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NFF News

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

HALO survey

The Helping Armed Forces Loved Ones Survey (the ‘HALO’ survey) aims to better understand the needs and experiences of people who are worried about the mental health of a loved one who services or has served in the Armed Forces.

 

The second wave of the study is now underway. This part of the study focuses on mood swings.

 

If this sounds like something that may be relevant to you, please take 10 minutes or so to complete the confidential online survey. Upon completion, you can opt in to enter into a prize draw to win one of 5 Amazon gift vouchers (worth up to £50). The survey is here.

 

 

Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds

The HALO survey is part of a bigger HALO study that gives you the option to seek support directly from Help for Heroes ‘Hidden Wounds’ programmes. ‘Hidden Wounds’ can help if you are worried about the mental health of a family member, partner or loved one serving in the Armed Forces. It can help you, too, if you are worried about the effect of their mental health on your own wellbeing. To find out more visit the website and use the contact form or email.

 

HALO social media

Facebook

Twitter

 

Posted on: 5th November, 2018
Updated on: 30th January, 2019

A two-year tri-Federation project comes to fruition today (Thursday 1st November) with the publication of a report into transition. This report, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), has revealed that more awareness about the demands of transition is needed for families of Service leavers.

 

The report contains a list of recommendations including the need for:

  • A shift in culture (for policy makers, service providers, Service leavers and families themselves), which better appreciates the breadth of transition and the need to engage with it from an earlier point in a Service leaver’s career.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of advance planning.
  • An education piece to cover transition entitlement and processes.
  • Tailoring support to families’ specific needs.

 

The report, the first to specifically look at the lived experience of Service families, reveals the complex nature of transition and affirms the six ‘elements’ of transition: housing, health, education and children, employment, finances and wellbeing.

 

It also highlights the need for further research to better understand specific cohorts of families such as Foreign & Commonwealth, those whose Service leaver is being medically discharged and the challenges faced by Service children.

 

Anna Wright, CEO Naval Families Federation, said:

“The unique nature of Naval Service life is reflected by the ‘can do’ attitude of our families. However, it doesn’t automatically follow that all Naval Service families find the transition process to be without challenge. This report provides those in decision making roles with an insightful and honest bank of information to help support their thinking and consider the needs of Naval Service families when reviewing or updating appropriate policies.

“We are hugely grateful to all the families who took part in the research, offering their time and

sharing their ‘lived experience’ to inform this report.”

 

Sara Baade, Chief Executive, Army Families Federation said:

“The Army Families Federation is very grateful to FiMT for the opportunity to conduct much-needed research showing more needs to be done to support those going through transition out of the military. This work strengthens existing evidence in this area and the report’s recommendations are invaluable in supporting the case for improved resources and services that families can use to ensure their transition is successful, whatever their make-up. This key evidence also supports the Veterans’ Strategy announced by the Defence Secretary earlier this year; those transitioning out of the Forces are the veterans of tomorrow, and ensuring families overcome the many challenges transition can pose goes some way to ensuring a successful civilian life.”

 

Graeme Spark, Acting Director, RAF FF said:

“We have been delighted to have been part of this project – understanding completely the need for a holistic approach to transition to best support RAF families now and in the future. We now look forward to helping deliver where we can some of its recommendations.”

 

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said:

“The process of transition is not solely about the Service personnel, it affects the entire family unit. What has become clear, from the library of research funded by FiMT, is that the earlier planning for leaving the Armed Forces starts, the more successful and sustainable is the transition.

“The recommendations within this report highlight the need to do more to ensure that the families of Service personnel are given the support required to successfully navigate the transition pathway.”

 

You can read the full report here. Please contact us if you would like to obtain a hard copy.

 

If you have an experience of transition that you’d like to share or have any questions or concerns, contact: transition@nff.org.uk.

 

Posted on: 1st November, 2018
Updated on: 14th November, 2018

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

The Ministry of Defence has produced a guide to expenses and allowances for Serving personnel and the support families could receive.

 

This booklet, accessible here, holds a wealth of information to help both regular and reserve members of all three Services to better understand some of the most common expenses, allowances and other provisions that are available.

 

Introducing the categories of entitlements, explaining the common terminologies, and the claiming process, it can also signpost you to the correct departments and appropriate chapters in JSP 752 (primary authority). You can also find a FAQ in form of scenarios that are most commonly experienced by our Serving people.

 

Please note that this document is for guidance only, do always refer to JSP 752 and contact your Unit HRs.

 

Posted on: 19th September, 2018

Reading Force is a shared reading initiative for Service families. The charity provides free books and scrapbooks to Service children of all ages, in order to support and encourage Armed Forces families with shared reading both at home or when separated.

 

Through this programme, participating families experience the following benefits:
• Maintaining good contact with a parent when they are away from home;
• Increased contact with extended family, especially grandparents;
• Improved communication within the whole family;
• More fathers get involved with their children’s reading;
• A sense of community and affirmed identity.

 

Please see this brochure to find out more about their causes, and use this link to sign up for your copy.

 

Posted on: 6th September, 2018
Updated on: 21st June, 2019