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Households across England and Wales are being asked to take part in Census 2021. The census in Scotland will take place next year due to the impact of the pandemic. 

 

This year, the census will include a new question which will ask people if they have served in the Armed Forces. This data will help to support commitments made by central and local government under the Armed Forces Covenant. Anyone who has served in the Armed Forces for at least one day is classed as a veteran. Click here to watch an explainer video. The NFF welcomes this change as this will help to collate valuable information which will ensure that the Armed Forces community gets the right support in the future. 

 

Service personnel are encouraged to access the guidance issued in DIN: 2021DIN01-032 which provides key information, including instructions regarding employer address information, for those who work at particular MOD locations. For general queries or help, contact information is set out in paragraph 54 of the DIN. 

 

Useful information

We recognise that the family dynamics of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines community may be different than those of civilian households. 

  1. There is specific advice available for Armed Forces families, which can be found here.
  2. The team at Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS) have shared guidance for MOD families when completing the census, which can be accessed here.
  3. The NFF put some additional questions to the Census team for a FAQ to clarify some areas that have caused confusion :
SFA - Who should fill this in?

Q: When Service families live in SFA, the serving person is named as the licence holder in accordance with MOD Policy, and they are also the named person responsible for the household bills – they would therefore be deemed to be the ‘householder’. If the SP is away from home on 21st March, due to an operational deployment or because they are working in a different part of the country, can their spouse/partner complete the Census on their behalf, in their absence?  

 

A: Yes, they can complete it, the Census arrives addressed to the household address not a specific individual. If a person is on active deployment, they will be able to note this as there is a section that says that they normally reside there but on the 21st March they are elsewhere. Click here to read the guidance on completing the census for someone else. 

Own homes - Who should fill this in?

Q: The same question applies for those Service families living in their own homes, if the serving person is considered to be the ‘householder’ but will be absent from the home on 21 March due to the needs of the Service. Can the spouse/partner complete the form? 

 

A: Yes, again, as above. The Census can be completed from receipt up until the end of April, but must record the household on the 21st March. Click here to read the guidance on completing the census for someone else. 

SLA - What if I live on base?

Q: What are the arrangements for those living in SLA? 

 

A: Advice for those living on base can be found here. If you live on a US military base, your CO will give you advice. 

SFA - Landlord

Q: We live in SFA. Who is my landlord? 

 

A: The RN FPS team have put together guidance on answering this question. Please click here to access the PDF.

Serving person away from home

Q: My SP is currently working away from home, should I include them? 

 

A: Remember to include anyone who usually lives here but is temporarily away from home. This applies to your SP, if this is their permanent or home address. You can read the full guidance on people currently away here. The advice for Armed Forces families can be found here. 

Serving person - Job title/employer

Q: Question 41-44 asks about my job. How should I answer those questions?

 

A: You are strongly encouraged to read this guidance produced by the Royal Navy – please click here to access the PDF.

Non-UK serving personnel

Q: Is there any guidance for non-UK military personnel? 

 

A: You can visit this page for more information. 

For further information or to get help, please visit census.gov.uk 

Posted on: 10th March, 2021

The 2020 Covenant Annual Report is now available. The NFF was delighted to have the opportunity again this year to set out our Formal Observations on the report (p.13 onwards).

 

Further support delivered this year includes:Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2020 - Summary on a page
  • The MOD extended the Education Support Fund to the 2020/21 financial year
  • In addition to MOD investing £123 million in-year to Service Families Accommodation, the government committed £200 million to improve MOD accommodation
  • The Forces Help to Buy scheme was extended until December 2022
  • The MOD’s Wraparound Childcare pilot programme began making payments to families at the first pilot sites, RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton.
  • The Living in Our Shoes report was published. This is an independent review of the support provided to Service families, commissioned by MOD and led by Andrew Selous MP.
  • The Defence Holistic Transition Policy, Joint Service Publication 100, to support Service leavers and their families to adjust to all aspects of the transition to civilian life, was published.

 

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: 10th December, 2020

NFF News: World Mental Health Day (10th October, 2020)

Updated on National Stress Awareness Day (4th November, 2020)

 

Introducing Headspace – a new project specially for you

Dealing with challenges is part and parcel of Naval family life, but in these strange times, some non-serving members of our Naval families might benefit from some extra support.

Covid-19 has brought many additional new challenges. What if there was something you could carry in your pocket to help you navigate through whatever you are facing?

We believe that the Headspace App can help, by giving you the skills you need to be able to focus on your own health and wellbeing.

That’s why NFF, supported by RN FPS, are delighted to offer non-serving family members free access to the Headspace App for a twelve-month pilot, starting on 4th November 2020.

We hope Headspace can help you find a little joy in your everyday.

 

What is Headspace?

Headspace is a platform for mindful living, meaning you can take it with you on a walk, a run or you can even do a workout with one of the Headspace trainers. You can use it to help you get to sleep with guided sleepcasts and music, as well as all the mindfulness courses on any topic you can think of. There are even topics and courses for children. Headspace also partners with many sports institutions to support developing a performance mindset for athletes. It’s really a gym membership for your mind. Click here to read an information leaflet. More information can be found on their website.

 

 

What you need to do

Please read the note below before you click the button to sign up for your free Headspace account. There is also a FAQ section at the bottom of this page to guide you through the application process.

 

Important note – please read before signing up
  • Up to 3,000 Naval Service (regular and reserve) families will have free access to Headspace; our priority is for those families who will be most receptive to this support and most likely to make full use of it.
  • The licence gives registered family members free access to the Headspace app for 12 months starting from 4th November, 2020. The earlier you create your account, the more beneficial it will be.
  • You will be asked for a Service Number on the registration form, so that your eligibility as a non-serving member of a RN/RM/RFA family can be confirmed by the RN.**
  • Due to the limited numbers, we are only able to allocate one licence per Service number.
  • Once you have registered, and your eligibility has been confirmed, you will be contacted within 2 weeks with a link to create your account.
  • Only your name and email address will be shared with the Headspace team so that your account can be created.
  • More details about our privacy policy can be found here.
  • If you would like to know more about the support services that are available for families,  please visit our Mental Health pages.

 

**This particular service is only open to non-serving family members. If you are part of the serving community, you can access the free HeadFit for Life programme.

FAQ

We are aware of a small number of family members who have encountered some issues with their access to the Headspace App. If you do have any problems, please check the list below as hopefully the answer is here:

I’ve submitted my application but I’ve not received the link yet.

Q: I’ve submitted my application but I’ve not received the link yet.

 

A: If you have submitted an application for the App and haven’t heard from the NFF within two weeks, please check your junk/spam mailbox – once we have confirmed your eligibility, we are sending out the special enrolment link in an email which comes from noreply@nff.org.uk

I’ve received the email with the link, what do I do now?

Q: I’ve received the email with the link, what do I do now?

 

A: When you receive the email, please make sure that you click on the link and activate your account so that you can start to benefit from all of the great support that Headspace can offer.

How do I set up my account?

Q: How do I set up my account?

 

A: Please follow the below steps –

  1. Click on the enrolment link which can found at the bottom of the email we sent you (please check your spam inbox)
  2. When you get to the NFF page on the Headspace website, click on Login
  3. Enter your Headspace login details – remember to use the same information that you provided when you completed your application form
  4. Click Next
  5. When you reach step 2 of the verification process, make sure that you use the same email address that you entered on your application as this is what we used to enrol you on to the Headspace system
  6. You will then receive an email asking you to verify the account – you need to follow the steps right up until completion
  7. Now log out of the app and then log back in again.
  8. Now you can access 1000’s of different sessions and courses!

 

If you are still having problems once you’ve tried this, please contact the NFF team at contactus@nff.org.uk and we will get in touch with you to resolve it as soon as we can.

In January 2019, Andrew Selous MP was asked by the then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson to produce an independent report to capture the needs of Service families.

 

The review team gathered evidence to inform the study in a number of ways, including email consultations, visits to military bases, schools with large numbers of Service children, and meetings with key military personnel and stakeholders. The NFF was delighted to host the team at our offices to meet with Service personnel and spouses/partners at a forum during the consultation period.

 

The report, ‘Living in our Shoes’, which features our parental absence guide, is now available.

 

Key themes emerged during the review about the challenges experienced by Armed Forces families today which are regarded as detrimental to modern family life and relationships. These refer to: Service Family Accommodation (SFA); mobility; deployment; the impact of Service life on military children and young people; the employment and careers of spouses/partners; the health and well-being of Serving personnel and family members; and the impact of Service life on personal relationships.

 

Members of the Armed Forces have a great sense of pride in the work they do and the sacrifices they and their families make.

 

The report outlined over 100 recommendations in different areas to support Service personnel and their families. The recommendations are targeted primarily at actions for the MOD and the three single Services, but some have implications for other government departments and local authorities in England, the Devolved Governments of the UK, and a range of organisations in the statutory, private and charitable sectors.

 

  • You can download a copy of the summary here. The full report can be found here
  • Please click here to see the Government’s response to the recommendations made in the report.

 

Posted on: 30th June, 2020
Updated on: 16th April, 2021

 

The Naval Families Federation (NFF) is delighted to announce the launch of ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, a new offer of support for all Royal Navy and Royal Marines families. This project is supported by funding from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), as well as funds awarded by the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Strengthening Families – By Your Side has been developed by the RNRMC and the NFF, in partnership with the Royal Navy, Kings Active Foundation, Home-Start UK and Relate. Initial funding of project activities, provided by the RNRMC and the Armed Forces Covenant, is to be rolled out over the next three years. The offer aims to provide comprehensive support to Naval Service families whenever and wherever they need it.

 

This groundbreaking partnership will work collaboratively to address some of the key issues underlined in the RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report, primarily looking at the gap between the support available for dispersed families nationwide compared to support available for those living in or near base ports.  The RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report highlighted that dispersed Naval Service families, i.e. families distributed throughout the country, are less likely than those who live close to base ports to be aware of available help and support and far more likely to have difficulties accessing the support available.

 

The project also seeks to tackle problems reported by Naval Service personnel and their families to the Naval Families Federation and the Royal Navy Chaplaincy. These can include a sense of isolation, relationship and parenting issues or mental health difficulties.

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation said:

‘We are delighted to have been involved in this vital initiative, particularly in the case of our isolated families.

Royal Navy and Royal Marines families are more widely dispersed than those of our sister Services, which brings its own challenges in terms of mutual support, gleaning information and access to the range of services that are available to families near base ports and other Naval establishments.

This kind of partnership between ourselves, the RNRMC and other stakeholders points to a potentially more effective way of using scare resources to greater effect.’

 

Mandy Lindley, Director of Relationships and Funding at the RNRMC said:

‘By working together, we can deliver the improvement in quality of life that is needed by our service families. Strengthening Families – By Your Side is about early intervention and prevention, providing a range of services leading to improved family cohesion, conflict resolution, health and well-being, and increased levels of happiness.’

 

More information about Strengthening Families – By Your Side will be coming soon to our website.

 

Posted on: 6th March, 2020

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:

Royal Marines Association – Resettlement Fair

Date: 3rd October 2019 (Thu)

Time: 10:00 – 16:00

Location: CTCRM Lympstone

What’s on: One-to-one slot with chosen exhibitors

Entry: Please register your interest here.

Forces Families Jobs

Forces Families Jobs (FFJ – ForcesFamiliesJobs.co.uk) is a ‘one-stop shop’ where Service spouses/partners and family members can apply for jobs directly with employers who have signed the Armed Forces Covenant as well as find signposting to career and training opportunities. If you would like to join us at one of the FFJ regional launches, please refer to this link here.

Posted on: 21st June, 2018
Last updated on: 20th September, 2019

Did you know that Welcome Guides have been produced to help Service families as they move across the UK or return from overseas?

 

These booklets were designed to provide information you may need to help you and your family settle in to a new location. They cover aspects such as housing, education, healthcare, employment, benefits and social care and other useful information, as well as a list of supporting organisations.

 

If you are considering moving, or are due to move for an upcoming assignment order, please do read the guides, which can help to ease your mind.

Welcome to England poster.
Welcome to Wales poster.
Welcome to Scotland poster.
Northern Ireland
Currently in production. Please watch this space.

These guides can also be accessed via the Armed Forces Covenant here.

Posted on: 2nd April, 2019
Updated on: 29th March, 2021

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

On 30th September 2018, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced a new package to help Armed Forces personnel and their family members throughout their careers and their transitions into civilian life.

 

He said:

‘’The bravery and dedication of our people is second to none. Whether they are in service, have served, or support the service of a loved one, we owe them a great debt of gratitude for their work in keeping this country safe. It is only right that we give our Armed Forces every opportunity to develop their skills to reach their potential, while ensuring that their spouses and civil partners are just as valued for the part they play.

The vast majority of those who have served in our Armed Forces go on to lead successful and rewarding lives, but it’s important we recognise that the transition is not always smooth. We are dedicated to upholding the support they receive while in uniform as they take this next step, and I’m delighted to be adding an extra helping hand to those most in need.‘’

 

The new package will include the following schemes:

  • Launching a new transition programme and ID cards for Service leavers. A new Defence Transition Service will deliver specialist support for Service personnel to adjust to civilian life, including help with housing and employment. New ID cards will be available to Service leavers shortly, and those who have already made the transition will be able to apply for an ID card in 2019. These cards will allow easy access to the range of support available from the public and charitable sectors, including registering with your local authority for priority healthcare and housing;

 

  • A new fund will be dedicated to support the careers of Service spouses and partners, following the success of the MOD’s Spouse Employment Support trial. This will facilitate access to vocational training and development opportunities to entering new sectors or self-employment;

 

  • By the end of 2020, all serving personnel will have access to their own Professional and Personal Development Plan, a scheme that will enable them to hone the skills they need to succeed throughout their service, and to equip them for the next stage of their careers. It can also help create a support network for those living with significant illness, caring for others.

 

We will share further details as they become available. The Naval Families Federation welcomes your feedback on these and other issues. Please do contact us via our website with any comments you make have.

 

Posted on: 1st October, 2018

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster has announced a new mailing system to replace the e-bluey for friends and family to send letters to personnel serving around the world. The new contract with Neopost will mean Britain’s Armed Forces will continue to receive hard copy, secure mail, including photos, from their loved ones, for free and with no break in service as the new imail INtouch system takes over from the e-bluey on 1 April 2017.

The new imail INtouch system will allow users to send up to eight pages, including high definition photographs and official documents. The old e-bluey system that is being replaced only allowed single pages to be sent and did not support high definition photographs. Use of the e-bluey has dropped by 98% since 2007, with the same fixed cost, meaning it no longer provided value for money for the taxpayer.

 

Anna Wright, Director of the Naval Families Federation said:

“With 55% of all deployed Armed Forces personnel being from the Naval Service, the provision of the new imail system is really important for our families. We’d really like to hear from serving people and their families about how they find this new service and we encourage them to get in touch with us”.

 

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said:

“We are investing in a better mail service to make sure our Armed Forces can stay in touch with their loved ones for free when they are away from home. Along with improved internet connections and global post deliveries, imail means families can now send longer messages and share higher quality photos than before with personnel serving around the world.”

 

The MOD’s new contract with Neopost will reflect actual usage and offer around half a million pounds worth of savings, which will be reinvested into welfare services like improved internet and Wi-Fi provision around the world. By offering both secure internet calls, emails, a letter and parcel service, as well as the imail INtouch service, we have ensured that our personnel have a range of ways of keeping in touch with their loved ones while they are deployed.

 

Posted on: 28th March, 2017