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Our specialists

Our team provides families with trusted, expert knowledge and here we find out about their key pieces of work over the last few months. Turn to page three to get in touch.

Laura Lewin

Katherine Houlston

Cat Calder

Jilly Carrell

Karen Ross

Employment, Training, Allowances & Money

Foreign & Commonwealth


Education & Childcare

Health & Additional Needs

Under old housing benefit rules, separating spouses who stay in SFA after their Notice to Vacate period could claim ‘mesne profits’ – the charges made to families when they stay in SFA as illegal occupants. However, under Universal Credit, mesne is not included in the housing element, potentially leaving a vulnerable group financially worse off. We understand that other housing providers have moved away from this system and we have alerted DIO and the Department for Work and Pensions to the issue. DIO is seeking legal advice to see if anything can be done. If this issue has affected you, contact me at

If you move home whilst your application to the Home Office is being processed, please inform them of your change of address. Important documents such as passports and biometric residence permits can easily become lost if they’re sent to the wrong house or returned to the Home Office because they can’t be delivered. It will save you from a lot of stress and worry and, for my team here at AFF, a great deal of time spent chasing missing documents. To notify the Home Office, call 0300 123 2241.

Thanks to everyone who filled in AFF’s Big Survey on the Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) contract and the Future Accommodation Model (FAM). All your responses have been fed back to the relevant teams. I’m hopeful that many of your preferred options will be included in the next housing repairs and maintenance contract and that the MOD will use these results to shape future communications on FAM – see page 10 for the key results. AFF will continue to submit your views back to the FDIS and FAM teams, so if you have any comments or suggestions, get in touch at

Parents continue to raise the issue of how the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) is being used in their child’s school. The money, £300 per Service child in years R-11, is paid directly to state schools in England to enable them to provide extra support, mainly pastoral, to children with parents in the Forces. But it’s clear that some schools need a steer on how to use SPP to best effect. We would like to see additional guidance and examples of good practice provided to schools, particularly those with low numbers of Service pupils and schools supporting older children. AFF’s key focus for March and April will be education – get involved in our social media posts and polls @The_AFF

January and February have been AFF’s healththemed months, so we have been talking to many of you about a wide range of health-related subjects, from wellbeing through to primary healthcare and wellwoman screening. We also published a paper on Service children’s mental health to coincide with Children’s Mental Health Week – see pages 22-23 for more on the work we’re doing in this field. To join the conversation, ask a question or share your experiences, contact me at additionalneeds@ or check out our social media channels @The_AFF and @ArmyandYou

What ’s your best tip for maintaining good mental health?

What ’s your best tip for maintaining good mental health?

What ’s your best tip for maintaining good mental health?

What ’s your best tip for maintaining good mental health?

What ’s your best tip for maintaining good mental health?

On a good day, yoga and fresh air; on a bad day I add chocolate!

My favourite quote from Leonard Cohen: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” It helps me to keep things in perspective and focus on the good.

Don’t bottle your feelings up, spend time with friends and family and talk to them.

Surround yourself with positive people. Eat and sleep well, exercise, socialise and find a hobby you enjoy.

06 Army&You spring 2019

Going for a run or bike ride with headphones on helps me to destress.


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Army&You Spring 2019