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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

10% Military Discount - Hair 2 You - Mobile Hairdresser

Mobile Hairdresser "Hair 2 You
Offers 10% Military Discount.
See Dawn in HIVE for Voucher/Card

Recruit for Spouses now has a Stafford Representative




Stafford now has a Recruit for Spouses Representative her name is Jane White.
Dawn has all the information.
Jane will be visiting the HIVE Wednesday mornings.
 If you would like to meet with her.

Mission
Recruit for Spouses has been created to strengthen the employment opportunities for spouses of British Military members around the world and to encourage employers to commit to hiring military spouses by connecting employers with a talented, global, diverse workforce.
See the latest job vacancies on the website: http://www.recruitforspouses.co.uk/ 
and the facebook page: Facebook

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Important changes to F&C Application for Entry to the UK

Notice from SO1 Engagement Armed Forces Covenant Team:

I am delighted to notify you that on 19 Mar 2018, following extensive MOD, Service Family Federation and Service charity consultation with the Home Office, a new on-line service for Foreign & Commonwealth Armed Forces personnel and their family members seeking entry to the UK was launched by Visa4UK, replacing the previous application process and paper form. As a result of this change, applicants will no longer have to pay the health surcharge and then submit a request for reimbursement.

This has replaced the previous application process and paper form. All new applicants should now submit their applications via Visa4UK 
www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/Account/login using the following options on the drop down menu :

Reason for visit: Settlement
Visa type: HM Forces
Visa sub type: (choose the correct category)

The new process applies to those applying for entry to the UK under the following routes, set out in Appendix Armed Forces of the Immigration Rules:
* A former member of HM Forces on discharge;
* A fiancé or proposed civil partner of a member of HM Forces;
* The partner or child of a member of HM Forces applying under Appendix Armed Forces;
* The partner or child of a foreign or Commonwealth member of HM Forces who is applying under Part 7 transitional arrangements;
* The partner or child of a British citizen member of HM Forces who is applying under Part 8 transitional arrangements;
* The bereaved partner or child of a member of HM forces applying under Appendix Armed Forces;
* A former Gurkha soldier who was discharged before 1997;
* The widow of a former Gurkha soldier who was discharged before 1997;
* The partner or child of a former Gurkha soldier discharged before 1997

Appendix Armed Forces can be found on Gov.UK atwww.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-armed-forces


Guidance on all the above immigration routes can be found on Gov.UK atwww.gov.uk/government/collections/armed-forces-modernised-guidance

AFF Celebrates Visa Success on Behalf of F&C Army Families



The Army Families Federation (AFF) is delighted that after five years of lobbying on their behalf, Foreign & Commonwealth (F&C) Army families should now find the process of applying for a visa to enter the UK much easier and fairer, thanks to the addition of an 'Armed Forces' option on the form.

Change needed
Since 2013, when the new Armed Forces immigration rules came into effect, all non-EEA family members of soldiers wishing to apply for a visa to enter the UK have had to use an online form.

Unfortunately, the form didn't have an option to apply as the spouse of a soldier, which created a number of problems.

Tackling unfair disadvantage
AFF has fought tirelessly for this to be changed and is pleased to learn that the form has now been updated to include an Armed Forces option.

AFF's Foreign & Commonwealth Specialist Katherine Houlston, who deals with Army families' visa related queries and concerns, said:

"This is a positive change for families and a great success for AFF. This should now mean less confusion over what type of visa applicants should select, which will lead to fewer rejected applications. Families should now find that completing the form is a much simpler process."

The charity, who last year dealt with over 2,000 F&C enquiries, 67 per cent of those relating to visas, says that the vital difference to families is that they will no longer have to pay the immigration health surcharge upfront and then wait months for a refund.

Find out more
All new visa applicants should now submit their applications via www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk.

To find more about AFF's work in support of F&C families, visit their brand new website, aff.org.uk.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Royal British Legion - Best Practice Guide - Support Service Children in School in England

Click HERE
to view and/or download the Guide
The Royal British Legion has produced a new best practice guide focusing on Service children in school. 
The guide looks at some of the big challenges facing Service children today and by sharing examples of good practice from across England (a separate Wales version will shortly be ready), recommends ways in which local authorities, schools and families themselves can improve the experience of Service children in education. Problems associated with admissions into schools and the adverse effects on a Service pupil’s wellbeing are explored, alongside information on the extra funding available to Service children through the Service Pupil Premium, Education Support Fund and more. Key recommendations include:
  • Encouraging schools to be creative with the use of funding available for Service pupils and share ideas and practice through networks of schools with Service children on the roll.
  • Suggesting that local authorities facilitate collaboration between schools, local military units, and local authority staff to ensure that everyone is aware of the challenges faced by Service children and what can be done to address them.
  • Encouraging Service families to make use of help available from the Ministry of Defence, Department of Education and charities and other organisations such as The Royal British Legion and the three families federations. 

Friday, 23 March 2018

Joint Service Housing Advice Office


JSHAO Housing Briefs


The MoD provides civilian housing information to members of the Armed Forces via the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO).  JSHAO is the MOD’s tri-service focal point providing Service personnel and their family members with pertinent information for those considering civilian accommodation at any time in their career, and for those during resettlement to assist with the transition to civilian life.  The bulk of this information is via a 2-2½ hr presentation with 1-1 consults available.



An Independent Financial Mortgage Adviser who is a member of SIIAP (Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel) which is recognised by the MOD as supporting the Armed Forces (refer 2013DIN01-218), accompanies JSHAO at the briefings.

 

Each JSHAO briefing is notified on all HIVE blogs regardless of location to ensure maximum coverage to the Service community.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

AFF Army Families Additional Needs Support Group Events



Army family focus for AFF additional needs events

The Army Families Federation (AFF) is pleased to announce a serious of additional needs support groups aimed at increasing Army families' wellbeing and confidence through increased support.

Supporting families
Thanks to funding from ABF, The Soldiers' Charity, these new groups will not only support and empower families who have children with additional needs and/or disability, but will also allow AFF to develop their understanding of what support is needed, and what gaps in provision families are experiencing.

Family focus
AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist Karen Ross explains: "We want to encourage families to come and meet others facing similar challenges to their own. We relish the opportunity to speak to families face-to-face in order to learn as much about the current issues as we can. What can we offer? A safe environment for families to come and share their ideas and experiences and hear about the latest information relevant to them."

AFF plans to use the information it gathers from families at these events to inform the MOD, service providers and other relevant charities of how services can be improved.

Find out more
Events will be held in Windsor, Aldergrove, Catterick and Colchester. For a full list of dates, visit the AFF website at https://aff.org.uk/Events/

For more information on these AFF events, families can contact the Health & Additional Needs Specialist directly on additionalneeds@aff.org.uk

Carillionamey: Online Furniture Request/Removal Form Now Available


Customers wishing to make a request for additional furniture or removal of Service furniture whilst they are living in their SFA can now download and complete a form online. 

For further details please visit http://housing.carillionamey.co.uk/advice-support/guides-and-resources/

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Money Saving Expert . Passport prices go up on 27 March 2018 - how to beat the hike

The price of applying for a passport is set to increase on Tuesday 27 March by £3 if you do it online and £12.50 if you do it by post – but there's a way to lock in today's cheaper price if you're due to renew right up until the end of 2018.


The Home Office is for the first time making it more expensive to apply by post rather than online, as postal applications cost more to process.


The price changes will come into force on Tuesday 27 March and apply to renewals and new passports (which includes if you've lost your old passport or changed your name).


Online applications will cost £75.50 for adults and £49 for children, while postal applications will be £85 for adults and £58.50 for children.


Here's a summary of how costs are changing, how long you need to have left on your passport to enter certain countries and how to renew your passport the cheapest way. See our Passport Renewal Tips guide for full help.

The Army Dependants' Trust

Click on image to enlarge

Royal Mail Stamp Increase 26th March 2018





Royal Mail has confirmed that a price increase for stamps will take effect from 26th March 2018. This increase will affect both first class and second class stamps.

The current price for a first class stamp is 65p and the price of these will increase by 2p to 67p. Alongside this, the current price for a second class stamp is 56p and this will also increase by 2p to 58p.

Royal Mail stated that they understand that it is hard for companies in the current economic environment and any changes to stamp prices have been considered carefully to help minimise the impact on customers.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Army Families Federation (AFF) Survey - The Impact of an Overseas Posting on Army Families


AFF survey explores the impact of an overseas posting on Army families

Has your Army family been posted overseas in the last three years? Have you returned to the UK after an overseas posting? The Army Families Federation (AFF) has released a new survey to help them to gain a better understanding of the impact of an overseas posting on Army families.

Share your experience
They want to hear about your family life overseas: what works well and where improvement is needed compared to Army life in the UK.

Their short survey asks families to consider whether they were able to make an informed choice about their posting before accepting it.

You'll have the opportunity to share your experiences of housing, education, healthcare, employment and welfare support for your posting, and all evidence gathered by the charity will inform their work with MOD and service providers to improve the overseas experience for families now and in the future.


Family feedback is vital
AFF UK & Overseas Director Collette Musgrave said: "Gathering current evidence from families is vital in making sure we can continue to highlight the issues affecting Army families to decision makers. It's a topic we've prioritised for some time now, and have already achieved some positive changes, such as an increase to overseas Disturbance Expense and the doubling of School Children's Visits to ensure families can stay connected across the miles."

AFF is asking families to share their biggest overseas challenges, as well as the positives of a posting abroad, so they can build a clearer picture of what families truly need. This includes once their posting is over and they return to the UK, which can bring its own set of challenges for many families.

Get involved
To help AFF gather much needed evidence to push for positive change, take their short survey at LINK TO SURVEY.

Find out more about the work of AFF overseas at www.aff.org.uk

The survey can be accessed here:  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/affoverseas

AFF FAM Survey Results


Earlier this year AFF asked families to send them their questions about the proposed
 Future Accommodation Model (FAM).

The results have now been published: CLICK HERE to read

Monday, 19 March 2018

New Bursary to get Veterans into Teaching

New government bursary of £40,000 available from September 2018 for ex-service personnel to retrain as teachers.

Toddle Tots in the Dixon Community Centre Every Monday



Friday, 16 March 2018

DDS: PAPA JOHNS Discount

 Defence Discount service welcome Papa John's Pizza to Defence Discount Service.


They are offering an amazing 25% off orders!

For all the terms and conditions please visit https://www.defencediscountservice.co.uk/offerdetails.php?cid=7380

DDS: New Starbucks Discount

Defence discount service are excited to announce their new partner Starbucks UK who are offering members of Defence Discount Service 10% discount on their bill* in store with their Defence Privilege Card.


To find out more, please log in to see their offer on our free mobile app or www.defencediscountservice.co.uk.
*Terms and conditions apply. See www.defencediscountservice.co.uk for details.

Defence Discount Services - Alton Towers Resort - NOW OPEN Save up to 49%

Save up to 49% off tickets at Alton Towers resort.
T&C apply
Click HERE for more details

Alton Towers park reopens on the 17th March 2018

SSAFA and Haven Holidays Offer


SSAFA have joined partnership with Haven to provide discounted holidays (5% during school holidays and 10% at other times) for Armed Forces personnel and their families. You can save up to an additional 5% when you travel over the school over and bank holidays, and up to 10% across all other dates in 2018.
T&C's apply

University of Wolverhampton Spanish Day/Courses








Students say ‘Hola’ to Spanish day


Free Subject Taster Sessions at University of Wolverhampton





https://www.wlv.ac.uk/about-us/university-of-wolverhampton-in-stafford/tasters-and-events/free-taster-sessions/

An Introduction to Pensions for Serving Personnel





See the Army Transition Information Sheet on PENSIONS at this link



Staffordshire Police Fraud Alert: False Telephone Preference Service (TPS) Calls






Your latest Smart Alert.
We have been made aware of reports where fraudsters are cold-calling victims, falsely stating that they are calling from one of the well-known UK telecommunication service providers. They call victims claiming to provide a 'Telephone Preference Service' - an enhanced call-barring service, which includes barring international call centres.

The fraudsters ask victims to confirm/provide their bank account details, informing them that there is a one-off charge for the service. Victims instead see monthly debits deducted from their accounts, which they have not authorised. The fraudsters often target elderly victims.

In all instances, direct debits are set up without following proper procedure. The victim is not sent written confirmation of the direct debit instruction, which is supposed to be sent within three days.
On occasions when victims attempted to call back, the telephone number provided by the fraudster was either unable to be reached or the victim's direct debit cancellation request was refused.
Protect yourself:

  • There is only one Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The TPS is the only official UK 'do-not-call' register for opting out of live telesales calls. It is FREE to sign-up to the register. TPS never charge for registration. You can register for this service at http://www.tpsonline.org.uk.
  • You will receive postal confirmation of genuine direct debits. If you notice unauthorised payments leaving your account, you should contact your bank promptly.
  • Always be wary of providing personal information, or confirming that personal information the caller already claims to hold is correct. Always be certain that you know who you are talking to. If in doubt, hang up immediately.
  • If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Childcare Vouchers Scheme Extended for a Further Six Months


The government has agreed to delay the closure of the workplace childcare voucher system for six months.
Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education and member of Parliament (MP) for East Hampshire, confirmed at the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday 13 March 2018) that the April deadline for the abolition of employer-supported childcare vouchers would be extended for a further six months.
The removal of workplace childcare vouchers is to make way for the government’s tax-free childcare scheme, which was introduced from April 2017. The tax-free childcare policy will provide parents with children under the age of 12 up to £2,000 a year per child to help cover childcare costs.

Tickets for Troops: Frequently asked Questions


  • How Many Tickets Can I Order?
  • Can My Family Attend An Event If I Am Not There?
  • I Need To Cancel An Event Which I Have Booked, What Do I Do?
  • What Will Happen If I Do Not Attend An Event And I Have Not Cancelled With The TFT Office?
  • Why Are We Only Offering Tickets To Veterans Injured Since 2001?
  • How Do I Update My Personal Details?
  • Why Do We Have To Pay A Booking Fee?
  • What Do I Do If I Require Accessible Seating Or Disabled Access?
  • My Tickets Haven't Arrived In The Post, What Do I Do?
  • Why Can I Only Win One Ballot Every Year?
  • Will I Be Notified If I Have Not Been Successful In A Ballot?
  • Where Will My Seats Be?
  • Do I Have To Wear My Uniform To The Events?
  • Is There A Tickets For Troops Mailing List?


The answer to all these questions can be found HERE

Carillionamey: Dealing with Damp and Mould


Thursday, 15 March 2018

Career Transition Partnership - Employment Bulletin - March 2018


To see the latest employment bulletin
please click HERE

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Service Family Hot Topics - March 18 Edition





See the Mar 18 edition of the Service Families Hot Topics newsletter at this link

TV Licence Fee Rising in April 2018



The cost of a TV Licence will change on 1 April 2018. A colour licence will cost £150.50, an increase of £3.50 on the current fee. A black and white licence will cost £50.50, an increase of £1.

There will be no change to the free TV Licence for people over 75.

If you are blind (severely sight impaired), you will still be able to apply for a 50% concession. This means a colour licence costs £75.25, an increase of £1.75.

For further information CLICK HERE