Army&You Autumn 2018

Page 1

&You Autumn 2018

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}



What packing up for a posting can mean for your family’s healthcare FAMILY


Meet the inspirational youngster who battled a brain tumour


Pamper yourself with a sensational spa break

Wives’ lives through a lens Photographer Wendy puts Service spouses in the spotlight

‘IT’S PERFECT – YOU CAN LITERALLY LEARN ANYTIME’ Mum-of-three Sophie sings the praises of Forces-friendly social media course


Buying a new home now even easier


By using Trinity you could buy a brand new Bovis Home with just a 5% deposit - while saving yourself stress and hidden costs.

With Trinity you can combine these fantastic standalone schemes: Bovis Homes Armed Forces All Inclusive Discount* – £500 off for every £25K of your new home’s price, plus free curtains, flooring† – and £500 towards legal fees!

es e rc siv Fo clu ex

Are you in the market for a new home and looking for the best purchase package out there for Armed Forces personnel?

Bovis Homes has developments throughout England, including a number that are close to major military bases, where we have a range of homes from 2 to 6 bedroom properties in attractive locations.

For further information about the schemes and where we are building, please go to – The Armed Forces purchase scheme is listed within the ‘Need help to Move’ section and you can find the nearest development to you through our ‘search for a new home’

Help to Buy Equity* – get a Government equity loan of 20% of your new home’s price and pay just a 5% deposit!

It’s the winning combination to unlock the door to your dream home!

*The Bovis Homes Armed Forces Discount Scheme has specific terms and conditions. Help to Buy Equity Loan has specific terms and conditions and are subject to affordability criteria as prescribed by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Ministry of Defence. Armed Forces Help to Buy scheme is currently unavailable and under review by the MoD. Please check with the appropriate administrator within the relevant service. †Bovis Homes specify the curtains, carpets and flooring offered within the scheme. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or promotions. Please ask your sales advisor for further information. Photograph shown depicts a typical Bovis Homes interior. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY OTHER DEBT SECURED ON IT.


Army&You {for everyone with a soldier in their life}

EDITOR Charlotte Eadie DEPUTY EDITOR Lisa Youd // 01264 382314 Army&You, IDL 414, Floor 1, Zone 6, Ramillies Building, Marlborough Lines, Monxton Road, Andover SP11 8HJ AFF UK CENTRAL OFFICE 01264 382324 // REGIONAL MANAGER SOUTH 07824 534345 //

A healthy issue

HAMPSHIRE 07527 492803 // WILTSHIRE 07527 492783 // SOUTH WEST 07787 301826 // SOUTH EAST 07974 970696 // LONDON 07901 778948 // REGIONAL MANAGER NORTH & CENTRAL 07824 534357 // NORTH EAST 07557 977141 // NORTH WEST 07733 147001 // WEST MIDLANDS 07557 977290 // EAST MIDLANDS 07587 456280 // EAST ANGLIA 07527 492807 // REGIONAL MANAGER SCOTLAND, WALES & NI

07585 333115 // SCOTLAND 07780 093115 // WALES 07527 492868 // NORTHERN IRELAND 07729 159013 // AFF OVERSEAS 0044 (0)7795 596568 //

CANADA KENYA BRUNEI GERMANY 0049 (0)1525 7435450 // GUTERSLOH 0049 (0)176 254 85 762 //


PADERBORN 0049 (0)1520 744 9741 // CYPRUS (00357) 2596 2289 //




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PUBLISHER Army&You is published quarterly by TylerBale Communications on behalf of the Army Families Federation (AFF). Editorial content © AFF. Not to be reproduced without permission

COMPETITIONS To enter, visit One entry per household per giveaway. Full T&Cs on the website. Closing date is 7 October 2018.

AFF Army Families Federation is a charitable incorporated organisation registered in England and Wales with registered charity number 1176393 and a charity registered in Scotland with registered charity number SC048282 having its principal office at

ADVERTISEMENTS For information about advertising opportunities in Army&You, contact the team at TylerBale Communications. Email: Tel: 01252 714870 Web:


autumn 2018 Army&You 03

Post generously sponsored by the Forces in Mind Trust



families (page 23) and our Young Generation pages (54-55) have some great stories from the younger members of the military community. 35 If you’d like to take part in any of our regular features, we would love to hear from you. Share your story of Army life by emailing And finally, if you’re in 33 need of a bit of pampering, enter our reader giveaway and you could win a spa break at the luxurious Ragdale Hall (pages 62-63).

Post generously sponsored by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity;




HERE is likely to be a time as an Army family when you need the support of a health provider, but if you’re newlyposted to a community 18 or stationed overseas, it can be hard to know who to turn to. This autumn’s health focus has a range of articles to help, from Let’s talk about health (pages 16-17) to Dental dilemmas (page 31) and our Overseas health special (pages 26-28). Army families come in all shapes and sizes and this quarter we take a look at fostering (page 24) and adoption (pages 46-47), hearing from two couples who have shared their inspirational stories with us. Our cover star is photographer and Army spouse Wendy Faux, whose latest exhibition celebrates the diversity and talent of military @ArmyandYou


Queen Victoria School Raising to Distinction Admissions Deadline 15 Jan each year Queen Victoria School in Dunblane is a co-educational boarding school for the children of UK Armed Forces personnel who are Scottish, or who have served in Scotland or who have been members of a Scottish regiment. The QVS experience encourages and develops well-rounded, confident individuals in an environment of stability and continuity. The main entry point is into Primary 7 and all places are fully funded for tuition and boarding by the Ministry of Defence. Families are welcome to find out more by contacting Admissions on +44 (0) 131 310 2927 to arrange a visit.

Queen Victoria School Dunblane Perthshire FK15 0JY

Contents AUTUMN 2018

21 Honing The Hub Forces friends create a wonderful workspace 35 Building Resilience Focusing on Service children's mental health 46 Our Army Family Introducing Sally DawsonCouper and her wife Zoe 48 Adaptations Advice Our top tips on moving for those with additional needs 50 Rebasing Round-up The latest news for Army families returning to the UK 55 Forces Fight Club In the ring at the characterbuilding kids' boxing club


16 Let's Talk About Health The medical matters posed by military postings 18 Lyla's Journey Meet the inspirational girl who battled a brain tumour 24 Fostering In The Forces Discover why fostering can fit fantastically with Army life 26 Your Health Overseas Posted abroad? Here's our guide to medical care 31 Dental Dilemmas Talking teeth with our Health & Additional Needs Specialist 52 The Face Of AFF The team helping Forces families overseas


06 Our Specialists Find out what AFF’s team have been up to this quarter 09 A Word From... Sara Baade, AFF’s Chief Executive 10 AFF In Action Discover the latest news affecting Army families 34 Book Club Young readers give their verdict on Brightstorm 62 Giveaways Win a sumptuous spa break and much more 65 Postbag Got a question about Army life? Get it answered here


WIVES' LIVES IN FOCUS Photographer Wendy Faux, whose latest exhibition celebrates the diversity of Service spouses


&You Autumn 2018

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}



What packing up for a posting can mean for your family’s healthcare FAMILY


Meet the inspirational youngster who battled a brain tumour


Pamper yourself with a sensational spa break

Wives’ lives through a lens Photographer Wendy puts Service spouses in the spotlight

‘IT’S PERFECT – YOU CAN LITERALLY LEARN ANYTIME’ Mum-of-three Sophie sings the praises of Forces-friendly social media course


Image: Jim Gallagher


Open Morning Saturday 22nd September 9.30am-12.00pm Register at

Boarding discount for HM Forces




autumn 2018 Army&You 05


Our specialists

Our team provides families with trusted, expert knowledge and here we find out what they’ve been up to over the last few months. Turn to page three to get in touch. Laura Lewin

Katherine Houlston

Cat Calder

Jilly Carrell

Karen Ross

Kate McCullough

Employment, Training, Allowances & Money

Foreign & Commonwealth


Education & Childcare

Health & Additional Needs


Under previous benefit rules, serving personnel living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) were unable to claim housing benefit to help with their housing costs as they were treated as Crown Tenants. This was an issue that AFF believed was disadvantaging Service families and we have previously highlighted it at a high level. We’re delighted to share that this is no longer the case with the new Universal Credit (UC) system, meaning that any Service person living in SFA may now include their housing costs within their UC claim. To find out more, visit or use the free benefit calculator ( to work out what you are entitled to claim.

We’ve been having great success getting visa corrections for families who were given the wrong visa on entry to the UK from an overseas assignment. It appears that quite a few families were not given Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE), even though they were entitled to it. If you were posted back to the UK prior to December 2013 and your soldier had already served for five years, you would have been entitled to ILE. If you were posted after December 2013 and you had a four-year visa which had expired, you may also be eligible for ILE. You are advised to contact us via with copies of visas if you would like further information.

AFF is very conscious that it is still unable to bring you any definite news on the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) and the FAM pilot. Just to reassure you, there’s a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes in multiple areas and, as AFF Housing Specialist, I attend as many meetings as possible to ensure that the needs of families are at the forefront of all decisions. As soon as we know anything concrete we will let you know – look out for updates on social media @The_AFF. In the meantime, if you have any concerns about FAM, please continue to feed back to us by email at

Over the last few months I’ve been struck by the number of families who have been in touch about the Service Pupil Premium. It’s been around for a while now, but the way schools choose to spend the money varies. We’re trying to make families more aware of its existence and how best to use it. AFF recognises that it is not always a straightforward process if you’re moving around frequently and that schools/teachers often need guidance on the kind of things it can be used for. If you would like to share your experience, we’d love you to get in touch. Email me at

At the beginning of this year, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity generously provided us with funds to run additional needs support groups for families in Catterick, Colchester, Northern Ireland and Windsor. The groups have been well attended and well received and we’re now running one in Didcot instead of Windsor, where there appeared to be a greater need. As part of the ABF funding, I will also be organising a seminar for professionals this autumn on additional needs and disability. If you would like to attend one of the additional needs support groups or need some support, visit the additional needs web pages at

Our work on the tri-Service Families in Transition final report has begun in earnest. The transition liaisons from the other families federations and I are drawing our research together and we’re getting a sense of what we’ll include in our conclusions and recommendations. We will be submitting the report to the Forces in Mind Trust at the beginning of October and I’ll make our findings available on the AFF website later in the year. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about other families’ experiences of resettlement and the insights in the report are helpful as you think about your own situation when your soldier leaves the Army.

What issue do I want to see resolved this year?

What issue do I want to see resolved this year?

What issue do I want to see resolved this year?

What issue do I want to see resolved this year?

What issue do I want to see resolved this year?

What issue do I want to see resolved this year?

Removal of disadvantage from higher-rate Stamp Duty Land Tax policy by allowing Service families to nominate a property as main residence

Removal of the minimum income requirement to bring families to the UK

Removal of the need for a local connection for separating spouses in social housing allocation policies

More understanding from schools about the challenges Service children face

Ensuring issues with orthodontic waiting lists and transferring ongoing treatment are resolved

Publication of the MOD’s transition policy to give units clearer direction in preparing Service families for civilian life

06 Army&You autumn 2018



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LUXURY SELF-CATERING CORNISH HOLIDAY COTTAGES WITH PANORAMIC SEA VIEWS Secluded location with panoramic sea views and great coastal walks. Set in the tranquil parish of St Gennys, Crackington Haven, North Cornwall, this converted granite barn consists of two luxury wellequipped self-catering holiday cottages which have recently been refurbished to a very high standard and can accommodate between 4 and 6 people (or be booked together for 10 people). Local beaches can be found at Crackington Haven, Widemouth Bay and Bude which provide good surf along with both sandy stretches and rock pools. Well behaved dogs are welcome. We offer a 10% discount to readers of Army&You—just mention it on your enquiry email. autumn 2018 Army&You 07



The Duke of York’s Royal Military School DOVER • KENT

“Looking forward with confidence, looking back with pride.”

Our co-educational state boarding school for students aged 11 to 18 is located on a beautiful 150-acre site and welcomes applications from military and non-military families.

Please contact our Registrar on:

T: +44 (0) 1304 245073 E:



Information, consultation & consideration by Sara Baade, Army Families Federation Chief Executive


N A very useful meeting with Tobias Elwood, the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, we discussed the different policies that are currently being developed by the MOD under the ‘people programme’ – important policies that have the potential to completely change the way you, as military families, live and engage with the Army.

My message to the Minister and the MOD was therefore really clear; inform, consult and consider families!

Change can be good and much needed at times, but I strongly believe that it needs to happen in a measured and realistic way if it’s going to be successful. I raised many of my concerns with the Minister and the MOD, including how we go about this change and how we engage with those most affected. There are some very well-documented strategies for successful change management. A key focus for all of them is effective communication and consultation, to ensure the people affected are on board. While this is fairly well-recognised strategy, it is also where I flag my concerns regarding the current policies under development. More and more of you approach us here at AFF with feelings of being unconsidered,

uninformed and uninvolved. Many of you feel that policies are being delivered without understanding how you live.

I often hear families arguing that it does not really matter what they think or say because all that policy makers care about is budgets. Whether this is a true perception or not is almost irrelevant. It’s important to acknowledge that this is the feeling amongst many of you at the moment. My message to the Minister and the MOD was therefore really clear; inform, consult and consider families! This is not the first time I have asked for this, but I feel that the message is starting to hit home and we have been told that more and better timed communication is

Contact AFF @The_AFF on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or via

on its way. I look forward to seeing details of how families are going to be consulted and considered in future policies.

Until we see real change we will continue to campaign for better information, consultation and consideration. If you need support with your Army life, AFF has specialists and local co-ordinators available to help you – visit our website at for details. &

autumn 2018 Army&You 09

AFF in action #Onetowatch WhatsApp woes

AFF’s North East Co-ordinator Caroline Cossens meets Nepalese families at a local coffee morning

#Didyouknow? Local support Our AFF co-ordinators are always out and about at various events and coffee mornings. To find out what they have in the diary, keep an eye on our social

#AFFwin Working in Kenya After several years of reporting spouses’ frustrations at the limited employment opportunities in BATUK, AFF is pleased that Army command has clarified the rules relating to spousal employment and confirmed that spouses can continue to

#AFFwin Fair rate for all AFF has been working hard to secure a fairer deal for families posted to Scotland affected by the new Scottish rate of income tax. The good news is that your soldier

10 Army&You autumn 2018

media pages for the latest updates. If you’re hosting an event or local coffee morning and would like AFF to come along, why not get in touch and send us an invite? For details of your local AFF co-ordinator, visit

work for a UK company under certain conditions. This reflects modern ways of working and expands employment opportunities for many spouses to work remotely as long as there are no offices within Kenya and no business-related interaction with anyone in the country. Want to know more? Talk to us at

will now be compensated with an annual payment to ensure that wherever you’re posted, you’ll pay the same income tax as elsewhere in the UK. The measures will protect nearly three quarters of personnel liable for Scottish Income Tax and will be reviewed annually.

AFF’s recent work/life balance survey highlighted that families feel social media app WhatsApp can have a negative effect on Army family life. Despite the MOD's

‘no WhatsApp’ policy, it is clear the app is being used extensively as a way of reaching soldiers out-of-hours on personal mobiles. Following this feedback, AFF is writing a brief to the chain of command on the impact of this popular means of communication on family life. Look out for more details in the coming months.

#Goodtoknow Regional support To better reflect the work they undertake, two of our regional manager job titles have been amended. Covering the devolved nations, Annabel Ingram (above left) will now be known as Regional Manager Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Covering England will be Sarah

#AFFinvestigates Overseas survey results AFF ran a survey in March this year to discover more about your current experiences of an overseas posting. Overall, your most positive aspect was the opportunity to travel and

#Goodtoknow New process Following AFF feedback, changes to the way you report housing faults in Kenya have been implemented. If you experience a housing fault, you should now report it online via

Gilbody (above centre), Regional Manager North & Central, and Julie Mounfield (above right), Regional Manager South, whose area of coverage remains the same. To contact any of our regional managers, go to

have new experiences, with the most challenging part being separation from your family and friends. 78 per cent of you said that you would undertake another overseas posting – however, lack of employment opportunities was a key issue. Look out for more details on the outcome of this survey on the AFF website soon.

For emergency faults, advice or assistance, call the helpdesk on +254 (0) 704 086 041 – a paper form is also available via the helpdesk if required. The online form allows you to include more information when reporting a fault, including your availability, and means you’ll receive status updates on any repair work and the chance to give feedback on your experience.


Y O U TA K E C A R E O F U S . W E TA K E C A R E O F Y O U . T O G E T H E R W E G O F U R T H ER. C U R R E N T O R F O R M E R M I L I TA R Y P E R S O N N E L C A N S A V E U P T O 2 0%* O N A N E W F O R D .



C U S T O M E R S AV I N G .

TO FIND OUT MORE, VISIT FORD.CO.UK/MILITARYSALES Official fuel consumption figures in mpg (l/100km) for the Ford Kuga ST-Line range: urban 30.1-57.6 (9.4- 4.9), extra urban 44.8- 67.3 (6.3- 4.2), combined 37.7-64.2 (7.5 - 4.4). Official CO2 emissions 173-115g/km. The mpg figures quoted are sourced from official EU-regulated test results (EU Directive and Regulation 692/2008), are provided for comparability purposes and may not reflect your actual driving experience. *Military Saving programme available to current and ex-Service Personnel. Including veterans and retired members of the UK Armed Forces. Customer savings of 4% to 20% off the Recommended On The Road price available across the Ford range (excluding KA+ and Focus RS) on vehicles contracted between 26th January 2018 and 31st December 2018 and registered between 26th January 2018 and 30th June 2019. Retail customers only. This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with other manufacturer promotions or incentives. At participating Ford dealers – for terms and conditions, including the eligibility criteria, eligible models and customer savings visit:


Meeting the minister AFF Chief Exec Sara Baade has taken a number of your issues to the defence minister. With everything from the latest on the Future Accommodation Model and the new housing maintenance contract to foreign and Commonwealth issues on the agenda, we are doing all we

#AFFwin Police vetting overseas For those seeking employment and volunteer opportunities on your return to the UK, the Police Certificate service for soldiers and entitled family members has been extended to include all overseas locations. The service can be carried out by the Spec

can to ensure families’ concerns are heard and understood at the very highest levels. Housing remains a high priority with significant changes on the horizon, and we are working hard to give you a voice at every stage of the process, including via social media using Facebook Live for the first time with great success. Watch this space for more opportunities to share your thoughts and ask questions.

Ops RMP Service Police Crime Bureau. Following a recent trend in employers requesting Certificates of Good Conduct or an equivalent, AFF has also amended its guidance on who may need this document to include anyone who has lived outside the UK for a continuous period of more than six months in the last five years. Visit uk and search ‘CGC’ for updates.

Image: Romrodinka


#Onthecase Flybe cancels service AFF has been contacted by a number of families affected by the recent cancellation of Flybe’s unaccompanied minor service – a huge blow to families wishing to fly their children overseas during boarding school holidays. The change means that children aged 16 and under can no longer travel with Flybe without an adult. Flybe is the latest airline to cease this service, with British Airways and Virgin having already done so. AFF’s Germany team has seen a significant increase in enquiries on this issue, and has

#AFFwin Supportability success

Come and discover what makes us different and why our children are achieving suberb outcomes in so many areas. Set in a stunning location in the South West, close to Bath, Frome and Bruton, All Hallows is a truly independent day and boarding school welcoming boys and girls aged 3 to 13. Call Jackie on 01749 811609 for more information or to arrange to visit. We look forward to meeting you! 12 Army&You autumn 2018

AFF’s co-ordinator for European Joint Support Unit locations, Vic Porter, has seen a number of complex cases relating to the

#Onthecase Child maintenance issues AFF has seen an increase in enquiries from personnel having difficulty setting up

worked closely with the chain of command to develop a way forward. The good news is that parents now have the option to travel with their children to and from home if they wish to. Col Andy Thorne, HQ BFG, said: “We constantly monitor all aspects of Army life in Germany and strive to ensure that we are not disadvantaged by our service overseas. We are really pleased with the pragmatic view of Army HQ and DSCOM that now allows parents the maximum choice of how our children can travel to and from home.” Please continue to get in touch and share your concerns – email our Education Specialist, Jilly at

supportability of families’ health needs overseas. In response, she has facilitated local health forums at town halls, with the chain of command attending to answer questions. If you have a concern you’d like to raise with Vic, contact her at

new payments via the Child Maintenance Service. We’ve raised this with the Department for Work and Pensions, which is looking into it. Having issues? Contact our specialist Laura on @ArmyandYou

PROTECT YOUR FAMILY’S FUTURE FOR FREE Introducing The Royal British Legion’s FREE Will Writing service Keeping an up-to-date Will is the only way to take care of your family if you’re no longer there. It is The Royal British Legion’s pleasure to help members of the Service community do this by offering you a FREE Will Writing service. You do not have to include the Legion in your Will to use this service but if you do decide to leave a legacy to the Legion you’ll be playing a crucial role in protecting those in need within the Armed Forces community. Even a small portion of your Estate could help us provide everything from home adaptations for an injured veteran like Mark Stonelake to specialist dementia care in one of our award-winning Legion Care Homes. Once you have provided for your loved ones, please consider helping us to be there for members of the Armed Forces family who need us.

Find out more or request a copy of our Will Guide at Contact the Legion’s legacy manager at or call 020 3207 2253

“It’s a huge comfort to know the Legion’s support will never stop.” Mark Stonelake, who lost his left leg following an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion in Afghanistan.

Choose from up to six independent family solicitors based in your area.


Image: Abigail Buxton



News in brief 1 TREATS FOR TROOPS



AS AN Army wife of 22 years, Charlotte Park has experienced her husband away on tour many times. She started sending him boxes of goodies plus essential items as a mid-tour treat. It was during her husband’s deployment with 2 SCOTS in Afghanistan in 2015, that Charlotte came up with the idea of Treats For Troops On Tour to send boxes to soldiers who might otherwise not receive any mail. She said: “I appealed to the local community to help send a few welfare parcels and to my amazement it grew. I have some great donations for the boxes from companies in Scotland. “We don’t just send to Scottish regiments, we have also sent out treats to the Royal Irish, 2 YORKS, and soldiers in Estonia and Somalia.” You can find more information on Charlotte’s Facebook page, Treats For Troops On Tour.

SHEFFIELD Mind is offering counselling to the relatives of serving personnel after being awarded three years of funding from the MOD’s Covenant Fund. The charity will offer a variety of talking therapies to adult relatives – parents, siblings and partners living in South Yorkshire – affected by their relative serving in the Forces. CEO Margaret Lewis said: “Keeping Families in Mind will provide counselling for a variety of practical and emotional issues that have been caused, or made worse, by the connection with military life. For example, a parent may be experiencing severe anxiety about their son or daughter being on active service, a partner may be experiencing isolation, or they may have got into debt.” Details of Keeping Families in Mind are at and you can find out about the MOD Covenant Fund at

IF YOU are an Armed Forces family posted to Scotland, you can now access a dedicated website to help you make informed choices about your child’s schooling and education. forceschildrenseducation. provides support and information to Forces parents, veterans and educators and has been developed to improve the educational outcomes for Forces children in Scotland. It aims to help parents understand the Scottish education system and enables you to search for primary and secondary schools in specific locations, by Service (Army, RAF or Royal Navy) and base. Find out about the Getting It Right For Every Child approach in Scotland, as well as information on the country’s school admissions system. It lists resources and organisations available to

14 Army&You autumn 2018

support you if you are moving with children to Scotland, as well as detailing what provision exists for youngsters with additional needs. There’s also guidance and teaching materials for education professionals, including videos featuring Forces children talking about their experiences of moving to Scotland, to help educators recognise and respond to the unique challenges that Forces children and young people face. Carolyn MacLeod, national transition officer for Scotland for children and young people of Armed Forces families in Scottish schools, said: “It’s important that families are equipped with quality information to understand Scotland’s unique system so that transitions between national education systems are as smooth as possible.” @ArmyandYou





IF YOU would like to talk to somebody about mental health, the Military Mental Health Helpline is open 24/7 and can be reached on 0800 323 4444. It was opened earlier this year and is operated by the charity Combat Stress, running in conjunction with the charity’s veterans’ helpline. Last year there were more than 10,000 calls made to Combat Stress’ veterans’ helpline and in the past ten years the number of personnel with mental health problems has risen. The service is targeted at both military personnel and families – allowing you to access the help, advice and support you need anywhere, anytime.

CLOSED Facebook group The Army Parents’ Network aims to support and connect serving Army parents and the chain of command by providing information, advice and support. The page covers topics such as maternity and pregnancy, paternity, shared parental leave, childcare, family and adoption as well as giving policy updates and acting as a forum for individuals to ask questions to other members. The group is for serving Army personnel only and individuals will need to apply to join. If you are a serving parent and interested in becoming a member, search for The Army Parents’ Network on Facebook or email

THE Army has recently reinstated its transition pages on the website. Packed with useful factsheets on various aspects of transition, including immigration, finances and housing, the webpage also includes a new general factsheet on the Covenant, which could be relevant to lots of us. Go to the transition to civilian life pages to see the full details of what’s available.

A NEW website dedicated to UK Armed Forces charities has gone live. The Forces in Mind Trustfunded online directory has information, statistics, infographics and unique research on hundreds of charities serving thousands of Service people. The website is for policy makers, researchers, media, governments and charities – or anyone with an interest in Armed Forces charities. Users can search for information on more than 1,600 charities and associated branches, with each charity having its own regularlyupdated record. You can access the website at

Day, Weekly, Flexi and Full Boarding Co-educational • 3–13 years

Forces discounts available Associated with Malvern College

For more information, please contact Katherine Cox, Registrar 01684 544108

autumn 2018 Army&You 15

Let’s talk about health When you pack up for a posting, it’s not just friends you leave behind but other people in the community you have come to know and trust. Finding a new babysitter or hairdresser can wait; the priority for many Army families is to track down a new doctor and dentist. Jill Misson tells us more…


LTHOUGH your soldier can see a GP at the nearest military medical centre, spouses and children in the UK often have to use local NHS services. You can start your research online before moving, but you can’t register until you have a new home address and you can’t be registered with two GP practices at the same time. Karen Ross, AFF’s Health Specialist, said: “We are looking at whether Army families could refer to a GP early, but the way funding works makes it unlikely.” Your medical records should be transferred within a reasonable timeframe, although the process

16 Army&You autumn 2018

may not be as straightforward if you move from a Defence Primary Health Care (DPHC) medical centre to a civilian GP, as Army spouse Joanne Rush discovered: “My medical notes vanished. This worries me as we are due to move again and having had surgery for an ovarian tumour, I need further scans and operations.” This is a fundamental problem, according to Dr Jonathan Leach, a Worcestershire GP who served in the Army for 25 years and now chairs the Armed Forces Clinical Reference Group. He said: “Most NHS GP surgeries use the same cloud-based computer system, so they can easily transfer your

“If a member of an Army family is on an NHS waiting list, the Covenant states that they should retain their place”

notes without delay. “However, it isn’t possible to transfer notes electronically from a military medical centre into the NHS. We are trying to find new ways to improve the service.” Dr Leach advised patients to take steps to help themselves: “Be pro-active by requesting a paper copy of your notes or ask for a summary print-out to give to your new GP.” When Becky Renouf moved to Andover at 35 weeks pregnant, she had to accept the only local healthcare available. She said: “There is a huge patient list at the GP practice, so the average wait for an appointment is three weeks. @ArmyandYou

FEATURE OVERSEAS ACCESS Hazel Dobson and her sons

“We were due a dental checkup, but had to wait five months. I feel like NHS providers couldn’t care less and don’t make any exceptions.” In 2015 the NHS constitution was updated in line with the Armed Forces Covenant to include the core principle that serving personnel, veterans and their families are ‘not disadvantaged in accessing healthcare services in the area where they reside’. However, there is no entitlement to preferential treatment over the local population. “Families can sometimes misinterpret the power of the Covenant,” said Karen Ross.

“It is only a commitment, not legislation, and while it can be helpful it doesn’t really take into account constant moves or the variation in provision in different parts of the UK and in the devolved administrations.”

WAITING LISTS Frequent postings can be difficult for Army children with ongoing health needs. Pippa Lehrle, who has two sons with autism, said: “We have asked to remain in our current location so that my boys can continue with their education set-up and medical assessments and my youngest doesn’t lose his psychiatrist.

“I fought tooth and nail and it’s a postcode lottery, so it would be soul-destroying to move.” If a member of an Army family is on an NHS waiting list, the Covenant states that they should retain their place rather than going to the back of the queue when posted to a new area. Hazel Dobson’s nine-year-old son needs surgery on his eyes. She said: “Rory was on a waiting list when we moved so I was keen to register him with a new GP to get his place transferred. I mentioned the Covenant, but the receptionist told me it only applies to soldiers not their children, which is wrong.” An e-learning programme has been developed by NHS England with guidance from AFF to give healthcare professionals a better understanding of Service life. In Northern Ireland there’s a stance of equal provision, so waiting list time accrued elsewhere is often not considered and some procedures are not provided on the NHS. One Army spouse told AFF that her physical and mental health suffered because she could not have a particular operation and the only resolution was for the family to be posted back to England.

For soldiers posted outside of the UK there’s comprehensive information about healthcare available in each country, but AFF is working with the Army to make it more accessible to families. Children at boarding school should be registered with a local NHS GP and dentist, but can be temporary patients when going home for the holidays. AFF’s Regional Manager Overseas Esther Thomas said: “The best advice is to carry a copy of your notes as not all systems are joined up, but medical and dental care – whether offered by DPHC direct or via Healix – is generally good and we receive relatively few complaints.” Drusilla Gillen has been posted overseas for the last eight years. She said: “The healthcare differs dramatically from place to place. In Naples, the clinic was as good if not better than any NHS facility. “In Penang we can visit a local GP and excellent hospitals, but everything must be cleared past Healix. The red tape can be frustrating, but I have never found them to be unhelpful or unfeeling. I now need treatment for osteoarthritis in my knees and have no choice but to return to the UK for the operation.”

AFF HELP If you experience difficulties accessing healthcare, raising your concerns with AFF could provide answers for you and benefit others, as Karen Ross explained: “Through the evidence we collect we can assess where there may be issues and speak to organisations to discuss how to resolve problems and improve services.” &


Find at GP or dentist at FIND YOUR LOCAL HIVE autumn 2018 Army&You 17

Lyla’s journey Army life can be tough at the best of times, but how do you cope as a family if your child is sick with a serious illness? Soldier Paul O’Donovan and his wife Kirsty are doing just that with their five-year-old daughter Lyla, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour more than two years ago. Now, they want to raise awareness and encourage other families to seek help…


HE O’Donovans set up a Facebook page, Lyla’s Journey, posting updates and heart-warming videos of their brave little girl laughing and dancing. “It’s all about letting people know how we’ve dealt with it and how we can help them,” explained Paul. “Lyla loves

18 Army&You autumn 2018

singing so we filmed her and put it on YouTube. “When she saw herself she was over the moon. Then we started the page and the comments came flooding in – I’d say to her ‘look Lyla, these people want to tell you how brave you are’. I’m not her dad anymore; I’m more like an agent!

“We’ve had messages from people who are going through the same thing asking us how we’ve coped.”

WHERE IT BEGAN Paul and Kirsty were stationed in Germany along with their other children when Lyla first became ill at around a year old. “She would be sick and then she’d be fine,” said Paul. “The German hospital tested for cystic fibrosis, lactose intolerance, everything – except a brain tumour. “I’m not blaming anyone, but when we look back we often ask why no one picked up on it. As a parent, if you know that there’s something wrong don’t just accept it.” By the time they were posted to Devon, Lyla’s symptoms had worsened with headaches and dizziness. After being repeatedly told by doctors that it was something viral, Kirsty eventually went to A&E in Barnstaple. “Even then the tests showed that there was nothing wrong, but they kept her in to be on the safe side,” added Paul. “A locum doctor told Kirsty it was important to listen to a mother’s

instinct and sent Lyla for an MRI scan in Bristol. “She had the scan the next day and I stayed at home with our other children. “Then Kirsty rang me in bits. It was one of those unreal moments in your life – it can’t happen, she’s too young, and you think there’s no cure. “I was with the 6 Rifles Reserve unit, so the closest welfare support was 5 Rifles in Bulford. I phoned a colour sergeant there and told him that I didn’t know what to do. “First and foremost, he stopped me from flapping. I phoned my mam in Hartlepool and she came down to look after our other children.”

FIRST STEPS Lyla needed an emergency operation. The doctors were amazed that she was even walking and talking because of the pressure on her brain. They drained the fluid then gave her steroids to try to reduce the size of the tumour. “We were told to go home for a couple of weeks so in that time we’d planned to do lots of @ArmyandYou

SPOTLIGHT fun things together – in the back of our minds we knew those memories could turn out to be really important,” said Paul. “But it didn’t work out like that as the steroids made Lyla angry and violent – it was so hard.” The consultant was certain that the tumour was too big to remove completely, but they would try to de-bulk it to reduce the pressure. Lyla’s chances of surviving the operation were just 50 per cent and the odds of coming through it the same child were even worse. “He had to tell us the risks but it was horrendous,” added Paul. “On the morning of the operation putting Lyla to sleep was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. She was in theatre for 15 hours, which felt like months.” When the surgeon came in after the operation, Paul remembers fearing the worst – but, incredibly, they’d managed to remove the entire tumour. Although Lyla would temporarily lose feeling in her left side, she didn’t need a blood transfusion or a tracheotomy – it was miracle after miracle.

“It was then a case of learning how to do everything again on her own,” said Paul. “She couldn’t walk and she forgot who people were. “She didn’t know her sisters but over time she went from strength to strength, she just wouldn’t give in.”

MAKING PROGRESS Lyla’s recovery has been turbulent but she’s more than proved her fighting spirit. She contracted meningitis, pulled through and she underwent repeated operations in Bristol. At this point the family were in Chivenor with the Royal Marines and received good support from the welfare officer. But to complicate matters, Paul was due another posting.

“I initially asked to stay in the south west so Lyla could continue her treatment, but the Army advised me to return up north where we had family support so we were posted to Durham and housed in Newcastle,” he explained. “The move caused some problems because things got missed. The investigation into Lyla’s seizures was restarted and the hospital repeated tests. But now we’re in the right place and we’re buying our own home.” Lyla will need another operation at some point, but in the meantime the family are doing their best to keep up her morale and highlight her progress to the world via Facebook. Paul has continued working with his Reserve unit in the north east, which has been very supportive. “Most exercises run over weekends so the longest I’m away is a few nights and I can only do the local ones – I still have to give something back,” he said. “The Army has given me time and that’s the main thing. Civvy employers would

not have offered that – you may have to take sick leave and then not get paid. No one has ever accused me of taking the mick and I’ve been able to take time for appointments – that’s been really good for us.”

WHAT’S NEXT? Paul admits to having one eye on the near future as he is currently one year into a twoyear posting. “There are only four hospitals in the UK that can treat Lyla so I’ve filled in the AGAI 108 form to tell the Army that we have a daughter with special needs,” he said. “We just have to wait and see what happens next.” Paul’s advice to anyone in a similar situation is to take the help that’s offered and not to bottle things up ‘because you’re a soldier’. He added: “The Army has a good support network and then there are organisations like AFF, SSAFA and RBL that can help you and the whole family.” Follow Lyla’s story on Facebook at LylasJourney1 & autumn 2018 Army&You 19

Polly plays the glad game Polly Charnley is on a mission to collect 100 stories of good coming out of bad by the end of 2018, while raising money for the Samaritans and Action for Happiness. She’s set up the BeGlad Movement and is keen for Army families to get involved…


OLLY was named after the book and film Pollyanna in which the little girl plays ‘the glad game’, looking for positives whenever she is presented David O’Mahoney was enjoying his career in the Army when he was hit by a taxi. His life was saved, but giving up the career he loved was devastating. During his recovery he was introduced to ‘gratitude journaling’ – writing down things for which you’re grateful. It had a massive impact on his life, and he now delivers workshops and speeches to veterans.

with negatives. Army spouse Polly grew up with her mum encouraging her to play the glad game every time anything went wrong in her life; listing everything she was grateful for

and lucky to have. It stopped any downward thought spirals and it’s a strategy that’s served Polly well over the years, so she wanted to bring it to a wider audience.

Through this project Polly has already met some inspiring people with a Forces connection who have managed to bring the best out of a bad situation...

Mark Ormrod was on a routine foot patrol in Afghanistan when he stood on and detonated an improvised explosive device, resulting in him losing both legs above the knee and his right arm above the elbow. Rather than wallow in self-pity about what happened, Mark decided to look at it as a chance for reinvention and used his military skills to dominate his injuries.

Sian Woodland was tragically bereaved when her fiancé Paul drowned during a training exercise six years ago. Along with the help of friends and family, Sian has campaigned tirelessly to raise money for various military charities; the jewel in the crown being Woody’s Lodge, a safe place for veterans to chill out, take part in various activities and access support.

From the age of 12, Jamal Abassi dreamed of becoming a Royal Marine and began training after serving as a Para Reservist while at university. Unfortunately, he was back batched due to a knee injury, which meant he could not continue. His mentor encouraged him to utilise what he’d already learnt, inspiring him on to further study and a meaningful career.

If you have a story you’d like to share, take a look at – it doesn’t have to be related to the military, just an example of when things seemed bleak but turned out for the best. You can also follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @begladmovement

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20 Army&You autumn 2018

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Co-workers hone the hub A

GROUP of friends in Scotland were all struggling with the same work and training challenges and didn’t want to let their talents to go to waste, so they set up the Leuchars Station CoWorking Hub. “We wanted to provide an office on the base that non-serving members of the Armed Forces community could use as a place to work from,” explained Army spouse Sarah Stone (pictured bottom right). “It’s a professional environment where members can feel safe, supported and able to unlock their talents. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any qualifications or skills, we’ll help you get them.”

SEPARATE SPACE Other than being on a base, the hub is nothing to do with the military. “There’s so much about our lives which revolves around the military that we wanted to create a place where spouses like us can work, start a business, find jobs and be encouraged to fulfil their dreams. We’ve worked hard to make it feel as welcoming as possible,” said Sarah. Staff at Leuchars Station have been supportive, offering a building to use and helping to furnish it. Since opening a year ago, the response has been fantastic. One spouse said: “I base myself at the hub most days.

It’s a great opportunity for me to escape the dining table at home. “The hub allows me to benefit from the flexible working practice combined with the daily interaction of a traditional workplace.” Sarah added: “Everyone who uses the hub says it’s helped them make friends and reduced loneliness and isolation. Just being together and sharing networks and resources has been hugely powerful.”

BUILDING BRIDGES The hub has also been helping to open doors with local communities and employers that find it difficult to engage with the military community. “We’re members of the Scottish Federation of Small Businesses, Fife Chamber of Commerce and the St Andrews Business Club and we’ve found those relationships

invaluable. It helps build links between the military and civilian population,” said Sarah.


FUTURE PLANS Sarah’s dream is to open a hub in every military base: “How amazing would it be if you knew that when you moved, there would be an office where you could go to work and a professional, local network that you could tap into that would help you find a job or clients for your business? “We want to turn military bases into places that are full of entrepreneurs, with a thriving freelance skills pool which local businesses and employers can tap into.” Follow Leuchars Station CoWorking Hub at facebook. com/ leuchars coworking &

Sarah is our autumn Community Champion and wins a tablet courtesy of DXC Technology

CELEBRATE YOUR COMMUNITY CHAMPION Do you have a person who works hard to improve Army family life in your area? To nominate them for this award, email with ‘Community Champion’ in the subject line and a summary – no more than 300 words – of why you think they should win. The winner’s story will be published in Army&You and we’ll share the others on

autumn 2018 Army&You 21

TEACHER’S TRIBUTE TO THE FALLEN FINE artist Sam Bailey has created a lasting legacy to fallen British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her drawings of Servicemen and women have been brought together in two projects – The Mighty 456 and The Illustrious 181, raising money for The Royal British Legion and Soldiers in Mind. “After watching the Invictus Games I felt like I wanted to make a difference,” said Sam. “The moment you start writing all 456 names it has more relevance, and when you start putting faces to names, it becomes real [and] personal.” Sam works full-time as a teacher in Northampton and also runs The Regimental Art Company, founded by her and her then-

partner Alex. She used her art to aid his recovery from depression after being discharged from the Army on medical grounds. “Fusilier Samuel Flint was my first drawing and his mother was the first family member to get in touch,” Sam explained. “Naively I hadn’t thought anyone would be interested, so it was a very moving experience when she made contact. I turned his portrait into a memory box for her and had it delivered on what would have been his 25th birthday. “I drew for around 20 hours a day every day for 12 weeks in order to meet the publishing deadline. At times I thought I couldn’t continue, but messages of support from the friends and family of the fallen kept me going.

To think that an ordinary person like me has made a difference to others has been the most humbling feeling.” The Illustrious 181 is near completion and updates on Sam’s work are on Facebook. “I try to show the process of

completing them as I believe it’s magical,” she said. “I start with a blank sheet of paper and then you start to see them appear with their sparkling eyes and cheeky smiles. It is very moving, and I want the families to be part of that experience.” &

Take a look at Sam’s work by visiting the Facebook page at

Photo of Herbert Hasler courtesy of the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Extreme training, secret missions, total dedication. Explore the hidden world of the Special Forces.

Final weeks | Until 28 Oct Sloane Square | | #SFexhib

22 Army&You autumn 2018



Wives’ lives through a lens Service spouse and photojournalist Wendy Faux tells Army&You what inspired her exhibition, Not Just a Wife…


HE power of a unique community such as that of Army spouses should never be underestimated, and over my 20 years of marriage I have seen how incredibly diverse people can be brought together to create friendships that withstand the test of time. This was the inspiration for Not Just a Wife – or husband, as there are two men contributing too. I remember being at an event and I wasn’t in the best of moods. We had just moved house, I had gone from a full-on job to nothing, all four of my children were at boarding school and I was feeling sorry for myself. When asked the question ‘what do you do?’, I answered with ‘I’m just a wife’. I’m not sure if I was more cross with myself or the person

who swiftly moved on to someone else in the room with a more acceptable label in life. I then started to ask friends about their life prior to marrying someone in the Army. The answers were astounding. No-one is ever ‘just a’. Each of our lives are like fingerprints, no two are ever the same.

questions: l What did you want to do when you left school – your hopes and aspirations? l What skills have you developed through being in the military environment? l How important is the idea of community and living on a patch?

THE EXHIBITION Having talked about the idea for a long time it was my friend Sarah Stone, who was working alongside a researcher from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), who was the trigger. She sold the idea to RUSI and I had six weeks to pull together an exhibition – and move back to the UK after 16 years in Germany. I had three simple

“No-one is ever ‘just a’. Each of our lives are like fingerprints, no two are ever the same.” Wendy Faux

I was bowled over by the depth of talent. It’s staggering how the military spouse has so much to offer. How they became resourceful, flexible, resilient and willing to try things way out of their comfort zone. They laughed at events that would have made others cry, saw the positives in situations and above all were loyal to an organisation that they didn’t necessarily sign up to.

Not Just a Wife contains many messages. I’m trying to show employers, civilian communities, influencers and military personnel what it is that makes up our community. The main message that has come through is how key the physical community – the patch – is. Nothing can replicate that person at your door offering respite in one way or another, the neighbour who ‘gets it’. Having been displayed at the National Army Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Edinburgh and the Scottish Parliament, the exhibition continues to tour around the country. Keep an eye on notjustawife to find out where you can view it. & autumn 2018 Army&You 23


Fostering in the Forces Service couple Lisa and Daniel Hinton have been foster carers with the National Fostering Agency (NFA) for almost a decade. We caught up with them to find out why fostering can be well suited to Army life… Tell us about yourself Danny and I met in Catterick Garrison and were married in 2004. It wasn’t until a few years later that we came across the NFA, which was recruiting at a military show in Aldershot. In the last eight years, while fostering, we have moved six times.

How does the NFA help Service families? Initially we were concerned about how fostering would work with being in the Army, as we moved so much. Our social worker reassured us that the NFA would support our moves and it would not impact on any placements we may have at the time. As the NFA is a national agency, it enables us to foster children from all over the country.

Was the Army supportive? The chain of command has given Danny the time to attend training. The process took four months – some nights we sat up until 11pm trying to get through the form!

What was it like fostering for the first time?

Your lives must have changed overnight…

How have the children adapted to Army life?

We had respite placement for a little boy for a week. It was exciting but you can’t make massive changes. That’s a lesson we learned quite early. You have to welcome them with open arms, live your life normally, and they thrive.

On our first long-term placement we took the children to choose their own bath towels, toothbrush, pyjamas – everything they needed to make themselves comfortable. Little things like that make them feel welcome and give them their own space and independence.

They love it. They’ve had some big experiences – they’ve met royalty, been to parades and Trooping the Colour.

Have people been understanding? The Army is aware as we had to gain permission to foster in Service Family Accommodation. They have been supportive and we have never experienced any difficulties. All our neighbours and friends have been extremely supportive and very welcoming.

How many children have you fostered? Around 18. We have supported young people with various needs and issues, including abuse and specific health and mental health needs. We have really enjoyed fostering and the level of support that we can offer. Both Danny and I value the relationships that we have made with the young people and the positive impact we have on their lives in a short time.

Does the NFA continue to support you? The NFA has a fantastic support system in place. There’s a monthly meeting for support groups and a social worker 24/7. Ours is brilliant, we could pick up the phone to her at midnight and she would answer.

How has fostering enriched your lives? Getting phone calls from children years after they’ve left saying ‘thank you’ – that’s a big thing for us. You may not see the impact you have on them straight away, it’s often further down the line.

What would you say to other Service couples thinking of fostering? Go for it. We did, and we’ve never looked back! &

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit, call 0800 044 3030 or email 24 Army&You autumn 2018



The hostile environment There has been much media coverage about the hostile environment and the repercussions of being in the UK without evidence of a right to remain. Katherine Houlston, AFF F&C Specialist, tells us what this means for spouses and children in the UK who have no valid visa… WHAT IS THE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT? It’s a package of measures designed to remove incentives and to encourage those who are in the country unlawfully to regularise their stay or leave the UK. It includes measures to limit access to work, housing, healthcare, education, bank accounts and the ability to drive.

DOES IT APPLY TO FAMILIES OF SOLDIERS? Yes, there’s no exemption from the requirement to have valid

leave to remain in the UK. We are receiving an increasing number of enquiries from Army families who have been suspended from work, have received an NHS bill or find that their children cannot attend university. For spouses, it can also prevent them from accompanying their soldier on an overseas assignment.

ACCESS TO EMPLOYMENT If an Army family member makes an application to remain in the UK before their visa

expires, then they can continue to work in the UK because they have made an ‘in-time’ application. Their employer can use the ‘employee checking service’ to confirm their eligibility to work, available at If, however, they make an application after their visa expires, then they are no longer able to continue working. It’s a criminal offence to employ someone who does not have permission to work and an employer could face fines of up to £20,000.

CALLING ALL OVERSTAYERS As part of AFF’s F&C month in September, we are asking all overstayers to get in touch so we can provide advice. Check your visa as you may be eligible for a correction or a reduction in fee. We can provide guidance on how to complete an application form and can put you in touch with a money advisor if you require free debt advice. This is a confidential service. Contact the F&C team via


that because the soldier’s wife is a primary carer of British children, she has a ‘derivative right’ to remain in the UK under EU law and is therefore lawfully resident and the bill was cancelled.

PAULINA had a valid visa until July 2017, but it expired and an application to extend was not made until September 2017. As it was an out-oftime application, she was considered to be illegally in the UK. In January this year, she was admitted to hospital for two days and presented with a bill of nearly £7,000 because she had no evidence of her right to remain. Luckily, we were able to explain to the hospital

A MOTHER – and military veteran – contacted us for assistance with her children’s visas, which expired in 2017. Her daughter, aged 20, had had her bank account frozen and was living with a distant relative after being asked to leave the local authority housing that she was sharing with her. It transpired that the children had been granted the wrong visa on posting from Germany to the UK. AFF got the visa corrected to indefinite leave and the children can now move on with their lives.

Although family members of HM Forces are exempt from the health surcharge, access to the NHS is still dependent on being lawfully present in the UK.

ACCESS TO BANK ACCOUNTS The Secretary of State has the power to either freeze or close the account of someone who is illegally in the UK even if there is money in it. It’s also not possible to open an account if you do not have valid leave.

ACCESS TO UNIVERSITY Attending university as a home student and being eligible for student finance requires the applicant to have both indefinite leave to remain and to have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for the past three years. Ordinary residence includes being legally resident. Children and spouses who have no valid visas cannot attend university and unfortunately, even if they subsequently manage to regularise their status and obtain ILR, they’re still not eligible until they have been legally resident for three years. &

I was an overstayer but I have now made an application to extend, how can I get this processed quickly? Unfortunately, because you applied out-of-time your application is no longer considered to be straightforward and must be passed to a senior caseworker. This will delay the decision making process. On average it’s taking 12-18 months for a decision to be made. AFF is unable to get these applications fast-tracked unless there are exceptional circumstances. Will I get access to the NHS if I am pregnant? In 2017 it became a legal requirement to recover the estimated full cost of treatment in advance unless doing so would prevent or delay urgent treatment. Maternity services are considered necessary so you will not be denied treatment, but you will be informed that charges will apply if you do not have valid leave in the UK. autumn 2018 Army&You 25

OVERSEAS: HEALTH SPECIAL l 76 per cent were satisfied with primary

healthcare overseas l 73 per cent were satisfied with secondary healthcare overseas l 66 per cent were satisfied with dental care overseas.



N A recent AFF overseas survey, we were pleased to see a rise in satisfaction levels relating to healthcare provision overseas compared to 2015 figures. The exception was a drop to just five per cent satisfaction for orthodontic treatment

and enduring confusion over medical and dental entitlement for children at boarding school in the UK. The majority of you reported that your healthcare experience overseas was better compared to the UK:

However, opinions varied on clinical standards, administrative procedures, patient expectations and the quality of care during referrals. One family said: “Waiting times and range of care in the USA is amazing, but the administration is a total nightmare and can take over a year to process. You have to get pre-approval for everything which is a bit intrusive for some aspects.” Another added: “I was receiving treatment in BFG and then had to wait nine months after moving to the UK to see a consultant again, having no treatment during this time. There was no transition from the German to UK system.” AFF will continue to press for changes where needs have been identified, check for updates. If you face a healthcare issue while living overseas, contact your local AFF co-ordinator or our Health & Additional Needs Specialist, Karen Ross, by emailing &

Secondary healthcare THE standard and availability of secondary healthcare, such as physiotherapy and screening, varies depending on where you’re posted overseas. Whilst Defence Medical Services aims to provide healthcare to a similar standard to the NHS, it’s not always possible due to limited facilities. In places with high Service populations there’s generally full provision, but in other areas there can be a mix of service providers. In more remote locations, there may be limited services and you’ll need to return to the UK for some appointments. If you develop a

26 Army&You autumn 2018

condition that requires longer term treatment, you may be assigned back to the UK. Karen Brodin-Cole’s daughter Grace has had to wear glasses from the age of two. In Brunei, local hospitals and opticians provide this service, but as Grace was under five she could remain under the NHS back in the UK. “We did try and use the facilities at the local hospital saving us an 18-hour flight,” explained Karen. “But we found the care was not up to standard and we decided to stick with the care back home.” Army spouse Scott Longhurst

picked up a shoulder injury playing rugby in Brunei. The process from diagnosis to getting physio has been very prolonged, with lots of to-ing and fro-ing between the medical centre, local hospital and the UK. “It has taken over four months to discover the extent of the injury and I still don’t have any concrete answers,” said Scott. “I think you just need to be patient. Things work differently in other countries and it may take longer than you expected.”

DO YOUR RESEARCH AFF receives enquiries on a

range of secondary healthcare issues such as health visitor support, well woman scans and assisted conception. Regional Manager Overseas Esther Thomas recommends doing your research: “Declare any medical issues your family may have at the earliest opportunity. The processes in place are there to support your family’s health whilst overseas and not to prevent you from going.” If you have a question about secondary healthcare overseas, contact uk or & @ArmyandYou

VIRTUAL HEALTH HELPER SSAFA’s health visiting involvement in BATUK, Kenya began in 2016 when the charity was asked to consider providing a service for families. AFF’s Kenya Coordinator provided evidence of the need for a health visitor, while our Health & Additional Needs Specialist Karen Ross highlighted the issue in meetings with Defence Primary Healthcare Overseas. After talks with the community, it was clear that families were keen to have access to a UK-style service.

“The medical team here have never made me feel as if I’m a being a nuisance,” explained Army spouse Rebecca Walker. “But I couldn’t help but feel I was wasting their time taking Ollie to see them about what could be seen as trivial matters.” With support from Lt Col Johnson and his team at the medical centre, SSAFA agreed to provide a remote health visiting service using an app, Skype and email, with health visitor Kerry Riley visiting BATUK in person for one week every

ROUTINE SCREENING ONE area causing concern is access to routine well woman screening in remote postings. In larger permanent locations, such as Cyprus and Germany, women can access the same level of screening as in the UK, but this is not always the case in other areas, even within Europe.

three months. Rebecca added: “When I was told a virtual clinic was being arranged I wasted no time in getting in touch with Kerry. I needed some advice on sleep training. The GoTo Meeting app was easy to install and I managed to talk to Kerry via video conference, which allowed her to see Ollie too. In fact he had great fun talking to her. “We’re about to move within Kenya so Kerry’s advice was perfect timing. She’s like a health visitor in my back pocket, always on the end of a phone.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of the BATUK medical team and AFF.” Jane Bojdys, SSAFA nurse and public health lead, said: “They’re an amazing group of parents who are resilient and who have formed a supportive community. “We are grateful to have this opportunity to ensure that families have the correct support, information and guidance to help them enjoy being parents.” The project includes an electronic version of the Redbook, which

In Cyprus, eligible patients are invited to attend screening as per NHS, NICE and Public Health England guidance. Advanced nurse practitioner Linda Gardner said: “We still have a large number of ladies who do not respond to invites. There has been a battalion changeover in Episkopi over the summer, so it’s important that new families attend their patient check.”

records children’s health, immunisation information and developmental milestones. “It has been a long process to secure the funding for SSAFA to deliver this service,” said AFF’s Kenya Co-ordinator Nicola Green. “But it’s clearly working and could be a great model to duplicate in other areas where there is currently limited or no health visitor support.” Contact AFF’s Kenya Co-ordinator, Nicola Green, by emailing &

AFF has found that families in remote locations are often advised to return to the UK for routine screening, which can be problematic. If you’re considered to be at higher risk, or are coming to an age where regular screening is required, seek advice as to how this can be accessed. For further information, go to or contact your local AFF co-ordinator. autumn 2018 Army&You 27


OVERSEAS HEALTH FAIRS IN MANY overseas locations, annual health fairs bring together military and civilian professionals, organisations and businesses. They are a great source of information on dental care, local sports clubs, alternative therapies and healthy living. You’ll also find your local AFF coordinator on hand. Carolyn Aggar, AFF Regional Manager Cyprus, said: “These events always have plenty of stalls offering help and advice. They’re a great opportunity for the whole community to come together to share good practice, meet new people, discover new services and even try a healthy snack or two. I would encourage all families to attend.” Look out for the next event in your area and come and say hello. Check your local HIVE or speak to an AFF co-ordinator – details on page three.

First aid for the mind Friendly face for the Forces: Mental Health First Aid advocate Maj Pauline Murray-Knight; Below: MHFA students in Cyprus

Stigma is often cited as the greatest barrier to people seeking help for their mental health, which is why Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England aims to train one-in-ten people as mental health first aiders. Its courses have been rolling out to the Armed Forces community overseas…


HE course creates a peer support network of civilians and military, which can be critical when family and friends are so far away. Carolyn Aggar, AFF Regional Manager Cyprus and one of many AFF staff members who have been on MHFA courses, said: “Although the course was hardhitting in places, it was so worthwhile and incredibly beneficial to the Army

community in Cyprus.” Courses have also been running in BATUK, which now means around a quarter of all Service households there have a mental health first aider. Maj Pauline MurrayKnight, an MHFA Armed Forces advocate, has trained more than 1,000 military and veterans. “Soon I’ll be starting work on OP SMART which is the planned mental health package

REMOTE ACCESS THE Army Welfare Service (AWS) Intake & Assessment Team (IAT) was established to deal with enquiries in the north of England, but it was so successful that it’s now the single point of access for all welfare support referrals in the UK and overseas and, importantly, direct self-referrals can be made by phone from families overseas. The IAT consists of 12 Army welfare workers who provide specialist advice. Referrals are also made by unit welfare officers, police,

28 Army&You autumn 2018

children’s services and schools. Army welfare worker SSgt Jenny Brennan said: “I enjoy working at IAT and although it’s busy, it’s a privilege to support people and it gives me a real sense of achievement.” Within the last year the team has worked on 2,710 cases and answered around 1,500 enquiries, including: l Assisting a lady in Brazil who

fell pregnant when the Zika virus was prevalent and required IAT assistance in getting home to the UK

reducing stigma through understanding we hope to break down barriers to the support that people may need to stay well, recover, or manage their symptoms.”

USEFUL LINKS for serving Army personnel, supported by Prince Harry,” she explained. “There will be courses to suit the needs of different groups. By

MHFA ( MOD and Combat Stress 24-hour mental health helpline for serving military personnel and their families (0800 323 4444). &

l Helping a

person abroad who self-referred to get support from an AWS worker overseas l Implementing safety plans for a person who has been subject to domestic abuse. The team deals with a large number of relationship issues and, when requested, will undertake assessments and then referrals to Health Assured. Where referrals have come from

overseas, the IAT can provide faceto-face support in exceptional cases. IAT can be contacted on +44 (0) 1904 882 053, mil 94777 3053 or via email at @ArmyandYou


A postcard from...

NAIROBI How long have you been an Army family? 19 years. Time in Kenya: Six months on Loan Service. How many other military families live in Nairobi? 20 What's your quarter like? We live in a beautiful, modern, two-storey house with four big en-suite bedrooms. Large gardens surround the house. Are there employment/training opportunities? A lucky few have managed to obtain a work visa. What about schools/childcare? British Peace Support Team (Africa) (BPST(A)) approved schools in Kenya are private with high standards of education; all educational fees are paid for by BPST(A), with extra activities funded by parents. UK boarding schools remain a popular choice with an entitlement of six single or three return visits a year. Where do Army families get together? Families live in compounds where coffee mornings, barbecues and kids' swim parties are held. BPST(A) also organises trips, camping, rugby, cricket, walking and sightseeing, as well as visits to local markets. The suburb of

Karen has two malls and also boasts some of the best restaurants and bars in Nairobi. We also enjoy discounted travel in Kenya at hotels, lodges and safari trips. Who supports families? We have great support from the staff at BPST(A). We are supported by a host family who help us settle in. There's a WhatsA pp group which the spouses use to communicate, ask questions, send invites and provide information. We also have a closed Facebook group for travel tips and special offers. What's the best thing about living in Kenya? Travel opportunities. We spent my son's 18th birthday and Christmas in Mombasa at Diani beach. My bucket list for the next two years includes Tanzania (Mt Kilimanjaro), Uganda (Gorilla safari) and Masai Mara (for the annual migration). The driving is the worst part, but fortunately we attended a defensive driving course which helps us to feel confident both on and off road.


Anna Sutherland, soldier husband

Stephen, son Euan (18), daughter Zara (14).

WHERE: Nairobi, Kenya

autumn 2018 Army&You 29

Food force

Army wife AJ Sharp, an associate member of the Guild of Fine Food and Great Taste Awards judge, explores how less sugar doesn’t have to mean less taste…

Shrin your sugar intake k

When it comes to consuming too much sugar the biggest culprits are fizzy drinks, alcohol, sweets and chocolate. So, in service to the Army community, we have conducted rigorous taste testing to find you some lower-sugar alternatives...

Got a sweet tooth? If you absolutely have to have something sweet, there are loads of lower sugar alternatives. Supertreats’ carob bars taste and melt just like chocolate and contain no added sugar or caffeine; Huel’s cocoa-flavoured bar is nutritionally complete (£1.72); Haribo Fruitilicious has 30 per cent less sugar (97p); and on film night you could tuck into a bag of Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn (79p).

Dentist-friendly drinks

Store cupboard swaps

Catering for the kids

The healthiest drink is water and adults should drink at least 2.2lt per day. But if you fancy more flavour, Say Aloe has a reduced-sugar range (£1.49). Mimic your favourite cocktails with Bio-synergy Skinny waters in flavours like mojito and bellini. If you’re having a get-together, Skinny lager (£5.10 for a fourpack) is a low-cal, low-carb alternative and Super Sparkling White from Slimline wine has just 412 calories a bottle (£10.99).

Make a few easy store cupboard swaps using Blend Bros range of sugar-free sauces with a choice of Sweet Chilli, Smoky BBQ, Piri Piri and Ketchup (£2 each). Try Mr Lees gluten-free noodles, made from natural ingredients and low in sugar and salt for a healthy quick meal (£2.99) or enjoy some 87-per-cent-less-sugar White Chocolate Cookie spread from Grenade Carb-Killer (£6.99) on toast.

My kids sat on the judging panel too and recommended Fruit Bowl flakes, either straight from the packet as a post-school snack or sprinkled over porridge instead of sugar (from £1.50). Heavenly Tasty Organics were crisps to them, but actually contain super foods such as kale, spinach, pumpkin and coconut (69p). But their favourite choice had to be Naturelly, a fruity jelly treat with no added sugar or sweeteners.

NOT YOUR AVERAGE SPREAD KEVIN and Kellie’s (pictured left) Jim Jams adventure began after realising how much sugar was in their usual brand of chocolate spread – the equivalent of 57 sugar cubes in each jar. Their solution was teeth- and diabeticfriendly natural sweetener Malitol, which they used to create a range of spreads and jams – as well as a new business venture for ex-Serviceman Kevin. Now, just a few years on, this healthy 30 Army&You autumn 2018

eating brand is available in supermarkets and health food shops, has won both a Great Taste award and Mumsnet accreditation and proudly features the Sugarwise emblem on its packaging.


Army&You has teamed up with Jim Jams to give away 25 jars of chocolate spread. See page three for details on how to enter. @ArmyandYou


Dental dilemmas

Karen Ross, AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist, shares the latest updates on NHS dental and orthodontic provision – topics that generate a number of enquiries from Army families…


ROM recent enquiries, we identified problem hotspots for NHS dental places in both Devon and Cornwall and in the Catterick area. Also, as part of our health month in March, our AFF coordinators asked you about NHS dental provision. We’ve used this information to pinpoint and understand other areas where there may be issues. Orthodontic waiting lists and transferring of ongoing orthodontic treatment were other areas of concern that you fed back to us. One family said: “We’ve lived in Catterick Garrison since August 2017 and haven’t been able to register with a dentist. “My husband is in the Army, we have three children and can’t get them registered. I am also pregnant and unable to get seen. I don’t drive so trying to get the children further afield is such hard work.”

WHAT IS AFF DOING? As a result, we’ve been working hard to resolve and improve some of these issues. I’ve spoken to the NHS England dental commissioners in Devon

Unfortunately, there’s no overnight solution to some of these concerns due to NHS retention and capacity issues. and Cornwall and in Yorkshire and Humber. This has raised an awareness of the numbers of Service families having problems and what your unique issues are – which are primarily due to frequent moves. Unfortunately, there’s no overnight solution to some of these concerns due to NHS retention and capacity issues. However, NHS England in Devon and Cornwall agreed to buy extra NHS activity from five practices across Plymouth to provide spaces for those who have been waiting to access a routine appointment. In the Catterick area, the NHS has been

working on increasing capacity at some existing dental practices, keeping the NHS Choices website updated and ensuring that when patients call 111, they have current information about emergency dental care.

HIGHLIGHTING ISSUES I spoke to the director of clinical practice at the British Orthodontic Society who passed on the concerns that families have with orthodontic treatment to the NHS England Dental Policy and Contracts Primary Care Commissioning team. We discussed transferring waiting list places and ongoing treatment. They have

agreed to write some guidance for military families, which should be available as Army&You goes to press. We will update the AFF website with more details as soon as we have them. Please continue to report your dental or orthodontic issues to AFF so that we can raise them with the NHS. Email Karen at &

TEETH TIPS l You can remain at a dental

practice even if you move. However, it’s important to inform them if you are leaving the practice. This then frees up a place for someone else. l To find an NHS dentist in your

area, visit l If you still can’t find a dentist

accepting NHS patients, call NHS England’s contact centre on 0300 311 2233 l If you need urgent dental

treatment, call NHS 111 l If your dental issue is an

emergency, call 999 or visit A&E autumn 2018 Army&You 31

The way forward T

HIS year AFF has delved deeper into researching the barriers to spousal employment among the Forces. In partnership with Warwick University’s Institute for Employment Research and QinetiQ, we identified that nearly one-in-five military spouses or partners want to work but can’t get a job because of the unique challenges of military life. The cost and availability of childcare, lack of a support network, negative attitudes from some employers, restrictions on working overseas and CVs showing many short-term roles because of frequent moves were all cited as key reasons for families struggling to find or maintain meaningful careers.

THE FINDINGS Our survey showed that many of you faced problems with getting a job in the first place and then trying to hold onto one. Almost half of the respondents felt that they had been discriminated against because of being a

32 Army&You autumn 2018

military spouse or partner. One spouse said: “Even if I don’t mention my military connection, my CV shouts ‘Army’.” Another added: “Employers know that you’ll be moving on after two years, so it’s not going to be a high-level position that you’re recruited into because the two-year pay back isn’t enough for them.” Other findings showed that 63 per cent of you have had to change your career because of military life and 87 per cent believe that the barriers to getting and maintaining a job are harder for them than for civilian spouses.

CHALLENGES FOR EMPLOYERS The study also included input from employers, with some acknowledging that hiring Service spouses could present challenges such as lack of support with childcare and a likelihood that the person will move on. But not all employers had negative perceptions – 30 per cent said that military spouses show resilience and determination. One commented: “Military spouses are, in my opinion, an undervalued group, often side-lined in comparison to veterans and Service leavers. “The workforce should

Employment in focus: AFF Chief Exec Sara Baade launches the report at our employment research event in June

represent the community it serves, so there should be military spouses in the workforce.”

There are also recommendations for long-term changes to help break down barriers: l Challenge the military

WHAT MORE CAN BE DONE? The report makes several recommendations to the MOD, support organisations, employers, and spouses and partners themselves, including: l Introduce a ‘one-stop

shop’ online jobs platform for spouses and partners l Disseminate information on new ways of working to employers, such as short contracts and remote working, which may benefit military spouses l Source evidence of employers’ adherence to the Armed Forces Covenant and the Employer Recognition Scheme l Provide priority recruitment of military spouses for militaryrelated jobs l Introduce university partnerships for spouses and partners to undertake training l Target employment support programmes to specific groups of spouses and partners, such as the less qualified.

culture l Provide subsidised childcare for military families l Challenge employer stereotypes of spouses and partners l Introduce more tailored training programmes and initiatives for groups of spouses and partners l Target overseas spouses and partners for support. Sara Baade, AFF’s Chief Executive, said the report was much-needed, adding: “It will help us make the case for further investigation into the military partner employment issue to policy makers and stakeholders so they can see what is needed to help improve the situation, and hopefully work with us to implement some of the recommendations.” View the report at and look out for social media posts and further research that you can get involved in. & @ArmyandYou


Sophie’s skills boost W

E TEAMED up with Digital Mums ( to offer military spouses and partners a fully-funded place on the organisation’s social media management course. It was tough to choose between so many worthwhile entries, but our winner is Sophie, a mum-of-three and Army wife of six years. Sophie had been a stayat-home mum, but when her youngest daughter started school she chose to return to work. As well as the usual difficulties that Service spouses face, she found that her disability meant she could not return to her previous career as a chef.

GREAT OPPORTUNITY Speaking about the competition,

Sophie said: “I knew it was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss. I saw it by chance, did some research and thought this is how I want to work and have something that can move with me wherever we’re posted. “The fact that the course was only 23 weeks long and could be studied from home was a perfect option.” When Sophie found out she had won, she thought the ‘universe was listening’ to her. “I know it sounds silly,” she explained. “I was just so thankful because so many people applied and were all deserving. It gives me so much confidence to smash the course!” Sophie is currently working through the basics of digital marketing, social platforms, tools

and planning her own campaign. She said: “The course is perfect because you can literally do it at any time and it is great for me since I live in the middle of nowhere and the nearest college is half an hour away.”

We’re looking forward to finding out what Sophie does next. You can follow her @minka official &

HIGH HOPES Sophie has so many aspirations for after she has finished the course and would love to set up as a freelancer with her own business – but for now, she is just focusing on completing the course week-by-week. Eventually, having her own career will give Sophie her own financial independence and sense of purpose.

To talk to AFF about training, contact our Employment & Training Specialist Laura at

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Eyes to the skies I really enjoyed this book as it was full of adventure and drama. I would recommend it for ages 9-12 because they will enjoy the plot and content. It’s set in a fictional world where exotic animals LANNAH exist such as thoughtMCCLEERY (11) wolves who can read your thoughts. Brightstorm will hold your interest because the mystery of the main character’s dad going missing makes you want to turn every page. Be prepared for a good tale...

HAVE FUN SHARING BOOKS READING Force is the national shared reading charity for Service families where you can share a book and talk about it, together at home or over

In this book there are two siblings called Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm, who are devastated by the news that their father, a daring explorer, has died in a failed attempt MIA to reach South Polaris. MCCREADY (10) However, the twins find a mysterious clue which makes them want to find out answers. To find the truth, they must undertake the journey of a lifetime. Brightstorm is an amazing book.

Brightstorm is an excellent book and I’m sure anyone who reads it won’t be able to put it down. It’s so intriguing and the author drops clues and hints about mysteries and theories. If MILLIE you like a great adventure, YOUD (10) then read this! The main characters, Arthur and Maudie, are trying hard to find their dad but will they achieve their task? This book really got my brain ticking every time I turned the page.

Skype or FaceTime if separated from your soldier. You’ll receive a free book and scrapbook to fill in with your thoughts, letters, drawings and photographs. It’s a fun way to keep connected. Take part via your children’s school, HIVE, or

register online at If your children would like to review books for the A&Y Book Club, email with their names and ages.

CHAFYN GROVE Excellent Co-educational Day & Boarding School from 3-13

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Published by Scholastic, paperback priced £6.99

In our latest Army&You and Reading Force Book Club, military youngsters got stuck into Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure by Vashti Hardy. Here’s what they thought…


Building resilience A

CCORDING to Place2Be, a national children’s charity, one-in-five primary school children will experience a mental health difficulty at least once and many adults with mental health issues can trace their symptoms back to childhood. As a consequence, head teachers across England have placed pupil wellbeing among their top concerns. “The needs of Armed Forces children and young people can sometimes be overlooked and AFF has seen a rise in enquiries on how best to support Service children,” said Jilly Carrell, AFF Education & Childcare Specialist. “Separation anxiety, the ability to form attachments, complex support needs at home and frequent moves can all impact on a Service child’s wellbeing and this, in addition to the other pressures young people face growing up today, means that

Change, especially for Army families, is to be expected. We can’t avoid it, but we can help children to cope with it. navigating childhood can be even more tricky.” Change, especially for Army families, is to be expected. We can’t avoid it, but we can help children to cope with it. Jonathan Wood, head of service at Place2Be, said: “All children have ups and downs, but Service children can face additional challenges. “Sometimes these can be as upsetting as divorce. It’s important to acknowledge the change in a child’s circumstances, not to try and gloss over it. “Schools can think about organising friendship groups for affected pupils, as well as awareness-raising in assemblies or class work. This could cover coping with difficult feelings

when a family member goes away, loss or anxiety – as part of the school’s wellbeing agenda. “Helping children to develop a language for their emotions and getting them thinking about coping strategies will help them to develop the skills to cope with life’s inevitable challenges.” Emma Leeson, parent and pupil support worker at The Avenue School in Warminster, told us that it is important that children are given the tools to explore their feelings through different mediums such as art, music and drama. She said: “We encourage children to talk by ensuring that we promote an open dialogue, which allows them to speak freely in a comfortable, nonjudgemental environment.

“We have a ‘talking tin’ where children can place a slip of paper with their initials and class, giving our emotional literacy support assistants the opportunity to catch-up with children and give them time to talk. “We find that teaching mindfulness and breathing techniques helps and prepares children for their day. We also promote extra-curricular activities to ensure that those endorphins are released!” Hilary Taylor, head of the lower school at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury, said that her school has become increasingly aware of the impact of mental health issues on young people. “We are now more likely to recognise signs of anxiety or depression and have developed a range of ways to support students,” she explained. “Peer led sessions by year 12 students to younger pupils are now underway. We hope these will dispel myths about mental health and help reduce the stigma still attached to it.” &

MORE INFORMATION Jilly Carrell, AFF Education & Childcare Specialist – (free parents helpline 0808 802 5544, Mon to Fri, 9.30am–4pm) Children’s Education Advisory Service – email or call 01980 618244 Speak to your child’s school

TOGETHER AS ONE MKC Heroes is a national support group for military children which uses a network of after-school clubs to bring together youngsters aged between three and 18. Members are ambassadors for Service families across the UK and are there for each other, especially in times of need. One youngster said: “It is a safe place to talk because you know your friends will understand how you feel because

they feel the same. We can speak openly about our issues and challenge our schools to respond through the group, rather than having to single ourselves out. Our motto ‘Together as One’ was devised around this theme. The key words we use are: strength, hope, trust, care and support.” If you have a Service community in your school, visit plymouthcurriculum. autumn 2018 Army&You 35

Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools

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36 Army&You autumn 2018

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NEXT STEPS IF YOU haven’t been offered a school on your preference list, you have the option to appeal. Here’s how it works: l You can appeal for a place

Appealing action Nia Davies and husband Steve have been married 11 years and have two children, Danny (10) and Milly (8). After a nine-month tour in Afghanistan for Steve, the family were looking forward to some time together as they moved from their own home in Chester to Cardiff. However, finding school places was problematic...


HE change represented Danny’s sixth school move and Milly’s third. “I did quite a bit of research on the schools in the area and got in touch with some military families in Cardiff,” said Nia. “I had to do ‘mid-year transfer requests’ and selected two local schools.” A few weeks later Nia received a letter to say that neither school was available. “This caused great stress and anxiety. I had never been in this situation before and with Steve being away I felt clueless,” she said. “I had no idea where to start so my first port of call was to AFF and I was signposted to the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS).”

MAKING AN APPEAL CEAS helped Nia through the appeals process. She told us: “They were incredible. I had regular updates with everything. The process is reasonably easy to follow but it did cause me a lot of sleepless nights. It also

unsettled the children and it was difficult to start making plans.” The reason for the family’s school choice was the wraparound care – a breakfast and after-school club until 6pm, meaning Nia would be able to transfer her career with the NHS to Cardiff. She said: “Being a stay-at-home mum is not an option for me. I have juggled my 18-year career in the breast screening service around our military life.” Nia didn’t find the school very understanding and was told that ‘just because you are military, you are no different to anyone else’. She explained: “I found it very hard as we were moving to be a family and to support my husband. “The children have to make new friends through no choice of their own – it’s a huge part of military life that some people don’t understand. “I never thought that we would get a positive outcome – out of 500 appeals in Cardiff in 2017 only 24 were successful.

“I am confident they will settle in well with some support and will not be at any disadvantage.” Nia advised anyone facing a similar situation not to be frightened to ask for help and to contact CEAS and AFF for advice and support. “It means the world to us as we will be a family again. We are looking forward to the next two years,” she added. “We have been able to make lots of plans. This has given the children a boost, which is a relief for us as parents.”

USEFUL CONTACTS AFF Education Specialist: email or visit CEAS: email or call 01980 618244 School support in Wales: Ofsted: organisations/ofsted School support in Scotland: Education in Northern Ireland: &

to more than one school, but only to each school once. l You don’t have to turn down the place offered by the local authority (LA); the appeals process is independent. l Take copies of everything you send to the LA and ask them to notify you by email as well as by post, particularly if you’re moving. l Apply to go on the waiting list for preferred schools. l The appeal hearing is a pre-set date for a large number of appeals for many different schools; don’t worry that everyone there needs a place at the same school as you. l If you’re actively seeking a school place, you don’t have to send your child to the allocated school while you wait for an appeal hearing.

ANGST OVER ADMISSIONS DURING April, AFF ran an awareness campaign on Service children’s education. It was clear that many of you have concerns regarding schools admissions and the appeals process in all areas of the country as well as overseas. Almost 40 per cent of our enquiries during the month were about admissions and this plainly demonstrates that there are more complexities around securing a first choice school place than in previous years. Continue to report your issues to AFF (ec@aff. to help us gather evidence and push for change where it’s needed.

autumn 2018 Army&You 37

Open Days 2018

Stamford School (Boys 11-18) Saturday 6th October

Stamford High School (Girls 11-18) Saturday 6th October

Stamford Junior School & Nursery School (Boys & Girls 3-11) Saturday 13th October

Sixth Form (Boys & Girls 16-18) Wednesday 10th October

To book your place, visit or call us on 01780 750311

Open Day

Saturday 13th October

‘a top-tier prep school’ Good Schools Guide

Packwood Haugh School

Ruyton XI Towns, Shrewsbury SY4 1HX Telephone 01939 260217

38 Army&You autumn 2018

Open mornings: 21st September 2018 9th November 2018 15th March 2019 3rd May 2019

Packwood Haugh



School report

Army&You highlights the excellent support that schools worldwide show our military children. This edition, we're heading to Rutland... How does the school help Service children settle in?

Pupils benefit from our commitment to small class sizes and many of our staff have a Service background, so they can understand the needs of our military pupils. Every class has a team ethos with a shared class name, such as ‘The Wise Owls’, which helps foster the feeling of joining our school family. On arrival, new pupils are given a ‘buddy’ and our open-door policy means parents are encouraged to meet with teachers to help their child to settle in quickly and smoothly.

ool Name of sch

y Edith Weston Academ Location


AMOUNT of s Service pupil

71 out of 94

What practical support do you give Service pupils?

We have worked hard to create a welcoming, close-knit environment for local families and new arrivals. We offer opportunities such as wraparound care and a multitude of after-school clubs including Military Kids Club Heroes (see page 35). We have our own preschool, run family-based sessions such as parent and toddler swimming in our pool and we ensure that key assemblies fall around deployments or in afternoons when the barracks finish early. When parents are on deployment, we run coffee afternoons so families can chat while the children play.

Are there any military links?

barracks. With their help, we run red, white and blue days to promote the work of our Armed Forces and raise money for Service charities. We also make use of facilities at the barracks such as its swimming pool.

We enjoy close working links with all the regiments based at the

Are there any special projects involving Service children?

Many of our parents are currently on deployment in Kenya, so we follow their mascot, Medals the 2Med bear, on Facebook to keep in touch with them whilst they are away. The children use Edith, the Edith Weston bear, to communicate with Medals whilst on deployment, asking questions about the area, the weather and checking what their parents are up to. It’s a popular way to stay in touch!

What do the kids think?

Grace said: “We have lots of opportunities such as spotlight dance and I’ve had the chance to perform in front of 200 people.” Izabelle added: “I like school because the teachers help you to learn.”

And the parents?

“I have three children at Edith Weston, two of whom struggle with moving. This is their third school in a year, but Edith Weston Academy has definitely given them the nurture that they needed to settle and be happy.” &

Is your child’s school going that extra mile to support Service children? Would you like your school to feature in the future? Contact Army&You for details by emailing

autumn 2018 Army&You 39


BOARDING & DAY SCHOOL CO-EDUCATIONAL 11-18 ArmyandYou Autumn 2018.indd 1

17/07/2018 10:49:00


Your child at our heart Contact the Registrar on 01722 555300 CO-EDUCATIONAL PREPARATORY SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN AGED 3-13

40 Army&You autumn 2018



Interactive technology brings a biology lesson to life at the Royal Hospital School

TOMORROW’S WORLD pressing chalk on to


potential provided by digital

blackboards and pupils

advances, All Hallows School’s ethos

scribbling notes into dog-eared

is to employ technology only when it

Scott told us: “Technology has crept

projectors is one part of the

exercise books so familiar to

enhances the curriculum.

into many areas of teaching at St

technological offering at Malvern

Lawrence College, significantly with

St James Girls’ School, where social

AR from the teachers

previous generations, today’s

While it acknowledges the

Head of digital learning Richard

pupils themselves adds to the

engage pupil interest and embeds

educational mix.

interdisciplinary learning.”

Deputy head (academic) Will

Advanced kit such as interactive

classrooms are increasingly

Kirby explained that hi-tech kit

pupils’ ownership of hugely powerful

media is also used to add depth to

becoming fully digital domains.

is rolled out to enable children to

and sophisticated smartphones with

pupils’ education.

achieve things that would otherwise

a wealth of useful applications.

Tablets and laptops are usurping notebooks, interactive whiteboards facilitate more engaging lessons and

be impossible.

Director of sixth form Alison Kingshott said: “Each department

enquiry-based learning have never

has its own Twitter and Facebook

students are even able to explore

iPad to transport children to the

been greater; the challenge is in

feed, curated and monitored by

far-flung places from the comfort of

rainforest where they create a

developing the skills to use them

heads of subject and teaching staff,

their seats thanks to the wonders of

documentary about the Amazon

so that they enable greater depth

to present interesting articles and

virtual reality.

rainforest means their learning is

of learning and engagement rather

topics to students relating to their

creative and inspiring,” he added.

than acting to distract.

curriculum work.

And while debates surface over whether such advances are an

“Using a green screen and an

“The resources available for

Technology plays an intrinsic

“We retain tight control of pupils’

“It helps students read around a

entirely good thing, staff at schools

role in the education of students at

devices to ensure that when they’re

subject in the same way as we would

up and down the country are

Packwood Haugh School, where

in use, it’s to the benefit of learning.”

traditionally have encouraged them

making the most of the possibilities

every classroom is now equipped

Talbot Heath School provides 1:1

to read books, specialist publications

presented by the latest innovations.

with an interactive whiteboard.

availability of iPads to pupils from

and national press to broaden their

“Technology is about preparing

Three dedicated computer suites

year three all the way up to year


the young for their future lives”,

are packed with laptops and iPads,

13, as well as a bank of the tablets

explained Stuart McCagney, head

pupils use drawing tablets during

for youngsters in its pre-prep

year seven and eight pupils receive a

of digital learning at Maidwell Hall

art lessons and the PE department

department – a factor highlighted

Google Chromebook and the internet

School. “Like it or loathe it, today’s

uses video to analyse and improve

by head of e-learning Jo Maule as a

giant’s classroom feature is also

young will never live a day without

sporting performances.

particular positive.

utilised extensively.

a computer in their pocket, on their wrist or in whatever future guise. “Our schools must enable them

At Salisbury Cathedral School,

The same is true at St Lawrence

“Having the use of an ‘instant

College, where interactive screens

on’ device enables pupils to use

“This means that teachers can set

IT manager Andrew Stewart said:

and specialist software enhance

autonomy when notetaking,

work and provide support materials

to harness that power to become

lessons across the entire curriculum

presenting and sharing

that are available to the pupils in the

lifelong learners.”

and the technology owned by

information,” she said. “It helps

classroom and beyond.” ››

“Like it or loathe it, today’s young will never live a day without a computer in their pocket, on their wrist or in whatever future guise.” – Stuart McCagney, Maidwell Hall School –

autumn 2018 Army&You 41

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42 Army&You autumn 2018

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EDUCATION ADVERTORIAL Taking futuristic technology to a

supported by a secure network,

new level, Farleigh School deploys

well-resourced information systems

robotic equipment alongside

department and on a peer-to-peer

whiteboards and tablets to enhance

level though our digital leaders.”

both curricular and extra-curricular

For all of the positives technology

activities – a tactic that has already

can bring to schools, education

paid dividends according to head of

professionals have to balance its use

IT and computing Peter Napthine.

against ensuring pupils’ security.

“Using technology in school can

Thankfully for parents, online

develop an interest outside the

safety is a key concern across the

classroom,” he said. “One year six

sector, including at Packwood Haugh

pupil continued with his love of

where digital literacy sessions teach

robotics at home. He built a robot

children how to use technology

that can solve a Rubix cube in about

safely, respectfully and responsibly.

two minutes.” Stamford Endowed Schools has

Steve Rigby said: “We not only teach them how to behave online,

adopted an “Ideal Classroom”

but also where to get help if things

approach across its three schools

do go wrong, or if they are just not

which is immediately apparent on

sure of what is a good choice.”

stepping into any teaching space. The rooms don’t have a teacher’s

Technology in use at Packwood School

“We not only teach them how to behave online, but also where to get help if things do go wrong.”

Maidwell Hall welcomes experts

– Steve Rigby, Packwood Haugh School –

to teach youngsters about internet

desk, books and other equipment are

safety and the use of devices is

– normal in terms of bodies, minds

shoulders all the time, and so we

kept in cupboards and the walls are

monitored and restricted – but also

and behaviour,” said Richard Kirby.

focus on educating the girls, so

painted a stark white, but everything

discussed to encourage a healthy

“We encourage parents to work

that they are empowered to use

changes once lessons begin.

relationship between pupils and

alongside us to create a set of caring,


but clear, unambiguous, consistent

“The room comes alive with projections, pupils writing ideas on

Stuart McCagney said: “The

technology wisely and safely.” The sense of responsibility to

boundaries to enable their children

pupils is felt keenly at Royal Hospital

the walls and groups huddling over

boarding school environment aids

to feel safe and secure at home and

School, which ensures that its

desks sketching mind maps on the

the holistic management of the

at school and to develop their own

community is given frequent support

surfaces,” explained principal Will

structure of our pupils’ lives during

sense of right or wrong.”

and advice on remaining safe in the

Phelan. “The teacher, armed with

the term time and finds a happy

the latest technology, can project

balance between traditional values

specifically in computer science

pictures, text and videos onto the

and the modern world.”

lessons and in PSHE throughout

South West Grid for Learning to

screens and wander around the

digital space. In January, the school invited the

Salisbury Cathedral School, where

review its online safety provision,

receive full guidance on online

each topic in computing science

with assessors interviewing staff,

safety and security at the beginning

starts with a briefing about the

parents and pupils and reviewing

are far-reaching, enabling us to take

of each year, but that information

relevant safety issues – ranging from

the curriculum, systems, policies

teaching methods and outcomes

is reinforced during an “Internet

copyright to cyberbullying – that

and support in the context of digital

to the next level, improve results,

Safety Day” in February featuring

may be faced.

learning. As a result, the Royal

increase pupil interaction and attract

an assembly, follow-up lessons and

and retain high-quality teachers.”

projects on key themes including

the technology is available in every

degree safe Online Safety Mark and

cyberbullying, online grooming and

class and at home there is a larger

has been named a national “Beacon

safe use of passwords.

group of adults who reiterate these

of Good Practice”.

room as he or she does so. “The benefits of this programme

Mobile learning is a core concept at the Royal Hospital School, which has qualified as an Apple Regional

Students at Farleigh School

Internet safety is taught

Expert talks and restricted use of

Andrew Stewart said: “Now that

Hospital School received the 360

themes. A supportive but persistent

Talbot Heath’s Jo Maule said that

Training Centre to share best

the internet are features of digital

and repetitive approach seems to be

the increasing frequency with which

practice throughout East Anglia.

life at All Hallows School, which also

most effective.”

pupils are accessing the internet has

Pupils in years seven-to-11 at the co-educational school are provided with a leased iPad, which head of

takes a wider view of the potential impact of technology. “In addition to the benefits

Pupils at Malvern St James Girls’

meant that staff are keenly aware

School sign up to an acceptable use

of potential pitfalls and children

policy and receive talks from outside

are taught to play an active role in keeping themselves safe.

digital learning Hamish Mackenzie

modern technology can bring, we

speakers about online safety, but

insists is used as an educational tool

recognise that the internet and

Alison Kingshott said that they are

rather than a toy.

social media can play a disturbing

also expected to learn by taking

be discerning users of the internet

role in a young person’s developing

responsibility themselves.

and use their common sense when

He said: “They have access to an agreed suite of educational apps

psyche by helping to challenge and

She explained: “We know that

for use in the classroom and are

modify beliefs about what is normal

it is not realistic to look over their

She said: “We teach our pupils to

issues arise. They also know that there is always help and support ››

“We teach our pupils to be discerning users of the internet and use their common sense. They also know there is always help and support available.” – Jo Maule, Talbot Heath School –

autumn 2018 Army&You 43

EDUCATION ADVERTORIAL Stuart McCagney added: “A talking,

St Lawrence College adopts a

microphone, she records the parts

moving, sensing, life-size Dalek often

where she uses the interactive

“system-wide” approach, including

roves through the reception hall –

whiteboard to introduce new

regular pupil and parent e-safety

no-one has been exterminated yet!”

concepts and then shares the clips in

sessions which are reinforced as part of day-to-day learning.

Introducing technology to previously lo-tech activities has

“Without engagement from

the Google classroom. “To her surprise, she has been

proved popular at Packwood Haugh

applauded in class and now hears

parents and teachers, it is hard for

School, where a recent event had

that mathematics is ‘cool!’ The

pupils to understand the potential

children “clamouring to be involved”,

pupils are now being encouraged

consequences of their behaviour

according to Steve Rigby.

to produce some of their work in a

before it is too late,” said Will Scott.

“During a special off-curriculum

similar way and this is also being

“Technology provides channels for

day during the summer term, one

received with great enthusiasm.”

existing problems to manifest and

of the children’s challenges was a

Youngsters in years three-to-

spread, albeit more quickly and far

treasure hunt with a difference,” he

eight at Farleigh School have used

beyond the school walls.”

explained. “They had a wonderful

technology to develop their own

time racing round school using iPads

online “e-portfolios” using the

and QR codes to solve the clues.”

presentation software Sway.

While schools are fully engaged in guarding against technology’s potential risks, they are also among society’s most innovative adopters.

Exploiting technology is certainly

The portfolios showcase their

at the heart of life at Talbot Heath,

academic learning, achievements

where pupils can publish their

and extracurricular activities and

Classrooms initiative will see 142

own ebooks, programme robots or

can be accessed via computers,

rooms transformed into fully-

virtually explore the human body in

tablets or mobile phones.

interactive spaces where writing on

science. A new STEAM hub featuring

the walls will be the new norm and

holographic and augmented reality

e-portfolio project has opened up

interactive touch projectors bring

spaces will add more opportunities.

opportunities for local community

Stamford Endowed Schools’ Ideal

learning to life.

Asked what innovation has

Its “flipped classroom” approach

Peter Napthine said: “The

outreach with Farleigh pupils

proved the biggest hit with pupils,

visiting local residential care homes,

encourages the learning of

Jo Maule said: “They love our Google

showing residents their work on

information at home to enable

Cardboard virtual expeditions;

iPads. It is also a great way for

deeper discussions to be held during

exploring space, under the sea and

children to share their learning and

the school day, while webinars have

travelling the world without leaving

life in school with their families.”

been used to help year 11 pupils –

the comfort of their classroom.”

some taking part from their mobile phones – to prepare for exams.

Sometimes it is the simple things

St Lawrence College’s Will Scott explained that staff are moving

that excite most and a Salisbury

from tried-and-tested systems into a

Cathedral School maths teacher

more integrated electronic learning

developments to allow budding DJs

has started to enthuse her pupils by

environment using Office 365

to produce albums, photographic

sharing parts of her lesson online.

applications and devices.

Maidwell Hall School uses digital

fans to capture images on iPads and

Andrew Stewart explained: “Using

He said: “As part of curriculum

cricketers to refine their technique

an app called Loom to capture

development, this move will

through video-based coaching.

her computer screen and a usb

facilitate exciting changes and improvements in the way our pupils experience the joys and overcome the challenges in their learning.” Whether you are quick to embrace technology’s march or yearn for simpler times, it is hard to deny that the digital revolution is opening up new opportunities for pupils. But even if you fall into the latter camp, fear not – All Hallows’ Richard Kirby has proof that the old and new can complement one another. “Perhaps surprisingly, technology

All Hallows School pupils get to grips with computing

in our library is actively encouraging children to read more books,” he explained. “Online quizzes test

“Perhaps surprisingly, technology in our library is actively encouraging children to read more books.”

reading comprehension and total

– Richard Kirby, All Hallows School –

ready to give praise when due.” n

numbers of words read are instantly updated. Pupils aspire to read a


million words or more and parents and teachers can monitor progress,

To feature in our education advertorial, email

autumn 2018 Army&You 45

To read more from our panel of experts, visit

available if they need it.”

#OurArmyFamily Sally Dawson-Couper and her serving wife Zoe share their journey to adopting three boys…


E MET when Zoe came along to my rugby club, writes Sally. At the time, I was training to be a teacher and Zoe was looking to move out of the block. I needed a lodger so Zoe moved in and we’ve been together ever since. Zoe trained to be a nurse and then commissioned as an officer. We’ve been posted to Birmingham, Portsmouth, Gütersloh, London and Aldershot. Sometimes patches have been welcoming and other times a bit wary of us. We often found that our story arrived before we did and this could at times be accompanied by prejudice. We entered into a civil partnership on the first day it became legal

46 Army&You autumn 2018

in 2005. The Army accepted partnerships from the off, but the computer system couldn’t cope at the beginning and on a number of occasions my gender was changed to male.

EXPANDING THE FAMILY We were already thinking of a family and adoption seemed the sensible choice. We approached Birmingham City Council, but they were nervous about us being part of the Armed Forces and also being gay and turned us down. Zoe had heard of SSAFA’s adoption agency through work and when we approached them, they welcomed us with open arms. Following our initial phone call, we received

a home visit to check that we understood the process and were suitable to proceed – somehow, they decided we were. The first preparation weekend was an eye opener as we were the only gay couple there. It’s nice to know that this has now radically changed. Zoe and I became the first same-sex couple to be approved as adopters by SSAFA. We then met our social worker and began a long and emotional journey, which involved completing numerous forms, creating a family tree and our support network diagram. References were taken and our friends and family were visited. The culmination of this process was the Prospective Adopters

Report – the document used at panel to decide whether or not we were suitable. During the process, we had to think about the type of family we wanted. We found this difficult to agree on. Zoe wanted three children, being one of three herself, but I wasn’t sure. Our social worker would always pick out groups of four or five, like the Army would just give us a house big enough! In the end, the adoption panel, made up of people who have professional or personal experience or interest in adoption, approved us to adopt any number of children of any age.

FINDING OUR BOYS Zoe was training to deploy to Iraq and whilst she was away,

we received a flyer for three boys. That was it, I knew we’d found them. I phoned her and said ‘I’ve found our boys’ and it was almost as simple as that. The timing wasn’t perfect; Zoe had to explain to the Army that she couldn’t do the tour and needed to commit to taking on the boys. They were understanding and allowed her to do this. We had just moved to Portsmouth and we realised that we were about to change our lives forever by becoming mothers of boys aged three, four and nine. We met the boys gradually whilst staying in a holiday cottage; first as a group for an hour, and then every day for a little longer. It was a confusing time, @ArmyandYou

#OURARMYFAMILY feeling elated at meeting our family followed by worries over whether we would we be good enough parents. Would we cope? Would the boys love us? We still ask ourselves those questions now. When the boys visited our home they seemed to like it – the eldest was over the moon at his own room. We realised we needed a bigger car when we finally brought them home for good. The fun and games of establishing routines began. Food was interesting – simple questions like what they would like on their toast – jam, marmalade, Marmite? The resounding answer was Marmite, but

the boys had no idea what Marmite was and they all hated it! Lesson learned – make sure they understand what you’re offering before you make it. Zoe took additional adoption leave. I had two weeks for half-term and one week of parental leave and I felt so guilty going back to school. Zoe was at home with two of them, the middle one started school but there were educational issues with the eldest and his start was delayed whilst a teaching assistant was arranged. During this time, we were visited by social workers. Ours was great, she bonded well with the boys and would just

listen. Friends were also supportive.

ESTABLISHING ROUTINES We were warned about the honeymoon period and in hindsight we got off lightly. The two youngest, who share a room, were chalk and cheese. The youngest was a night owl and would be up organising his toys or drawers, anything but sleeping, then he’d be tired in the morning. The middle one slept at night but would rise early excited to be starting a new day, so it was a source of problems. We didn’t think the bedroom situation could get any worse but the eldest

decided he was scared and wanted to share with his brothers. We established strict bedtime rules, decided on times and stuck to them for many years, adding fifteen minutes every birthday. It just about worked, and we managed to get some much-needed adult time once they were asleep. SSAFA has always been there when we needed them. We often give them a ring to ask for advice. Educating the boys has been one of the challenges, but SSAFA has been supportive on this too. It’s important to talk to the school, make them aware of the difficulties faced by

adopted children and make sure they have plans in place. SSAFA did some training with the school I work in and I can honestly say it was one of the best sessions we’ve had.

ADOPTION ADVICE Has it been easy? No. Would we do it again? Possibly not; we are just starting to get some time for ourselves. Friends with birth children seem to face similar difficulties. There are some issues with adopted children, but they are different challenges rather than additional ones. Would we recommend it to others? Definitely. &

Whether married or single, parent, partner, cousin or child of a soldier, we want you to tell us all about your Army family. Follow #OurArmyFamily on Twitter and Instagram for more stories

MAKE their DEBUT one to remember Bespoke publications and photography placing your little superstars in the sporting spotlight



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autumn 2018 Army&You 47

USEFUL LINKS JSP 464 is the policy covering the ANA to SFA process Information on the adaptation process is contained in Vol 1, Part 1, Chapter 6, Section III – Provision of Facilities for those with Additional Needs and Disabilities Info on retention of SFA is contained in Vol 1, Part 1, Chapter 7, Section VIII CA infographics can be accessed at housing. DIO flowcharts can be accessed at Enter your postcode at to find your local council – OT details will be listed under adult or children’s services.

Adaptations advice


OVING can be stressful at the best of times but if you also need additional needs adaptations (ANA) to your new property before you’ve got the keys, it can be complex. Karen Ross, our Health & Additional Needs Specialist, and Housing Specialist Cat Calder have worked with Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and CarillionAmey (CA) on your behalf to ensure the process runs smoothly for you. We’re pleased to see that the improvements that we requested have been taken

into account. These include the introduction of an additional needs and disability adviser and support with acquiring an occupational therapist (OT) assessment if you are experiencing problems. CA has also published infographics on the adaptations process and DIO has produced flowcharts with further details – see our links box above for where to go. To reduce the stress of moving, follow these tips to ensure DIO and CA can identify the most suitable SFA for your family’s needs and

“We’re pleased to see the improvements that we requested have been taken into account.” 48 Army&You autumn 2018

that adaptations meet your requirements: l Contact CA on 0800 707 6000 or email occupancyservices@ as soon as you can about your requirements for adaptations l An OT report or medical report will always be required when you submit your e1132 l If the adaptation requires moderate- to high-level works, you may need an OT assessment in your new SFA. If returning from overseas, you may be entitled to a publicly-funded return trip to visit the SFA and meet with the OT (see AGAI 108) l If there’s a long waiting list for a local authority OT, ask for a confirmation letter because

CA/DIO may be able to access an OT assessment for you l Don’t book your removals or a move-out date unless you have a confirmed date for move-in. The process can take some time or unforeseen problems may occur l If you are unable to move in time for the posting start date, you’ll need to apply for official retention of your current SFA, to ensure that you can still access removals l If you require a move before the confirmed move-in date, address this with your unit welfare officer or chain of command. For support with adaptations to SFA, contact Cat at housing, or Karen at & @ArmyandYou


Fire facts for Forces families


HE importance of fire safety in your home cannot be understated. If you’re living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA), you should have smoke alarms fitted in the hallway and landing, heat detectors in the kitchen and carbon monoxide alarms wherever there is an open flame or appliance such as a fireplace or gas cooker. Most SFA have hard-wired smoke alarms with a backup battery; however, some still have replaceable batteries – these will be replaced with hard wired ones when properties are upgraded. Testing the alarms

“Most UK fire and rescue services offer a ‘safe and well’ visit to identify potential fire risks and how to reduce them.” regularly is vital, and is your responsibility. If you have any concerns or if an alarm starts to ‘beep’ and you’ve checked the battery, call the CarillionAmey (CA) helpdesk.

LIVING OVERSEAS? For those of you posted overseas, different requirements are in place depending on your host country. However, more

than 150 countries apply international standards for fire detection and smoke alarms.

concerns over fire safety, call the CA helpdesk for guidance. You must inform CA that there has been a fire, their helpdesk will provide you with advice and support and if necessary, find you alternative accommodation. If you’re behind the wire, follow station orders.

ARE YOU COVERED? STAY SAFE Most UK fire and rescue services offer a ‘safe and well’ visit to identify potential fire risks and how to reduce them. Make your home safe from fire by following the advice at and if you have any

Don’t forget to ensure that you are covered by liability insurance for £20,000, as if you are shown to be liable for the damage, the MOD will charge you for the repairs. For details of insurance companies offering this, visit


autumn 2018 Army&You 49

positive. The people of Wiltshire look forward to welcoming you.”


Built to last: New homes under construction by Lovell in Bulford for

families relocating from Germany

Rebasing round-up Over the next 12-18 months, many Army families will be involved in unit moves as part of the Army Rebasing Programme. Army&You spoke to Collette Musgrave, AFF’s UK & Overseas Director, about this large and complex project... GERMANY A key piece of this plan is the move of HQ 20 Brigade and all major and minor units based in Germany back to the UK. This is scheduled to happen by September next year, with the bulk of the moves taking place over the summer. While many families will head to Wiltshire, others will go to locations including Leuchars in Scotland, Catterick, Stafford, Bicester and Swanton Morley in East Anglia. Carole Rudd, AFF’s Regional Manager Germany, explained: “It’s a complex picture, with some units re-roling as part of the move – so it’s not as simple as just saying ‘everyone from x unit is going to Larkhill’ for example! “It’s important to stay in touch with the information that is being issued by units about where they are going, and in what timeframe. When the units are asking you for information, it’s essential to respond – they want to make sure that the right houses and school places are available when you get to the UK. “BFGnet has lots of information about locations and the admin you have to think about when you’re leaving BFG.”

SALISBURY PLAIN Many families will be moving to locations around the Salisbury Plain training area in Wiltshire. There will be more than 4,000 additional Army personnel in the area by 2020 – and in excess of 1,000 new Service Family Accommodation (SFA) are being built, including the already-completed Ashdown

50 Army&You autumn 2018

Estate in Tidworth. AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade visited the new site recently. She said: “I was pleased to see that the layout was open plan and reflected modern ways of living, and that the need to store extra kit had also been taken into account.”

NEW SCHOOLS There are around 1,000 new school places being created for Service children, with new primary schools in Larkhill and Ludgershall offering 630 new places. Avon College, near Bulford, and Wellington Academy, serving Tidworth and Ludgershall, will have 375 additional places. Wiltshire Council has always had a strong relationship with the Army. It was the first local authority in the country to create a military civilian integration partnership in 2006 and has worked with the MOD to ensure infrastructure and support services will be in place. Military civilian integration lead Kevin Ladner said: “We are ensuring adequate resources will be available to deliver services required by the incoming military families. Council officers are visiting Germany in September to advise on what Wiltshire can offer including jobs, leisure and health facilities, as well as how to apply for local school places and what services will be available on arrival. “Throughout the programme, we have communicated with local communities about the moves and feedback has been very

There are many other units on the move and AFF is on hand to provide help and guidance to you. 2 Med Regt in North Luffenham is disbanding and most families will have moved over the summer to join 3 Med in Preston, Lancashire. AFF’s local co-ordinators in the East Midlands and in the North West have provided support and shared information. The Household Cavalry Regiment is heading to Bulford from Windsor – and our London and Wiltshire co-ordinators have been working together to guide them. We also have a team in Cyprus – see page three – who can help if you are part of the 2 Mercian and 1 Lancs regular rotation.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE Army wife Mariya Chambers has recently moved from Germany. “I’ve been married to my soldier for seven years but had never lived in the UK as an Army spouse,” she told us. “It was quite challenging at first as lots of things – from getting your car registered and insured, to accessing healthcare – are very different in the UK and you have to do much more for yourself. We’ve quickly settled in – I found a job that I enjoy and we really like the Salisbury Plain area.”

FINDING INFORMATION The HIVE provides details on relocation wherever you are or wherever you are heading to. It has information about amenities, garrison facilities, housing and travel. Nikki Peterson, head of Army HIVE, told us: “Relocation information is our primary role, as accurate and up-to-date knowledge can make all the difference to the success of your move. “HIVE has supported thousands of serving personnel and their families during rebasing and now with our online iHIVE we are delighted that we can extend that support across the world.” &

FURTHER DETAILS HIVE iHIVE British Forces Germany Wiltshire Council AFF (details of all our co-ordinators around the world as well as advice on education, healthcare and additional needs, housing, employment and training). @ArmyandYou

CUTTING YOUR OWN PATH The Royal Hospital School is a leading co-educational independent school for 11 to 18 year olds, located in 200 acres of Suffolk countryside. It has a thriving Combined Cadet Force, 65% of pupils board full time and more than 200 pupils have a connection to the armed services. Fees are discounted for services families eligible for CEA and all RN and RM personnel, both retired and serving, can apply for means-tested assistance with fees.




The face of AFF overseas

Wherever you are in the world, AFF is here to help you. Through our co-ordinators and regional managers in key areas abroad, we can provide advice and support on Army family life no matter where your plane ticket takes you. If you’re based on foreign shores and have an issue or question, get in touch with a member of our team...

Joanne Plews

Karen Brodin-Coles

Vic Porter

Nicola Green

Gemma Richardson

ARMY CONNECTION: Army wife for six years; living in SFA AFF ROLE: BATUS Co-ordinator LOCATION: Canada CONTACT:

ARMY CONNECTION: Army wife for 22 years AFF ROLE: Brunei Co-ordinator LOCATION: Brunei CONTACT:

ARMY CONNECTION: Ex-Royal Artillery, married to a soldier AFF ROLE: European Joint Support Unit Co-ordinator LOCATION: Europe (but not BFG or Cyprus) CONTACT:

ARMY CONNECTION: Served for five years in the Royal Artillery and married to a soldier AFF ROLE: BATUK Co-ordinator LOCATION: Kenya CONTACT:

ARMY CONNECTION: Have lived in Germany since marrying a soldier three years ago AFF ROLE: Paderborn Co-ordinator LOCATION: Germany CONTACT:

“We don’t have a HIVE here so people can feel isolated not knowing where to go for information. Lots of things are done differently in Canada – employment, schooling and housing. Every day is different and I am always learning. The best thing is helping people and knowing that I make a difference. Having someone to contact outside of the chain of command can put people at ease.”

“I provide a confidential ear to direct families to specialists in the UK and to work with the local chain of command to input your views and queries. We have a lot of immigration and visa issues, so I work closely with our F&C team. The best part of my role is meeting families and new arrivals. It’s rewarding to work with other welfare agencies as we are so remote in Brunei.”

“I cover 17 different countries and families are spread over thousands of miles. The opportunities in host nations are amazing but families can find it hard to have their concerns listened to. I raise issues to the headquarters to help improve things. I reach families by travelling to events and meetings or via email, telephone and Skype. I’ve done virtual coffee mornings which make me feel like I’m in an episode of Red Dwarf!”

“Kenya can be an isolated posting so it’s important that families feel fully supported. The help I give starts prior to arrival in BATUK and continues on your African adventure. It’s easy to feel lonely living so far from friends and family, but BATUK has a great community spirit and families look out for one another. I work closely with the chain of command and welfare team to help ensure families are being listened to and positive changes are happening.”

“Attempting to map Service rules and find the right person to speak to can feel like navigating spaghetti junction. For families, having someone to turn to for support can be invaluable. Drawdown is the biggest current issue and brings with it a whole heap of questions and concerns. Already we are seeing an increase in enquiries.”

52 Army&You autumn 2018


Managing the teams

AFF’s WSBA and Gütersloh Co-ordinator posts have been gapped over the summer.

Kelly Taylor ARMY CONNECTION: Married to a soldier AFF ROLE: Eastern Sovereign Base Area (ESBA) Co-ordinator LOCATION: Ayios Nikolaos and Dhekelia, Cyprus CONTACT:

“Moving around can be stressful and throw up lots of issues, especially abroad. Having a friendly face that can help can mean so much. We deal with anything from mobile phone contracts and work, to housing and F&C support. I love to help people – hopefully this has a positive impact on the family. I pop up at most events and chat about AFF and what we do.”

Carolyn Aggar

Carole Rudd

Esther Thomas

ARMY CONNECTION: Married for 21 years moving between Germany and UK AFF ROLE: Regional Manager Germany CONTACT: rmgermany@

ARMY CONNECTION: A Reservist for more than 12 years and married to a soldier. AFF ROLE: Regional Manager Overseas CONTACT: rmoverseas@

ARMY CONNECTION: Married to a soldier for just over a year AFF ROLE: Regional Manager Cyprus CONTACT:

“I’m responsible for the management of the Germany coordinators; ensuring maximum engagement with the community, attendance at events and meetings with the station chain of command. Seeing the AFF footprint increase in the community is one of the most satisfying parts of the role. Our annual roadshow for families in BFG raises the profile of our team and the organisation. Questions posed to a panel of experts always highlight the current concerns and are answered swiftly. We hope lots of you will attend our roadshow this October to ensure you’ve got all the information you need with current concerns ahead of drawdown.”

“As well as overseeing the work of my team of co-ordinators in Kenya, Canada, Brunei and EJSU, I am effectively the point of contact for all other Army families assigned to more remote locations such as Belize, the Falklands and those of you on individual assignments such as loan service, defence attaché and exchange officers. This is a great aspect of the role which keeps me in touch with current issues. Working across the globe, I can identify trends at an early stage and highlight them to command so preventative actions, improved communication or changes in policies can be discussed. I sometimes feel I’ve travelled the world in a day!”

“It’s slightly different here in that there is no physical representative for either the RAF or Navy Families Federations so, with their agreement, we support all military families. I have two co-ordinators across the Western Sovereign Base Area and the Eastern Sovereign Base Area who submit evidence of issues families are experiencing so that I can address them with other agencies or AFF’s team of specialists. I feel rewarded when I have helped achieve effective communication between the BFC chain of command and families as it’s often good and appropriate communication that can be the missing link.”

autumn 2018 Army&You 53

n o i t a r e n e G g Youn MILY B E R S O F Y O U R A R M Y FA FOR THE YOUNGER MEM

A hero to hold

Military wife Jo Lomax made her first Huggable Hero to comfort her friend’s little girl when her dad was about to deploy and now there are Huggable Heroes all over the world, helping to reduce separation anxiety. We spoke to some owners to find out what they thought… HERO: Soldier husband Nick. KELLIE: “I keep him in the lounge

Grace and Evie HERO: Dad Adam is in South

Erin HERO: Dad Mark went on tour earlier this year.

Sudan on a six-month tour with the United Nations.

ERIN: “It’s cuddly and nice that I can

GRACE: “My huggable daddy

MUM CLAIRE: “I’m happy to see

makes me feel proud of what he does and makes me happy. I like to show him all of the places we go so he can be part of the adventure too. I love that we chose to have daddy holding our photo so we know whose is whose.”

EVIE: “I hug him all of the time, especially when I want a cuddle before bed. Daddy is away and it’s hard, I like hugging him because it makes me feel better. We took him on the ferry to Paderborn to see our friends; we thought he would like to join in the fun.”


with the bear he got me with a message so when I miss him I can hear his voice. I bought him for my brother’s wedding as he was in America at the time and couldn’t be there in person. It was going to be for our baby which we sadly lost last July. I’m now going to give it to our rainbow baby in October when he/she is due.”

William and Johnny

HERO: Grandad, who lives 100 miles away. JORGIE: “Having grandad with me makes

me feel safe and happy and helps until I can see him again.”

MUM CHARLIE: “My son finds the hardest

take daddy with me.”

the special connection she has with her ‘daddy cuddles’. She knows that when she is upset or scared he is always there. She’s been ill while he’s been on tour and daddy cuddles is always snuggled up with her.”


Kellie HERO: Dad David is in Somalia

part of Army life is leaving family behind. This never gets easier. Jorgie has an incredible bond with my dad, his grandad, and before we lived in a quarter they saw each other pretty much every day. He misses him terribly and I knew he’d be super happy to have his own grandad with him always. He sleeps with it every night and it comes with us on all our adventures. Something as simple as this is an absolute godsend.” sad we hug him.”

on a six-month tour.

JOHNNY: “Daddy goes on WILLIAM: “Mummy and daddy gave them to us, it was an amazing surprise. I took the photos on the Remembrance Parade last year. Daddy comes to school with us and when we feel

sleepovers with us. We love him.”

MUM KATE: “I considered getting myself one – when I’m cuddling the boys at bedtime I kiss daddy goodnight too!”

A personalised Huggable Hero ( gives your child everlasting cuddles in times when it is not possible to be together. We are giving away a single-sided Huggable Hero with a choice of pink, blue or grey star fabric on the back, worth £29.90. Go to the giveaways tab at to enter.

54 Army&You autumn 2018


Military Child By Lottie Butterworth (14) We go where we are told No question we ask We just go.

Forces’ fight club

Alive Amateur Boxing Club in Tidworth, founded by serving soldier Chris Milligan, has only been running since 2015, but it already has almost 300 children and adults on its books, around half of which are connected to the military. Young boxers Casey Pain (12) and Jack Smith (10) tell us more…

Tell us about yourselves CASEY: My dad is in the Army at 32 Regt RA. I have lived on Salisbury Plain my whole life. JACK: My mum is in the Adjutant General’s Corps. We moved house last year.

Why did you join the boxing club? C: You can become fit and healthy, but it has also helped me have confidence as I was starting year seven. J: I liked watching the boxing in the Olympics. My favourite boxer was Anthony Ogogo. I also enjoyed watching my dad and his friends box, so I asked if I could do it too.

Has it helped you with Army life? C: My dad has been away a lot on tours and I found it hard, so it’s nice to be part of a club that understands Army life and families.

What are the best bits about boxing? C: I think Alive ABC helps Army families and children to develop their feelings in a controlled area. It brings military, civilian and veteran communities together as one. J: The coaches are really good. They help me and know lots of stuff about boxing.

What have you learnt? C: Apart from the six pack I now have, my confidence has improved. Discipline also – our head coach Chris doesn’t allow bad behaviour or bad manners.

Do you compete? C: Yes, but only when we are ready. We have to commit to

a lot of training to be able to be matched against other boxers. J: I had my first bout this season and I’m now getting ready for the Hampshire ABA schoolboy championships.

Would you recommend the club to other military children? C: I would recommend anyone, children or adults, to come and train at Alive ABC. It has a great gym, friendly coaches and we have lots of fun. J: Yes I think kids should come to boxing. It is good for discipline and helps your fitness and I really enjoy it.

Life is a surprise for us, We never know What is around the next corner. We put our roots down Wherever our home may be. We flourish and Make friends in Cultures new. We are tough, We are loving, We are the offspring of the military. Written one evening at boarding school, Lottie sent this poem to her dad who has been away on an eightmonth tour in Afghanistan. Her poem was inspired by the dandelion, the flower of military children. We love to receive stories, poems, artwork and photos from Army youngsters. If you’d like to share something about your military life with us, email or tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @ArmyandYou

J: I love the atmosphere at the club. I’ve made more friends and so have my parents.

autumn 2018 Army&You 55

Specialists have an advantage The same is true in family law Mountain goats are specialists as they can climb the most precipitous slopes. At The Family Law Co we are specialists too; we have developed a sure-footing in all aspects of family law, including divorce, separation & financial matters, co-habitation agreements and grandparents’ rights. Contact us for specialist advice on all areas of family law.

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Our lawyers take the time to get to know you and fully understand your situation, to enable them to provide the best possible advice. We place great value in the on-going relationships we have with all our clients.

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For more information on our range of legal services call 0800 8840 640 to speak with one of our experts. 56 Army&You autumn 2018

Divorce and Separation Pensions in Divorce Arrangements for Children Cohabitation Disputes Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements


Our wide range of expertise include: •

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Domestic distress


OOTBALL may not, as many briefly dared to believe, have come home this summer, but the 2018 World Cup was not without its dramatic moments. While Gareth Southgate’s squad brought hope of sporting success to a new generation of England fans on the pitch, a powerful poster campaign aimed at tackling domestic violence grabbed the attention of the nation off it. Launched by the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) ahead of the Lions’ semifinal against Croatia in Russia, the appeal featured an image (pictured above) – depicting a woman with blood pouring from her nose to form a St George’s flag – accompanied by the strapline “if England get beaten, so will she”. The visual was used to draw attention to research conducted by academics at Lancaster University that found police reports of domestic abuse during the World Cups of 2002, 2006 and 2010 went up by 26 per cent when England played and 38 per cent

when they lost. And although the poster, one of a series of striking pictures used as part of the NCDV’s “The NotSo-Beautiful-Game” campaign, used football to thrust the issue of domestic violence into the public’s consciousness, statistics show the problem is far from confined to those periods during global sporting spectacles. In the UK, one-in-four women and one-in-six men experience domestic abuse in their lives and a domestic violence case is reported to police every minute. Perhaps more worrying is the belief held by support charities that only 35 per cent of cases are actually referred to the authorities. Andrew Woo, a partner and family law solicitor at Brewer Harding & Rowe, acknowledged that confusion over what constitutes domestic abuse could be contributing to many victims suffering in silence. “Domestic abuse can affect anyone irrespective of background and gender,” he told Army&You. “It is a complex area which sadly is often

“Domestic abuse can affect anyone from all walks of life irrespective of background and gender.” Andrew Woo, Brewer, Harding & Rowe

misunderstood or unrecognised. “Domestic abuse manifests itself in many ways, all of which are capable of being equally damaging. The most recognisable forms of domestic abuse are physical or sexual assault but it doesn’t have to leave physical marks and scars. “It can include emotional or financial abuse. There are many types of behaviour which can be exhibited as part of domestic abuse including manipulation, isolation from friends or family and use of threats or humiliation which harm, frighten or punish. It can be a single incident or a pattern of behaviour.” Chrystal Theofanous, a partner at Sills & Betteridge Solicitors, which operates across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, agrees that an absence of physical bruising is not an indicator that all is well in a relationship. “Being abused isn’t just about someone being physically violent, which is a common misconception of domestic abuse, i.e ‘if my partner is not hitting me, I am not being ›› autumn 2018 Army&You 57

Specialists in all areas of family law Domestic Abuse Injunctions Care Proceedings International Child Abduction

Divorce & Separation Finances Pensions Residency & Contact

Contact our family team for help in your area:

0800 542 4245

Lincoln | Nottingham | Northampton | Coventry | Doncaster | Gainsborough | Scunthorpe | Boston | Sleaford | Skegness | Spilsby

58 Army&You autumn 2018



“Being assaulted by someone you know or live with is just as much a crime as violence from a stranger.” Lisa McLaughlin, The Family Law Company abused’,” she said. “Domestic abuse also includes controlling and coercive behaviour (see Bad behaviours on page 61) – such as controlling your finances, going through your mobile phone, making you feel bad for what you wear or for going out socialising.” Citing harassment, stalking and abuse online through social media sites as further examples, Allen Bailey of Catterick Garrisonbased Scotts Wright Solicitors added: “Domestic abuse can take many shapes and forms. Its meaning has been extended over the years and will no doubt continue to be widened in the future. “Today, the government definition of domestic violence and abuse is ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality’.” Whatever the official definition, Gail Salway, who heads up the family department at Everys Solicitors, which has offices across Devon and Somerset, believes those on the receiving end are often best placed to judge if they are the victims of domestic abuse. “In some cases, it will be obvious when a person’s actions amount to domestic abuse, for example if they are physically or sexually violent to the victim. However, other abusive behaviour can be harder to identify,” she explained. “If you are unsure as to whether you are the victim of domestic abuse, a key question to consider is have you changed the way you do things as a result of your partner’s behaviour or reactions? If the answer is ‘yes’, there is a good chance you are experiencing domestic abuse. If you are aware that your partner behaves and reacts in a more intense way to your friends’ partners, there is likely to be something wrong.”

Gail also stressed that you do not have to share the same domestic set-up with someone to be subject to domestic abuse. “It is not limited to current and existing relationships,” she continued. “It is possible to experience domestic abuse from an expartner where you were in a relationship but have separated. “Domestic abuse can also occur between relatives, for example young adults towards parent, grandparents, aunts and uncles and between siblings.” Allen agreed that physical separation is not a silver-bullet solution to ending an abusive relationship and that controlling and coercive behaviour – be it an ex sitting outside your place of work or isolating you from sources of support – can continue. “Financial or economic abuse is another way your ex-partner can try to exert control over you after you have separated,” he said. “It can arise even though you may live many miles away from each other and have been living apart for several years. “Examples could be when your ex-partner fails to pay or contribute towards joint bills, forces you to take credit out in your name, or drains or depletes bank accounts. “This type of abuse can leave victims in dire financial straits, liable for debts they never agreed to and effectively at the mercy of the abuser.” Lisa McLaughlin, a legal executive at The Family Law Company, also warned that exiting an abusive relationship is rarely easy. “Sometimes perpetrators will increase their abuse if they suspect you are thinking of leaving and will continue to do so after you have left,” she said. “This can be a particularly dangerous time – it is important to remember that ending the relationship will not necessarily end the abuse.” Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which the law can protect those who have been the victim of domestic abuse and each of the legal experts featured were united in the advice that affected individuals should not suffer in silence. “You have rights under criminal law,” stressed Lisa. “Being assaulted by someone you know or live with is just as much a crime as violence from a stranger.” Lin Cumberlin, a member of the family law team at Batt Broadbent Solicitors in Wiltshire, was also quick to impress the severity of such crimes. “Domestic abuse is prosecuted as part of the CPS Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy which aims to address crimes committed primarily, but not exclusively, by men against women,” the chartered legal executive said. “However, the CPS Annual ››

Lin Cumberlin, Batt Broadbent

Allen Bailey, Scotts Wright Solicitors

Andrew Woo, Brewer, Harding & Rowe

Gail Salway, Everys Solicitors autumn 2018 Army&You 59

Our specialist lawyers can advise on all aspects of military family life; whether just starting out, facing some of life’s challenges and everything in between. • • • • • •

Cohabitation Divorce and separation Disputes concerning child arrangements Financial settlements (including military pensions) Buying and selling houses Wills & Powers of Attorney

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“Financial or economic abuse is another way your ex-partner can try to exert control over you after you have separated.” Allen Bailey, Scotts Wright Solicitors Violence Against Women and Girls report includes data on all perpetrators and victims, irrespective of gender, and the CPS have stated that they are determined to secure justice for all victims including male victims. “If you are the victim of domestic abuse you can report the matter to the police which could result in your abuser being arrested, cautioned or charged. “Most police stations have domestic violence units or community safety units with specially trained officers to deal with domestic violence and abuse. “If the abuser is arrested or charged, the police will decide whether to keep them in custody or release them on bail. Conditions will be imposed if they are released on bail to protect the victim from any further abuse or violence. You [those not in SFA] can request that a police marker be placed on your address so that, in the event of further violence or abuse from your abuser, the police can get to you quickly.” Explaining how a solicitor can help support victims living in private accommodation, Lisa continued: “You can apply for a civil court order to tell your perpetrator to stop

Lisa McLaughlin, The Family Law Company

harassing or hurting you (a non-molestation order), or to keep out of or away from your home (an occupation order). “A non-molestation order aims to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of you and your children by preventing your partner or ex-partner from using or threatening violence against you or your child, or intimidating, harassing or pestering you. “An occupation order regulates who can live in the family home and can also restrict the perpetrator from entering the surrounding area. “If you do not feel safe continuing to live with your partner, or if you have left home because of violence but want to return and exclude your abuser, you may want to apply for an occupation order.” Andrew also urged those in need of legal protection to not be put off seeking support by the potential cost. “If you’re trying to leave an abusive relationship, the last thing you want to worry about is how you’re going to pay for legal protection from domestic abuse,” he said. “Although legal aid has been restricted in recent years, it is still available for many victims of domestic abuse. However, there are only certain solicitors that offer legal aid.” Lin echoed this message of monetary assistance. “Legal aid is available for those who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing domestic violence for private family law cases,” she concluded. “You will need to pass both the ‘means’ – be financially eligible – and ‘merits’ – have a strong case – tests before you can get legal aid. If you are financially eligible for legal aid you will be required to produce evidence of the domestic abuse you have been subjected to support your application.” l Visit to find out if you are eligible for financial aid and legal-aid/domestic-abuse-or-violence for information about evidence requirements. n

Chrystal Theofanous, Sills Bettridge

Bad behaviours Sophie Pincott (pictured above), a Family Law & Domestic Abuse Specialist at Swanseabased Peter Lynn and Partners (, clarifies what constitutes controlling and coercive behaviour... “Controlling or coercive behaviour describes behaviour occurring within a current or former intimate or family relationship which causes someone to fear that violence will be used against them on more than one occasion, or causes them serious alarm or distress that substantially affects their day-today activities. “It involves a pattern of behaviour or incidents that enable a person to exert power or control over another, such as isolating a partner from their friends and family, taking control of their finances, everyday activities like what they wear or who they see, or tracking their movements through the internet or mobile phone use. “The domestic abuse definition specifically states: ‘Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/ or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.’ “Coercive behaviour is ‘an act or a pattern of acts of assaults, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim’.” autumn 2018 Army&You 61


Click the giveaways tab at and follow the links before entries close on 7 October

One entry per household per giveaway. Closing date for entries is 7 October 2018 unless otherwise stated. See page three for competition rules. Your information will not be used for marketing purposes. Winners’ names and T&Cs are published on the Army&You website.

Tune in for top prize Susie-Q is the latest premium audio product from British brand VQ. Designed and engineered in Hampshire, Susie-Q features smart radio and is a fully connected speaker. No matter what you choose to listen to, Susie-Q will delight with custom mounted speakers featuring acoustic tuning which deliver powerful audio performance. Susie-Q features premium enamel and chrome on the front fascia.

One winner will receive this £300 smart radio and connected speaker in their choice of finish – oak, walnut or noir. If you’re not lucky enough to win, VQ have offered a £100 discount voucher for readers – just use code SUSIE100 on checkout at MyVQ. – valid until 31 October 2018.

62 Army&You autumn 2018

A little autumnal me-time Located just outside Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, Ragdale Hall Spa combines state-of-the-art facilities with the charm of traditional Victorian architecture to create one of the most luxurious and relaxing health spas in the country. Enjoy full use of Ragdale Hall’s facilities, including new Rooftop Infinity Pool, Thermal Spa, pools, gymnasium, exercise classes and outdoor facilities. Go to for more. We’re giving away an Overnight Reviver Break for two people including one night’s accommodation sharing a double or twin superior room, with dinner, breakfast and buffet lunch. Each guest will enjoy a 50-minute Blissful Face and Back Therapy too. T&Cs: This prize is open to serving Regular or Reserve families only. Arrival 2pm, departure day two 6pm. The prize must be taken within six months of the date the winner is notified, and guests must be aged 16 or over. Travel is not included.

PERSONAL POPPY PAINTING Jacqueline Hurley’s War Poppy Collection is her personal thank you to our Armed Forces, veterans and their families and a tribute to those fallen and injured in past campaigns. She paints to evoke emotion and remembrance in a unique expressionism style, using the stark redness of poppies juxtaposed against gritty impressionistic landscapes. The

War Poppy Collection has been exhibited at The National Memorial Arboretum and The Royal Albert Hall, with money from sales going to The Royal British Legion. To view Jacqueline’s collection, visit You could win a signed print of your choice from Jacqueline’s stunning collection.


Beautiful bootees

Cut out for it Slated was set up by former Black Watch officer Geoff Lockett and artist wife Lesley in 2014. The company designs slate products which can be used as cheese boards, serving platters, table mats or hung on the wall as a chalk board. Slated also cuts designs to order from its studio in Ayrshire and has produced animals, countries and even a submarine. See more at

Celtic & Co ( offers a wide range of footwear, clothing, outerwear and accessories made from all-natural fibres. Based in Cornwall, Celtic was founded 27 years ago by Nick and Kath Whitworth and is now one of the UK’s largest dedicated retailers of luxury sheepskin products. It operates online and through a handful of boutiques. Celtic’s iconic British sheepskin boots and slippers are true originals and are still handcrafted in a workshop in Newquay. Win a pair of handcrafted British sheepskin bootee slippers in your choice of colour and size, retailing at £67.

We have two slates to give away in a design of your choice up to the value of £53 (including £7 p&p).

Gin o’clock Spitfire Heritage Gin is a single estate, small batch botanical craft gin built to be the best by world champion gin maker and master distiller John Walters. It’s distilled in the heart of Cambridgeshire in hand-beaten copper stills, housed in a stunning 200 year old barn beside a duck pond. Find it on sale at Harrods, Wine Rack, independent bars and hotels and at Win one of two bottles of Spitfire Heritage Gin or Supermarine Vodka, priced at £40 each.

Criminal to miss it

Image: Robert Workman

Summer 1958. Minneapolis City Bank has been entrusted with a priceless diamond. An escaped convict is dead set on pocketing the gem with the help of his screwball sidekick, trickster girlfriend… and the maintenance man. In a town where everyone’s a crook, who will bag the jewel? Mischief Theatre’s The Comedy About a Bank Robbery ( is currently showing at the West End’s Criterion Theatre and goes on tour this autumn. Army&You has five pairs of tickets to give away for opening night performances at a venue of your choice. This giveaway closes on Sunday 23 September. Tour dates and locations can be found on our website,

autumn 2018 Army&You 63

KEEP COMMS OPEN Addiction. Debt. Family problems. Don’t keep quiet. Forcesline is a free, independent helpline, that’s outside of the chain of command for the Armed Forces and their families. We’ll listen and help get you back on track.

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Something to share about Army life? Tell us about it by emailing

Tax frustrations WE are concerned about my soldier’s pension tax allowance and the financial impact on our family. We received a letter from the MOD about a government limit on the pension scheme’s annual allowance which caps how much you can pay into your pension pot without having to pay tax on it. We had no idea that this was an issue for the Armed Forces Pension Scheme. Until now, he has not gone over the threshold, but we have been warned he’s likely to do so next year. Our understanding is that if we have a tax liability less than £2,000, we will have to declare this on our tax return and pay the tax upfront. If it’s more than £2,000, we have the option of the pension scheme paying it for us – which would reduce the Forces pension he’ll receive. We’re not in a position to pay a higher tax bill upfront and are concerned about

the impact on his pension if we use the scheme to pay. There has been little information about this issue given to families. It seems misleading that the Armed Forces Pension Scheme is supposed to be noncontributory but actually we are paying towards it through an additional tax bill. With the potential increase in retirement age for Army personnel, his pension could be affected for many years. This feels like another attack on the offer to Service personnel. I have been unable to build a decent pension of my own due to frequent moves. This tax bill adds insult to injury that I’ve been unable to maintain a decent career to enable my husband to do whatever the Army needs. Now they either want us to find money upfront or reduce his pension – how is that fair? Name and address supplied.

Response from Anthony Henderson, head of pensions at the Forces Pension Society: Of all the issues brought to us by our members, there’s probably none which causes more upset, misunderstanding and sometimes anger, than Annual Allowance. In the last few years it has become a major source of concern. It’s not an allowance, it’s a tax on your pension increase in a particular tax year. It was first introduced in April 2006, when the allowance was set at £215,000, but then it reduced to £50,000 in 2011 and that was the first time the Armed Forces really became aware of it. Since 2014/15 it has been £40,000. If you’re in a defined contribution scheme it’s simple because if you approach the £40k limit, then you can stop contributing. But for Armed Forces schemes it’s not so straightforward – you don’t pay in, but your pension’s growth is based on things like your rank, salary, length of employment etc. Many people also have protected rights under the old schemes and here it gets tricky. Because of the way the 1975

scheme behaves, there will sometimes be uplifts in pension awards partway through a tax year, which can lead to an annual allowance breach. The good news is you can carry forward any unused annual allowance from the previous three years. If you have not exceeded the annual allowance threshold in those years, you can take the allowance you didn’t use and add it to the current year. About 4,000 people were notified that they had exceeded the limit in 2017 but, because of the carry forward, more than 3,000 didn’t face a charge. We have heard of people talking about leaving the Services to avoid the charge, opting out of the scheme or joining a different one. None of these are good ideas – you’d still be better off paying the tax. If you do get a letter, don’t panic! If you’re a member of the FPS, send it to us and we’ll check it and explain your options. And if you have not yet got a letter – do nothing. Let Veterans UK do its work and calculate it for you. Just don’t lose sleep over it.

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autumn 2018 Army&You 65



Lonely last years I AM the wife of an LE (late entry) officer; we celebrated our silver wedding this year – 25 years in 13 married quarters. I have benefited from the coffee mornings, the parent and tots groups, meeting people at the school gates and the PTA over the years. But no one tells you how lonely life can be on the patch as your soldier progresses through the ranks. I almost refer to myself as being invisible. Could it be the curse of the over-37 package? It’s sadly created a culture where everyone here travels home on Friday, having spent weekdays in the mess. We might have a Christmas bash and perhaps a summer get-together, but there’s not much in between; nothing for Burn’s Night, Valentine’s or Halloween. Once there was a pool of couples who would make you welcome and you generally would find a friend. I’ve been an expert at reading noticeboards and putting a structure together from keep fit classes, part-time jobs or voluntary work. But at this stage of my Army life, the lines of communication are poor and I miss being involved. I hope this letter encourages neighbours to call on one another. I’ll be leaving my quarter this autumn and my soldier will have to deal with the M25 on his commute, but it’s time for my children to have some stability for their jobs. In the last three years of service, it feels like all that’s left to do is put the house keys through the letter box as you leave.

‘No-one cares’ MY husband and I have been in Germany for nearly three years. Soon after arriving, we found out that we were paying more for our threebedroom SFA than more senior ranks in four-bedroom SFA. We are based in what could be described as an ISODET (Isolated Detachment) near Mönchengladbach. We were able to use the facilities in Elmpt station, but when this closed, we lost the normal facilities and support most other units enjoy. We were told this would mean a re-grading of our four-tier SFA rates, but this promise was not kept by DIO housing managers. Instead we were told CAAS rates would be introduced to our SFA once all homes were inspected. However, after just a few months we were informed the CAAS inspection was void and we would all return to the four-tier grading. We were told this was short-term and that all SFA would be re-inspected and then we would come under CAAS charges. Almost two years have passed and despite more and more DIO and EJSU assurances, nothing has been done. During this period soldiers and families have left the unit and remain out of pocket. We too are about to leave and the next lot of families will probably encounter the same issues. If anyone could explain the continued delay this would really help as the

communication is terrible. No-one seems to care. Name and address supplied. Response from Michael Neil, DIO area housing manager Germany: The ISODET chain of command did respond to this but it’s possible this information did not reach you through your unit. CAAS replaced the 4 Tier Grading System (4TG) and provides a modern tool to assess what accommodation charges should be levied based on the condition and age of the property. The CAAS survey in your area revealed that some properties had previously been incorrectly assessed, which meant that the CAAS charges given in January 2016 were wrong. It was not possible for the condition survey team to return for another survey at short notice, so a conversion chart was used and charges continued under 4TG as an interim measure. We intend to bring the CAAS condition survey team back when they are available, but this hasn’t been possible yet. Only like-for-like properties have the same charge, i.e. same size, layout and features such as sockets and decoration. Families in the ISODET’s SFA are not being adversely affected by overpayment and, at move-in, they are reminded that they have three months to challenge the charges if they believe they are incorrect.

An Army wife 66 Army&You autumn 2018



Y O U K N O W H O W M U C H T H E Y H AV E G I V E N . A GIFT IN YOUR WILL CAN HELP MAKE SURE T H E Y A R E A LWAY S C A R E D F O R . A century after World War One, our mission is the same as it has always been – helping soldiers from every regiment, and every conflict, no matter when or where they served. Your support today will help ensure countless soldiers, veterans and their families are cared for in generations to come. Support The Soldiers’ Charity with a gift in your Will. To find out more: /legacy Email: Phone: 020 7811 3964 ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is a registered charity in England and Wales (1146420) and Scotland (039189).

This FPS Member asked us about his tax-free lump sum, the process of applying for his pension and what pension and lump sum his wife would receive on his early demise.

Simon Lloyd, FPS Member

INDEPENDENT, NOT-FOR-PROFIT PENSION HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT We respond to hundreds of such pension enquiries from our Members every month, helping them through the AFPS pension maze. Our Pension team has doubled in size to respond to the growing need for independent support. Join us and see how we can help you. Or simply become a Member for the peace of mind of knowing we’re here to help when you need us.

VALUABLE MEMBERSHIP OFFERS As a Member you will also have access to a growing number of exclusive offers from trusted Affiliates – including our hugely popular no-age-limit Travel Insurance Plan.

Our independence enables us to serve the interests of our growing number of Members – now more than 52,000 – as the Armed Forces Pension Watchdog. We are vigilant, holding governments to account, campaigning wherever we spot an injustice or an inaccuracy in the system. Fighting for the Forces and their Families is in our DNA.

JOIN US NOW Whether you have a pension enquiry or you want to keep in touch with the latest pension developments through our e-newsletters and Pennant magazine, visit and join online today. Annual membership for you and your Partner costs just £38.

FREE £150 HOLIDAY VOUCHER When you join us online, quote Promo Code AMY 2018 and we’ll send you a free voucher worth £150 off a Rambling and Adventure holiday.

JOIN US AND GET MORE FROM YOUR PENSION Forces Pension Society 68 South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1RL Tel: 020 7820 9988 - email: -

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