and from those who have recently left the Armed Forces, as well as from providers of services to Armed Forces families in the statutory, voluntary and charity sectors. Submissions should be made by 00:00 on 31st May 19. Please visit this page for further information.

 

Posted on: 23rd May, 2019
Updated on: 22nd July, 2020

 

Having assigned to work at Hasler Company, a dedicated centre to professionally help with rehabilitation for serving personnel, as well as losing friends to suicide, Captain Ryan Morris set up Project Regain to promote early detection and help for Royal Marines who could suffer from mental health issues.

 

Royal Marines have the lowest rates of mental health problems within the UK Armed Services, but Regain aims to improve mental health awareness and reduce stigma. Evidence collected by the project suggested that commandos find it hard to ask for support when symptoms of illness like PTSD and depression first appear. Findings also show that lack of knowledge about mental health issues make it a hurdle to recognising a developing condition. This initiative will help Marines access treatments at the start of an issue, which can reduce the treatment timelines.

 

 

Overview of Regain
  • It gives individuals access to basic education about mental health symptoms and the ways in which to seek help.
  • It allows serving Royal Marines to refer themselves directly to specialists without the need to first go through their unit’s medical officer – all they need to do is pick up a phone and call the Department of Community Mental Health at Colchester (Tel: 01206 817 057/ Mil: 94660 7057) and from there they will be put straight through to a nurse who will arrange an appointment locally.
  • Most Royal Marines who seek help have eight to 12 sessions of talking therapy and then carry on their careers. All the treatment provided is confidential.

 

Further Information

Please visit www.royalnavy.mod.uk/Regain for more information, or read a short summary of this initiative in Homeport magazine (Summer ’19, p.32).

 

 

Posted on: 13th May, 2019
Updated on: 18th June, 2019