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Useful Links

1. NFF Parental Absence Resource

Parental absence report front page.Being a parent and raising children is exciting and rewarding, but it can be tough at times for any family. The amount, patterns and types of parental absence faced by Royal Navy and Royal Marines families present additional challenges that are not routinely experienced by most civilian families.

 

In response to feedback from families, the Naval Families Federation has produced a resource about the experience of parental absence. The purpose of the resource is to draw together some useful information about parental absence and separation, and provide some strategies to help families thrive.

Request a copy

If you are a parent, it may also be helpful to give a copy to your child’s school, or to other people in your network, to help them to understand your circumstances.

 

You can download a free copy here.

 

Alternatively, Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, and those supporting them, please email us at contactus@nff.org.uk to request a hard copy. Regrettably, we are only able to send hard copies to our beneficiaries due to resource constraints.

 

*Please note: Since its publication, some of the supporting organisations/ charities have undergone rebranding. We are currently working on updating this resource. Please double check their contact details before making contact.

2. Strengthening Families – By Your Side

‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, an offer of support for all Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, was officially launched on 1st September 2020. Developed by the NFF and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), the project aims to provide RN/RM families the right support, at the right time. Please note, this programme officially extended its eligibility to serving RFA families as of April 2022.

Strengthening Families Info Poster
A5 insert, talking about strengthening families.

Please click on the images to view the enlarged version. Find out more about how this can help you and your loved ones from the sections below or click here to visit RNRMC’s website for further details.

Relationship support

Relate logo

Relate are the UK’s largest provider of relationship support.

  • ‘Building Stronger Families’ is a free-of-charge, self-directed relationship online learning portal for RN/RM Service personnel and their partners.
  • Free face-to-face, online and telephone counselling is also available. They can help with relationships, family life and parenting, separation and divorce and help for children, young people and young adults. It also includes bereavement and loss support. You can contact them via their dedicated RN/RM hotline (01302 380 279) or visit this page.
Support for children and young people

Aggies logo

Dame Agnes Weston’s Royal Charity for the Naval Service (or “Aggie Weston’s”) is one of the oldest Naval charities. Aggies supports RN, RM, QARNNS and RFA personnel, together with their families.

  • Aggie’s Pastoral Workers offer support by phone, through social media, at events, or on occasions through home visits. The team are to listen, encourage, signpost and provide practical support.

 


KIDS UK logo

KIDS provides a wide range of support services to disabled children, young people and their families across England, supporting over 13,500 families each year. They work with children with any disability from birth to 25 years of age, offering support to the whole family with the aim of giving disabled children a brighter future.

  • KIDS support young carers aged 7-19 across England.
  • They also run weekly Staying Positive group for young disabled people aged 14-25 (Gosport and Havant).

 


Kings Active Foundation logo

Kings Active Foundation exist to get children active, having fun and learning together.

  • Kings run activity camps at Naval establishments over school holidays for children aged 5-17 with a serving parent. The cost is subsidised by the RNRMC. Those who live away from base port areas can also take part in the camps at a civilian location near them with the same subsidised cost.
  • Teenagers aged between 15-17 and take part in the Rookie Academy. It is a sports leadership programme where participants will learn how to coach and be a young leader through practical, hands-on activities. This qualification can be added to their CV and included in any future application where part of the assessment is on practical leadership skills.
Community support

Aggies logo

Aggies supports RN, RM, QARNNS and RFA personnel, together with their families.

  • Aggies holds groups and events for spouses/partners and toddlers, including but not limited to after-school homework clubs, Storybook Waves book clubs, financial management courses.

 


Home Start logo

Home-Start is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. They are there for parents when they need help the most, because childhood can’t wait. Please make contact via their dedicated RN/RM phone line: 0116 464 5450

  • Local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young people through challenging times, including 1-to-1 sessions, group support, linking to other local support networks.
  • 2-hour weekly support sessions by a volunteer to support you during challenging times (e.g. isolation health, bereavement).

 


Mellow Mums logo

Mellow Mums is an 8-week digital support group that is ‘postcode blind’. It aims to support mums in the RN/RM community with children under 2. It has been developed to reduce isolation and to support better perinatal mental health. Participants will have the opportunity to meet other mums in the community and share their experience too.

  • 8-week informal, confidential one-hour session delivered on Zoom with a Home-Start coordinator. Please email homestart.shpt@gmail.com for further information.
Financial support

Naval Children's Charity logo

The Naval Children’s Charity (NCC, formerly the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Children’s Fund) offers help to children up to the age of 25 with a parent or guardian who is a current or former member of the Royal Navy including the Reserves and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

  • NCC offers help to their beneficiaries by providing grants, advice and guidance.
  • NCC offers free books to help children to understand feelings when a parent goes away.
Information and support

 

Have you signed up to the Royal Navy Forum yet?

 

The Royal Navy Forum is a safe and secure environment to engage with RN/RM Families to ensure they are INFORMED INVOLVED INTOUCH with the Royal Navy and its stakeholders. The topics area works as a notice board to inform readers on all aspects and updates from the MOD and external stakeholders – this is an open area – should you wish to have these updates into your mailbox then all you need to do is join and subscribe to the areas you are interested in.

 

Inside the Members area, you will find Local Support groups, Unit and Network areas, Overseas and Training Establishments which provide more bespoke information and discussion areas to engage with like-minded people.

 

To join, you or your family and friends need your full name as it is on JPA and your Service Number. Once in, navigate to the areas of interest and ask to join – the RN Forum Team will let you in. Don’t forget to click on the bell to follow and receive regular updates to your inbox.

3. Subsidised holiday camps for young people

As part of ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’ (see section above), young people from serving RN/RM/RFA families can apply to access sports and activity camps right across the UK at a subsidised rate. This is a partnership between the RNRMC and the Kings Active Foundation.

5 - 14 years olds
  • Baseport areas: The camps are available at selected bases and establishments during school holidays. Please check out the RNRMC’s website and their social media channels for the latest news and updates.

 

  • Other locations: For those who live away from baseport areas, you can also book your children onto any of Kings Camp’s 55 nationwide non-military locations – click here for a list of venue. When making the booking, please mention that you a RN/RM family in order to recieve the discount.
15 - 17 years olds

Rookie Academy is a sports leadership programme where participants will learn how to coach and be a young leader through practical, hands-on activities. This qualification can be added to their CV and included in any future application where part of the assessment is on practical leadership skills.

Last updated: 27th May, 2022

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
HMS EXCELLENT Health Fair

Poster for the HMS EXCELLENT Health Fair on 26th January 2022Dates: 26th January 2022

Time: 11:00-14:00

Location: NCHQ

Other/Upcoming events

Date:  17th September 2021

Event: Woodentots Family Event at HMS COLLINGWOOD

Last updated on: 20th January, 2022

Veterans’ Gateway, alongside the NFF and our colleagues at the Army and RAF Families Federations, have launched a ‘Plan Early’ campaign to encourage Service leavers and their family members to look ahead when transitioning into civvy street.

 

As highlighted in a recent reports by the three Families Federations, Lifting the Lid of Transition, findings revealed that 51% of the survey respondents did not know where to go for welfare services, and 33% of respondents believed they would be worse off financially. With that in mind, Veterans’ Gateway have come up with this campaign to ensure that Service leavers and their families are prepared for some of the challenges they could possibly be facing.

 

The campaign’s website covers important aspects and challenges Service leavers and their families may face when transitioning out of their Service, such as housing, employment, finance, mental and physical wellbeing, and family life. There are also lists of other organisations that could be useful.

 

You can watch a short video on this campaign here:

 

Visit this page for a list of FAQs on leaving the Services, written by the Families Federations. Visit this page to access the ‘Plan Early’ campaign, which holds a wealth of information.

 

Posted on: 3rd April, 2019

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Relate have launched a free relationship counselling portal for Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their partners.

 

The RNRMC Building Stronger Families portal is a self-directed online learning programme supporting naval couple and family relationships.

 

This project is a joint venture between the RNRMC, the National Charity of the Royal Navy, and the UK’s leading relationships charity, Relate, and builds on the successful relationship and family counselling introduced in 2016.

 

Both serving and former RN and RM personnel and their partners can sign up to the service for free, where they will then have access to seven different modules.

 

The courses are intended to support RNRM relationships with topics ranging from Military Life, Sexual Communication and Intimacy, to Family Life and Parenting.

 

The Building Stronger Families portal can be accessed here. For more information please visit here.

 

Posted on: 12th February, 2019

The following is a brief overview of the Armed Forces Covenant. For more details about the changes that have already been implemented as a result of the Covenant, and how this can have an impact on you and your family, please visit the Armed Forces Covenant website for further information.

 

You can also watch a short video about the Covenant here, which has been put together by the RN Two-Six team.

 

What is the Armed Forces Covenant?

To those who proudly protect our nation, who do so with honour, courage, and commitment, the Armed Forces Covenant is the nation’s commitment to you.

It is a pledge that together we acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.

It’s about making sure that you are not disadvantaged as a result of your service or your connection to the Armed Forces – giving you a ‘level playing field’.

 

The Covenant in the Community

The Covenant in the Community is a voluntary pledge of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces community. Local authorities and the Armed Forces in your area are working together in order to:

 

  • Encourage local communities to support the Armed Forces community in their areas, and to increase understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces;
  • Recognise and remember the sacrifices faced by the Armed Forces community;
  • Encourage activities that help to integrate the Armed Forces community into local life;
  • Encourage the Armed Forces community to help and support the wider community, whether through participation in events and joint projects, or other forms of engagement.

 

Covenants in the Community may look quite different from one location to another; the nature of the support offered will be determined by need and capacity. The delivery of the Covenant is usually managed locally by an Armed Forces Covenant lead officer working within the local authority, in conjunction with a partnership board. Visit your local authority website for more details and contact information.

 

The Covenant in Business

This involves businesses and charitable organisations making a written and publicised voluntary pledge which expresses their support to the Armed Forces community, and demonstrates how they have committed to ways in which they can provide support.

 

These Covenants include a core statement of commitment, which covers the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant:

 

  • No member of the Armed Forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen;
  • In some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved.

 

Each organisation is also encouraged to offer support in a way most appropriate to their situation. The pledge document includes a menu of options for organisations to sign up to, including; employment support for Veterans, Reservists, Service spouses and partners, support for Cadet Units, participation in Armed Forces Day, and offering discounts to the community. There is also an opportunity for organisations to add their own commitments based on local circumstances.

 

The Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS)  acknowledges employers who have provided exceptional support to the Armed Forces community and defence by going above and beyond their Covenant pledges.

Through a 3 tier approach of bronze, silver and gold awards, the scheme recognises the different levels of commitment provided by employers. This allows the Ministry of Defence to publicly thank and honour those organisations for their support.

 

You can nominate yourself for a bronze awardSilver and gold awards are bestowed to organisations meeting specific criteria.

 

The Covenant in Government

The Armed Forces Covenant is a cross-Government commitment which involves many central government departments, such as the Departments for Work and Pensions, Health and Social Care and Education, as well as the NHS.

Many topics covered are devolved matters i.e. education, and therefore the Devolved Governments of Wales and Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Executive, are responsible for their delivery.

 

Wales
The Welsh Government contributes to the Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report. It has appointed an Armed Forces Advocate to represent Wales on the Covenant Reference Group, and has established an Expert Group to consider the needs of the Armed Forces community in Wales. The NFF is part of this Expert Group. Click here for further information.

 

Scotland
In 2012, the Scottish Government published ‘Our Commitments: Scottish Government Support for the Armed Forces Community in Scotland’. This document illustrated how the Scottish Government was addressing the needs of its Armed Forces community. They then revisited their Commitments in 2016, with the publication of their Renewing our Commitments document. Furthermore, in response to the reports issued by the Scottish Veterans Commissioner, the Scottish Government then issued guidance which outlines the support that is being offered to the Armed Forces Community – click here to read this document.

The Scottish Government contributes to the Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report, and has appointed an Armed Forces and Veterans Advocate to represent Scotland on the Covenant Reference Group.

 

Northern Ireland
In July 2013, the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee produced a report that stated that the UK Government must identify any shortfalls in the provision of services to the Armed Forces Community in Northern Ireland, and report on how these will be met. The Committee called for closer engagement between the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive on support for the Armed Forces Community. Click here for details.

 

Full details about all aspects of the Armed Forces Covenant can be found on the MOD website here.

 

Armed Forces Covenant Fund

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust run a programme which makes grants of up to £20,000 for local projects that support the Armed Forces Community.

Further information on the priorities, eligibility and application process can be found on the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust website. If you have any questions which are not covered by the guidance, you can contact the team at enquiries@covenantfund.org.uk

 

Posted on: 20th November, 2018
Updated: 18th March, 2019

Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre provides free legal advice to members of the public across a range of different legal areas. They help those who are unable to access legal advice as part of their effort to bridge the gap in access to justice.

 

Advice is delivered by QMLAC Student Advisers under the supervision of qualified lawyers.

 

A member of QMLAC will contact you within three working days to get a few more case details, to establish whether your legal issue is something student advisers are able to assist with. You will also be asked for your household income to determine whether you meet the income threshold to receive free legal advice.

 

If they are able to help, a virtual appointment will be offered to the you. Following that appointment, you will receive your advice letter 14 days later. Please note the clinics run on an academic term time basis only.

 

Appointments will start from October to April only. Follow this link to find out more.

Posted on: 19th October, 2017
Updated on: 6th October, 2020

Veterans’ Gateway is the first point of contact for veterans seeking support.

There is a huge network of organisations supporting the Armed Forces community, so finding the right one for your needs can be tricky.

Veterans’ Gateway now makes it quick and easy by being your first point of contact for whatever support you need, whether you are based in the UK or abroad.

They work with people on a one-to-one basis, connecting them with the right support as soon as possible.

 

Who is part of Veterans’ Gateway?

Veterans’ Gateway is made up of a consortium of organisations and Armed Forces charities, including The Royal British Legion, SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, Poppyscotland, Combat Stress and Connect Assist.

Their connection with additional key referral organisations – both within and outside the Armed Forces sector – means they can get you to the right organisation who can help.

Funded by The Armed Forces Covenant, this is the first time a group of this kind has come together formally to deliver a service to help the Armed Forces community.

 

Get in touch

You can speak to one of the team by phone or email.

They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to put you in touch with the help you need, or direct you to the information you are looking for.

You can use their Self Help service to find information yourself.

This includes advice from a range of organisations covering issues from employment, finances and housing, to independent living, mental wellbeing, physical health, and families and communities.

 

Further information

Along with the Army and RAF Families Federation, the Naval Families Federation ran a 2-year project to gain a better understanding of the transition process and the challenges that surround it. If you’re leaving the Royal Navy or Royal Marines soon, please read the full report here, or visit this page for more information.

 

Posted on: 20th June, 2017
Last updated on: 3rd January, 2019

Are your dependent children declared on JPA? Declaring dependent Service Children on JPA can enable appropriate allowances to be obtained, enable paternity and adoption leave requests and can have an influence on allocation of service housing and potential assignments.

In order to complete the registration process, Service Personnel should provide a copy of the child’s birth certificate to unit HR who will complete the JPA process in accordance with BPG IN914005.

Contact: DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.uk

 

Posted on: 27th March, 2017

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