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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

 

An extended funding partnership between the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Kings Camps is about to enable more children and young people from Naval Service families to access sports and activity camps right across the UK and at a significantly subsidised rate of £60 per week.

 

In addition to operating Kings Camps for 1,800 children at 8 Royal Navy bases, Naval Service families can now access Kings Camps at 55 locations across the UK, from Aberdeen to Cornwall.

 

The announcement follows input from the NFF informing RNRMC of the need to support dispersed families.

 

Richard Holmes, CEO of Kings Camps, states:

‘We’re a not-for-profit with a vision of a world where children love being active, so we are absolutely delighted to be strengthening our partnership to enable thousands of children from Naval Service families to be active, have fun and learn together, and to be significantly helping Navy families. The fantastic contribution by the RNRMC enables us to provide a 5-day experience for just £60 per child; this represents a reduction of around 66% off our standard charge.’

 

Adrian Bell, CEO of RNRMC, is equally as pleased with the partnership:

‘The feedback we’ve had from Royal Navy and Royal Marine families that have accessed this service has been overwhelmingly positive, so to be able to extend this opportunity to Naval Service families wherever they live in the UK is an obvious next step.’

 

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

‘This is a tremendous development in support of dispersed families during school holidays. I think this is a really positive step in terms of tackling the very complex and multi-faceted issue of childcare.’

 

Around 1.5 million children have attended Kings Camps since 1991. During a typical week, children get to participate in around 30 activities, the environment is friendly, fun and inclusive and Kings have a high regard for safeguarding and child-welfare. Kings are the only organisation in the activity-camp sector that have independent parent-reviews, regularly receiving maximum scores for customer experience and product rating.

 

Kings’ national network of programmes are based at schools and universities with exceptional facilities and they feature at HMNB Clyde, RNAS Culdrose, Northwood Joint Forces, HMNB Devonport, HMS Collingwood, HMS Temeraire, RNAS Yeovilton and CTCRM Lympstone.

 

Read more about this latest partnership in Homeport magazine (Summer ’19 edition, p.34-35) here.

 

 

For information on Kings Camps Summer 2019 in the Portsmouth area, please visit this page. Full information can be found at www.kingscamps.org and bookings can be made by calling the experienced and knowledgeable Kings Camps booking team on 0114 263 2160 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

 

Posted on: 10th May, 2019
Updated on: 17th June, 2019

 

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

 

The Prime Minister has recommissioned The Rt. Hon. Mark Francois MP and his research team, to produce an independent report on improving Retention within the Armed Forces.

 

Following on from his successful 2017 report on Armed Forces Recruitment, Filling the Ranks, the Prime Minister has recommissioned Mark Francois MP and his research team, to produce an independent report on improving Retention within HM Armed Forces.

 

The report team would like to hear from serving personnel and their families and from those who have recently left the Armed Services, as well as from providers of services to Armed Forces families in the statutory, voluntary and charity sectors.

 

The team’s objective as set out by No. 10, is: “To understand how to create an environment that ensures the best retention of Service personnel for as long as Defence need them.” The team are required to provide initial findings to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence by the end of July 2019 – with the full report to be submitted by the end of the calendar year.

 

The report team are keen to receive evidence on those factors which materially affect retention in the Armed Services. These include, (but are not strictly limited to):
  • The pressure of service life on personnel and their families
  • Frequency of deployment/nights out of bed
  • Remuneration and the “pull factor” of alternative employment opportunities outside of the Armed Forces
  • Career progression – for both service personnel and their spouses/partners
  • Accommodation and home ownership
  • Quality of medical services available to Armed Forces personnel and their families
  • Educational issues, including the provision of special needs education to children

 

The report team is keen to hear both what is working well and what is not working well and should be improved. Unlike, Filling the Ranks, the conclusions of the report will not necessarily be revenue neutral, but any recommendations must be financially realistic. Submissions/comments should be sent to mark.francois.mp@parliament.uk by the deadline of 00:00 on the 31st May 2019. Please include ‘Stick or Twist Report’ in the subject line of the email.

 

The review will seek the first-hand experiences of currently serving, ex-Service personnel and their families, with a series of planned visits to units. All respondents and their respective data will remain anonymous and no one will be personally identified in any report.

 

Commenting on the commissioning of the report Chief of Defence People, Lieutenant General Richard Nugee said,

“I am pleased that the Prime Minister has asked the Rt Hon Mark Francois MP to produce an independent report to Government to see what more can be done to understand the factors underlying Armed Forces Retention and produce recommendations on how Defence and other areas of government can set the conditions to optimise retention. This study has the full support of the Secretary of State for Defence, the Services and myself.”

 

Posted on: 8th May, 2019
Updated on: 22nd July, 2020

 

The Education Support Fund (ESF), launched in 2011 and subsequently extended by the Secretary of State for Defence (2018-2020), provided funding to assist publicly funded schools, Academies and Free Schools throughout the UK to mitigate the effects of exceptional mobility and/or deployment of their Service communities; Regular Armed Forces, including Reserves on Full Time commitment (FTRS FC).

 

Since 2011, the ESF has distributed over £40 million. The funding awarded from the 2021 ESF supported around 16,500 Service children from all three Services.

 

Successful applications to date have been for a wide range of initiatives. All been able to provide strong evidence of how their proposal would help Service children and schools to overcome the effects of exceptional mobility or deployment. The bids also demonstrated a good relationship with their Service community.

 

Schools supporting children of Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel typically have relatively smaller numbers of Service children on role, and often these children are affected more by deployment than by mobility (although mobility will be a strong feature in the lives of some). Such schools are still able to bid successfully to the ESF, but will need to ensure that they provide strong evidence of how their proposals will mitigate the challenges faced by their Service children. Full details of how to bid can be found via the link at the bottom of this section. Bids that are incomplete or do not follow the instructions may be weeded out in the first round, so it is important to follow the process. Particular attention in the bid-writing process should be paid to:

 

  • Explaining how the school already utilises Service Pupil Premium (SPP) and demonstrating the effectiveness of this.
  • Identifying a suitable Armed Forces sponsor who can assist with a statement that focuses on the impact of the proposed project. Generic statements are less effective in strengthening a bid.
  • Providing actual numbers of Service children being supported and ensuring that the size of the bid is proportionate.
  • Demonstrating a sound understanding of the needs of Service children and how these might be addressed.
  • Avoiding bidding for projects which are clearly intended to bolster funding for whole-school activity without a clear rationale for specific impact for Service children.

 

Eligibility

To be eligible for a grant a school needs to be in the UK and have children of Service personnel on roll whose parents are subject to mobility and/or separation (see Criteria). Applicants should include clear evidence of the exceptional impact of mobility and/or separation which regional panels can then use to accurately score applications.

 

Applications can be accepted from:
  1. Maintained schools;
  2. Academies;
  3. Free schools;
  4. Sixth Form colleges;
  5. Groups of any schools described above (referred to as ‘cluster bids’ and are strongly encouraged);
  6. Local authorities on behalf of the publicly funded schools in their area.

 

If applying as a cluster, an individual school can also submit their own separate bid, provided it is for a different initiative. Full details need to be provided on the application form. A cluster bid may be stronger than an individual school bid as resources are being shared; helping to achieve better value for money outcomes. Where possible, applicants are to make their local authority aware of their application.

 

The following are not eligible:
  1. Childcare providers;
  2. Colleges of higher education or further education;
  3. Commercial organisations or those that would seek to charge for their solution to be provided to a school, for example – an organisation could not be awarded a grant to develop a training course which it then charges schools to attend.

 

2022 Bidding Round

In light of ongoing rebasing activity, with further unit and personnel moves and associated disruption expected, Armed Forces Families & Safeguarding (AFFS – formerly DCYP) has secured £3 million from the Head Office Top Level Budget to fund an extension of the ESF.

 

The bidding round for the 2022 ESF is now open until 30 September 2021.

 

Please click here for further information/ download the grant application pack.

 

Posted on: 6th August, 2018
Updated on: 20th April, 2021

 

Ministers have urged all UK universities to boost support for Armed Forces communities.

 

In a joint letter dated 18th April 2019, Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, and Chris Skidmore, Universities Minister called on institutions to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Currently 57 out of 136 UK universities have signed up to the Covenant, including 3 of the 24 Russell Group universities. The Russell Group represents those universities with a shared focus on research and a reputation for academic achievement. According to research conducted by the University of Winchester, the participation for young people from Armed Forces families in higher education is 24%, compared to a rate of approximately 43% for the overall population.

 

This call came in light of the recent announcement from Department for Education which confirmed a £5 million funding to pay the tuition fees for eligible serving personnel and Service Leavers.

 

Universities can support the Armed Forces Covenant in a number of ways including ensuring admissions policies reflect the needs of the Armed Forces community, benchmarking Service experience and qualifications against course entry requirements or having a presence at local careers fairs for those leaving the Services. Universities which have already signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant are leading the way with support for military personnel and their families, pledging to support those who wish to serve in the armed forces as Reservists, and offering flexible leave before or after deployment to personnel and their partners.

 

The Ministers have also called on universities to establish Armed Forces champions within each institution, which would be empowered to uphold the commitments of the Covenant, and to act as a first point of contact for the Armed Forces community, Service charities, and local businesses.

 

Some universities have also included Service children as a target group in their Access and Participation Plans, which all English universities will be drawing up this year for implementation in 2020/21. This is an initiative which the NFF has been actively involved in.

 

We welcome your views. Please do contact us if you have any concerns or would like to share your lived experience.

 

Further Information

 

Posted on: 24th April, 2019

NHS England and MOD had been working together since 2017 to design and test a programme to support the small number of Armed Forces personnel who have complex and enduring physical, neurological and mental health conditions that are attributable to injury whilst in Service. On 29th March 2019, the new Armed Forces personnel in transition, Integrated Personal Commissioning for Veterans Framework (IPC4V) was launched.

 

Individuals who are eligible for this new approach are proactively identified by medical staff whilst they are on the Defence Recovery Pathway. This will occur while they are in an Armed Forces Personnel Recovery Unit.

 

This approach will ensure that eligible individuals transitioning out of the Armed Forces into civilian life will continue to receive comprehensive support. IPC4V will help deliver personalised care in line with the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant. This is part of the expansion of support under the NHS Long Term Plan.

 

IPC4V seeks to ensure that a range of organisations (i.e. health and social care, MOD, Service Charities) will work collaboratively with the individual and their family and/or carer to ensure the provision of personalised care, support and treatment that meets their needs, in ways that work for them.

 

The benefit of IPC4V will also include ongoing support to help ensure that each individual is an active participant in the planning and management of their own health and wellbeing, with outcomes and solutions having meaning and context within their life. A dedicated Veterans Welfare Manager will also be assigned to provide a range of support, including ‘guided conversations’ to help with identifying goals and actions in their life and family situation. It gives individuals more choice and control over how their care is planned and delivered.

 

As well as the establishment of this new framework, the MOD will also provide extra funding to a very small number of individuals injured in service, and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme recipients who require 24 hour, one to one care from a trained individual.

 

The funding, which has currently been set as £24,000 per year, for life, can be spent on health and wellbeing activities which are above those already provided by statutory services to enable a better quality of life for this small number of individuals.

Further information and reading
IPC4V poster
Guide to IPC4V, produced by NHS England
IPC4V poster
Information for healthcare providers
IPC4V informational poster
Information for patients
Injured personnel informational poster.
Short Summary of IPC4V (Homeport Summer '19, p.48)

Please visit NHS England’s site here, or contact england.armedforceshealth@nhs.net for more information.

 

Posted on: 10th April, 2019
Updated on: 18th June, 2019

 

Andrew Selous MP has been asked by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson to produce an independent report to capture the needs of Service families. Key issues identified can help influence existing and future policies to help improve support available to families.

 

Mr Selous and his report team are keen to hear from spouses and partners as well as children and dependents of those who are currently serving or have recently left the Service.

 

During a visit to Royal Navy and Royal Marines agencies in Portsmouth today, Mr Selous and Prof Walker, lead adviser of the report team, joined us at our offices in HMS Excellent to meet with Naval Service family members.

 

During the meeting, they chatted to spouses and partners about their lived experience, gathering evidence in different areas of concern to help understand the issues families face.

 

One of the issues raised during this meeting was housing. Some of the families at the meeting live in Service Family Accommodation, and they told Mr Selous about living conditions, as well as suggestions on how things could be improved.

 

Another issue discussed included 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.

 

Finally, there was a discussion on health care and the Armed Forces Covenant. It was pointed out that accessing health services could be a challenge for those moving to a different assignment, and how the Covenant could help educate local GPs and dental clinics on this issue.

 

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

‘We are delighted to facilitate this open conversation and to act as a bridge to connect our Royal Navy and Royal Marines families and the government. This meeting has enabled family members to voice their concerns and give feedback about their experiences. We look forward to reading the final report.’

 

The report will be published this summer, and might provide the impetus for a further review on wider government and public-sector provision.

 

If you have missed the opportunity to submit evidence, please do contact us, as we would like to hear from you. The NFF exists to give all serving Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families the opportunity to have their views heard by those in positions of power, and we can challenge policy on your behalf.

 

Posted on: 4th April, 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

FAM Pilot

The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) committed the Ministry of Defence to make a new accommodation offer, to help more personnel live in private accommodation and meet their aspirations for home ownership.

 

The way people live and work is changing and the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) reflects this, giving more choice to more Service personnel and their families over where, how and with whom you live.

 

Now that the pilot is live across all Services, FAM leads will test the policy and work closely with Service personnel to see how they respond. The pilot will run for around three years, and everyone’s feedback over that time will be hugely important. A decision will then be made about whether to expand FAM and roll it out to the rest of the UK over the following decade.

 

On 1st April 2019, more information on the model was released. The MOD has produced the following videos to give you an overview of FAM:

 

 

 

FAM is now live at HMNB Clyde, Aldershot Garrison and RAF Wittering.

Under FAM, entitlement to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) will no longer be allocated according to the rank of individuals, but will instead focus on the size of the family, promoting fairness and ensuring homes are fit for purpose. For those living on, or assigned to, HMNB Clyde it is important to know that Single Living Accommodation (SLA) and SFA will still be available, with no SFA properties sold off because of the pilot.

 

If you are happy in your current SLA or SFA at one of the pilot locations don’t worry, you don’t need to take any action. However, if you’d now like to consider renting or buying a home in the local area with support from the MOD, FAM makes this possible:

Eligibility
  • Regular or Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment)
  • Based at one of the pilot locations with 12 months or more left on your draft, or have an assignment there of 12 months or more during the pilot
  • Have 4 or more years of Service
Applications

If you decide you want to change your current accommodation and you want to rent then you will need to complete an Accommodation Preference Form (APF) in JPA. If you want to buy a house then you do not fill out the APF, instead you’ll need to take your legal paperwork to your Unit Personnel Office (UPO). If you choose to stay in your current SLA or SFA then you don’t need to do anything.

 

If you are due to be assigned to HMNB Clyde, you can choose your accommodation in line with the FAM policies. You can submit your APF in advance of your start date.

Note: Long Term Relationships (LTR)

It was also announced 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 SFA at all UK bases where properties are available, provided that you met the criteria. Please note that this is not part of FAM, but rather a new policy. This is not an entitlement to SFA. Find out more about your eligibility here.

Enquiries/ Further details
HMNB Clyde FAM Cell
Housing Options Scotland

Housing Options Scotland’s (HOS) “Military Matters” programme supports members of the Armed Forces community with any housing needs or issues. The charity offers free, independent information, advice and support to those who get in touch, and they can help with all kinds of housing tenure – from renting privately to social housing and home ownership.

 

Karen Campbell is the Military Matters broker at HOS and works with clients from the Armed Forces community. Support is offered on a 1-1 basis, where every client receives information and advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

 

Discover My Benefits

Find out what you could receive in payments and allowances, if you rent or buy a home under FAM via Discover My Benefits.

Information on gov.uk
Attachments

The MOD and the NFF’s Homeport magazine have also produced videos, articles and leaflets that can help you understand this update better:

Step-by-step guide:

 

Here’s what the first people to benefit from new choices in accommodation in HMNB Clyde have to say about FAM:

FAM informational poster.
FAM informational poster.
FAM guide front page.
Guide for existing renters at HMNB Clyde
FAM informational poster.
All you need to know about FAM (Homeport Summer '19, p.37-40)

The Naval Families Federation welcomes your thoughts on this pilot. Please do contact us.

 

Posted on: 1st April, 2019
Updated on: 15th October, 2020

 

FAMCAS 2019 is now closed – view the results here.

 

You may have been asked by your serving partner to complete the Families Continuous Attitude Survey (FAMCAS). The survey asks questions about key welfare areas including family life, childcare, deployment, education, employment, healthcare, and housing. It provides spouses/civil partners with an opportunity to share their views on what life is like being with a member of the Armed Forces. In the previous years, the survey was sent to a random selection of Service families located both within the UK and overseas. However, FAMCAS is now open to all Service spouses/partners.

 

We would really encourage you to take part in the survey as the results from the survey are used to aid the development and monitoring of military personnel policies and welfare initiatives. They are also used to inform and monitor Defence personnel programmes (such as the Armed Forces People Programme) and aim to address all types of challenges faced by the families of service personnel. All replies will be treated in the strictest confidence and are completely anonymous. Your individual responses will only be seen by the civilian researchers conducting this survey and external data input contractors.

 

You may be thinking, “What about me? I am not the legal spouse of the serving person, but their service has a big impact on me/my children, and I should be invited to comment.” We agree. We are meeting with the researchers working for FAMCAS to encourage the development of a more inclusive and useful survey that more accurately reflects modern family life. We also know that dual serving couples find it difficult to complete the FAMCAS. We will update you with any progress made in this area. In the meantime, please do have a go at completing the survey. Feel free to get in touch with us with any additional feedback you may wish us to pass on.

 

Posted on: 10th April, 2018
Updated on: 29th July, 2019