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Army &You SPRING 2014

WWW.ARMYANDYOU.CO.UK

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}

LIVING WITH PTSD

GRAD ALL OVER

Wife’s candid tale of coping with her soldier’s mental scars

F&C spouse’s life-changing study

VOCAL support Russell Watson sings out for Service familes

WIN A FAB FAMILY BREAK FOR

5

THE MAGAZINE OF THE ARMY FAMILIES FEDERATION

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KEEPING YOU IN TOUCH WelComE (Welfare Communications Everywhere) - providing communication services to link entitled UK Service personnel on operational duty with their families and friends back home.

Free* voicemail Family and friends based in the UK, Germany and Cyprus can leave voicemail messages for entitled UK Service personnel currently serving on operational duty overseas. Entitled deployed personnel can retrieve voicemail messages for free in-theatre. Entitled deployed personnel, family and friends can top-up WelComE Account Cards via the Online Account Manager. Visit www.mywelcome.co.uk for details.

WelComE Customer Contact Centre customer.support@mywelcome.co.uk www.mywelcome.co.uk * Free when calling from a UK, German or Cypriot landline Mobile and international call costs may vary. Check with your mobile/service provider

10255 - Š Paradigm. All rights reserved. WelComE is a Registered Trademark of Astrium Limited.

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{ FROM THE EDITOR }

ARMY&YOU IN NUMBERS

Home comforts

R

EBASING is a hot topic this spring as Army&You brings you a special feature looking at plans to support families moving back from Germany to the UK. We hear from volunteers who are making sure the community in Germany keeps going until the last unit leaves and, with some units relocating to more rural areas of the UK, our AFF UK Director shares how AFF will be supporting families in these remote locations. We’ve jam-packed this edition with inspiring stories from the Army community. From the There’s an exclusive foreign & commonwealth interview with the spouse who conquered people’s tenor, Russell visa issues to become Watson who is giving We’ve jama law graduate to the his support to Service packed this honest account from families and if you a wife living with a fancy a holiday, don’t edition with PTSD sufferer and forget to enter our inspiring stories where help for all the giveaways to win a family can be found. family break in the from the Army If you’re looking New Forest! community for a job, there’re some great new initiatives on our employment pages Charlotte including free courses to start your own business and how to get the most from your recruitment agency. CHARLOTTE EADIE, EDITOR

100 Acres of New Forest occupied by Shorefield County Park. Turn to page 58 for your chance to win a family break there!

30 The percentage of your pension pot you could lose to “pension liberators”. Find out more on page 47.

13 Things you can learn about the 11+ and grammar schools by turning to page 49.

❝❞

&Army You

SPRING 2014

WWW.ARMYANDYOU.CO.UK

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}

GRAD ALL OVER

LIVING WITH PTSD

Caribbean spouse’s life-changing study

Wife’s candid tale of coping with her soldier’s mental scars

VOCAL support Russell Watson sings out for Service familes

WIN A FAB

FAMILY BREAK FOR

5

THE NEW MAGAZINE OF THE ARMY FAMILIES FEDERATION

aff

8 Books telling tales of the Great War featured in our new Culture section. Turn to page 62.

On the cover...

@ArmyandYou

People’s tenor Russell Watson, who is lending his support to Home Ground, an initiative raising funds for several Service charities

F

Armyandyou

Picture: Simon Fowler

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www.armyandyou.co.uk

DID YOU KNOW? Russell Watson supports a number of charities, including the Katy Holmes Trust, The Prince’s Trust and The Kirsty Club. www.armyandyou.co.uk

spring 2014 Army&You 03


{ CONTACTS }

CONTACT AFF

?

Do you have concerns, questions or feedback on any issues affecting you? Use this list to find your local co-ordinator or the relevant point of contact.

AFF UK AFF Central Office, IDL 414, Ramillies Building, Floor 1, Zone 7 Marlborough Lines Monxton Road Andover, SP11 8HJ T: 01264 382324 YOUR LOCAL AFF CO-ORDINATOR: REGIONAL MANAGER SOUTH 07824 534345 regmgrsouth@aff.org.uk

OXFORDSHIRE 07787 091883 oxfordshire@aff.org.uk

SOUTH WEST 07787 301826 southwest@aff.org.uk

YORKSHIRE 07557 977141 yorkshire@aff.org.uk

NORTH HAMPSHIRE 07527 492863 northhants@aff.org.uk

SOUTH EAST 07733 147001 southeast@aff.org.uk

WEST MIDLANDS 07557 977290 westmids@aff.org.uk

SOUTH HAMPSHIRE 07527 492803 southhants@aff.org.uk

LONDON 07901 778948 london@aff.org.uk

EAST MIDLANDS 07587 456280 eastmids@aff.org.uk

SALISBURY PLAIN 07527 492783 salisburyplain@aff.org.uk

REGIONAL MANAGER CENTRAL 07824 534357 rmcentral@aff.org.uk

EAST ANGLIA 07527 492807 eastanglia@aff.org.uk

AFF GERMANY

SCOTLAND 07780 093115 scotland@aff.org.uk WALES 07527 492868 wales@aff.org.uk NORTHERN IRELAND 07729 159013 ni@aff.org.uk

AFF CYPRUS Room 129, Block E, Episkopi Support Unit, BFPO 53 T: 00 357 2596 2110 Local: 25 962110 F: Local 25 211677 E: rmcyprus@aff.org.uk

YOUR LOCAL AFF CO-ORDINATOR: ESBA: esba@aff.org.uk WSBA: wsba@aff.org.uk

HOUSING

FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH

EMPLOYMENT, TRAINING & MONEY

Cat Calder 07789 551158 housing@aff.org.uk

Michelle Prince-Burnett fcassist@aff.org.uk

Caroline Mayne 07799 045955 etam@aff.org.uk ✪ Post generously sponsored

YOUR LOCAL AFF CO-ORDINATOR: GUTERSLOH 0049 (0)176 254 85 762 gutersloh@aff.org.uk

hohne@aff.org.uk

HOHNE 0049 (0)1522 547 7710

Find us on Facebook or tweet us @affgermany

HEALTH & ADDITIONAL NEEDS

EDUCATION & CHILDCARE

Karen Ross 07552 861983 additionalneeds@aff. org.uk ✪ Post generously sponsored

Lucy Scott 07527 492869 ec@aff.org.uk

Block 2, Waltgeri Strasse 85, Herford 32049 T: 0049 (0) 5221 297 9644 E: germany@aff.org.uk or visit the AFF website at www.aff.org.uk

REGIONAL MANAGER NORTH 07585 333115 rmnorth@aff.org.uk

PADERBORN 0049 (0)1520 744 9741 paderborn@aff.org.uk

Find us on Facebook or Tweet us @affcyprus

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04 Army&You spring 2014

@ArmyandYou


Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.


Queen Victoria School Raising to Distinction Open Morning Sat 20 Sept 2014 Admissions Deadline Thu 15 Jan 2015 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

www.qvs.org.uk


{ CONTENTS }

IN THIS ISSUE...

36

9 A WORD FROM... AFF Chief Executive Catherine Spencer explores footprint of Forces families

22 ALL ROADS LEAD HOME How families caught up in the removal of troops from Germany are being supported

24 RURAL RETREAT Jill Baines visits Rutland to reveal the realities of ‘serving in the sticks’

26 MEN AT WORK Top tips on how to survive the upheaval of quarter renovations

Coming home Army&You catches up with Britain’s bestselling classical artist Russell Watson ahead of his new single release and UK tour… xx Army&You spring 2014

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affect their lives, so it’s a great charity to be involved with. If we can make the smallest of differences by raising funds then I will do my best.” MILITARY CONNECTIONS Russell’s grandfathers both served in the RAF and his best pal Steve Gallagher was in the Army for 17 years, serving during the Falklands War. He believes whatever military connections you have, the lyrics of The Home Ground Anthem are sure to mean something. “I think I’ve made a real link with it; it’s a great lyric, it’s a lovely song and the words are quite poignant,” he says. “There were a huge amount of casualties in World War One and I would suggest that almost all of us in the UK would have been affected at some point, so we definitely shouldn’t forget. “We’re not glamorising or celebrating, we’re commemorating. In a lot of cases people that were lost in our own families, albeit 100 years ago.” The Welsh Guards Choir will be joining Russell for the charity concerts later this year. “They’re a good group of lads so I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of fun with them on stage,” he adds. “They were all very quiet at first and then once

SIMPLE CHANGES, BIG DIFFERENCES Coming Home has already helped several badly-injured Servicemen and women and their families by providing them with a home for life. Set up by the Haig Housing Trust, it funds special adaptations for homes, such as wider door frames, wet rooms or modifications to kitchens.“I liked the presentation about what the funds that are raised represent, particularly with Coming Home,” Russell adds. “Soldiers coming back from Afghanistan who have serious injuries and not just physical but mental scars from conflict. “A soldier who had been rehoused in a beautiful new home couldn’t have a shower because he couldn’t get his wheelchair through the bathroom door. Very simple things that we take for granted. Just widening a door arch can make a massive difference. “These guys have gone into the Army for a career that’s been brought to a very abrupt end and then on top of that, a lot of them have serious injuries. Simple day-to-day tasks that they can’t do any more like driving a car, dropping their kids off at school can

11 AFF IN ACTION Warm embrace: Examples of excellent Community Covenant initiatives

{ SPOTLIGHT } HEN the MOD asked Russell Watson if he would head up their new charity push, Home Ground, the self-styled People’s Tenor couldn’t resist. Despite getting up to five requests a day to become involved with charitable concerns – particularly since overcoming cancer – Russell, who has sold in excess of seven million albums, admits it was the impact on Service personnel and their families that made him say yes. “I want to say yes to everyone,” he says. “Everybody’s got their own stories to tell and they’re all heart-rending, but with this one I thought it could make a real difference to a lot of people.” Russell will release a single recorded with the Welsh Guards Choir, called The Home Ground Anthem to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. He will also headline a series of concerts with all proceeds feeding back to the Home Ground charities, which include The Haig Trust Coming Home Campaign, The Welsh Guards Benevolent Fund and the Falklands Veteran Foundation.

@ArmyandYou

you get to know them you slowly work out who the characters are.” He’s enjoyed the banter, especially over who could drink the most on a night out when the boys forgot he hails from Salford and used to work in a factory! Russell has also sung with the Military Wives Choir. ONLY ONE MAN Russell’s new album, Only One Man, is real “heart on sleeve” stuff and the lyrics are sure to hit home with Army families. “If they relate to my music through their personal experiences then that’s great,” he explains. “Music has this amazing power to help one reflect. You can be walking down the street and hear a song that reminds you of a special time [it] has this incredible power of taking you on a journey. I think with the new record I’ve probably done that with any other body of work that I’ve ever done. The record is in essence a journey – it has a start, a middle and a conclusion.” l The Home Ground Anthem will be available to download from 17 March. Visit www.homegroundprojects.org.uk or www.atgtickets.com for details about tickets for the charity concerts.

WIN! Army&You has two pairs of VIP tickets to give away to Russell’s Homeground charity gala concert at The Edinburgh Playhouse (31 May) or The London Palladium (27 July), plus a copy of his latest album, Only One Man, for each winner. To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize, see page three for competition rules. Mark postal entries “Russell Watson”.

spring 2014 Army&You xx

www.armyandyou.co.uk

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60

I HAVE NOTHING BUT HUGE RESPECT AND ADMIRATION FOR OUR MILITARY PERSONNEL

30 LIVING WITH PTSD An Army wife’s candid account of dealing with the mental scars of service

43 BALANCING ACT The pros and cons of a parent making a return to full-time employment

44 LAW UNTO HERSELF F&C spouse shares her experience of hurdling higher education

61

51 TALENT SPOTTING How to ensure your bright spark doesn’t slip through the gifted and talented net

56 MISSION TO THE MED AFF responds to concerns raised in Cyprus over new immigration rules

58 GIVEAWAYS

60 CORRIE ON HELPING Exclusive chat with Coronation Street star and Help for Heroes fan Michelle Keegan

61 GARRISON GET AROUND A&Y squeezes behind the wheel of Hyundai’s compact family car

65 POSTBAG Your views about every aspect of Service life

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THROW ALL YOUR ENERGIES INTO THE NEW LIFE YOU SIGNED UP FOR

{ SPOTLIGHT }

behind, no matter where in the world you are from

Studying for a higher education qualification can be tough for Army spouses given the uncertainty of military life. For Foreign & Commonwealth partners, there can be additional hoops to jump through before even getting started. Law graduate Natalie Abbensetts tells Army&You how she did it…

M

Y HUSBAND Nickolas and I are originally from Guyana, South America and I married into the British Army in 2005 after we got together during his basic training. My father was a lawyer and I used to work and shadow him in the courts so it was something I always wanted to be. My parents had other ideas however, and I ended up studying medicine in Guyana and the United States. Eventually I want to merge my background with the law and specialise in clinical and medical negligence.

44 xx Army&You spring 2014

www.armyandyou.co.uk

LIFE-CHANGING STUDY

hard to leave ❝It’s your family

HELP FROM AFF Under the immigration laws at the time we got married, all F&C spouses held exempt Armed Forces dependant visas, which meant that we were unable to apply for settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) until two years after our spouses (the serving soldiers) became British Citizens themselves. So my options were limited. I faced a seven-year wait to apply for university at the home student rate, or pay the astronomical overseas fees. Four years later, whilst reading the (then) AFF Journal, I discovered that the rules were changing, so I liaised with AFF’s F&C Specialist, Katherine Houlston. This was a real breakthrough and it meant that all F&C spouses married to a Commonwealth soldier would be able to apply for settlement once the soldier had served for five years. GOING TO UNI In 2010 I was accepted at King’s College, London to follow in my father’s footsteps. It was great to be at school again and I quickly became involved in all that the University had to offer. But it was also one of the most difficult decisions I had to make because of my son, Preston, as I was sometimes away from him for long periods. There were times when I felt selfish as my absence was taking a toll on the @ArmyandYou

www.armyandyou.co.uk

family. I stayed with relatives when the timetable was hectic and sometimes travelled in daily from Wattisham in Suffolk when it was less busy or if Nickolas was away. GREAT SUPPORT However, I was encouraged and supported by my family and the Army community, especially the staff of Scallywags Childcare Centre in Wattisham. In my final year we were posted to Middle Wallop in Hampshire three weeks into the new term. Marching out when essays are due requires serious planning and time management! PROUD FAMILY Sadly, my father died before I graduated but Nickolas and Preston are very proud of my achievements and there was no better feeling than receiving my certificate knowing they were in the audience. After finally clearing away all the books from the dining room table I’m taking a year out to get some work experience before starting City Law School in September. THINKING OF STUDYING? The UK Council for International Student Affairs (www.ukcisa. org.uk) lists the latest fees and funding at colleges or universities for non-British Citizens. You are eligible for home fees for further education if you: l Have ILR or you are the spouse/child or civil partner of someone with ILR. (An F&C soldier with an exempt stamp is not considered to have ILR); l Are the spouse/ child of a British soldier who has lived in the UK

for three years; l You have a valid visa and have lived in the UK for three years. You are eligible for home fees for higher education if you: l Have ‘settled’ status (ILR or British Citizenship) and have lived in the UK for the three years before the start of the course; l Are married to, or the dependant of a British Citizen and have lived in the UK for the three years before the start of the course; l Are an EU national and have lived in the UK for the three years before the start of the course. If you’re not sure whether you qualify, complete a “fees status questionnaire” available at the university to assess your individual circumstances. If you are unhappy with the decision, call the UKCISA Student Advice Line on 020 7788 9214. If you have been on an accompanied posting overseas for part of the three years, explain your situation to the university to see if they will make an exception. Contact your AFF Foreign & Commonwealth assistant by email at fcassist@aff.org.uk for more information.

GET INVOLVED For all Army spouses it’s hard to leave your family behind, no matter where in the world you are from. You cannot always be at their bedsides when they are sick or attend birthday celebrations. My advice would be to throw all your energies into the new life you signed up for and support your serving soldier. Get involved, as the Army family is a family away from home.

From family breaks to luxury ‘me-time’, your chance to win some premium prizes

spring 2014 Army&You xx

spring 2014 Army&You 07


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Call free on 0808 271 3819* quoting F582 BUPA. YOUR HEALTH IS OUR FOCUS

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*Calls may be recorded and may be monitored. Calls from landlines to 0808 numbers are free, however, mobile phone providers may charge. Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3956433 Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: Bupa House, 15-19 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2BA.


{ A WORD FROM }

A WORD FROM...

CATHERINE SPENCER, AFF Chief Executive Follow Catherine on Twitter @AFFChiefExec

disadvantage is the frequency with which you can see children who are at boarding school. The current allowance of Accessible three School employment Children’s Visits for families in a year is woefully overseas areas inadequate. remains one With the modern of AFF’s main culture of weekly concerns boarding, regular exeat weekends and half-terms, it is unacceptable that those of you based overseas, most likely to be without access to a second salary, are significantly disadvantaged by trying to scrape together substantial amounts of money to see your children. It is entirely reasonable to expect this policy to be changed to enable children to see their family at half-terms. See our Postbag page on 66 for one family’s view on this.

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Location, location, location

A

S THE British Army moves out of Germany it would be easy to forget that Service personnel and their families are still based in a range of locations across the world. Catherine Spencer, AFF Chief Executive, explores the needs and issues for families posted abroad… Overseas postings can offer a range of adventures and experiences, and for many of us, these postings are the attractions of Army life. My family has enjoyed living in Canada, Cyprus and Germany and our children have undoubtedly benefited from experiencing different cultures. I was fortunate that I found jobs whilst away from “home”, but the lack of suitable employment for families in overseas areas remains one of AFF’s main concerns. We’ve recently asked that civil service positions overseas are opened up to allow applications

from Army spouses. Recognising that you offer varied skills and experience, it makes sense to tap into this existing resource. It would cut the cost of operating overseas as the MOD would not have to pay for another civil service family to be based there. The MOD will need to engage with trade unions on this issue and whilst families in Germany might not be there long enough to see the benefit; I certainly expect to see the policy explored worldwide to make overseas postings more attractive. I am particularly concerned about the impact on your family finances and the on-going effect of CV gaps. SIGNIFICANT DISADVANTAGE The move towards a more stable Army on home soil will create a wider gap between those of us based in the UK and those of us overseas. Another obvious area of

AFF’S WORK AFF has established an overseas branch to represent the views of families worldwide which will enable us to identify common issues and difficulties. We want to ensure that families based overseas get a fair deal. Our new AFF Overseas Director, Phil Robertson (left), will work closely with our Specialists to provide guidance to families assigned overseas and we look forward to hearing your views as to which other areas need focus. If you have an overseas issue which you would like AFF to look at, email overseas@aff.org.uk or if you would like to volunteer, email volunteer@aff.org.uk

DID YOU KNOW? The mission to relocate all troops and their families from Germany back to the UK by 2020 is expected to cost £1.6bn. www.armyandyou.co.uk

spring 2014 Army&You 09


{ AFF IN ACTION } WHAT’S YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY DOING? Visit your local authority website and find out if they have an Armed Forces section. If you have any questions about Community Covenants, contact covenant@aff.org.uk For further information on the initiatives featured below, visit: l www.rochdale.gov.uk/ armedforces l hertfordshireheroes.org l armedforcescarmarthenshire. org.uk COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Dialogue between local authorities and the Armed Forces has increased as a result of the Community Covenant Picture: Cpl Mike O’Neill RLC LBIPP, MOD Crown copyright

Communities’ warm embrace Since signing a Community Covenant, many local authorities have implemented excellent initiatives to support you in your Armed Forces community. Julie Lowe, AFF’s Covenant Liaison, looks at examples of this good practice…

GREATER ACCESS REMOVING BARRIERS Rochdale Borough Council has received widespread recognition for the way it approaches work with the Armed Forces. The leadership provided by its Covenant team has increased front-line council staff’s awareness in supporting the Forces community. Their focus has been on removing barriers and improving access to services such as education, employment and housing. There’s a dedicated Armed Forces helpline and email address if you need advice or want to give feedback. Details are available on the Armed Forces section on the Rochdale website.

A great example of a good local authority website is that of Hertfordshire County Council. The Hertfordshire Heroes portal recognises there are times due to the nature of military life when we may need a little extra advice and support when accessing services. The website provides signposts to sources of help and useful details of who to contact within departments. Gail Jones, SO2 Civil Engagement Manager at 49 (East) Brigade, says: “The local authorities are our partners and have been enthusiastic about what help and advice they can give to our Armed Forces community. “This is work in progress and will continue to be for some time to come. They are committed in helping to stamp out disadvantage to Service families – the family is at the heart of what we and they want to achieve.”

BETTER COMMUNICATION On learning from AFF that some spouses moving to Wales face difficulty in securing employment because they do not speak Welsh, Carmarthenshire County Council was quick to act. A link was provided on the Carmarthenshire Armed Forces website to the Welsh language courses available in the area. Additionally, free language and cultural awareness sessions are offered to Service families moving to the area. Catherine Evans, Service Improvements Manager, explains: “In Carmarthenshire we are committed to supporting the Armed Forces Community. We are pleased to be able to offer something which may help families settle into communities in the area.”

www.armyandyou.co.uk

spring 2014 Army&You 11


THE LOUDER YOUR VOICE THE BIGGER THE IMPACT

T

HE 2014 Families Continuous Attitude Survey (FamCAS) is currently on its way to a selection of Army families. It’s a unique opportunity for you to tell the service about your experience of being a military family and now the information you provide informs national statistics, so your views are even more important. Since 2010, the information gathered from FamCAS has been used by the Armed Forces Covenant Team to develop policies to ensure that Army families are not disadvantaged. Examples of

positive changes brought about by your views include: l £10 million investment to improve the standard of Service housing for 2013/14 l Mental health 24-hour helpline and website l Online military housing application service l The introduction of the “Forces Help to Buy” scheme – an interest-free loan of up to £25,000 to help you buy a home l A Partner Employment Programme, which aims to help Army spouses find work l Continuity of Education Allowance, which helps to

minimise the impact on your children of having to move schools. The surveys are delivered to the serving partner’s unit address, but the envelope is addressed to you. As they are not sent to everyone, your soldier will receive an email letting them know if a survey is on its way, so be sure to ask if they have got one. If you receive a survey, please fill it out. The more of your views the Army has, the louder your voice and bigger the impact. If you have any questions or concerns about FamCAS, get in touch on 01264 382112 or email ArmyPersCapSurvey@mod.uk

{ AFF IN ACTION }

Be our boots on the ground Rachel Fallows, AFF’s Volunteer Manager, talks about volunteering and how you can help us…

Whilst working in a previous role at AFF as a Co-ordinator, volunteer support was a great help. One of my concerns was reaching families with small children. Being a parent can be such a stressful time, especially with spouses away so much and it’s easy to find yourself isolated and struggling to get by. Then something goes wrong and you don’t know where to get help. This is where AFF can step in but only if you know how to contact us. I had a wonderful volunteer who worked in the local nursery. She would help connect people to me so that we at AFF could provide them with the right support when they needed us. Without her I wouldn’t have found many of you – so thank you. There are lots of different roles that support the AFF team. Visit www.aff.org.uk/volunteer to view our current opportunities.

LUCTON SCHOOL

Building on tradition Flourishing on innovation Set in beautiful rural West Midlands countryside, Lucton offers outstanding educational, sporting and extra-curricular opportunities to boys and girls from Pre Prep to A level. Lucton is currently home to many forces children and offers a happy, family environment. Please call to arrange a visit or to receive a copy of the prospectus.

FOUNDED 1708

• Excellent results • Sixth Form Centre • Sport for all • Equestrian Centre • CCF

BURSARIES AVAILABLE FOR FORCES CHILDREN LUCTON SCHOOL

Lucton, Herefordshire HR6 9PN

01568 782000

www.luctonschool.org 12 Army&You spring 2014

New Equestrian Centre @ArmyandYou


Looking to set-up a new base?

Ask us about Help to Buy Mortgages for HM Forces.

0800 228 9523

Call: visit: www.sensiblehomefinance.co.uk Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. We charge a fee for mortgage advice which is payable on completion of your mortgage. The precise amount will depend upon your circumstances but we estimate that it will be £908 but may range from £750 to £2,995. Please see our website for further details. Sensible Home Finance is a trading style of Mortgage Review Ltd. Sensible Home Finance is an Appointed Representative of Pink Home Loans. Pink Home Loans is a trading name of Advance Mortgage Funding Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


GRAPEVINE Really useful bits about Army life

Snap shot

© ABF The Soldiers’ Charity

Our selection of the best images we have come across during the production of Army&You...

© Nikki Durnell

1. Special delivery Giant postcard sent to Afghanistan from Red, White & Blue Day children’s competition

© Help for Heroes

2. Game reader Thomas is loving the Skylanders piece in Army&You via @NikkiDurnell

© Jamie Peters

3. Bear essentials Tartan Bear visits Tedworth House @HelpforHeroes

4. Striking soldier Black and white image of a Royal Engineer

{ GRAPEVINE } GET INVOLVED

Have you got a story you would like to share with Army&You? If so, contact the Editor at editor@aff.org.uk

Trovi is the biz TROVI is a new app that allows you to find, recommend and promote family-run and independent businesses in your area. The founders include Meredyth Grant, an Army Reservist and military spouse, who helped to create a portable app to make finding a trade or product easier. It allows businesses to slot into a new geographical area and offer in-app discounts to encourage new customers. Free to use and to list a business, you can download the app from iTunes and it will also be available for Android phones later this year. If you don’t have an Apple device but want to upload your business’s details, email the information to info@troviapp.com You can like Trovi on Facebook via www. facebook.com/troviapp or tweet @troviapp

WHAT’S ON NEAR YOU? LOOKING for local info? Check out Mums In The Know, a website that provides local information and useful articles aimed at families. Run by local mums, each area site features what’s on information and an essential guide to bringing up children in your community. From up-to-date details on clubs and classes to where your nearest play park is and event listings, you’ll never be short of things to do! Follow the group on Twitter @MumsintheKnow or visit www. mumsintheknow.co.uk for your local site.

BE SAFE ONLINE CLICK on the UK Safer Internet Centre for e-safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe on the internet. It offers a range of essential services to promote responsible use of technology, including a helpline for people working with children in the UK, and a variety of resources to support a fast-changing online environment. Delivering educational sessions for both children and adults, the Internet Centre reaches more than 30,000 people every year and offers selfassessment tools for schools to evaluate e-safety and guidance on digital and online issues such as “How can I find out what is published about me online?” and “My Facebook account has been hacked!” For more information or to access relevant resource packs, visit www.saferinternet.org.uk

DID YOU KNOW? 54,000 children from 175 schools took part in the first Red, White & Blue Day, which was held in October 2011. www.armyandyou.co.uk

spring 2014 Army&You 15


{ GRAPEVINE } DITCH THE GADGETS PLEDGE 2 Play is a campaign encouraging parents to commit to regularly spending two hours creatively with their little ones. You will be sent ideas, tips and deals for quality play time with your kids. Turn off the gadgets and engage your child in a fun activity such as walking, cooking, drawing or story-telling. Who knows where it may lead? Your little ones may use the time to open up about what’s on their mind, and you may even notice an improvement in their behaviour! Visit signup.pledge2play.co.uk, like on Facebook and follow on Twitter @pledge_2_play

NEED A NUDGE?

EXPLORE THE GREAT OUTDOORS

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ALK Unlimited, in partnership with Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and other local organisations, is promoting 15 fabulous National Trails in England and Wales. Now is the time to walk, ride, cycle and experience how wonderful they are! Start your journey by visiting www.nationaltrail.co.uk – supported by Ordnance Survey – which shows you

Top tweets Bye Liam, I’ll miss you so much I’m the proudest sister on earth passing your resits and joining the royal engineers makes me so proud ily x @Charley_McGowan

where to go and what to see, such as cycle hire, pubs, shops and cafes. Itineraries will help you plan fun-filled family days out, from Hadrian’s Wall to the Thames path. You can even add photos and tips about where to eat and the best views or attractions to help others make the most of their visit. Follow @NationalTrails on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news.

BE more organised when it comes to special occasions thanks to nudge-me.co.uk, a free diary reminder and giftrecommendation service. With your own online calendar, simply tell nudge me about your loved one and what they enjoy, provide a budget and the site will find an ideal present. You’ll receive a nudge prior to the event, including a list of gifts. Visit www.nudge-me.co.uk or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

What you’ve been saying about Army life on Twitter. Follow us @ArmyandYou and @The_AFF...

Do superheroes exist? — Yes superheroes do exist, they are called the British Army!

@GStar_Groom

Just received my copy of @ ArmyandYou through the post and spotted my name a few times! #woopwoop #famous

@Enkaypee

The perils of marrying into the Army.... My husband LOVES camping and says it’s luxurious compared to being on exercise.

@SuperSlummyMum

DID YOU KNOW? Want some ideas on how to get creative with your kids? Visit the Pledge2Play Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/1bRrbUB

16 Army&You spring 2014

@ArmyandYou


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QUALITY TIME THE weather was awful at 1.30am, but nothing was going to stop Gemma Tebble and her family from getting to the airport. They were about to jet off to Tenerife for a holiday with Give Us Time, a charity that provides free breaks for Service families in need of rest, rehabilitation and reconnection. The organisation was the brainchild of Dr Liam Fox MP who felt that although the MOD has improved the care of those physically and mentally injured in combat, not enough was being done to support Service families. He said: “Even a normal deployment can disrupt family life and situations can be made much worse if there is physical or psychological long-term damage. “Sometimes, it takes only some quality time in a neutral environment to restore the normal dynamic to a family.” ESCAPING THE PRESSURES By asking those with holiday homes, timeshares or second homes to donate their unused weeks, Give Us Time provides breaks for the families of deployed military personnel. The Tebbles took part in a pilot programme and thoroughly made the most of their time away. Gemma said: “The main aim of this holiday was to relax and enjoy some time without the pressures of life at home and that’s exactly what we got. “We cannot thank Give Us Time enough for the amazing gift they gave us.” AM I ELIGIBLE? If you’ve served in the Regular or Reserve Forces and have been deployed on operational tour from and including 2005, you’re eligible for a Give Us Time holiday. Once registered and approved, you’ll be able to see the properties that have been donated. Holidays are accommodation-only except in a few circumstances and are allocated on a firstcome, first-served basis or by ballot for the most popular locations.

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Register at www.giveustime.org.uk

Banding together When a soldier is injured in the line of duty, it is not just their life that is changed forever. The impact on their families can be just as great – which is where a specialist Service support group comes into play... important for families of those who WHEN Layla Leach’s partner, Lionel have been wounded, because it is O’Connor, suffered multiple injuries, one thing to email or talk to people including losing his left leg above on social media, but to meet them the knee, while serving in Iraq, it face-to-face makes everything all wasn’t just his life that changed the more real. forever. His family’s lives were also “I find there are not many people turned upside down. who understand when you explain It was through the Help for your situation; so it was amazing to Heroes’ Band of Sisters, a support just be able to be yourself and not group for families of Service worry about being judged.” personnel and veterans who have suffered life-changing injuries or A BIT OF “ME” TIME illnesses, that Layla realised she One of the strengths of the Band of was not alone. Sisters programme is the variety of By attending a respite weekend at activities on offer. the Help for Heroes Recovery From arts and crafts to Centre at Tedworth personal pampering, House in Wiltshire, For more the respite the soldier’s wife information, visit weekends provide was able to meet www.helpforheroes. something for others who knew everyone. exactly what org.uk, or email Layla explained: she was going bandofsisters@ “I enjoyed a through. helpforheroes jewellery making She told .org.uk class, took part in Army&You: “The a quiz and was lucky respite weekend enough to have a very meant so much to me long overdue massage and and my family. was treated to having my nails “Activities like these are so

Charlie F goes on tour PREPARE for an emotional experience when The Two Worlds of Charlie F UK tour gets underway in March. Performed by medically-discharged Service personnel alongside professional actors, the Arts Council England-funded play provides unique work placements and boosts the confidence and self-esteem of serving wounded, injured and sick military men and women. The play was created through a partnership of The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust, The Royal British Legion and Defence

18 Army&You spring 2014

@ArmyandYou


{ YOUR FAMILY }

Not seeing your child enough?

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!

Consultant Solicitor Mandeep Gill offers advice on settling contact arrangements for estranged parents… The courts recognise the importance of both parents in their children’s lives, particularly the role of the non-resident parent. Orders terminating contact are only made when there is no alternative.

❝It’s important for families to take time for themselves ❞ done. I enjoyed amazing food and felt relaxed enough to have a giggle with the other Band of Sisters.” SUPPORT TO STAY STRONG With the majority of Layla’s time now spent looking after her partner and children and doing jobs around the house, taking a break from her daily routine provided her with an important opportunity to recharge her batteries. She said: “It was so incredible to just think about me, without worrying about my to-do list. “Lionel often says that if I’m not strong, he feels like he can’t be; so it’s important for families to take time for themselves, so they can go back home refreshed and ready to deal with life living with a severely injured loved one.”

In the aftermath of Lionel’s injury, Layla admits to having felt very alone, especially as she was not sure what help was available for people who find themselves in her situation. But thanks to the Band of Sisters, she is now part of a network of like-minded people who can all help one another. She added: “Previously I’d wonder whether Lionel (on his rare down days) was being the way he was because of me, or was I doing something wrong? “Being in the Band of Sisters means you can talk to others who are in the same situation and give each other advice and reassurance. “I can’t thank them enough – they all put so much love and effort into what they do and I couldn’t imagine how hard it would be without them.”

THIRD PARTY HELP Usually agreements reached between parents work far better and are more flexible than a courtimposed order. There are various cost effective ways of trying to resolve issues without resorting to court proceedings, such as mediation, a process by which you can discuss and negotiate arrangements with the help of a mediator, a neutral third party. Be innovative in your suggestions for contact. For example, if overnight stays with you are not possible, perhaps you could use a relative’s or friend’s house. If you are unable to have direct contact, consider phone calls, letters and pictures, Skype or FaceTime to help you maintain that relationship. USEFUL LINKS l www.resolution.org.uk l www.rcpsych.ac.uk l www.familylives.org.uk l www.gingerbread.org.uk Do you have a legal question you would like Mandeep to answer? Email deped@aff.org.uk

Recovery Capability and was written by award-winning poet and playwright Owen Sheers. After two sell-out performances in London’s West End, The Two Worlds of Charlie F embarked on a short UK tour, receiving five-star reviews, full houses and standing ovations. The soldier’s view of service, injury and recovery moves from Afghanistan through morphine-induced hallucinations to the physio rooms of Headley Court, exploring the consequences of injury, both physical and psychological, and its effects on others.

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For tour dates and tickets, including details of special rates for Service personnel, visit www.charlie-f.com

www.armyandyou.co.uk

spring 2014 Army&You 19


Force for good

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HEN Katherine Reed’s husband Jim was deployed for seven months in 2012, the mum-of-two was determined the family would remain in close touch while separated. So when a Reading Force scrapbook was sent home from then-eight-year-old daughter Ellie-May’s school, she embraced the idea. “When I saw the scrapbook I thought it was brilliant,” Katherine explains. “It’s a lovely, well put-together book. There is some structure, which is great for the kids, and other pages where you’re free to put in what you want.” The family chose to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Although Rosie was just one, she loved listening to her mum and sister read aloud. Katherine emailed passages of the book to Jim so he could read the same pages as his family at home. He was then able to use FaceTime to read passages to Ellie-May, with his daughter sometimes returning the favour. TAKING PART TOGETHER Katherine believes the scheme helped her children to have a routine when their dad was away, adding: “It was a great thing to keep their dad in their lives. Being away for seven months is a massive ordeal.” The family was also encouraged to write more regularly, with Katherine appreciating the opportunity to keep the resultant letters from Jim, some of which were stuck into the scrapbook alongside a family photograph, drawings and writing about the book. The Reeds’ colourful scrapbook won a prize of a family ticket to Paulton’s Park in the Reading Force competition. MAKING MEMORIES “I keep a memory box for both of my children,” says Katherine. “We’ve put the scrapbook in Ellie-May’s box and this year, when Jim was away again, we did one on a Peppa Pig book because Rosie loves them. “I’ve told friends about Reading Force, but we didn’t realise every Service family can take part – they can! “It is a good thing for any family to do and I would recommend it!”

20 Army&You spring 2014

I’ve told friends about Reading Force, but didn’t realise every Service family can take part – they can!

@ArmyandYou


{ YOUR FAMILY }

Beauty&You Make-up artist and Army wife Grace Brown’s top beauty tips…

Spring TLC Are you ready to give your skin some TLC after the cold winter? The party season is the time when we all let our beauty regime slip a little, removing your make-up seems less of a priority and that extra glass of wine doesn’t count! It’s only when the fun is over that we realise what we’ve actually done to our skin.

PUT READING AT THE HEART OF YOUR FAMILY l Taking part in Reading Force is free for all Armed Forces, Reserves, Cadets, ex-Service children, families and friends l Wider family and loved ones can take part too, girlfriends, boyfriends, grandparents and parents of children in the Armed Forces l Whether your loved ones are at home or away, all can get involved l It’s fun and easy to do HOW DO WE TAKE PART? l Get your free special scrapbook from your local school or HIVE, or email hattie@ readingforce.org.uk l Choose a book all your loved ones will enjoy reading l All read the book, together or separately, and talk about it l Fill the scrapbook with everyone’s thoughts about the book l Include anything you want – e-blueys, letters, photographs, drawings, notes l Enter the Scrapbook Competition by 25 April 2014 and you could win a great prize (all scrapbooks are returned) l All entries receive a certificate and win a book l For loads of info and ideas, log on to www.readingforce.org.uk

www.armyandyou.co.uk

HAVE A CLEAR OUT In a panicked frenzy, skincare sales rise at this time of year, but it can be confusing to know what to buy. First, it’s time to throw away any make-up or creams you’ve had for a year or more! Make-up brushes should always be clean. Don’t own make-up brushes? Get some! Applying foundation with your hands wastes a lot and full coverage is never achieved. As a make-up artist, I have worked on all skin types imaginable with products from La Prairie and Urban Decay, to Max Factor and Tesco’s own. The only way you find what suits you, is by trying! TRY SOMETHING NEW Here’s a little trick – stay away from any matte foundation. It’s only in my kit for one purpose – to age a character with special effects! That says everything, right? The cake-like product sits in every wrinkle and takes away that important dew we need for a youthful glow. I love BB creams; they’re all the rage and should moisturise, provide SPF protection and soothe your skin as well as give you sheer coverage. If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time! To read more beauty tips, find Grace on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ gracebrown.MUA spring 2014 Army&You 21


The BIG move Rebasing – the removal of British troops from Germany and a series of internal unit moves and re-roles within the UK – is one of the most complex restructures the Army has ever faced. Kate Viggers finds out how families caught up in the process are being supported…

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ITHDRAWING from British Forces Germany (BFG) – and the resulting reshuffle of units in the UK – will bring many benefits to Service families, including more stability, continuity of education, access to wider family support and better employment opportunities for dependants. But rebasing will also increase the demand for Service Families Accommodation (SFA) in the UK and there is uncertainty about how the MOD will cater for the needs of 16,000 returning troops. “Families are used to difficulties obtaining housing and school places so are understandably concerned,” says Catherine Spencer, AFF Chief Executive. THE ARMY BASING TEAM Last year eight units relocated and 23 internal moves are planned for 2014. By 2016 nearly 70% of troops will be home from Germany; the remainder by 2020. The majority of units will be concentrated into seven geographic areas and, during 2014/15, will move into existing buildings and quarters. Relocating so many families is a complex undertaking. The Army Basing Team (ABT) is responsible for delivering the £1.6bn plan successfully. Working with the chain of command, the Army Infrastructure Team, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and national/local authorities, ABT has identified units’ needs and analysed

22 Army&You spring 2014

issues at each location, providing DIO with the Army requirement – who in turn are developing potential infrastructure solutions. Col Neill Page, ABT’s Deputy Team Leader, explains: “We have conducted a snapshot datacapture exercise to understand the structure of families affected by rebasing. “This will help identify housing requirements and provide the NHS and local authorities with planning figures.” HOUSING More than half the rebasing budget (about £1bn) is being ploughed into living accommodation. In excess of 400 SFA will be upgraded. Nearly 200 new SFA are due for delivery in March 2014 with a further 1,700 family homes in the pipeline. Discussions are underway with DIO about extending the housing notification window so that families can research their new location ahead of their move. Briefings on key moving and schooling dates have been held in Germany and Aldershot; BFG families will be updated regularly as their relocation approaches. “Our work has highlighted where we predict SFA shortfall and we’re developing a plan with DIO to provide families’ accommodation to meet rebasing timelines,” Col Page adds. SCHOOLING Parents will be reassured to learn that the

@ArmyandYou


{ FEATURE }

Directorate Children & Young People (DCYP) has set up the Education of Service Children Change Programme, which encompasses several schemes related to rebasing and its impact on Service children. The Assistant Director Children’s Education Advisory Service is leading a project to support pupils returning to the UK – and those affected by an internal unit move – in partnership with the ABT, Department for Education (DfE) and local authorities. “UK schools where pupils from Army families are expected to attend have been advised. DCYP is in regular discussion with the DfE, to ensure Service children are not disadvantaged,” assures Col Page. “We recognise the importance to parents of securing school places and are aware that timely allocation of SFA is key.” Unit Welfare Officers have been advised to prioritise families with children at important stages of their education in the removal schedule. For those remaining in Germany throughout drawdown, significant work is underway to ensure Service Children’s Education (SCE) schools retain high quality teachers until closure, with funding to support small classes. SCE will liaise with English and Scottish local authorities to ensure school changes are seamless with minimal impact on children’s learning. The UK schools application process varies according to location; visit the appropriate local authority website for details.

planning a similar briefing.

CIVVY SUPPORT ABT is also working to ensure that existing UK infrastructure can cope with increased demand and that potential issues are resolved early. It is hoped that relocating families will transition smoothly into civilian services. Many councils recognise that rebasing offers positive social and economic opportunities. Fife Council has visited Germany to advise units on the Scottish education system. Wiltshire Council, tasked with accommodating 4,000 returning troops around Salisbury Plain, is

CONTACT US AFF staff are working with a number of organisations on rebasing. Contact our Specialists for further details: ➜ Housing: Cat Calder, housing@aff.org.uk ➜ Education & Childcare: Lucy Scott, ec@aff.org.uk ➜ Employment, Training, Allowances & Money: Caroline Mayne, etam@aff.org.uk ➜ Health & Additional Needs: Karen Ross, additionalneeds@aff.org.uk ➜ AFF Germany: germany@aff.org.uk ➜ AFF UK: us@aff.org.uk

www.armyandyou.co.uk

CARE & COMMUNICATION For many, the dismantling of BFG is an emotional as well as physical upheaval. “Families are concerned that life [here] is sadly coming to a close,” says Diane Weir, AFF Director Germany. “I was asked recently when AFF would leave this lovely country. When I said we’re intending to remain until the last family leaves, the response was one of relief.” Catherine adds: “AFF is ready to act on any concerns.” Meanwhile, ABT will keep the chain of command and families in the loop through quarterly newsletters and information packs. “We’ll continue to establish and refine the needs of the units, soldiers and their families,” says Col Page. “We know there is a desire for firm answers now – for all concerned – and we are working hard to provide them.” MORE INFORMATION If you are affected by rebasing, the chain of command and Unit Welfare staff can offer help and advice, as can the following organisations: ➜ Housing Allocation Service Centre – www. gov.uk/dio/sfa or 0800 169 6322 (overseas 0044 1904 418 000) ➜ Children’s Education Advisory Service – www. gov.uk/childrens-education-advisory-service ➜ HIVE Support Officers can provide relevant rebasing and local information for families – www.army.mod.uk/hives

spring 2014 Army&You 23


{ UNITED KINGDOM }

UK

Rural postings Picture: Katherine Bangurah

If you choose to accompany your soldier on their postings, sooner or later you may face one to a rural area. This is likely to increase as rebasing plans see the expansion of some isolated camps. Jill Baines, AFF UK Director, visited Cottesmore in Rutland to find out more about life for families living in this picturesque area of the country…

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forward to seeing more of my family, however, they are reluctant to visit us as it takes so long to get here!”

OTTESMORE, located between Peterborough and Leicester, is home to 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment and is due to expand in the next few years with the arrival of a large number of relocating troops and their families. REMOTE AREA TRANSPORT Talking to those of you already living there, one of the major issues is lack of regular public transport. The first thing I learnt is that a relatively small distance on the map, when translated to country roads, can be a very long journey! Whilst there are buses, they don’t run regularly and if you are seeking employment, need access to secondary healthcare providers or you have young adults travelling to college etc, there’s not a realistic choice of travel options. Cottesmore does have a good family shop which was praised by those I spoke to, however, for greater choice you have to travel to the larger supermarkets some distance away. If you have moved from somewhere with accessibility to fast roads and motorways, this can come as a surprise. One issue was raised at Cottesmore that I had not heard before; an Army spouse told me: “After moving here having been overseas for several years, I was looking

www.armyandyou.co.uk

COTTESMORE

SUPPORT AND PLANNING I am delighted to say that my trip to Cottesmore included conducting interviews for a new AFF Coordinator for the area, with Katherine Bangurah now in post. If you have issues you would like to raise or suggestions which could improve things for families in remote areas, our AFF Co-ordinators are always available or speak to your unit welfare staff. If you are posted to one of the more isolated camps, start thinking about what you can do to plan for your move: ✓ If you don’t drive, think about learning ✓ Explore employment opportunities in advance ✓ Research local schools and their local authorities’ transport arrangements. If there’s one thing that’s certain about Army life, you can’t always choose where you live but you can make the very most of every posting. If you have concerns on any aspect of rebasing, see our special feature on pages 22-23 or email us@aff.org.uk For details on your local AFF Co-ordinator, see page 5 or visit www.aff.org.uk spring 2014 Army&You 24


Help to Buy


MEN AT WORK Do you find yourself envying those houses on your street which are getting a lovely new bathroom or are you cursing the upheaval as you have the work done? Cat Calder, AFF Housing Specialist, offers guidance on how to survive quarter renovations...

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EFURBISHMENTS of Service Families Accommodation (SFA) are a vital aspect – or should that be necessary evil – of house maintenance. Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has to maintain a minimum standard of condition of quarters, a commitment which includes the lifecycle replacement of, for example, kitchens. In an ideal world, refurbishment works would only be carried out when properties are empty (void) but due to cost implications, generally whole streets/estates are tackled at once. The improvement programme is based on the “most in need”, but even if money is assured at the start of the financial year, it can take up to eight months for a project to get off the ground. This explains the time lag between the initial letter dropping through your door to the actual appearance of workmen! DIO also often receives extra money towards the end of the financial year meaning projects have to be put in place quickly to ensure that the money is spent – not always an easy task! THE BIGGER PICTURE Although we have to live through the disturbance, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. In the long run we will all benefit from upgrade work, making living in SFA a better experience. Following a campaign from AFF, the

26 Army&You spring 2014

implementation of a Mould Action Plan is now identifying quarters which need structural improvements to remove the source of damp and mould – which is great news! DIO is also finding money to upgrade some of those SFA at the same time, so do let contractors carry out any work and if you have any concerns, email me at housing@aff.org.uk GETTING THROUGH THE UPHEAVAL We all recognise there can be considerable upheaval during refurbishment projects, but the following tips and information tell you what to expect and might help ease any housing headaches:

Before the works start, make sure you return the form which asks for relevant information such as: expecting a baby, medical conditions, just about to move out. DIO will do its best to work around these but if it doesn’t know it can’t make plans;

Attend any scheduled project meetings as these will provide more detail on what to expect;

An On Site Liaison Officer (OSLO) will be responsible for the day-to-day @ArmyandYou


{ YOUR HOME } contact and they will be your first port of call;

End of day checks are completed

mains powered only;

by the OSLO or project manager and signed by you;

Contractors should seal up the

If you aren’t left with a working kitchen,

room they are working in to reduce the amount of dust;

DIO doesn’t set the Grade for Charge, this is managed by the chain of command. It is worth asking your Welfare Office if they can request a temporary downgrade for the duration of the works;

DIO doesn’t pay compensation during refurbishments as basic cooking/washing facilities are meant to be made available at the end of each day along with the option of a contact house for families;

Request boxes from the contractor to pack up your belongings;

A rough outline of order of works/ trades is given at the families’ induction;

You should be left with a metre of work surface, a working cooker and a sink with running hot and cold water at the end of every day – you will probably have to clean it!;

Working for

YOU

AFF’s recent survey asked how you feel about life during refurbishments. The detailed results are available at aff.org.uk We would like the chain of command to commit to an automatic temporary downgrade of SFA for the duration of projects. DIO and MHS have already agreed to consider ways to improve communication with you. They are also looking into the cost implications of a food allowance during a kitchen refurb and a deep clean of areas where contractors have been working on completion. DIO is currently trialling the cost of refurbishing void properties as opposed to doing so when families are in situ. AFF is delighted that some of your suggestions are now being considered and will continue to lobby for them to be implemented. www.armyandyou.co.uk

then contact the OSLO, the project manager or call the MHS Helpdesk. Doors and/or windows may need If there has been no resolution within to be left open to help dry out plaster. an hour, go out for a However, they should not be left open reasonably-priced meal in cold or wet weather unless they and claim it back; need to go in or out; as a rule MHS pay Contractors shouldn’t £10 per adult and The contractors are be using your kettle £5 per child for meant to make good to make hot drinks, food as a result any damage; however, it is always of loss of cooking nice to offer them one! facilities. You don’t Contractors are need to provide security cleared, but if you receipts – a claim are out of the house it is worth form will be sent out; photographing valuables (with a date stamp) to ensure proof of ownership or make arrangements to If your soldier is away or has move them elsewhere for the duration a medical condition you can ask for of the works. Check your insurance to help moving your white goods; make sure you are covered; Contractors aren’t supposed to use your electricity unless they are using a If you encounter any issues, contact bench saw or core drills as these are your OSLO.

Vs AFF’s quick poll also asked whether you prefer gas or electric cookers. DIO is currently swapping gas cookers for electric during kitchen refurbs but, with the overwhelming majority of you preferring gas hobs with a fanassisted oven, it has agreed that the following will be implemented with scope for further change in the future: “Where the refurbishment of a kitchen takes place and the current cooker provision is gas, the replacement will be a default of electric. However, gas supply will be maintained and the family may volunteer to retain their existing gas cooker. Alternatively, families may wish to provide their own cooker, installed by a competent tradesman, recognising that they would bear the cost of its disconnection on move out; this will require the encroachment process to be followed. Where a new occupant moves in, the existing cooker at that time will be retained as long as it is certified and with sufficient residual life, and on life expiry be replaced with an electric model unless they elect to provide their own.” We will continue to lobby for dual fuel ovens as this appears to be what the majority of families would prefer. If you have a view on this, please email housing@aff.org.uk spring 2014 Army&You 27


{ YOUR HOME }

GOOD COPSE

Play Parks and Community Projects Manager Rosie Brown explains what MODern Housing Solutions (MHS) has been working on outside its usual maintenance tasks…

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ANY of you reading this will think of MHS as a maintenance company; the organisation that fixes things in your homes. The truth is we don’t just repair, maintain and upgrade your family’s property; we give back into the military community through our charitable and countrywide community project programme. MHS has been involved in more than 40 projects to date, including the provision of a much needed self-contained flat for injured Service

personnel and their families – complete with a mobile play system for visiting children – at SSAFA’s Norton House. Among the other charitable schemes we’ve helped with is a new war memorial and remembrance garden for all those who have fallen in the service of their country whilst

YOUR LONDON HOME

based in Chivenor. We also joined forces with a number of Oxfordshire agencies and staff to rejuvenate a beautiful copse at RAF Brize Norton (pictured left). The wood had become overgrown and used as a dumping ground but is now a wonderful natural play space for children. If you have an idea for how to improve your community and want some help in getting an initiative off the ground, contact me at rosie.brown@mhs.mod.uk or call 07841 967842. MHS can help in a number of ways; by simply getting boots on the ground, through fundraising and by helping you with the planning. We look at all suggestions and advise on where we can be of assistance.

All Ranks,Tri-Service members’ club in London’s West End. • 2 minutes from Oxford Street, Hyde Park and Marble Arch • Modern, tastefully decorated bedrooms • Disabled friendly rooms • Rooms with air-conditioning • Free Wi-Fi throughout • Event Rooms for every occasion • Contemporary Lounge Bar for drinks, afternoon tea or light bites • Club Restaurant, serving Modern European cuisine with a range of British classics • Breakfast buffet with a wide range of healthy and traditional options • Reading Room for a quiet escape

To book call us on 0207 616 8345 or email res@vsc.co.uk

£42

JOIN | EAT & DRINK | CELEBRATE | STAY www.armyandyou.co.uk

The Victory Services Club for Veterans, Serving Members of the Armed Forces, and their families.

Victory Services Club 63-79 Seymour Street London | W2 2HF

spring 2014 Army&You 29


What’s it like when the wheels come off? A British Army wife’s candid account of being married to a soldier suffering from mental illness

P

OST Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often mentioned in the media but what is the reality behind the headlines for those living with a sufferer? Mother-of-three Rachel is all too aware. In 2010, “the wheels came off the trolley” when her husband Jack was diagnosed with PTSD and Dissociative Disorder...

For me there had been a slow downward spiral of stress and anxiety with him worrying about work things and having a shorter fuse at home. Jack spent nine weeks in a German hospital and ten months out of uniform. He was then able to return to work whilst continuing to have weekly treatment. Although managing to carry out his duties to a high standard, he couldn’t deal with work and family life. At home he struggled and I found it hard to cope with my family and friends being so far away. HOPING FOR CHANGE At the end of 2012 we were posted back to the UK and hoped for a new start, but as the months have passed Jack has become

30 Army&You spring 2014

more ill. He finds sudden or loud noises unbearable, frequently asking the children to be quieter. Recently, I was in a church with our three-year-old daughter when she said “we should bring daddy here because it’s very quiet”. THE REALITY I find mental illness very isolating because Jack has found it difficult to come to terms with his diagnosis. Initially he didn’t want me to tell anyone why he was in hospital or off work. I couldn’t speak to friends about it and had to make excuses. Jack is emotionally very detached, particularly from me. He is incredibly tired and has to lie down to sleep or withdraw throughout the day. He finds social situations very difficult and avoids them if he can. I go to lots of things on my own with the children. He gets stressed and anxious, obsessive and agitated. It is on-going. Jack is also very good at putting on a mask as he has done for quite some time when necessary. Some friends say to me “oh, he seems fine” and “but he’s got so much going for him”. @ArmyandYou


{ HEALTH }

WARRIOR WELFARE WIDENED

THE Warrior Programme is an education and training course designed to give individuals the tools and techniques to manage the ups and downs of life. It has already helped 500 veterans and is now able to reach out to families thanks to the recent LIBOR windfall. WHO CAN BENEFIT? For veterans and serving soldiers, the programme assists those struggling with managing negative emotions or behaviors. If your soldier is in transition it gives them an opportunity to become clear about their values and provide a structure to achieve goals in a second career outside the Army. If you are a family member, it will provide you with support, create personal resilience to cope with the challenges of Service life and the strength, confidence and awareness to keep yourself, your family and veteran/serving person strong and safe.

HE GETS STRESSED AND ANXIOUS, OBSESSIVE AND AGITATED

❞ FINDING SUPPORT It has been hard to find support and someone to talk to about my situation and Jack’s condition. I discovered the SSAFA Families of Injured Service Personnel (FISP) support group and attended a meeting in Manchester. One of the main topics was PTSD and a highlight for me was to sit down with a support group project worker and discuss the disorder. This gave both my eldest daughter and I the opportunity to find out more about the illness and ask questions with a health professional; something we hadn’t been able to do before. Attending the FISP support sound Does Rachel’s situation support here: familiar? You can access your to talk to • Don’t be afraid nd or partner’s chain of comma to do so encourage your soldier up • SSAFA FISP support gro /fisp .uk .org ups gro ort ssafasupp • Rethink Mental Illness www.rethink.org • Young carers www.youngcarers.net • Help for Heroes .uk www.helpforheroes.org • Home-Start www.home-start.org.uk

www.armyandyou.co.uk

group was the only external support I had received since moving back to the UK. As the children have got older they have become more affected by their daddy’s illness. My husband has recently been in hospital again and I have had to be everything for everyone. I have to deal with my own desperation and worry and that of my children too. A close friend suggested that I contact Young Carers, which I did and was eventually referred to Rethink, a national mental illness organisation. I was also put in touch with Home-Start. Since joining Rethink I have been able to talk to people in a similar situation as myself and this has really helped.

• Click on the PTSD health advice at www.rcpsych.ac.uk • Visit www.mind.org.uk for further information on Dissociative Disorder • Joining Forces app available to download • Combat Stress/Rethink 24-hour helpline – Freephone: 0800 138 1619 • AFF’s Health & Additional Needs Specialist, Karen Ross additionalneeds@aff.org.uk • Or check out the articles on these pages for more ideas on where to go for support.

FAMILIES’ PROGRAMME Sixteen family members benefitted from a threeday residential pilot programme last year and have reported significant improvement in their own health and well-being. The course concluded with a one-day workshop to assess ongoing support and raise awareness of the existing resources available. The next families’ programme will take place in Devon on 24-26 March, with future courses planned for the Midlands, North West, North East and London area. Sue, who attended the pilot, said it gave her the tools to support her and her husband. It enabled them to rebuild their marriage and regain their sense of worth and independence. PROGRAMME PIONEERS

HOW CAN I ATTEND? Complete a registration form online at warriorprogramme.org.uk or call +44 (0)56 0204 3180. The Warrior Assessment Team will consider each application to ensure you’re suitable for the programme. Self-referrals are acceptable. spring 2014 Army&You 31


Some men and women leave the Armed Forces with unseen injuries. If you or a loved one have served and struggle with anxiety, flashbacks, anger or sleepless nights, call the Combat Stress 24-hour Helpline. It’s confidential and we understand what you’re going through.

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, ANGER INVISIBLE INJURIES CAN AFFECT THOSE CLOSEST TO YOU

The helpline is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year Find out more about our work

CALL 0800 138 1619 TEXT 07537 404 719

Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society. Company registered in England and Wales No. 256353. Charity registration no. 206002. Charity registration Scotland no. SC038828. Rethink Mental Illness charity registration no. 271028. Delivered by the mental health charity

32 Army&You spring 2014

@ArmyandYou


{ HEALTH } rmation, 8 For more info 45 or visit 56 36 contact 01736 ion.co.uk www.surfact

T

HE front line is not the only place where battles are fought. Partners, parents and children are also deeply affected by a loved-one’s military experiences and often bear a heavy burden if injuries, be they physical or psychological, are sustained. Surf Action, a charity founded by Gulf War veteran, Rich Emerson, believes waves can help wash away a family’s troubles...

Surfing and beach activities are well known and proven in terms of physical and mental well-being. Surf Action’s Home Front Project is where partners, and those closely involved with the lives of veterans, can gain access to support, both practical and therapeutic; find time for themselves; have fun; share experiences

and, perhaps most importantly, form strong peer support relationships and know that they are not alone. The Home Front is also where the whole family can come together to strengthen bonds made distant or put under strain by military life. Through regular activity days, many of which take place out of doors and in the beautiful Cornish coastal environment, Surf Action offers families a setting that fully understands the needs of those involved. By using the great outdoors we put smiles back on faces. If this is what is needed to enable a family on the point of breakdown to find ways to improve relationships and stay together, or helps a veteran gain the confidence and self-esteem to get back into the work environment, then we welcome this as a success.

d r a o b y il ing m Fa eet m

Army&You’s healthy options... Healthcare company Healios has launched a service developed to support those living with or caring for someone with psychosis and related conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Providing knowledge of tailored skills and techniques, it’s free for Army families and is delivered via teleconferencing (through the internet) or over the phone. Both are ideal for those serving abroad. Healios claims its knowledge can help rebuild family relationships www.armyandyou.co.uk

which may have become strained due to illness. It offers skills to address poor medication compliance and alcohol and drug abuse and provides continued support. To join, call 03303 350 603 (local rate number) or – if you give AFF permission to do so – we can pass your details to Healios. The company will then set up an introductory appointment over the phone and help you get started. For more details, visit healios.org or email AFF’s Health & Additional Needs Specialist, Karen Ross at additionalneeds@aff.org.uk

MindFull is a new, online service for young people to talk about how they feel. Users can log on and immediately talk to a counsellor or mentor and explore the site’s self-help tools. The anonymous service provides access to professional counsellors from 10am to midnight, 365 days a year and has been designed by young people, for young people. Mentors on the site are all 11 to 17-year-olds who are

trained to provide support as peers with similar experiences and backgrounds. The site is moderated, with safety a core element of the service which aims to deliver advice free from stigma or judgement. Find out more at mindfull.org Doc Ready is an online tool that helps young people to prepare for a visit to their GP. The site provides general guidance and tips on what to say and the questions to ask. Visitors to docready.org can record the outcome of their trip to the doctor and future medical appointments. spring 2014 Army&You 33


Clayesmore for your child Prep and Senior Schools sit side-by-side in beautiful Dorset with friendly boarding facilities and a real family feel A true understanding of forces’ families Generous forces’ bursaries

OPEN DAYS 1st March and 10th May 2014 Prep 01747 813155 Senior 01747 812122

www.clayesmore.com “Caring, happy and successful across all ability levels” The Good Schools Guide

34 Army&You spring 2014

@ArmyandYou


{ HEALTH }

S

KILLED for Health (SfH) – Healthy Families is a free programme for Army dependants offering a series of short courses to help and encourage families to improve confidence, self-esteem, access further education and find work. The scheme focuses on issues such as eating well; understanding food labels and healthy lunch boxes; substances – alcohol, caffeine, nicotine; and physical and mental wellbeing. There’s also a Red Cross “Everyday First Aid” session and another on resuscitation techniques and what to do if someone is choking. Since 2008, more than 500 spouses have attended the six week-programme, with a similar number of children enjoying the benefits of the scheme’s free mobile crèche.

one of the first aid courses: “The sessions were really beneficial; everybody was able to participate and share their thoughts and

CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation]. “I would recommend this course to every parent. I gained confidence and was able to meet other mums.” REWARDING Philippa is a tutor for the programme. She explains: “Teaching Skilled for Health is a really rewarding job. Not only do I get the opportunity to meet and teach lots of lovely people at our various locations, but I really enjoy the subject matter. The sessions are informative, relaxed and fun. They are a perfect way to meet others locally and at the same time gather information that will be useful in day-to-day living.”

t r a e h e h t f o s n o s s Le

ENDORSEMENTS Army spouse Vanessa recently completed

experiences – with lots of giggles too! “The skills I gained are invaluable: knowing how to deal with emergencies such as burns, choking and how to give

SOLID SUPPORT AN online service offering free, anonymous support and professional counselling to Service personnel, veterans and military families is ready to help those who find it difficult to talk about their troubles freely. Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD or just feel burdened and stressed by everyday worries and concerns, Big White Wall offers an alternative to “bottling things up” by providing a strong community and practical advice on how to help tackle your troubles. Domino, a mother whose son was badly injured by an IED in Afghanistan, is among the 5,000 people to have benefited from the service since it was set up in 2011. She says: “He’s coping brilliantly, I’m not – that’s why I’m here [www. bigwhitewall.com]. I couldn’t have come to a better place. You will find mums, partners, veterans, dads, as well as serving members of the Forces.” Encouraging others to get things off their chest, Domino adds: “Try and share your feelings on here; it has helped me enormously.”

If you are interested in attending, call Barbara on 01980 651477 or email Barbara.waits656@mod.uk Courses run from 10-11.30am, termtime, at Larkhill (Monday); Warminster (Tuesday); Tidworth (Wednesday) and Bulford (Thursday).

Incoming IVF change NHS England has released its interim policy for assisted conception for members of the Armed Forces. If either you or your soldier are registered with a DMS medical centre and meet the treatment criteria, you will now be able to have two cycles of NHSfunded IVF wherever you are in England. You can see the policy via the Health & Additional Needs pages at www.aff.org.uk or contact additionalneeds@aff.org.uk for further information.

Positive outlook for allergy sufferers SCHOOLS will soon be required by law to make appropriate arrangements for supporting pupils with severe allergies and long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma. The change in legislation follows months of campaigning by the Anaphylaxis Campaign and the Health Conditions in Schools Alliance and will be supported by new statutory guidance. While many schools already offer excellent care for children with health conditions, there are numerous examples of pupils who experience avoidable ill-health and are unable to fully participate in their education. Visit anaphylaxis.org.uk or follow @Anaphylaxiscoms on Twitter for more details. www.armyandyou.co.uk

spring 2014 Army&You 35


Coming home Army&You catches up with Britain’s bestselling classical artist Russell Watson ahead of his new single release and UK tour… xx Army&You spring 2014

@ArmyandYou


{ SPOTLIGHT }

W

HEN the MOD asked Russell Watson if he would head up their new charity push, Home Ground, the self-styled People’s Tenor couldn’t resist. Despite getting up to five requests a day to become involved with charitable concerns – particularly since overcoming cancer – Russell, who has sold in excess of seven million albums, admits it was the impact on Service personnel and their families that made him say yes. “I want to say yes to everyone,” he says. “Everybody’s got their own stories to tell and they’re all heart-rending, but with this one I thought it could make a real difference to a lot of people.” Russell will release a single recorded with the Welsh Guards Choir, called The Home Ground Anthem to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. He will also headline a series of concerts with all proceeds feeding back to the Home Ground charities, which include The Haig Trust Coming Home Campaign, The Welsh Guards Benevolent Fund and the Falklands Veteran Foundation. SIMPLE CHANGES, BIG DIFFERENCES Coming Home has already helped several badly-injured Servicemen and women and their families by providing them with a home for life. Set up by the Haig Housing Trust, it funds special adaptations for homes, such as wider door frames, wet rooms or modifications to kitchens. “I liked the presentation about what the funds that are raised represent, particularly with Coming Home,” Russell adds. “Soldiers coming back from Afghanistan who have serious injuries and not just physical but mental scars from conflict. “A soldier who had been rehoused in a beautiful new home couldn’t have a shower because he couldn’t get his wheelchair through the bathroom door. Very simple things that we take for granted. Just widening a door arch can make a massive difference. “These guys have gone into the Army for a career that’s been brought to a very abrupt end and then on top of that, a lot of them have serious injuries. Simple day-to-day tasks that they can’t do any more like driving a car or www.armyandyou.co.uk

dropping their kids off at school can affect their lives, so it’s a great charity to be involved with. If we can make the smallest of differences by raising funds then I will do my best.” MILITARY CONNECTIONS Russell’s grandfathers both served in the RAF and his best pal Steve Gallagher was in the Army for 17 years, serving during the Falklands War. He believes whatever military connections you have, the lyrics of The Home Ground Anthem are sure to mean something. “I think I’ve made a real link with it; it’s a great lyric, it’s a lovely song and the words are quite poignant,” he says. “There were a huge amount of casualties in World War One and I would suggest that almost all of us in the UK would have been affected at some point, so we definitely shouldn’t forget. “We’re not glamorising or celebrating, we’re commemorating. In a lot of cases people were lost in our own families, albeit 100 years ago.” The Welsh Guards Choir will be joining Russell for the charity concerts later this year. “They’re a good group of lads so I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of fun with them on stage,” he adds. “They

were all very quiet at first and then once I got to know them I slowly worked out who the characters were.” He’s enjoyed the banter, especially over who could drink the most on a night out when the boys forgot he hails from Salford and used to work in a factory! Russell has also sung with the Military Wives Choir. ONLY ONE MAN Russell’s new album, Only One Man, is real “heart on sleeve” stuff and the lyrics are sure to hit home with Army families. “If they relate to my music through their personal experiences then that’s great,” he explains. “Music has this amazing power to help one reflect. You can be walking down the street and hear a song that reminds you of a special time [it] has this incredible power of taking you on a journey. I think the new record is in essence a journey – it has a start, a middle and a conclusion.” l The Home Ground Anthem will be available to download from 17 March. Visit www.homegroundprojects.org.uk or www.atgtickets.com for details about tickets for the charity concerts.

WIN! Army&You has two pairs of VIP tickets to give away to Russell’s Homeground charity gala concert at The Edinburgh Playhouse (17 May) or The London Palladium (27 July), plus a copy of his latest album, Only One Man, for each winner. To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize, see page three for competition rules. Mark postal entries “Russell Watson”.

spring 2014 Army&You xx


Avenue to employment

AFF Employment & Training Specialist Caroline Mayne examines the benefits of using a recruitment agency to find work… ACCORDING TO Jobcentre Plus, using the services of a recruitment agency is the best and quickest way to find a job. However, you need to ensure that the agency is reputable as you will be disclosing personal information to it. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) represents and supports the UK’s private recruitment and staffing industry. To check that your agency is accredited, visit the REC website at www.rec.uk.com GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR AGENCY £ Keep in close contact – phone them at least once a week £ Be available – either via phone or email and

respond promptly £ If you’re employed elsewhere, let the agency know the best times for them to contact you £ Be honest about the type of job you want and your salary expectations and also about the jobs you don’t want. Be willing to take advice as a good recruiter may suggest roles that you hadn’t thought about £ Keep your CV accurate and up-to-date – use the expertise of your agency consultant to help you. It is best to keep your CV simple so that the company can integrate it into their system easily £ Talk to your agency if they are not finding you work £ Establish a good relationship with a consultant – they

may need to vouch for your integrity and professionalism £ Do your research before any interviews that the agency arranges £ Call the recruiter after any interviews to receive/give feedback £ Don’t post your CV online without investigating the agency through REC

£ Think twice before disclosing personal information (such as your date of birth) – treat your CV as you would your bank cards. HOW CAN AN AGENCY HELP YOU? A good consultancy will “market” your application and highlight your strengths

CASE STUDY Gary Thompson tells Army&You about his experience of using a recruitment company as an Army spouse…

Having recently moved to a new area I began looking at advertised jobs and tried my local HIVE, but I found most of the vacancies were

aimed at wives as there are clearly more of them in our Army community. However, I had a great experience with recruitment company Amdas. The whole process was stress-free and quick. My contact, Alex, was so helpful. I explained my circumstances and my fears of not finding work as I can only stay in this area while posted here. I also told him what hours I was happy to work as I needed to keep the balance between Army life and work. He did all he could to match me with a suitable employer. Within ten days of submitting my CV to the recruitment agency, I had an interview and was offered a job!

38 Army&You spring 2014

to a potential employer and give you valuable interview advice. Agencies have access to more job opportunities as they have dedicated prospecting teams, and some specialise in a specific industry sector making it easier for you to find a job in line with your expertise. They should help you with career advice and be able to pre-select roles for you. FIND A RECRUITMENT AGENCY TO SUIT YOU There are numerous lists available for you to view online. Which agency you go for depends on your specific needs or industry sector. AFF has compiled a list of employment agencies and websites at www.aff.org.uk which could help you with your search. @ArmyandYou


{ EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING }

Celebrating employers TO acknowledge those employers that support Army spouses in the workplace, AFF is launching an exciting new award: the AFF Employer of the Year Award. If you feel that your employer has gone the extra mile to understand the unique challenges that you face, such as deployment, do encourage them to visit our website to nominate themselves. The aim is to share best practice amongst employers and also to raise awareness of the barriers some Army spouses can face when looking for employment. Your employer could nominate themselves for a number of reasons including: ✓ Supporting flexible working opportunities, especially during periods where your soldier is deployed. For example home working

AFF has launched Jobs&You – a new avenue for Army spouses to seek work. We understand the barriers to employment for Army spouses such as frequent moves, postings overseas and to remote locations, disruptive deployments and childcare issues. So we have been talking to employers to raise awareness of

✓ A supportive workplace or boss that understands the unique demands placed on Forces families ✓ Fair remuneration and benefits – research has shown that some spouses are underemployed and AFF wants to ensure that your qualifications, experience and credentials are recognised ✓ Providing portable careers where possible, especially if there are offices or branches in multi-geographic areas. AFF’s Employer of the Year Award, open to public, private and third sector organisations, will be launched in April 2014 with the winner announced in September. The award will be presented at this year’s Big Debate – AFF’s Families Conference in October. More information will be available at www.aff.org.uk

Forces life, dispel myths and promote spouses as the skilled, resourceful, conscientious and adaptable community that we are. HOW TO USE JOBS&YOU The organisations on

our site are looking to identify, attract and recruit Armed Forces spouses. Some organisations have live opportunities being displayed while others provide a direct link to their careers’ pages. Click www. armyandyou.co.uk/ jobs to find out more. If you have any questions, email etam@aff.org.uk or call 07799 045955.

GET QUALIFIED S2LDS helps Service personnel get the formal recognition for their military experience to gain the competitive edge in the job market. Using specialist expertise in training and education, the organisation has created a unique way to gain Chartered Management Institute Coaching & Mentoring and Leadership & Management qualifications. The Learning Programme is designed for all military, regardless of service, even if they have left in the last five years. Using tutors and the onlinelearners’ area, students complete an assignment by answering short, directed questions. Visit S2LDS.com for details. ✪ WIN! S2LDS is offering three CMI qualification programmes (one at each level) worth up to £500 for your soldier or veteran. See page four for entry details.

X-Forces needs you IF you’ve got a brilliant business idea, X-Forces – a social enterprise established to help service leavers, their spouses and dependants realise their entrepreneurial potential – needs you. As Army families, you are ideal candidates to startup your own businesses

www.armyandyou.co.uk

because you are experts at juggling limited resources and have an extraordinary ability to keep adapting to everchanging circumstances. X-Forces provides support, guidance and mentoring, helps write business plans and even provides funding in the early years of starting-up. As your own boss, you

set the rules and X-Forces will help you to organise the balance between your business and family life. l Whatever your skill or idea, call 0207 022 0600, find X-Forces on Facebook, follow @OfficialXforces on Twitter or log on to the website at www.x-forces.com

spring 2014 Army&You 39


SUPPORTING THE UNSUNG

HERO

The Armed Forces Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme is a unique free course designed specifically for military families. Army&You finds out how it equips Service families with the professional know how, tools and skills to turn ‘just an idea’ into a real business opportunity…

T

HE course, which is delivered by the University of Wolverhampton, works because it has been developed in consultation with members of the military community who know first-hand the challenges spouses and partners have when trying to maintain continuous employment. Lianne Bradbury, Programme Manager who served with the Royal Logistic Corps for 22 years, says: “I understand how difficult it is to find work as a military dependant; my husband followed me around the world for 12 years. “I had seven postings during this period and my husband had eight different jobs. “I have seen him go through the highs and lows of searching and securing work and the impact this has had on us as a family. “I wanted to ensure that the programme is built on a platform of understanding so we have tailored it to be flexible, practical and above all offer a solution to those wanting to break the cycle of an uncertain career.”

possible with funding from the Armed Forces Covenant LIBOR Fund which means the University of Wolverhampton in conjunction with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce can deliver it free of charge to Service families. Cohort one started in October of last year and has already enabled ten entrepreneurial, military spouses to see their business ideas come to life. Christine Dedman, who has recently completed the first stage, cannot praise the course enough: “I have been a military dependant for 12 years and we are currently on our eighth move.

“I consider myself fortunate to have achieved a successful career to date despite our continued mobilisation. “Keeping a healthy work life balance is a challenge for any mother. I have found the past three years the hardest; my husband has spent a lot of time serving away from home. “After we moved in the summer, I started to look for work. I applied for numerous jobs and registered with recruitment agencies but it quickly became apparent that ‘part-time’, ‘flexible’ and ‘school hours’ were words most employers did not want to entertain.

»

BRING IDEAS TO LIFE The programme has been made

40 Army&You spring 2014

@ArmyandYou


{ EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING }

“Add ‘military spouse’ into the mix and you’ll be amazed how quickly a conversation can end!” MAKING CONNECTIONS “I have considered freelancing for a couple of years now but the Armed Forces Dependants’ Business StartUp Programme was the driving force behind me finally taking the plunge. “I have just completed cohort one and can honestly say it has changed my life. “I now have my own freelance business and manage my time around my children. “The course has given me the practical skills to manage a business but the best bit for me is making new connections both socially and for the benefit of my business. “We have a closed Facebook page which we use to sound ideas out and I can guarantee an honest and useful response. “We also refer each other for work

dependant thinking of setting up a business is to just go for it, the course is the perfect platform to get you started and it’s free!”

❝❞

We have the potential to market ourselves wherever we are posted

and this has been lucrative for a number of us already. “It is amazing the different talents my fellow cohort members have from language tuition to dog grooming, event management to joinery, and the list is growing each month. “We span the globe with our connections so we have the potential to market ourselves wherever we are posted before we even get there! “My advice to any Service

MARVELOUS MODULES You can take part in the Programme no matter where you live. It lasts for 10 months, consists of: l Introduction to business start-up l A four day business start-up course l Individual mentoring sessions with a business adviser l Group mentoring sessions with other Service dependants led by a business adviser. MORE DETAILS To find out more, speak to your local HIVE or contact Lianne Bradbury, the Armed Forces’ & Uniformed Services’ Coordinator at the University of Wolverhampton at mod-enquiries@ wlv.ac.uk or www.wlv.ac.uk/ supportingtheunsunghero

Is your relationship falling apart? To the military allowances?

To our well-being? To our finances?

OPEN DAY

What will happen... To our children?

To our

B E PA RT O F T H E D I S C O V E R Y

Saturday 3rd May —10 am arrival Please contact us to reserve your place Co-educational day & boarding: ages 13 –18 > telephone: 01823 328204 admissions@kings-taunton.co.uk > www.kings-taunton.co.uk

www.armyandyou.co.uk

To the pension?

To relationships with

We can help you sort out all your family extended family and accommodation? separation issues without the hefty legalfriends? fees We can help you sort out all your family separation issues without the hefty legal fees

0300 4000 636 www.nfm.org.uk spring 2014 Army&You 41


HABERDASHERS’ MONMOUTH SCHOOLS

Preparing for life’s journey

PAY ONLY 10% OF THE FEES, AROUND £830 PER TERM* *This applies to Service Families who are eligible for the Continuity of Education Allowance, entering the School 2014/15. Additional means-tested support, subject to availability, may be offered to families who lose the CEA.

MONMOUTH SCHOOL AND THE GRANGE

HABERDASHERS’ MONMOUTH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS AND INGLEFIELD HOUSE

Currently Archant Best British Boarding School BOYS 7 - 18 with boarding from 9 Tel: 01600 710433

GIRLS 7 - 18 with boarding from 9

Tel: 01600 711104

www.habs-monmouth.org Co-educational, day & boarding school for ages 3-18 in South-East England

Chafyn Grove salisbury

Co-educational, Day and Boarding from 3 - 13

OPEN DAYS Saturday 26th April 10am -12.30pm

Whole School (ages 3 - 13)

Thursday 1st May 9.30am -11am

Nursery & Pre Prep (ages 3 - 7)

Strong academic results at 11+, GCSE and A Level Small classes offering close individual attention Excellent pastoral care with a Christian ethos

Discount for Forces Families

Outstanding boarding accommodation Exceptional facilities including 500-seat Theatre, Sports Complex and Indoor Swimming Pool Generous Forces Bursaries available

Join our family.... For more information or to arrange a visit:

T: +44 (0)1843 572931 E: admissions@slcuk.com www.slcuk.com Ramsgate, Kent CT11 7AE 42 Army&You spring 2014

www.chafyngrove.co.uk Chafyn_Army&You_Spring.indd 1

@ArmyandYou

22/01/2014 10:54


{ EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING }

Getting the balance right F

Briony Hill weighs up the pros and cons of making a return to full-time employment...

OR several weeks, as my husband had been walking through the front door returning from work, he would have to leap aside to make way for me sprinting out to my freedom, using a dog walk as my excuse to escape. After nearly five years as a stay-at-home mother to Miranda, now five, and Clemmie, now two, the time had come for mama to cut the apron strings. Our most recent posting was in the north west; a beautiful area but living in a private hiring with no Army community for support. I spent 90 per cent of my day with just the children for company. I was feeling numbingly lonely and – guiltily – numbingly bored. It didn’t take Professor

www.armyandyou.co.uk

Tanya Byron to realise the girls were also fed up with our insular existence and that my unhappiness would be having a detrimental effect on them. TIME FOR CHANGE While all full-time mothers find their work exhausting and often difficult, when talking to friends in the same situation, I always felt their overriding emotion was one of happiness with an underlying sense of pride. These feelings having been eroded from my repertoire, my husband and I agreed that something needed to change. VOLUNTEERING SKILLS After taking the seeminglymonumental decision to return to work, I got mouse-happy

on every job website Google could name. A friend suggested volunteering my skills to add recent work to my CV and boost my confidence. So alongside applying for up to five jobs every evening, I contacted the local councilowned stately home, Walton Hall, and a week later found myself transcribing recorded interviews with former workers on the estate and editing them into potted histories for exhibitions. I signed up to the writing website Copify and found almost obscene enjoyment creating copy for ambulancechasing lawfirms, escort agencies and bathroom companies, usually to the tune of 2p per word...

THE RIGHT JOB Then, out of the blue, an old colleague from my former life as a conference producer contacted me over Facebook asking if I would be interested in working again full-time, but doing so from home with minimal travel. After two interviews, in which I expanded on the voluntary work I had done to show that I was keen and ready to return to the world of work, I was offered the job. Both girls are happily settled into their new routines and our weekends are action-packed as I try to catch up on their lives which are continuing at full pace while I turn pale and pasty in my office. Returning to full-time work was an extreme reaction to my self-perceived plight and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t certain they can wave goodbye to their babies for nine hours a day, but on balance – for us – it was the right decision. Useful links: 8 www.nationalcareersservice. direct.gov.uk 8 www.womenlikeus.org.uk 8 www.workingfamilies.org.uk

spring 2014 Army&You 43


hard to leave ❝It’s your family

behind, no matter where in the world you are from

44 Army&You spring 2014

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{ SPOTLIGHT }

LIFE-CHANGING STUDY Studying for a higher education qualification can be tough for Army spouses given the uncertainty of military life. For Foreign & Commonwealth partners, there can be additional hoops to jump through before even getting started. Law graduate Natalie Abbensetts tells Army&You how she did it…

Photos: Liz Rhodes

HELP FROM AFF Under the immigration laws at the time we got married, all F&C spouses held exempt Armed Forces dependant visas, which meant that we were unable to apply for settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) until two years after our spouses (the serving soldiers) became British Citizens themselves. So my options were limited. I faced a seven-year wait to apply for university at the home student rate, or pay the astronomical overseas fees. Four years later, whilst reading the (then) AFF Journal, I discovered that the rules were changing, so I liaised with AFF’s F&C Specialist, Katherine Houlston. This was a real breakthrough and it meant that all F&C spouses married to a Commonwealth soldier would be able to apply for settlement once the soldier had served for five years. GOING TO UNI In 2010 I was accepted at King’s College, London to follow in my father’s footsteps. It was great to be at school again and I quickly became involved in all that the University had to offer. But it was also one of the most difficult decisions I had to make because of my son, Preston, as I was sometimes away from him for long periods. There were times when I felt selfish as my absence was taking a toll on the www.armyandyou.co.uk

family. I stayed with relatives when the timetable was hectic and sometimes travelled in daily from Wattisham in Suffolk when it was less busy or if Nickolas was away. GREAT SUPPORT However, I was encouraged and supported by my family and the Army community, especially the staff of Scallywags Childcare Centre in Wattisham. In my final year we were posted to Middle Wallop in Hampshire three weeks into the new term. Marching out when essays are due requires serious planning and time management! PROUD FAMILY Nickolas and Preston are very proud of my achievements and there was no better feeling than receiving my certificate knowing they were in the audience. After finally clearing away all the books from the dining room table I’m taking a year out before starting City Law School in September. THINKING OF STUDYING? The UK Council for International Student Affairs (www.ukcisa.org.uk) lists the latest fees and funding at colleges or universities for nonBritish Citizens. You are eligible for home fees for further education if you: l Have ILR or you are the spouse/child or civil partner of someone with ILR. (An F&C soldier with an exempt stamp is not considered to have ILR); l Are the spouse/child of a British soldier who has lived in the UK for three years; l You have a valid visa and have lived in the UK for three years.

You are eligible for home fees for higher education if you: l Have ‘settled’ status (ILR or British Citizenship) and have lived in the UK for the three years before the start of the course; l Are married to, or the dependant of a British Citizen and have lived in the UK for the three years before the start of the course; l Are an EU national and have lived in the UK for the three years before the start of the course. If you’re not sure whether you qualify, complete a “fees status questionnaire” available at the university to assess your individual circumstances. If you are unhappy with the decision, call the UKCISA Student Advice Line on 020 7788 9214. If you have been on an accompanied posting overseas for part of the three years, explain your situation to the university to see if they will make an exception. Contact your AFF Foreign & Commonwealth assistant by email at fcassist@aff.org.uk for more information.

GET INVOLVED For all Army spouses it’s hard to leave your family behind, no matter where in the world you are from. You cannot always be at their bedsides when they are sick or attend birthday celebrations. My advice would be to throw all your energies into the new life you signed up for and support your serving soldier. Get involved, as the Army family is a family away from home.

M

Y HUSBAND Nickolas and I are originally from Guyana, South America and I married into the British Army in 2005 after we got together during his basic training. My father was a lawyer and I used to work and shadow him in the courts so it was something I always wanted to be. My parents had other ideas however, and I ended up studying medicine in Guyana and the United States. Eventually I want to merge my background with the law and specialise in clinical and medical negligence.

spring 2014 Army&You 45


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{ MONEY&YOU }

BEWARE

THE PENSION LIBERATORS There are companies in civvy street known as pension liberators which promise to release your pension and lump sum benefits early. Some unscrupulous ones prey on unsuspecting individuals, using the promise of ready cash. Lieutenant Commander David Marsh, Pensions Secretary of the Forces Pension Society, warns against such schemes…

T

HE earliest age most people are legally permitted to cash in their pension fund is 55, other than in rare circumstances such as terminal illness. You can get hold of your money earlier but be prepared to pay a hefty price. Springing up all over the place, like a tray of mustard cress bursting into life, are pension liberators – companies you can approach or which approach you – promising that those funds that you cannot normally get your hands on until 55, 60 or 65, will be released to you now. WHAT EXACTLY DOES LIBERATION MEAN? It’s a misleading term that gives you the impression that the company has found a legal loophole. The primary condition you must comply with is to transfer the value of your pension fund into a new fund

COUNTING THE COST PENSION AND LUMP SUM VALUE OF £120,000 TO DRAW OUT £20,000 EARLY: l Company’s charges (30%) £36,000 l Income tax charge (55%) £66,000 l Money taken out of fund £20,000 Total cost = £102,000 Leaves £18,000 left in pension fund

run by the company. What these companies often fail to tell you is that once the money has been transferred and you receive your cash, they will remove up to 30 per cent in fees before you pay a one-off 55 per cent income tax liability charge on the fund’s value for drawing an “unauthorised payment”. WHAT IS BEING DONE? In the case of Armed Forces

schemes, administrators are not allowed to transfer to a scheme not registered with HMRC – but protection does not go much further than that. The outcome of an ongoing court case could make it illegal for such companies to operate as pension schemes; the result is likely to be known in the autumn. l To find out more or become a member of the Forces Pension Society, call 020 7735 0110 or go to www.forcespensionsociety.org

WORKING FOR WIDOWS

could affect any one of us whose soldier is under

spirit of the Armed Forces Covenant and is urging

the old Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS75)

the Government to change it.

THE Forces Pension Society (FPS) is campaigning

and FPS argues that it’s a relic of a bygone age

for all Service widows to continue to receive their

that condemns a widow to a solitary life.

pension even if they cohabit or remarry. The rule

www.armyandyou.co.uk

FPS believes the ruling completely defies the

If you would like to find out more, contact the team at FPS who will be happy to advise you – www.forcespensionsociety.org

spring 2014 Army&You 47


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Our fees are £3,500 per term (£10,500 per year)* If you qualify for CEA, you will pay just over £1,000 per year. You are welcome to visit us for a hosted tour.

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48 Army&You spring 2014

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{ EDUCATION&CHILDCARE } 11+ THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 11+ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

8 9 10

11

12 13

There are 164 grammar schools in England, 69 in Northern Ireland but none in Scotland or Wales

Grammar schools are state secondary schools which by law can select all their pupils on the grounds of academic ability

The entrance test is often referred to as the 11+ and is carried out in the autumn term of the child’s last year in primary school Up to four different areas are tested: Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Maths and English

The 11+ exam in Northern Ireland was officially stopped in 2008. There’s still a selective process within the two main groups of grammar schools Boarding facilities are sometimes available for a charge

There’s an excellent interactive map at www.ngsa.org.uk

Ideally, visit the individual schools in your child’s year five summer term to register Results are sent out before the application deadline for secondary schools to enable choice if your child is unsuccessful

Families in England find out whether they have a place on National Offer Day in the spring. NI families find out in June

There’s a second 11+ exam for those who move after the first one and tests for those who move in later school years. You may need to bring academic evidence from your previous school It’s possible to apply for special consideration for SEN such as extra time in the test You have a right to appeal.

For free advice and resources on the current tests, future reforms and school information, visit www.elevenplusexams. co.uk, www.parentsintouch.co.uk or www.the11pluswebsite.co.uk AFF will continue to monitor fair access to schools for all Army families. If you have any issues, email ec@aff.org.uk

SUPPORTING SEN AFF has commented on your behalf during the consultation for the new Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice. If you have a child with SEN, the reforms – which come into effect in September – will directly affect you. The new Birth to 25 Education, Health and Care Plan will provide personal budgets and a “local offer” from the Local Authority, making the process simpler. The offer will not just be a directory but will give information about services for youngsters. The Children’s Education Advisory Service is recognised throughout the new code for support to Service families. TELL US ONCE The new code’s “tell us once” approach is good news for Service families as you should not need to repeat issues when you see a new professional. Be aware that the same services may use different terminology across the country. Although there’s much good news, AFF does have some concerns. There should be more specific wording to support mobile families and the timing of assessments should be in the best interests of the child. We are in favour of a phased approach but it’s vital that Service families have the new help as soon as possible. Equally, if there’s a posting coming up, you should be able to keep any existing support until moving to the new area. If you would like to comment on the reforms or tell me about your experiences, email ec@aff.org.uk

Aiming high

AFF has commissioned York St John University to look at the attainment of Service children. Moving from school to school and changing teachers and topics can cause upheaval and parents have told us that their child’s ability to reach their potential may be impacted by mobility. We have been finding out about the experiences of Army children by asking those in years 6 and 11, parents and teachers what they think and comparing academic scores against their civilian counterparts. Keep an eye on www.aff.org.uk for our report. www.armyandyou.co.uk

spring 2014 Army&You 49


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Open Days: 1st March and 10th May Music, Art, Drama and Sports Scholarship Selection Morning on Saturday 15th March For more details email headmaster@anselms.co.uk or tel 01629 812734 S. Anselm’s Preparatory School, Stanedge Road, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1DP. Website: www.sanselms.co.uk

50 Army&You spring 2014

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{ EDUCATION&CHILDCARE }

Talent spotting Is your child asking really interesting questions; do they complete tasks without much prior explanation of what to do? Perhaps they eat up books? These are just some of the things that parents of Gifted & Talented (G&T) children first notice. AFF Education & Childcare Specialist, Lucy Scott, tells us more…

G

&T CHILDREN have the potential to develop significantly beyond what is expected for their age. “Gifted” is the term generally used for youngsters with high ability in academic subjects and “talented” are ones whose abilities are in practical subjects. MOVING AROUND I was contacted by Helen, the mother of a G&T Army family with four children who wanted advice because they were mobile. Helen highlighted the time it takes to accurately assess children when they are new to a school and difficulties in accepting previous assessments. She says: “It was apparent that Sam and Anika were particularly academically adept early on – we’re not talking Oxford University next year or anything, but they are ahead of the curve despite moving regularly. “We were very lucky to get both Anika and William into an exceptional school. However, this last move was painful. Sam attended three schools from 2012-13 and Anika and William missed out on two weeks because I refused to split them. When you move like we do, staying together is important. “There’s still stuff I wish I knew! How much ‘at home’ work is too much? What more can I do to help when they become disheartened? Where do I find a reliable, www.armyandyou.co.uk

universally-recognised and respected measure of academia that I can take from school to school?” BE PERSISTENT Another Service family contacted me who moved from overseas to the UK. It took nearly two years and successive meetings with the headteacher to get help for their child including an Individual

FURTHER READING Extra-curricular activities and advice www.parentsintouch.co.uk Older children www.mensa.org.uk/gifted-talented National Association for Gifted and Talented Children (charges apply for some services) www.potentialplusuk.org G&T in Northern Ireland www.nidirect.gov.uk G&T in Scotland www.directscot.org www.gov.uk/directorate-childrenand-young-people SCE schools list www.sce-web.com

Learning Plan (ILP) and G&T sessions run by the local authority. They eventually received support however, so it’s worth being persistent: “Our daughter had undergone testing and was labelled as ‘gifted’. “She attended the first of two sessions for G&T children with a children’s book author. She gleaned much from this day and I was finally filled with a sense of satisfaction that after over a year of pushing and questioning, something had finally been done!” Although there’s no requirement in law in England and Wales for schools to list G&T children, Ofsted and Estyn (Wales) will assess how the more able as well as the less able are supported. The new Pupil Information Profile is specifically designed for Service children to provide your child’s new teacher with immediate, relevant information, so this should give schools advanced notice of when a G&T child joins them. POSTED ABROAD? SCE schools also support G&T children overseas. Either speak to the school directly, or look on their website. If you’re still having difficulty getting support for your G&T child or would like to share your experience with others, get in touch with me at ec@aff.org.uk spring 2014 Army&You 51


Warminster School Co-educational boarding & day school for pupils aged 3 -18 years

Founded 1707

First Class Teaching. Broad and stimulating education. Supportive, welcoming family atmosphere. Diverse range of extra-curricular opportunities. Please call for futher details of our Open Mornings

School fees fixed at CEA +10% of the school fees – there is no more to pay.*

“Emily started at Wycliffe Preparatory School in September 2011 as a boarder in Year 3. We chose Wycliffe because of its family atmosphere and the ethos of the Head, Mr Palmer; “if a child is happy then they are able to learn.” The pastoral care is second to none and, for Emily, Wycliffe has become her second home.” Warrant Officer Andy Kerslake, RAF Police and Flight Sergeant Emma Kerslake, RAF M Emily Year 5 and Billy Year 3

Full boarding available with an exciting weekend activity programme. Small class sizes.

Wycliffe makes

the difference For further information please contact Mrs Gayle Webb Tel: 01985 210160 Email: admissions@warminsterschool.org.uk

Wycliffe, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire GL10 2JQ Twitter @WycliffeCollege www.wycliffe.co.uk * Terms and conditions apply ** We accept Childcare Vouchers

cial Spe t oun diSc ceS for for ilieS fam

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Wycliffe Nursery, Preparatory, Senior School & Sixth Form For more information please call Charlotte Phillips on 01453 820412.

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Moyles Court School

Full & weekly boarding for boys & girls age 8 to 16 www.moylescourt.co.uk

Great friends, great fun and family ethos. A warm welcome awaits you. •Excellent “Value Added” GCSE results • Vibrant and challenging curriculum • Strong pastoral ethos • Boys and Girls 8-16 years

Open Morning - Monday 5th May 2014 Badminton nurtures intellectual curiosity and challenges enquiring minds in a supportive community. Our girls’ enthusiasm for the arts, sport and their many activities keeps the School vibrant – come and see for yourself!

“An educational gem in the heart of the New Forest”

20% fee discount for Forces Families. T: 0117 905 5271 • E: admissions@badmintonschool.co.uk • www.badmintonschool.co.uk

52 Army&You spring 2014

@AcorntoOakBris

Contact us to arrange a visit 01425 472856 or info@moylescourt.co.uk Moyles Court School, Ringwood, Hampshire BH24 3NF. Charity No. 307347. CReSTed Registered.

@ArmyandYou


{ EDUCATION&CHILDCARE }

Sgt Camopatch is catching on!

T

HE AFF Excellence for Forces Children Service Premium Award will be running again in 2014! AFF has been in contact with lots of you and the examples of best practice featured in Army&You have proved very useful for families and schools in England.

1. Go into your school and bring this award to their attention 2. Look on your school’s website to see how they have been spending their money 3. Encourage them to enter with a chance to win the Sodexo Cookery Experience for pupils.

NOMINATIONS PLEASE We are asking schools to nominate themselves accompanied by positive statements from Army families. High numbers of supporting comments will be reflected in the score for your school during the judging process. We need your help!

Nominations open in April and should be submitted online at www.aff.org.uk by the end of May. The winner will be announced in June. Look out for an article in Army&You later in the year featuring best bits from all the entries.

Grin and bear it! Sgt Camopatch from Weeton Primary School in Lancashire was nominated in last year’s award. Funded using the Service Premium, he has been to Afghanistan with the troops and regularly sends letters and photos back to the children. We’re sure that Sgt Camopatch has lots more friends out there who would like to appear in Army&You!

WOW! Boarding in a top Surrey school for £4,483 per term. For boys and girls ~ 3-13 ~ boarding and day

..where Happy Children Succeed academic excellence | sporting and creative | the best in boarding

l Boarding and Flexi Boarding for boys and girls aged 7-18 l Huge range of extra-curricular sports and activities l Excellent academic results l Situated in 260 acres of parkland near Reigate, Surrey

OPEN MORNINGS

Sat 15th March and Sat 17th May 9.00 – 10.30am **discounts for military families** Next Open Mornings Saturday 22nd March 2014 ~ Saturday 17th May 2014 Fordingbridge, SP6 1NS

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01425 653 181

office@fsmschool.com

fsmschool.com

Gatton Park Reigate Surrey RH2 0TD www.raa-school.co.uk 01737 649001 @RAASchoolGatton spring 2014 Army&You 53


GERMANY

A NEET IDEA

Rebasing: a German view The Army’s drawdown will see many British families coming “home” from BFG. But for German spouses of British soldiers, the prospect of leaving their native land for the foreseeable future can be a daunting prospect. Manuela Floyd, who met her husband Paul in 1994 when he was stationed at JHQ, shares her feelings as she prepares to move back to the UK for good…

W

E CURRENTLY live in Herford and because I am at “home” I am more reluctant to go back to the United Kingdom this time. I have loved my five-year-old daughter experiencing all of the German traditions and customs that I had when I was a child; this will be difficult to maintain in the UK even with the best of intentions. I do think that living in England is more expensive than here. I will miss having easy access to my family and speaking German. I am excited but a little scared too because I know that it’s going to be for good this time. It will probably mean us having ❝❞ to use our family holidays to travel back to see my family in Germany.

BETTER JOB PROSPECTS I am looking forward to having more freedom to look for a job and more childcare options for my daughter, like breakfast clubs. As a German national dependant of a UK Serviceman, there have been restrictions on my ability to work. The Army’s departure will mean a lot of things to the Germans. They will certainly miss the economic boost that having so many soldiers and families living and spending in the community has brought. They will also miss the cultural events and fairs that the Army has run over the years which have allowed us to learn a bit more about British culture. For further information on rebasing, see our special feature on page 22.

I will miss having easy access to my family and speaking German

54 Army&You spring 2014

YOUR young people can benefit from the BFG 14-19 Partnership, which liaises with schools, workbased learning organisations and employers to benefit young dependants who are NEETs – Not in Education, Employment or Training. Supporting young people who are or are unable to gain access to sixth form, the Participation, Skills and Progression Service (PSPS) helps those who require a more diverse curriculum and helps to identify those who are at risk of not participating in education, employment and training post-16. The work-based qualifications include Business and Administration, Hairdressing and Beauty and Fitness Instructing. PSPS has centres in Bielefeld, the Rhine Area, Gütersloh, Paderborn, Hohne and also Cyprus. For more info, call 0049 (0)521 9254 3545, email adminpsp@sceschools.com or visit www.youchoose2learn.com

Dylan McNaught is doing a NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery at JB’s kitchen in Gütersloh Garrison…

I was always interested in the making and preparation of food; I cook a lot at home for my family. When I mentioned this to the PSPS Partnership Manager, she approached the cookhouse to ask for a placement for me. As well as working towards the diploma I’ve gained other skills too. My communication has improved; you have got to be heard in a busy kitchen! I am more assertive and confident and I recognise the importance of teamwork. It’s practical learning and you’re treated as an adult so expectations are higher. My most memorable moment was when the squadron Master Chef assessed me – he said that I did a great job on my soups! I now have a full-time job. I am really proud of my achievements and love being a chef. @ArmyandYou


{ GERMANY }

KEEPING

MUNITIE S COM

TOGETHER

AFF Germany Director, Diane Weir, catches up with three volunteers helping to make sure your community continues as normal despite the future drawdown…

S

HONAH Cross has been running Mansergh Music Maestros for parents and toddlers in Gütersloh for almost two years. She had been enjoying weekly sessions at the group with her son when she decided to volunteer: “If you are new to an area it can be really daunting, having the opportunity to meet like-minded people in a similar situation is invaluable. “As we get ready to move back to the UK our numbers will decrease and groups like ours will be even more vital. “Everything feels like it is shrinking slightly and it is important to remain positive and let everyone know there is still life out there.” MAKING A DIFFERENCE It’s not just the community that benefits. Ken Crowley, who is a cub leader with 1st Herford Scout Group, treasurer of Lister Primary School’s Parents fundraising group and also helps out at Herford Rhinos Youth Football Club, enjoys making a difference to the lives of Service youngsters. He says: “It helps raise and maintain the community spirit here in BFG. “I know that by giving some of my time it helps to give young people something different to do. “Watching them grow in confidence and develop skills they didn’t know they had makes it all worthwhile.” WELFARE SUPPORT WO1 Gary Walker helped to re-establish Gütersloh Giants Rugby Club, which has more than 60 boys and girls aged 4-14 attending every Sunday. He has been busy

recruiting new volunteers to ensure the club continues in the future: “I have started to get spouses involved with coaching so when the soldiers are away on exercise or deployed, we get continuity. “It acts as another avenue for basic welfare support, parents get the opportunity to socialise whilst their children have fun on a rugby pitch.” Ken believes anyone can play a part in making sure clubs across BFG carry on as drawdown progresses: “You don’t have to commit many hours a week or even a month, offer what you feel you can give.” Shonah adds: “If you are thinking of volunteering I would say go for it! It’s incredibly rewarding, offers a great support network and I have gained so much from my time so far.” AFF is keeping a sharp focus on the continuance of services for our families right to the end of the British Army’s presence in Germany. l If you are concerned about facilities closing down in your area, email germany@aff.org.uk


{ CYPRUS }

CYPRUS

Mission to the Med Before the new Armed Forces immigration rules came into effect last December, there were many concerned families contacting AFF’s Foreign & Commonwealth (F&C) team. So Katherine Houlston, AFF F&C Specialist, visited Cyprus to answer questions from Service personnel and their families…

P

RESENTATIONS and Q&As were held around the island with more than 100 families and support staff attending. Many of you took the opportunity to speak to Katherine on a one-to-one basis with your individual concerns. Katherine found that the majority of you had already received your visas or were in the process of applying. She explains what she found: “A lot of work had been done by welfare teams to ensure that spouses had the information and assistance they needed to make their applications in time, however, the level of assistance did vary across the island and some families were struggling to understand the process.” CITIZENSHIP AND THE NEW ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT Many of the questions Katherine received were about citizenship and the new English Language rules. Whilst gaining citizenship is a personal choice and not a requirement, AFF is keen to support spouses and soldiers going through the proces. Katherine says: “Now that most spouses have indefinite visas they are interested in the next step – how to apply for citizenship. Unfortunately that process has become more challenging with the introduction of the English Language requirement.” HOW CAN I MEET THE NEW REQUIREMENTS? You and your soldier both need to take the Life in the UK test and an English Language test at level B1. You are exempt from this requirement 56 Army&You spring 2014

if you have a degree taught in English or you are from a majority English speaking country. ARMY SUPPORT Katherine and the new Regional Manager for Cyprus, Esther Thomas, held meetings with Major Muir Sterling from 55 Army Education Centre (AEC) to find out what the Army is doing to assist those wishing to gain citizenship. Maj Sterling said: “It’s important to support military personnel and their dependants to achieve their aspiration of settling permanently in the UK or gaining UK citizenship. “To help the Cyprus based community meet the new requirements we are running an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualification and approved tests, in addition to hosting the Life in the UK tests which are already on offer at the AEC.” Although your soldier with a Literacy Level 1 qualification should be at the required standard already, they will still need to sit the test unless exempt. l For further information, log on to www. aff.org.uk or speak to Maj Sterling on +357 2596 3535.

FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES DURING her trip to Cyprus, Katherine spoke to the Fijian High Commissioner (HC) to the UK, Solo Mara, who was visiting Fijian families. The HC is very aware of the issues that you and your soldier can face with visas, particularly on discharge. His office is contacted regularly by families seeking assistance and advice and as a result, the HC is setting up a support group. He plans to work more closely with his colleagues from other Commonwealth countries which have large numbers of soldiers in the British Army to share best practice and advice. He was keen to develop a relationship with AFF and offered support with raising issues to ministers.

ALL SMILES IN CYPRUS Children’s dentistry clinics are back on. Each centre has been hosting children and their families on selected Monday afternoons in 2013 and these will continue throughout this year. They aim to encourage young and recently arrived families to be seen regularly by the dental team. Group education and family “check ups” mean they are popular events. Keep your ears and eyes open for the next one in your Dental Centre. @ArmyandYou


{ YOUNG GENERATION }

DO you know someone aged 14-25? Be inspired by vInspired, a charity helping young people to get involved in good causes and improve their skills, confidence and employability. Whether a first-timer or veteran volunteer, there’s a project for everyone and it is a brilliant way to integrate with a new community – particularly beneficial for Army families. The vInspired website

links young people with opportunities at almost 2,000 charities, schools and organisations across the country. Positions range from supporting events to media, sports and coaching. RECOGNITION AND SKILLS Innovative programmes such as vInspired Cashpoint, which offers grants of up to £500 to solve a community problem and get a project

“It gave me experiences I off the ground, benefit local would never have thought areas and provide support for possible and has given me the participants to gain new skills confidence to do great things and qualifications, build their with my life. CVs and make new friends. “Young people have all these All volunteers who register amazing ideas and all this their hours receive certificates passion that recognised is so often by unis and There’s a overlooked by employers. project for any society. vInspired “With a bit Team v young person to of guidance, Leader Beth get involved in young people Whitaker can learn new said: “It’s skills and build confidence in hard to explain just how much order to make a difference difference volunteering makes now and in the future.” until you do it. All I can say is that it completely transformed 8 www.vinspired.com my life.

Children’s champion Annabel Hall, Service Pupils’ Champion for a cluster of schools in Ripon, North Yorkshire, explains how she supports your children… I LOOK after the emotional wellbeing and social development of Service children and families, providing bespoke support including securing school places, helping children settle in, liaising between schools

For more information about HMS Heroes, visit www.hmsheroes.co.uk www.armyandyou.co.uk

and the Army, attending welfare meetings and giving assemblies. I run presentations on the challenges facing Service pupils, discussing issues like the emotional cycle of deployment and explaining military jargon. By being a point of contact, I can raise the profile of your children and their unique needs. With assistance from colleagues, I’ve established HMS Heroes in North Yorkshire, giving young people a voice to support each other in times of need. The group recently had their standard dedicated at Ripon Cathedral (pictured left). The children now proudly carry the standard at events such as Remembrance Day, as they represent each other and demonstrate the important place they hold in their schools.

Volunteering: do a good thing

A GOOD FIT Fed up with off-the-shelf onesies causing her young ones to slip, trip or dunk their cuffs in their breakfast cereal, “mumpreneur” Caroline Driver took matters into her own hands by designing the ultra-useful Justafit. Launched through her Infasense brand, the garment features adjustable cuffs and ankles to keep its wearer clean and, more importantly, safe. The Justafit comes in five colours and sizes from six months to three years, costing £19.99 for two. 8 www.infasense.com spring 2014 Army&You 57


GIVEAWAYS Bag yourself a spring treat with this issue’s competitions!

HOW TO ENTER Click the giveaways tab at armyandyou.co.uk and follow the links. One entry per household per giveaway. Closing date for entries is 17 April 2014.

Your information will not be used for marketing purposes. Winners’ names are published on the Army&You website.

STUNNING SILVER

Fun-filled family breaks S ET in 100 acres of New Forest parkland, Shorefield Country Park has facilities for all the family including in- and outdoor heated pools, floodlit tennis, crazy golf, a day spa and more. Youngsters will love the Kids Club, there’s evening entertainment, and, if you don’t fancy cooking, there’s a mouth-watering range of dining options. Find accommodation of varying sizes to suit all budgets, from supersaver chalets and caravans to Select, Superior or Luxury Signature Lodges, some of which come with their own hot tub, BBQ and private decking. We hope you’ll find time to explore Beaulieu – home to an incredible

collection of more than 250 vehicles featuring a new World Land Speed Record Breakers Gallery – and Exbury Gardens, where plants range from rare orchids to magnificent rhododendrons. To make your booking, visit www. shorefield.co.uk or call 01590 648331. You can win a family break in the New Forest with Army&You and Shorefield Holidays Limited. The prize of a fournight mid-week (Mon-Thu) break for a family of five at Shorefield Country Park includes entry to nearby Beaulieu and Exbury Gardens. T&Cs: Open to all serving Regular and Reserve soldiers and their families. Prize must be taken and completed by 19 December 2014 and is subject to availability (excludes Christmas, New Year, Bank Holidays). Not exchangeable for cash. Does not include travel or food. Employees of AFF are not permitted to enter.

Military wife Hannah Evans has three small boys. Hers is a world of mud – and just occasionally blood – sweat and tears. It’s also a world of indescribable joy. MOB Rule (published by Bloomsbury, £8.99 ) details Hannah’s experiences as a Mother of Boys. Supplemented by recipes, quizzes, mnemonics and mysteries, it’s for anyone who finds themselves adrift on a sea of testosterone, wondering when the lifeboat is going to show up. Army&You has six copies to give away.

58 Army&You spring 2014

Online jeweller Corazon Latino is designed with men in mind, making gift buying a whole lot easier. They specialise in handmade sterling silver jewellery and offer beautiful gift wrapping for that loving touch. The company’s website gives recommendations based on style, fit, price and occasion. If you’re still not sure, try the live chat for a personal shopping experience. All serving and ex-Forces personnel receive a 20 per cent discount at www. corazonlatino.com by using code HERO14 at checkout. You could win a stunning Acantha chiming pendant (pictured right), worth £65.

HEIGHT OF ADVENTURE WHAT better way to spend time with your loved ones than enjoying outdoor pursuits in spectacular surroundings? Lost Earth Adventures is offering one family a day of rock climbing and abseiling at Brimham Rocks and at various crags in Yorkshire and the Peak District. You’ll be provided with all the equipment needed and the fullyqualified instructors will take care of everything else. For more details, go to www. lostearthadventures.co.uk or call 01904 500094. The prize, worth £170, is for two adults and two children aged seven or over.

@ArmyandYou


{ GIVEAWAYS }

MAKE A PROMISE

Relax at Ragdale YOU and a friend could spend a blissful Pure Radiance Facial. You will also be entitled to use 27 hours of me-time and all of Ragdale’s facilities relaxation at Ragdale Hall including the multienjoying an Overnight If you are not million pound Thermal Reviver Break sharing a the lucky winner, a Spa featuring candle superior room. gift voucher could be pool, indoor/outdoor The fantastic the perfect present. Call waterfall and a series break includes 01664 433030 or visit of heat experiences, dinner, overnight www.ragdalehall. two further pools, accommodation, co.uk. including whirlpool bath breakfast, lunch and and cascade, gym, exercise the choice of a 50 minute classes and outdoor facilities. Body Massage or a 50 minute

Let us entertain you YOU could be in with a chance of winning £100 in Theatre Tokens – unique theatre gift vouchers that can be used at more than 240 venues nationwide, including all of London’s West End. With so much on offer there’s sure to be a show for you. From plays, musicals, dance and opera, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Whether you choose to stay close to home or plan a weekend away, Theatre Tokens have no expiry date so there’s no pressure to use them straight away. For more details, visit www.theatretokens.com

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ARMY families who want to show their loved ones they are thinking of them when they are apart can use I Promise to create beautifully presented pledges. In three easy steps, you can personalise printed promises, delivered by post in a red or navy case with striking foil lettering. Each case contains a collection of three, five or ten promises that can be illustrated with a choice of pictures. Whether it’s little thoughts, more time spent together, new experiences or romantic gestures, anything can be wrapped up as a promise. Create your own personal pledges or find inspiration from a wide range of pre-written ones. Visit www.ipromise.to for more details. Prices start at £9.50 for three promises including delivery. I Promise is giving away 50 free cases of promises to Army&You readers, complete with free postage to the UK and overseas via BFPO.

HANDS-ON HISTORY FOR a fun, free family day out, Imperial War Museum (IWM) North brings to life stories of how war has shaped lives over the past century. Get hands on with history with a packed calendar of events to mark the centenary of the First World War including a special exhibition, From Street to Trench: A War that Shaped a Region, exploring extraordinary personal stories from the North West of England. Dare you climb the AirShard? Scale the inside of the IWM North viewing platform, an iconic feature

of the Manchester skyline, and stand almost 100 feet in the air looking down through the mesh gangway under your feet. Visit iwmnorth.co.uk for full details of upcoming events, opening times and charges. Army&You is giving you the chance to win one of five sets of AirShard tickets (each admitting five people) to climb the AirShard courtesy of IWM North.

spring 2014 Army&You 59


ARMY&ME MICHELLE KEEGAN Actress

I am humbled to be able to “do my bit” to support the incredible work of Help for Heroes. I never fail to be amazed by the grit and determination of our Armed Forces and what they achieve both on and off the battlefield. Help for Heroes is one of those charities that really does make a real difference to them and their families’ lives. I very much look forward to getting fully involved with the charity, meeting with some of our wounded serving personnel and veterans at Tedworth House and seeing for myself just what they have achieved and hopefully taking part in challenges and events to support them. I have nothing but huge respect and admiration for our military personnel. I don’t have any family in the Army but I do know a few people who serve in the Armed Forces and I think what they do is fantastic. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the injured soldiers and hearing their stories, and am hoping to be able to make a change with Help for Heroes. For families separated by deployments, I would recommend lots of good box sets because you can really get into them. Hopefully they would be a welcome distraction from the constant worry about what their loved ones will face when they are away. I’d also go for good comedies like Alan Partridge, The Office or anything with Karl Pilkington in it. I leave Coronation Street on screen in May this year. It’s a very exciting time for me and I dont really know what the future holds yet career wise. In my peronsal life, I will be moving to Essex and starting to plan the wedding [to former The Only Way is Essex and I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! star Mark Wright] so that will keep me busy enough. I’m also going to be doing a lot more charity work with Help for Heroes and the like because I will have the time to travel about a bit more!

60 Army&You spring 2014

@ArmyandYou


REVIEW: HYUNDAI i20

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To find your nearest local dealer, visit www.hyundai.co.uk or contact Hyundai customer services on 0800 981 981

Picture: © Copyright Hyundai Motor UK Ltd

MOTORING

{ MOTORING }

Garrison get around

E

VERY household has a different definition of what constitutes a family car, writes Andy Simms. For some, a boot big enough to accommodate both a double pushchair and chocolate brown Labrador is essential. For others, an all-singing, alldancing entertainment system to distract from the monotony of hours spent on the motorway is paramount. As the father of two boys, my own fourwheeled wish-list is defined by the extracurricular activities of my sons. Consequently, I am happy to forsake motoring’s finer luxuries in return for a car that can navigate a perpetual schedule of shuttle runs to and from football matches, karate training and swim classes without costing a fortune in fuel. Cue the Hyundai i20 – a compact vehicle tailored for urban errands. With adequate acceleration for picking a path through the Chelsea tractor-plagued school run and a profile perfect for parallel parking, this Korean pocket rocket

www.armyandyou.co.uk

is difficult to dismiss if the impact on your purse or wallet is a principal driver. The entry-level 1.2-litre Classic model starts at £9,745 and returns an impressive 54.3mpg; making the i20 an incredibly cheap alternative to its German contemporaries. It may lack the frills and overall performance of a Fiesta or Clio but, surprisingly, this Hyundai’s low price tag does not come at the cost of a strippedout cabin. All i20s are equipped with airconditioning, six airbags, active head restraints, remote central locking, electric front windows and CD player with an allimportant aux jack. Size, of course, does matter when it comes to the comfort of a car – especially if, like this reviewer, you are cursed with a Peter Crouch-esque stature. Standing at over six feet tall usually makes journeys in anything smaller than a family saloon an act of contortionism, so I had fairly low expectations of a car

pitched in the supermini class. However, my visions of driving with knees bent double were wide of the mark. While far from expansive, the i20 has plenty of space for a driver to stretch their legs – albeit at the expense of the unfortunate passenger behind them. As with its rivals, room in the rear is limited but it is ample for those yet to hit their teens and the 295-litre boot can easily house a weekly shop alongside pairs of muddy football boots and wet swim gear. In summary, this is not a car in which you would wish to complete a marathon journey home from Germany, but for short sprints around the garrison you’ll be hard pushed to find a more economical option.

Design Performance Value Overall rating

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{ CULTURE }

Picture: SRS Images

CULTURE

Remembrance reading This August marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, which claimed the lives of more than 16 million people from all over the globe. The sacrifices of those who lived through, served, fought and died in the Great War are being marked throughout 2014, including in this selection of books that tell the tragic tale of the conflict and its enduring impact on families everywhere... LOVE LETTERS OF THE GREAT WAR

GREAT BRITAIN’S GREAT WAR

INTO TOUCH

THE LAST GREAT WAR

Mandy Kirkby, Macmillan

Jeremy Paxman, Penguin

Nigel McCrery, Pen & Sword

Adrian Gregory, Cambridge University Press

LOVE’S ability to survive even the horrors of the battlefield is highlighted in this collection of love letters, which provide a moving human portrait of the Great War.

WHERE other accounts focus on the Great War’s military story, Paxman’s gripping book provides insight into the conflict’s social impact on Britain and its people.

AMONG the Great War’s fallen were more than 130 international Rugby caps from across the Commonwealth. This title is a fitting memorial to them.

AN engaging read first released in 2008 which provides a warts-and-all account of how those on the Home Front viewed the conflict.

BACK IN BLIGHTY

FORGOTTEN VOICES

CATASTROPHE: EUROPE GOES TO WAR

PUBLIC SCHOOLS & THE GREAT WAR

Gerard De Groot, Vintage

Max Arthur, Ebury Press

Max Hastings, William Collins

Anthony Seldon/David Walsh, Pen & Sword

RELEASED this April, Gerard De Groot’s latest work examines the Great War’s impact on those who remained in Britain while their loved ones fought in the trenches.

AN excellent, emotive collection of anecdotes of the First World War as told to military historian Max Arthur by soldiers, officers and those back home.

THIS awardwinning study delves into the origins of the Great War before expertly detailing the tragedies that marked its opening months.

ONE-fifth of all public schoolboys who fought in World War One did not return home and this title tells the story of that statistic’s lasting impact on their schools.

DID YOU KNOW? The Imperial War Museum is leading an online commemoration for the First World War’s Centenary. Visit www.1914.org to learn more.

62 Army&You spring 2014

@ArmyandYou


{ RETAIL THERAPY }

RETAIL THERAPY

Easter made easy...

BESPOKE BEAUTY

Egg-cellent idea (£16.50, www.berryred.co.uk)

Presented in a co-ordinating box, these dainty Rob Ryan “Hello” egg cups are emblazoned with messages to provide a little extra seasonal cheer over breakfast.

FEW foodies would deny the satisfaction derived from selecting favourite fillings and having your sandwich made to order. Recognising this simple pleasure, Beauty Kitchen has brought choice and a head chef to the world of cosmetics. Whether partial to petals or cranberry seeds, the new beauty brand allows shoppers to create their own products using natural, locally-sourced ingredients and scents. In addition to having their recipes mixed by Beauty Kitchen’s aromatherapist head chef, customers can personalise their product’s packaging. Those less creative can choose from one of the company’s off-the-shelf favourties, such as this 100 per cent natural beauty kit (£29.95), which will moisturise and care for your skin.

Hen-mania! (£15, www.tch.net) Gisella Graham taps into the rustic trend with these quaint standing decorations. Sold as a pair, they make a great addition to any spring-time table or shelf.

Shaker makers (£16, www.oliverbonas.com) Nothing screams “Easter” quite like the eponymous bunny and these salt and pepper shakers are a cute way to bring the egg-giver into your home and enliven meal times.

Quacking gift (£35, www.bouquetbouquetco.uk) Wrap your baby in comfort with this adorable hooded towel from mainlybaby. As well as being great fun to look at, this gift is made from top-quality 100 per cent velour towelling cotton.

Light it up (£4, www.verynicethings.co.uk) Danish designers Broste have used beautiful soft tones of green, red, brown and taupe to create these pretty Easter egg candles, which are sure to light up any table.

JUST MARVEL-LOUS TT Games was always going to be on to a winner with its latest Lego-themed licensed game. After all, there can be few boys (big or little) out there whose interest won’t be piqued by the heady mix of the world’s most popular toy and a

comprehensive cast of Marvel comic book characters. However, Lego Marvel Super Heroes is more than just an exercise in merchandising and serves up a now familiar mix of puzzles and self-aware humour in an open world recreation of Manhattan. Marvel by name, marvel by nature.

8 www.beautykitchen.co.uk

BLOOMING LOVELY: ARMY&YOU’S FAVOURITE BRIGHT SPRING DRESSES Marrakesh sun dress £35 Accessorize Bright and light with a design sure to conjure up images of more exotic climes.

Robe leopard £195 Agnes b An in-yourface offering which should brighten any room you walk into.

Striped floral dress £90 Betty Barclay We’re big fans of this winning combo of classic stripes and tropical flowers.

Floral print shift dress £39 M&Co A subtle, elegant number to help you stand out at that early spring garden party.

Acapulco print dress £69 Monsoon Aztec-inspired patterns mix happily with bright blooms for this strapped number.

DID YOU KNOW? The Army&You website features even more product reviews. Visit www.armyandyou.co.uk to read our latest updates! www.armyandyou.co.uk

spring 2014 Army&You 63


{ EATING }

Crispy pork belly by Ken Hom According to Ken, “this will probably be the best pork belly you have ever had”. Although it is marinated overnight, and takes almost three hours to roast, it is undeniably worth the wait. Pierce the rind side of the pork with a roasting fork or sharp knife until the skin is covered with fine holes. Insert a meat hook to secure the meat, then put the joint ride-side-up over the sink. Bring a pot of water to the boil and, using a large ladle, pour the hot water over the rind side of the pork several times. Set the pork belly aside. Heat a wok or large frying pan until it is very hot, then add the salt, peppercorns, pepper and five-spice and stir-fry for three minutes until hot and well mixed.

Serves 4-6 B 1.5kg boneless pork belly, with rind For the marinade B 4 tbsp coarse sea salt B 2 tbsp ground roasted Sichuan peppercorns B 2 tsp freshly-ground white pepper B 2 tbsp five-spice powder B 1 tbsp caster sugar

Remove from the heat, stir in the sugar, then allow to cool slightly. When it is warm enough to handle, rub this mixture on the flesh side of the pork. Hang the meat to dry for eight hours or overnight in a cool place or in front of a fan. Alternatively, place the meat on a wire rackset above a roasting tin. You want the meat absolutely dry before roasting. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/ Gas 6. Turn the pork rind-side-up on a rack and put the rack over a roasting tin with 2-3cm hot water in the bottom. Roast for 20 minutes but watch it carefully. Once the skin puffs up, turn the temperature down to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and continue to roast for two hours, checking every now and then that your tin is not dry – splash in some hot water from the kettle if it is. Increase the heat to 230C/450F/Gas 8 and cook for a further 15 minutes, but again watch carefully. Remove the pork from the oven and leave it to rest (about 20 minutes). Carve into bite-size pieces, arrange on a platter and serve warm or at room temperature – either is delicious. 64 Army&You spring 2014

SATURDAY KITCHEN COOKING BIBLE is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Hardback £20, eBook £11. Photography: Andrew Hayes-Watkins


POSTBAG

Get in touch – you don’t need to worry that it will affect your soldier’s career. Please include your name and address. They will not be published or revealed to anyone outside AFF without your permission.

{ POSTBAG } CONTACT US

To have your say on the issues affecting you, send your letters to the Editor at editor@aff.org.uk

COMPLAINT CONUNDRUM

STAR LETTER

Positive move I’D LIKE to put something positive across about the sometimes negative subject of moving when posted. I have just completed a move with my partner, my first away from my home county of Yorkshire. I had heard stories about how difficult moving can be and all the troubles it can come with. This worried me and the dread set in. But now I’m here, I have to say it was nothing like I had been told. It’s fantastic that the hassle and expense of relocating have been met by the MOD and you are even given Disturbance Allowance to cover some of the costs. I was also overwhelmed by the support from other families. Even though as a partner I am the one that has the most upheaval, I am also the one that has the most to gain.

This move has stopped me from becoming stagnant in life and pushed me forward. I would like to thank the MOD, the soldiers around us and our unit for all their support to make this a stress-free time. To anyone that is about move for the first time, it’s not all bad and in my case it was very much a positive step.

Gary Thompson-Bowers Response from AFF Housing Specialist, Cat Calder: It’s great to hear this good news story – the nature of our job means we tend to only hear when things haven’t gone to plan! Most moves go very smoothly and AFF is delighted to hear of this one and the positive reaction from the sender to both the move and the life changes it creates.

The writer of this letter wins a £30 bouquet from Nursery Fresh Postal Flowers, to give or receive anywhere in mainland Britain. Nursery Fresh offers discounts to Army personnel and their families. Beautiful presentation bouquets can be sent anywhere in the UK by overnight carrier via our secure online shop www.loveflower.co.uk Log on to www.nurseryfresh.com to place your order or find out more.

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I WAS made redundant in tranche two of the Armed Forces’ redundancy programme – just 87 days short of reaching my 16-year immediate pension point. As a result, I received a remuneration package worth less than half of that which my former colleagues who served just a few weeks longer received. Feeling that the impact of redundancy has been disproportionate and that my family and I have been treated unfairly, I used the only means of recourse available to Armed Forces personnel in order to seek redress. In November 2012, I submitted a service complaint and more than a year later I have yet to receive any form of response; apart from letters from various clerks telling me I will be sent (another) update in 30 days. Access to a proper and responsive means of recourse should be one of the essential elements of the Armed Forces Covenant, and it seems to be completely absent. I am aware that many other service complaints have taken as long. The Service Complaints Commissioner has oversight of my grievance, but has neither the authority nor the resources to do anything. The whole system is woefully underresourced and I believe some key staff were made redundant! The senior management of the Army are paying lip-service to the Armed Forces Covenant: they have consistently failed to deliver this basic requirement to anything resembling an acceptable standard. It is simply not acceptable to fail to respond and I cannot imagine this would be tolerated in any other part of the public or private sector. Having lost my livelihood and career, the Army has failed to provide two things which my family and I desperately need: fair treatment and closure.

Name & address supplied

spring 2014 Army&You 65


WILL PRIVATE HOMEOWNERS BE LEFT OUT IN THE COLD? WHAT is the British Army’s plan if something goes wrong when a family is living in their own home? At present, if my husband is deployed and something catastrophic happens to my service house I will have help dealing with it from my Unit Welfare Officer and MODern Housing Solutions. How will the Army support me and other families if we are living in our own property and disaster strikes?

Name & address supplied

DISUNITED STATE

anything that can be done to help, it would be greatly appreciated.

NOT having an allowance to cover the cost of flights at half-terms for our sons to visit us in the States is one of the biggest heartbreaks of our current posting. We rely on friends and family to look after the boys during weekend leave and half-term holidays. How people cope without loved ones close by, I have no idea. We have looked at paying for them to fly here but cost is a barrier. An unaccompanied flight for both boys is around $2,600 (equivalent to £1,600). As it’s so difficult for me to work in America that’s beyond our means, especially three times a year. The alternative is that I fly back to the UK but doing so would mean I have to leave my youngest son behind as he is in a US school and I don’t want him to miss any more classes than he has to. This would half the cost of the flights but I would need to hire a car and then rely on people to put us up or rent somewhere. I struggle to explain to my 11-year-old why we can’t see him at half-term. His way of dealing with it is to not speak to us, which breaks my heart. My eldest is a little more understanding but I feel that at 13 this remote parenting is damaging – we’re not close enough to offer the guidance and encouragement he needs, especially where his school work is concerned. He’s due to choose his GCSE options soon and I feel out of the loop on the decision-making process. I’m not one to whinge but if there is

Name & address supplied

66 Army&You spring 2014

Response from Lt Col Steve Bostock, SO1 Allowances: The current entitlement gives children three flights/journeys per annum and those who choose to apply for Continuity of Education Allowance are aware of that from the outset. Clearly if you are in Europe you can nip back for half-terms and key events at relatively small cost. It is appreciated that for those further afield this is going to be more expensive. It may sound clichéd but it boils down to money when considering what more can be done. We’ve been fighting hard to keep hold of the allowances that we have and to buy back those reductions that have caused the most pain. At the same time we have to ensure that we continue to deliver the savings directed in the Strategic Defence and Security Review. I am afraid additional School Children’s Visits (SCVs) are not currently seen as a priority (especially now that we have restored the undergraduate journey) and there are other allowances that we would want to enhance first if we ever found the money to do so. There will be an opportunity to look at SCVs and overseas travel in general in the development of the New Employment Model, but I suspect that the prevailing view will be that three flights a year is reasonable for the taxpayer to fund. Sorry not to be more optimistic.

Response from Lt Col Philip Arnold, SO1 PS4(A) Army Welfare: Living in your own home remains a personal choice that brings both responsibility and financial commitment; that commitment cannot extend to the use of public funds to maintain your private home. I would expect unit welfare officers to take a keen interest in understanding where all Service families are accommodated and that dependants are well supported whilst Service personnel are detached or deployed on operations. That support would include signposting help and advice where appropriate. I would also expect Service personnel to put in place support mechanisms to ensure their dependants are cared for whilst they are absent from the family home. This includes dealing with foreseeable housing issues, such as boiler maintenance, replacement of white goods – that is the daily challenge all home owners face. Be reassured that whilst the MOD is keen to support home ownership, there will always be an option to remain in Service Families Accommodation for those who desire or need it. We must, however, guard against picking the very best of both the mobility and stability package as that would undermine the valuable discount we currently enjoy whilst occupying public accommodation. Location, location, location – Read AFF Chief Executive’s view on SCVs on page 9

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{ POSTBAG } PAY RISE TO PURCHASE I WELCOME the recent announcement to make home purchase easier for Army families but wonder if this will be matched by a significant rise in pay. If the rates for Service housing are taken into account when determining wages, can we expect to see salaries rising to match the extra money needed to finance a house, its maintenance and furnishing? If Army pay stays where it is then the package on offer is severely diminished.

Name & address supplied Response from PS10 Pay & Policy: Feedback gathered

individuals have to make in their lifetime, not least the ability to be able to save for a deposit and to afford the subsequent mortgage repayments as well as the running costs of a home. So a key element of the new scheme will be access to educational assistance on personal finance, mortgages and the housing market. Some families will always need or choose to live in subsidised Service accommodation, and we will continue to provide that for them. Others will choose to purchase a home – we hope Forces Help to Buy will enable more to do that. Your question touched specifically on pay and the NEM pay model will form a significant element of the overall military “offer”. The level of core pay is determined by various factors including rank, experience and comparison with civilian trades. However, pay rates are not calculated specifically to support any particular lifestyle choices, including whether or not an individual aspires to home ownership. The key is to ensure that the publiclyfunded military salary is competitive, retention-positive and affordable, and these are some of the intended features of the NEM pay model. Similarly, when coupled with the specific home ownership initiatives such as Forces Help to Buy, the overall offer to military personnel is enhanced rather than diminished.

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during consultation on the New Employment Model (NEM) made clear that Service personnel wanted more support in building a stable family life, part of which is the purchase of a family home. The new £200 million Forces Help To Buy scheme will provide increased financial support to those who choose to purchase their own home, offering Service personnel an interest-free loan of up to 50 per cent of their salary to be used towards a deposit. In making a decision to purchase a home it will be important for Service personnel to consider the full cost of home ownership. Whilst the detailed rules for the scheme are still being constructed, it is fully appreciated that home purchase is one of the biggest financial decisions

ALLOWANCE CUT UNFAIR A RECENT Defence Information Notice details a reduction in married Service personnel’s entitlement to check their Privately Maintained Property (PMP) from 24 to four journeys per year. It was deemed not necessary for Army couples to visit their property more than four times, but I have to check mine at least 12 times a year as per my contract and insurance conditions.

Name & address supplied Response from Lt Col Steve Bostock, SO1 Allowances: The number of PMP journeys was cut because it was felt by all three Services to be an over-generous provision. Many claimants were claiming the money but were going nowhere near their property and some benefitted by several

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BONUS BLUES I HEARD bonuses are being paid out to soldiers after 16 years of service. This came as a surprise because during my husband’s 22 years with the Army he has never received a bonus. When he joined, he was promised an extra pound a day as an incentive for signing up for full-time service. However, after only three years this rule changed and the money stopped. For the remainder of his career he did not receive anything in the way of extra payments. To find out that some soldiers who joined after my husband are getting bonuses while we are left out is an injustice. I think the Army should do something about it.

Name & address supplied Reply from Col John Ridge, Army Pay Colonel: There are no current schemes which pay soldiers financial bonuses after 16 years’ service. Over the past years, there have been various Commitment Bonuses endorsed by the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body. The eligibility for each is usually tied to the start date of reckonable service (usually enlistment date), and different schemes have been introduced in order to reflect specific recruitment and retention issues. The current scheme, for those who joined after 19 January 2011, gives personnel the option of taking payments at the 4, 5, 6 or 8-year point. Without the details of your husband’s date of entry, it’s not possible to state which, if any, he may have been entitled to. Your best point of contact would be his unit admin officer.

thousands of pounds a year. The option to make payments receipt-based was considered but the bottom line is that this was out of balance with the rest of the overall package. It was therefore decided to reduce the amount of PMP journeys that could be claimed by those who were living in Service Families Accommodation on the basis that they already had a family home to live in, but accepting that some would have to visit their PMP over the course of a year for maintenance etc. The resulting reduced spend in PMP journeys has been used to fund the restoration of the undergraduates’ School Children’s Visits journey and to increase the single/ unaccompanied rate of Disturbance Allowance. Inevitably someone loses out when this sort of rebalancing happens.

spring 2014 Army&You 67


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HERE FOR THE FEARS, THE TEARS AND THE LOOK-WHO’S-HOME-CHEERS Whenever and wherever you need us, we’re here to help. For you, for your family, for good. To find out more, call us in confidence on 0845 130 0975 or visit www.ssafa.org.uk

Army&You Spring 2014  

The Spring issue of Army&You, the official magazine of the Army Families Federation.

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