We have been informed that the Thetford HASC is without power. Telephone and IT systems are down. The issue is a major incident in the area; the fault is being investigated as a priority but there is no reported fix time at this stage. We will keep you informed of progress.
Sending Christmas Cheer
TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and Father Christmas joined Service personnel to launch the uk4u Thanks! Christmas Box campaign. The charity is sending more than 18,500 Christmas boxes full of festive cheer to Service personnel across the world, who are hard at work away from their loved ones. Click here for details, including a video.
Scottish Independence Referendum: Guidance for Personnel Wishing to Vote
The referendum on Scottish independence will be held on 18 September 2014. Click here for guidance about electoral registration and voting. In broad terms, the key factor determining whether Service personnel can vote is whether they are registered to vote in Scotland. It does not depend on origins, a sense of identity, or association with a unit traditionally regarded as Scottish.
Living & Working Fair: Worcester
For all Service leavers, Veterans, serving personnel and their spouses. A great chance to meet local and regional employers, who are looking to employ well motivated Service leavers. Thursday 5 December, 10:30 – 15:00. At Dancox House (214 Bty TAC), Pheasant Street, Worcester, WR1 2EE. Visit the CTP website for further information.
Transition to a Single Warrant Officer Rate
From April 2014, the Royal Navy (with the exception of the Royal Marines) will start the transition to a single Warrant Officer (WO) rate. This means that the current WO1 rate will become the only WO rate at the end of the transition. Existing WO2s will remain eligible for promotion to WO1 and continue to function in their roles as WO2 until selected for promotion, they reach their retirement age, or apply for release. Click here for details.
Standard Learning Credits Scheme: Extended to Reserve Personnel
The “Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued” White Paper made a commitment to allow certain Reserve personnel to claim Standard Learning Credits from 1 April 2014. Extending the scheme will encourage Reservists to enhance their educational and vocational achievements to the mutual benefit of Defence, the individual and their employer. Click here for details.
Members of the public are being asked to show their support for our troops through Service charities at Christmas, rather than overloading the British Forces Post Office with unsolicited mail to Afghanistan. Click here for details.
Last Posting Dates for Christmas
Click here for guidance on posting letters, worldwide parcels, letters to Santa Claus, and mail to BFPO addresses.
Mail to HMS ILLUSTRIOUS
There is a free mail service running for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS whilst it is on Operations in the Philippians. Mail should be addressed to ‘OP PATWIN, BFPO 305’. Click here for guidance on addressing mail. The last date for Christmas parcels is 28 November.
HMS ILLUSTRIOUS Families: Meet And Greets
Naval Personal Family Services (Community Resource Team) are holding ‘Meet and Greet’ evenings for families of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS Ships Company on the following dates, all running from 18:00 – 20:00. There is no need to book; head over for a cup of tea, mince pie and a chat. Children are welcome and arts and crafts will be available. For further details contact NPFS(CRT): 023 9254 5900.
Monday 2 December - Cockleshell Community Centre, Henderson Road, Eastney
Tuesday 3 December - Ranvilles Community Centre, Oldbury Way, Fareham
Wednesday 4 December - Phoenix Community Centre, Salerno Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth
Thursday 5 December - Crossley Community Centre, Rowner, Gosport
New Twitter Service for Family Accommodation
A new Twitter hashtag has been set up for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) residents. Those with Twitter accounts can search for #MODSFA for the latest news and information about SFA, as well as handy hints and tips and useful reminders. This is an extension to the DIO Twitter account launched earlier this year.
Click here to read the latest e-update from the NFF. It provides a short, snappy roundup of news and information of interest to families. It cherry picks information from various sources and brings it all together on one neat little page. To join the mailing list e-mail:
New Winter Homeport: Out Now
Click here to read our latest magazine, which is packed full of news and information. Highlights include an update on the Armed Forces Covenant and a look at our Covenant Co-ordinators’ activity, and a review of the way the Royal Navy delivers welfare and support. E-mail:
to join the mailing list. The magazine can also be read as a PDF: click here (it may take a moment to load).
Revised Terms of Service on the Introduction of Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2015: Naval Service Offer to Extend Career/Commission
Click here for an update on the Future Armed Forces Pension Scheme; the AFPS 15. Some personnel serving on certain commissions and engagements may not complete the length of Service necessary to achieve the new Early Departure Payment (EDP) point being introduced.
Work has been undertaken on changes to commissions/engagements with the aim that all those affected can be offered an extension of career to allow them to reach the new EDP point. The message from the Chief of Naval Personnel and Training and Second Sea Lord explains how this offer will be made.
Have you Registered your Child for the Service Pupil Premium?
Service personnel with children in State Schools in England have until 16 January 2014 to notify schools of their children’s eligibility for the Service Pupil Premium. The Premium is part of the Armed Forces Covenant; it provides extra funding to help schools support the unique challenges children with parents in the Armed Forces can often face. The Premium is currently £300 per Service child. Click here for details (scroll down to the information on the Service Pupil Premium).
Helicopters Begin Delivery of Aid to Remote Philippine Islands
Helicopters from HMS ILLUSTRIOUS have begun to deliver aid, personnel and equipment to small Philippine islands devastated by the typhoon. Click here for details.
HMS ILLUSTRIOUS Sails off on Aid Mission to Philippines
(25/11/2013) Packed with half the rice in Singapore, HMS ILLUSTRIOUS is now steaming as fast as she can towards the carnage left by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Click for details.
HMS DARING Provides Shelter Kits for Families in Need in the Philippines
(20/11/2013) Further Philippine islands devastated by Typhoon Haiyan have been reached by the Royal Navy, and humanitarian aid distributed among desperate villagers. Click for details.
HMS DARING Loads Humanitarian Aid in Philippines
(17/11/2013) HMS DARING has loaded her stores with lifesaving humanitarian aid, and is on her way to Philippine islands that have been without help since Typhoon Haiyan struck. Click for details.
HASC Christmas Closures
The Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) telephone lines will close at 12:00 on Thursday 19 December, reopening at 08:30 on 6 January 2014. Move In and Move Out appointments will also not be available during this period. The maintenance helpdesks will remain open for the duration of the Christmas period.
HASC Temporary Telephone Line Closures: November/December
On Friday 13 December the telephone lines for teams 1, 3, 4 and 8 will be closed between 10:30 and 14:00 whilst staff attend a briefing.
On Wednesday 18 December the telephone lines for teams 2, 5, 6 and 7 will be closed between 12:00 and 15:00 whilst staff attend a briefing.
Results: Armed Forces Families Underemployment and Overseas Employment Survey
In July and August 2013, the Families Federations, in collaboration with the MOD, ran an online survey of the partners of Service personnel. The survey focused on UK and overseas employment and underemployment i.e. taking jobs that do not fully utilise existing skills and experience. Thank you to those who took the time to respond to the survey. We are keen to now let you know the highlights of the results and what we are going to do with the feedback. Click here for details.
DIO Home Front Newsletter
Click here to read the latest edition of the Home front newsletter, produced for those living in Service Family Accommodation. It is published by the accommodation providers, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), each edition contains useful information and updates.
Military Spouse Recruitment Agency Wins Prime Minister's Big Society Award
Recruit for Spouses, a recruitment agency which helps military partners maintain their careers, is the latest winner of a Big Society Award. The initiative, founded by a military spouse, has been recognised by the Prime Minister for its work finding rewarding employment for military spouses within organisations who might otherwise overlook this group. Click here for details.
New Employment Model: Second Phase of Consultation with Service Personnel
A second phase of consultation with Service personnel on the New Employment Model (NEM) has launched. A targeted survey will be issued to 16,000 pre-selected personnel, made up of a representative sample of Officers and Other Ranks across the three Services. E-mails with a link to the survey will be issued during the week commencing 11 November; hard copies will arrive during the week commencing 18 November. Click here for details.
Beware ‘Pension Liberators’
There are companies in Civvy Street, known as Pension Liberators, which operate schemes promising to release pension and lump sum benefits early. Some unscrupulous ones prey on unsuspecting individuals, using persuasive arguments and the promise of ready cash. Lieutenant Commander David Marsh, Pensions Secretary of the Forces Pension Society, takes a look at the legality of such schemes, together with the cost of making the decision to take the money and run. Click here to read the article.
Community Covenant Grant Scheme: Opportunities for Funding for Local Projects
The Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme funds local projects that bring together the civilian and Armed Forces communities. The closing date for the next round of bids is January 2014. Click here for detais and for guidance on putting together a bid.
Poppy Appeal Single
A new girl group, The Poppy Girls, have recorded the official Poppy Appeal single for 2013. 'The Call (No need to say Goodbye)' is available to purchase now. The Poppy Girls - Megan, Florence, Alice, Bethany and Charlotte – all have Dads serving in the Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force. The group was formed following a worldwide search within the Armed Forces community. Click here for details.
Celebrating 10 Years of Supporting Naval Service Families
On the 3rd of November we celebrated our 10th anniversary. The celebration was an opportunity to mark the milestone and also thank all those who have supported the NFF over the years.
The evening reception was attended by more than 200 families, personnel and stakeholders, including the newly appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Anna Soubry MP.
Click here to read our press release.
New Powers to Test for Drugs and Alcohol Introduced
New powers have been introduced to test Service personnel for alcohol or drugs should a Commanding Officer have reasonable cause to believe that a person under their command is unfit to undertake safety-critical duties. These new powers are based broadly on the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, which allows testing for alcohol and drugs in the civilian maritime and aviation industries, but which does not cover the range of safety-critical duties undertaken by the Armed Forces. Personnel should see 2013DIN01-212 on the Defence Intranet for full details.
Prime Minister Launches Armed Forces Corporate Covenant
The Prime Minister has formally launched (29 October 2013) the new Armed Forces Corporate Covenant - a voluntary pledge from organisations who wish to demonstrate their concrete support for the Armed Forces community. The NFF attended the launch at 10 Downing Street and spoke directly to the Prime Minster and senior personnel. Click here for details.
Prime Minister Announces £9.2 Million of Funds Awarded to Armed Forces Charities
The Prime Minister hosted (29 October) the first of what will be an annual Armed Forces charities reception at 10 Downing Street. At the event he announced funding awards for 23 charities - totalling £9.2 million - and welcomed representatives from the first 50 companies to sign up to the Government’s Armed Forces Corporate Covenant.
Since the Chancellor announced in October 2012 that £35 million of funds from fines imposed on the banking industry would be used to benefit the Armed Forces community, £13.5 million has been awarded to military charities. By announcing a further £9.2 million, the Prime Minister has taken the funds to be shared between 72 charities to £22.7 million. Click here for details.
MOD £3M Support Fund for Schools
Applications are now being accepted for the MOD’s £3 Million Support Fund for schools. Bids are welcomed from UK State Schools, Free Schools, Academies and Local Authorities, to fund projects to help schools mitigate the effects of mobility and deployment within the Armed Forces community. The bidding round closes at noon on 19 December. Service parents are encouraged to engage with their child’s head-teacher to ensure they are aware of this Fund. Click here for more information.