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In December 2017, the Department of Health and the Department for Education released a Green Paper to consult on mental health provision for children and young people. It set out 3 key proposals for schools and the NHS to improve services.

 

The NFF released a formal response, following the publication of this Green paper. Our response highlighted the impacts of Naval Service have on children and young people’s mental wellbeing, and called for action in the Government’s future plans. To read a short summary of the Government’s proposals and our response, please click here.

 

Implementation

The consultation period lasted for 13 weeks from December 2017 to March 2018, and has received over 2,700 responses. The Government’s response to the consultation was published in late July 2018. The implementation began in early 2019 – 25 trailblazer areas across England to provide expert mental health support to almost half a million children and young people every year. 59 new Mental Health Support Teams are now undergoing training at seven universities nationwide, with plans to be operational by December 2019.

 

Each designated team will support up to 8,000 children and they are responsible for a cluster of around 20 schools and colleges each, to build on support already in place from different sectors (e.g. school counsellors, nurses). The teams are designated to help with treating mild and moderate mental health issues in school; a link to specialist NHS services will also be provided to those with more severe needs, to access the right support. Funding from the Department for Education is also in place to train senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, to work closely with the NHS teams.

 

The Current Trailblazer Areas

North

  • Doncaster CCG & Rotherham CCG
  • Liverpool CCG
  • Newcastle Gateshead CCG
  • Northumberland CCG
  • North Kirklees CCG & Greater Huddersfield CCG
  • South Tyneside CCG
  • Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

 

Midlands & East

  • Herts Valley CCG & East and North Herts CCG
  • North Staffordshire CCG
  • Rushcliffe CCG and Nottingham North and East CCG
  • South Warwickshire CCG
  • Stoke on Trent CCG

 

South East

  • Buckinghamshire CCG
  • Berkshire West CCG
  • North Kent CCG grouping: Swale and Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCGs
  • Oxfordshire CCG

 

South West

  • Gloucestershire CCG
  • Swindon CCG

 

London

  • Bromley CCG
  • Camden CCG
  • Haringey CCG
  • Hounslow CCG
  • South West London HCP: Wandsworth and Sutton and Merton CCGs
  • Tower Hamlets CCG
  • West London CCG

 

 

Further Expansion

The trailblazer sites are made up of the NHS and key local stakeholders, including schools and colleges, local authorities and third sector organisations and will be rolled out to between one-fifth and one quarter of the country by 2023/24. Plans for further expansion of this service has also been set out in the NHS Long-Term Plan.

 

The NFF welcomes the introduction of the new services. Please do contact us if you would like to share your comments.

 

Posted on: 5th February, 2018
Last Updated on: 25th January, 2019

** Update: This survey is now closed. Please see the results here. We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the survey.**

 

The Ministry of Defence is in the process of reviewing the provision of military housing from initial application through to the complaints process, including the future repair and maintenance contract, currently held by Amey. Please complete (and share) this Housing Survey to allow the NFF to use your views and feedback to influence the outcome of decisions made.

 

Naval Families Federation CEO Anna Wright said:

“Royal Navy and Royal Marines families provided evidence in relation to the Carillion Amey Service Family Accommodation (SFA) maintenance contract, which the Naval Families Federation presented to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in 2016.  Members of the Committee recognised the importance of feedback from Armed Forces families. Please take up this invitation to have your voice heard on this important subject.”

 

This survey will run until midnight 30th November 2018 and takes 10-15 minutes to complete.

 

Please note this survey is for the new SFA maintenance contract and is not part of the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) project. Information on FAM can be found here.

 

Posted on: 7th November, 2018
Updated on: 17th January, 2019

The Annington Challenge, run in conjunction with The Outward Bound Trust, gives young people from military families the chance to tackle their very own outward bound adventure and is now open to applications for Summer 2019.

 

Challengers will camp out for two nights or more in some of the most beautiful and breath-taking parts of the UK and get the chance to tackle anything from abseiling, canoeing and gorge-walking to sailing, kayaking and climbing. They tackle these activities in small groups and are helped, instructed and inspired by one of the Outward Bound’s highly qualified and hugely motivating instructors.

 

The Annington Challenge, like all of the Outward Bound courses, aims to change how young people think and feel about themselves and their lives, by building their personal, social and emotional skills and giving them the ability to thrive at school, in further education, employment and in life. Participants learn a deep appreciation of the balance between risk, reward and responsibility and leave with transferrable, essential life skills.

 

Read more about the Annington Challenge here (Homeport Winter ’18 pages 54-55).

 

For 2019, 65 young people aged between 11-19 will be chosen for a place on the Annington Challenge. Their dedicated instructor will play a huge role throughout this; coaching and sharing their skills, knowledge and expertise so that participants leave equipped to stand out from the crowd and realise their ambitions and achieve their life goals.

 

The Annington Challenge is open to all children of Service families, regardless of background. Applications will need the support of their school or college and if chosen, Challengers must be prepared to write a short report on their Annington Challenge. If you are interested in enrolling your young person in this programme, please apply through this link.

 

Posted on: 9th January 2018
Updated on: 15th January, 2019

The government has opened a consultation process on improving access to social housing for members of the Armed Forces community.

 

The result of discussions between the MOD’s Armed Force Covenant team, officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and other interested parties, the consultation outlines proposals for new statutory guidance for local authorities to help members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families, to gain access to social housing.

 

It is aimed primarily at local authorities, as well as members of the Armed Forces and Veterans and their respective spouses and partners, although other social housing providers and voluntary and community organisations representing tenants and members of the Armed Forces are also expected to have an interest.

 

Among the proposals are that newly-issued guidance would:

  • Bring together, update, and build on the existing statutory allocations guidance in relation to members of the Armed Forces issued in 2012 and 2013.
  • Make clear that local authorities are expected to disapply any local connection requirements from divorced or separated spouses or civil partners of Service personnel who are required to move out of accommodation provided by the MOD.
  • Set out how local authorities can ensure that members of the Armed Forces and Veterans suffering from mental ill health are given appropriate priority for social housing.
  • Set out how local authorities can identify applications from members of the Armed Forces and Veterans to ensure that they are considered appropriately.

 

These proposals relate to England only.

 

The consultation document can be found here, while responses can be supplied through this survey

or by emailing AllocationGuidance@communities.gov.uk

 

The consultation runs until March 8, and the views of individuals as well as groups are welcomed.

 

The Armed Force Covenant, created by the Armed Forces Act 2011, is a promise from the nation to those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, and those who have served in the past, and their families.

 

It states that they should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public services, and recognises that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have the given most such as the injured and bereaved.

 

Posted on: 10th January, 2019

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

 

Combat Stress Mental Health Helpline

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

The Royal British Legion

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

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

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

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

Royal Vavy Royal Marines Welfare (RNRMW)

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

The Samaritans

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

Please call:

  • UK – 116 123
  • Welsh Language Line – 0808 164 0123 (Not 24-Hour, please see link above)
  • Republic of Ireland – 116 123
Posted on: 10th December, 2018
Updated on: 20th December, 2018

We want to hear from you if you work for the NHS and you’re a spouse/partner of someone currently serving in the Royal Navy or Royal Marines or if you are a Veteran who has recently left the Service and moved into a role within the NHS. We are working with NHS Employers on a project to support and promote employment opportunities for spouses/partners and Service Leavers and we would like to share your story with others.

 

The NHS Step into Health programme connects the NHS to people from the Armed Forces community, by offering an access route into employment and career development opportunities. The NHS recognises the transferable skills and cultural values that members of the Armed Forces community have, and how they are compatible with those required within NHS roles, and are keen to promote the job opportunities that are open to you, especially in non-clinical roles that you may not have considered before.

 

As part of this programme, they are looking to engage with members of staff who have already made the move into the NHS to share their experiences and tips with others. If you are interested in sharing your story, please email jenny.ward@nff.org.uk for more information.

 

Posted on: 4th December, 2018

 

**** Update: It has now been extended for a further three years – until the end of 2022. Please visit this page for more information. ****

 

A government scheme to help military families buy their own homes has been extended until the end of 2019.

 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced yesterday (3rd December 2018) that the Forces Help to Buy initiative will remain open to new applications until 31st December 2019.

 

The scheme, established in April 2014, aims to address the low rate of home ownership in the Armed Forces by making it easier to take the first step onto the housing ladder, move to another property on assignment or make alterations to an existing home as family needs change.

 

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.

 

More than 16,000 applicants have benefited from the scheme so far.

 

Following the announcement of this extension, Mr Williamson said:

“Everyone dreams of owning their own home, and this hugely popular scheme has already helped thousands of Service personnel realise that dream.

“By extending the scheme by a further year I really hope we can help many more first-time buyers, families and married couples get a foot on the property ladder.’’

 

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

“We were absolutely delighted to hear about the extension to this popular scheme.

“Our research shows that there is a strong aspiration to be a home owner amongst Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families. Having this option offers families more choice about where they live. They may choose to be close to a spouse’s employment or to particular schools.”

 

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), which is the MOD’s housing pilot for serving personnel, visit here.

 

The Naval Families Federation welcomes your views on FHtB and FAM. Please do contact us.

 

Posted on: 4th December 2018
Updated on: 22nd October, 2019

The 2018 Covenant Annual Report was published today (21st November, 2018). The NFF was delighted to have the opportunity again this year to set out our Formal Observations on the report.

 

Anna Wright, CEO Naval Families Federation, said:

“The 2018 Covenant Annual Report has been published today and once again, the Naval Families Federation has provided our Formal Observations on the content, in conjunction with our colleagues in the Army and RAF Families Federations; these can be found from page 17. We can only do this because of the issues and concerns that you raise with us – by taking the time to share your experiences, you have given us the evidence we need to inform and influence current, and future, policies which will directly impact upon our Naval Service families, so a heartfelt thank you. We were delighted to see that the MOD also included a piece about our work with the Pompey’s Military Kids Cluster Group – this scheme is going from strength to strength and we would love to see it expanding even further next year.

 

“In his Introduction to the Report, Rt. Hon. Tobias Ellwood MP, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, stated that: ‘To provide effective support, we need to recognise the contribution that spouses, partners and children of Service Personnel make, and reflect this in policy making, so that a stable family life supports our Service Personnel to thrive.’

 

“We couldn’t agree more and look forward to working with him and his team in 2019 to achieve this.”

 

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: 21st November, 2018

*Update*: We are pleased that a tri-Families Federation research has helped to inform a new Holistic Transition Policy, announced by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on 1st November, 2019. Read more about this here.

 

The government have today released The Strategy for our Veterans, which sets out how they will seek to fulfill their vision “to see those who have served in the UK Armed Forces, and their families, transition smoothly back into civilian life and contribute fully to a society that understands and values what they have done and what they have to offer.”

 

The strategy calls for greater collaboration and coordination between organisations and charities that support veterans and their families. It identifies six key themes: community and relationships; employment skills and education, finance and debt, health and wellbeing; making a home in civilian society; veterans and the law.

 

Importantly for our families, it also stated that the MOD is introducing a new Defence Holistic transition policy, which will contain life skills material which will be made available to Service Personnel and their families throughout their time in the Armed Forces to help better prepare them for civilian life. It has also been announced that there will be a new Defence Transition Service to support those families with more complex transition needs.

 

This is the first time that families are being recognised as integral to the transition process when their Service person leaves the Armed Forces. It will provide more support and information in areas such as housing, finance, health and wellbeing. It also recognises the complex and nuanced needs of Foreign and Commonwealth families who chose to stay in the UK after they leave the Armed Forces and will provide tailored information to support them in the process of applying for and financing the cost of visas and other housing needs.

 

We look forward to working closely with the Royal Navy to see how this new Veterans Strategy and Defence Holistic Transition Policy will be implemented and how this will benefit our families.

 

Posted on: 14th November, 2018
Updated on: 20th January, 2020

In preparation for presenting evidence to the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) 2018, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) carried out a short online survey on pay. The survey was open for 4 weeks between early September and early October 2018. The survey was identical to that carried out in 2017, to allow comparison of the results.

 

Your Voice Heard

This year the response rate was lower than last year, with only 178 responses compared to 440 responses in 2017. A few factors may be relevant to the decline in response rate, e.g. this survey was carried out directly after the NFF’s major 2018 survey, which had a large response rate.

 

In 2017, 26% of respondents felt satisfied with their financial situation always or a lot of the time, compared to only 18% in 2018.

 

92 of you chose to provide us with invaluable free text feedback. Some of the most common topics are (in no particular order): the 2018 pay award, pensions, difficulties meeting living costs, the affordability of housing.

 

Over the past year, the proportion of spouses/partners increasing working hours or changing jobs to boost the household income has increased by 5%; there has been an increase of 12% in cutting back on holidays and leisure activities.

 

To read the results in full, please click here.

 

Posted on: 12th November, 2018