Friday, 28 July 2017

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Armed Forces Covenant survey

The Armed Forces Covenant website has now been live for over a year and is being updated continually but to ensure the content meets the user's needs, we are currently hosting a customer survey - the feedback will help us improve the website's content. The survey will run until 31 July and can be accessed via the front page, https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk   

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Veterans Mental Health - Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service


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Extended Childcare Entitlement - Overseas Locations

EXTENDED FREE CHILDCARE ENTITLEMENT IN OVERSEAS LOCATIONS
BACKGROUND
1. In overseas locations the MOD provides services (or access to services) that, so far as is reasonably practicable, conform in type, scope and standard to that required by legislation in England (but paying due regard to the equivalent legislation in the Devolved Administrations).
2. The 2006 Childcare Act provided for 15 hours of childcare per week for 38 weeks of the year for 3 and 4 year olds free of charge. In overseas locations the MOD currently delivers this entitlement through places at MOD-provided settings or through access to the MOD Overseas Nursery Allowance.
3. The 2016 Childcare Act provides for an extension of the current entitlement and offers an additional 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year of free childcare for children that are eligible, with effect from 1 September 2017.
4. The additional 15 hours will be available to families where both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family) a minimum of 16 hours each per week. Parents each earning £100,000.00 or more do not qualify for the additional entitlement.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

DIO Customer Survey


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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Veterans' Housing Advice


Shell Shock Military Community Mental Health Project Now On Tour



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Information about the Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme


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An Introduction to Tax Free Childcare - replacing Child Care Vouchers

Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare will be available to millions of working families across the UK, and over time it will replace childcare vouchers, which will close to new entrants from April 2018. Voucher schemes remain open to existing members. Eligible parents with children under 12 (under 17 for disabled children) will be able to set up an online childcare account to pay their childcare providers directly. For every £8 parents pay in, the Government will add £2, up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 per child, per year (£4,000 per year for disabled children).

To qualify, parents must be in work, this includes self-employment, and each expected to work a minimum of 16 hours per week and earn no more than £100,000 per year. Using the Childcare Checker, parents will be able to find out which providers have signed up in their area. The scheme will gradually become available to different age groups from 28 April 2017 with all eligible parents being able to access the scheme by the end of 2017. Parents who have registered with the ‘keep me updated’ tool will be notified when they become eligible. Childcare providers have a pivotal role in Tax-Free Childcare. They need to sign up so that parents can use Tax-Free Childcare to pay them; thousands have already done so.

To find out more about the new and existing offers, including the introduction of 30 Hours free childcare from September 2017 for eligible working parents and how they can help you, go to the Childcare Choices website at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk where you will find the childcare calculator www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator to help you compare the government’s childcare offers and check what works best for your family. MOD personnel based within the United Kingdom will have the same access to these new Childcare Choices as any other citizen, in line with the Armed Forces Covenant.

Since 2013 the Ministry of Defence has been working closely with other government departments to ensure that these changes to childcare choices can be mirrored, so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, for entitled MOD personnel based outside the United Kingdom. Full details of the required changes or additions to MOD policies will be published shortly, once the changes have been published on the Government’s Childcare Choices webpage. Alternatively, email: DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.uk for further information.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Npower launches its most competitive tariff for ‘Everyday Heroes’

Today, npower launches ‘Everyday Heroes Fix’, a new tariff exclusively for employees of the emergency services, NHS and Armed Forces, who hold either Blue Light Card or Defence Discount Service memberships. The tariff is on average npower’s most competitive deal* and fixes energy prices until December 2018, offering these everyday heroes a great deal on their energy and protects them from price rises until the end of next year.

The tariff is exclusively available to Blue Light Card or Defence Discount Service members, regardless of whether they are a new or existing npower customer, pay by Direct Debit or on receipt of bill, as long as they manage their account online. The npower offer is available by logging on to bluelightcard.co.uk or defencediscountservice.co.uk.

Anne Chappell Smith, Head of Partnerships at npower, said: “Our new Everyday Heroes Fix is a first-of-its-kind tariff which has been created to give our best price to the nation’s unsung heroes. We wanted to come up with a great product for military personnel, law enforcement officers, firefighters, ministry of defence and healthcare providers to recognise their special contributions to our community.

“Should they wish to choose our most competitive tariff, these everyday heroes will benefit from a fix deal, greater price certainty and security to help plan and budget their energy costs over the course of the next 18 months.”

Tom Dalby, Head of Defence Discount Service said “We are extremely pleased that npower is recognising our everyday heroes.  Those in the Emergency Services, NHS and Armed Forces work hard for our communities and within our communities and it is great that npower, as an energy provider, are recognising what these wonderful people do.”

Blue Light Card provides discounts for the UK’s Emergency Services, NHS and Armed Forces both online and on the high street.  Defence Discount Service is the official Ministry of Defence discount service providing discounts online and on the high street for the UK’s Armed Forces Community, including Veterans.

For more information please contact the consumer npower press office on:

0845 070 2807

CarillionAmey Are You Moving Out??



Do you need help getting your SFA up to move out standard?
Consider our Walk Away Scheme, information on what we do and what you need to do before booking is available on our website. You can book the service with your Accommodation Officer at the Pre-Move Out appointment or through our website HERE

Free Attractions in London




Make the most of your stay in the city with these free London attractions.
From London's exquisite parks, to world-class museums such as the Natural History Museum, historic houses, stunning art galleries and free activities for kids, there are some amazing free experiences to be had in London.
The range of free London attractions is incredible.
Where else in the world can you meet dinosaurs and creepy crawlies, see portraits of Tudor monarchs, travel back to the Battle of Britain, see Darwin's walking stick and the Lord Mayor's 18th-century gold coach, all without spending a penny?
For a full list please visit Visit London

THE VETERANS WELFARE SERVICE


The Veterans Welfare Service is part of the Ministry of Defence’s Veterans UK support function and provides one to one welfare advice across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

It facilitates access to all appropriate services using a caseworker approach that offers professional help and guidance.
A new guide to the Veterans Welfare Service has been produced by Veterans UK.
To read the guide online,

NHS Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service


Click HERE for more information

CarillionAmey Message - Mail Redirection On Move-Out Of SFA


When Moving Out of your Service Family Accommodation please make sure that you have arranged to redirect your mail. 

The Post Office offers a redirection service at:

Recruit for Spouses

Click HERE for more information

CarillionAmey - Black Ant Handy Guide


Black ants can be found in your garden. They can invade our homes for a variety of reasons and cause plenty of problems if you don’t know how to control them. CarillionAmey have written up a handy guide for you to advise of treatment and prevention should you find an ant infestation: HERE

New Veterans Gateway Website

New Veterans Gateway website is now up and running.

It  is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is made up of a consortium or organisations and Armed Forces Charities including The Royal British Legion, SSAFA - the Armed Forces charity, Poppyscotland, Combat Stress and Connect Assist.

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

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

Friday, 7 July 2017

AFF secures better access to student loans for Army spouses and partners

The Army Families Federation (AFF) is celebrating a change to Student Finance England's loan qualifying criteria, which will allow more Army families to access a loan when undertaking a UK based course.

As of 1 August 2017, families posted overseas who wish to undertake a qualifying UK based university or college course can now access a loan via Student Finance England even if they are not in the UK on the first day of their chosen course. This applies to both full and part time courses.

An AFF win
This AFF win was originally announced by the Universities Minister Jo Johnson back in 2016, after much lobbying by the charity and joint working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The change applies to new students starting a distance learning course in 2017/18 and also to those who have already started a distance learning course before and who are continuing that course in 2017/18.

Unfortunately, this does not apply to those from the devolved nations. To be eligible, you must qualify for the English student support package.

Putting families first
AFF continues to prioritise spousal employment and training, and this includes those posted overseas who sometimes cannot work and so choose to undertake a course during that time.
AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade said: "AFF is delighted that the new, more inclusive student funding rules have now come into force; Armed Forces families who are posted abroad will now have access to the same opportunities as those living in the UK, when accessing Student Finance England loans. We look forward to seeing the positive impact on military spouses this change will bring."  
Find out more
For more information about the work AFF does in support of Army families, visit their website www.aff.org.uk 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

AFF achieves housing success on behalf of Army families

The Army Families Federation (AFF) is celebrating a success for those living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) who have recently faced unfair increases to their accommodation charge.

Many families contacted AFF to say their rental charge or final charge had unexpectedly increased by an unreasonable amount without proper notice and without a chance to appeal.

Fighting for families
On behalf of these families, AFF approached housing organisations Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and CarillionAmey (CA) to push for a fair outcome in accordance with the original guidelines of the CAAS system. The original guidelines stated that rental increases would be implemented on a transitional basis and that any changes to the final charge as a result of a survey or data review would be able to be appealed within a contracted time scale.

AFF has now announced that DIO has agreed to investigate where properties have jumped by two or more rental bands - some families told the charity they had received a letter to say their rent would jump by three bands.

A new letter will now be sent to affected families advising of the planned increase and offering them 28 days to appeal the decision. Any subsequent increase will then only be enforced 93 days after the date of receipt of the letter, unless the appeal is successful.

Families' feedback vital
AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade said, "This has been a long and complicated issue, but we have fought on behalf of the families affected to achieve a fairer deal including protection from large jumps in rental charges, as promised to families when the new accommodation charge was first introduced. It is thanks to families' feedback that we've been able to approach DIO confidently and achieve a positive result."

To find out more about the housing support and advice AFF offers to Army families, visit their website www.aff.org.uk

Service Families Accommodation

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​See information from DIO about Service Families Accommodation in these video links