Page 1

&You Summer 2018

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}

WIN!

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www.armyandyou.co.uk

FLEX IN THE FORCES

Meet the families successfully striking a balance between employment and Army life CHANGES AHEAD

Discover how Flexible Service could benefit your family REMOTE ROLES

Why a mobile military life doesn’t have to endanger your employment

PLUS

JEWELS ON THE MOVE

School report A&Y Book Club London calling Fertility in focus #OurArmyFamily

THE MAGAZINE OF THE ARMY FAMILIES FEDERATION

How one spouse makes her business sparkle

‘IT’S HARD TO GET BACK TO NORMALITY’ Little Trooper Madison explains what it’s like when a soldier parent deploys


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FROM THE EDITOR

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

www.armyandyou.co.uk

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

Striking a balance

HAMPSHIRE 07527 492803 // hampshire@aff.org.uk WILTSHIRE 07527 492783 // wiltshire@aff.org.uk SOUTH WEST 07787 301826 // southwest@aff.org.uk SOUTH EAST 07974 970696 // southeast@aff.org.uk LONDON 07901 778948 // london@aff.org.uk REGIONAL MANAGER NORTH & CENTRAL 07824 534357 // rmcentral@aff.org.uk NORTH EAST 07557 977141 // northeast@aff.org.uk NORTH WEST 07733 147001 // northwest@aff.org.uk WEST MIDLANDS 07557 977290 // westmids@aff.org.uk EAST MIDLANDS 07587 456280 // eastmids@aff.org.uk EAST ANGLIA 07527 492807 // eastanglia@aff.org.uk REGIONAL MANAGER SCOTLAND, WALES & NI

07585 333115 // rmnorth@aff.org.uk SCOTLAND 07780 093115 // scotland@aff.org.uk WALES 07527 492868 // wales@aff.org.uk NORTHERN IRELAND 07729 159013 // ni@aff.org.uk AFF OVERSEAS 0044 (0)7795 596568 // rmoverseas@aff.org.uk

CANADA canada@aff.org.uk KENYA kenya@aff.org.uk BRUNEI brunei@aff.org.uk GERMANY 0049 (0)1525 7435450 // rmgermany@aff.org.uk GUTERSLOH 0049 (0)176 254 85 762 // gutersloh@aff.org.uk

CHARLOTTE EADIE, EDITOR

PADERBORN 0049 (0)1520 744 9741 // paderborn@aff.org.uk CYPRUS (00357) 2596 2289 // rmcyprus@aff.org.uk

K

www.armyandyou.co.uk

@armyandyou

ESBA esba@aff.org.uk WSBA wsba@aff.org.uk

© All MOD British Crown Copyright images courtesy of Defence News Imagery CONTRIBUTIONS If you’ve got a story to tell about Army life, then let us know – email editor@aff.org.uk SUBSCRIPTIONS In your own home or private rental? Subscribe for FREE via armyandyou.co.uk – you can unsubscribe at any time via the same link. DELIVERY Under the new general data protection regulations coming into force in May 2018, we have identified that AFF has a legitimate interest in sending you Army&You magazine

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

COMPETITIONS To enter, visit armyandyou.co.uk One entry per household per giveaway. Full T&Cs on the website. Closing date is 8 July 2018.

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YOUR AFF SPECIALISTS HEALTH & ADDITIONAL NEEDS ✪ 07552 861983 // additionalneeds@aff.org.uk EDUCATION & CHILDCARE 07527 492869 // ec@aff.org.uk HOUSING 07789 551158 // housing@aff.org.uk FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH fcsupport@aff.org.uk EMPLOYMENT, TRAINING, ALLOWANCES & MONEY ✪ 07799 045955 // etam@aff.org.uk TRANSITION LIAISON ❢ 07967 833630 // transition@aff.org.uk

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Post generously sponsored by the Forces in Mind Trust

EUROPEAN JOINT SUPPORT UNIT ejsu@aff.org.uk

ArmyandYou

to Army life too. We hear from performers in Paderborn, Little Troopers and our Book Club reviewers (page 50). Don’t forget, you 39 have to be in it to win it, so enter our reader giveaways on pages 66-67. And finally, a special thank you and fond farewell to our Comms & Marketing Manager Jackie 50 Rautenbach, who has been ensuring Army&You reaches your door each quarter as well as designing all our fantastic films. We wish you all the best.

Post generously sponsored by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity;

F

19

T

HE perfect work-life balance may seem impossible to achieve for members of the Army community, but times are changing. In this edition’s main feature 56 (pages 16-17), we hear about the Army’s plans for Flexible Service and meet the families who are fitting work around unpredictable schedules and long spells of separation. Heading overseas, we hear from Army families who have continued their education and training, maintained their professional registration and even diversified from their original careers (pages 24-25). We shine the spotlight on Cyprus, London and Kinloss and there’s an inspirational story from Everest Base Camp (page 52). The younger generation contribute lots @ArmyandYou

OXFORDSHIRE/M4 CORRIDOR 07787 091883 // oxfordshirem4@aff.org.uk


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

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Contents WINTER 2017

insight

features

26 Island Enterprise Be inspired by a Cyprusbased spouse's business 29 Meeting Families' Needs Research into support required by F&C families 31 Cleanliness Concerns What to do if you move in to a dirty quarter 32 Our Army Family Meet Ceri Wareing, soldier Darren and pug Bruce 40 Continuity Concerns The latest on the Continuity of Education Allowance 54 London Calling Find out what life is like for families in England's capital

regulars

16 The F Word Discover how the Army is embracing flexibility 19 Jewels On The Move Army spouse Fiona shares her truly flexible business 20 Striking a Balance How Flexible Service could improve work/life balance 23 Long-Distance Working Read how an Army wife runs her business from abroad 24 Dealing With Development Overseas spouses' tips on keeping on top of training 34 Fertility In The Forces The avenues open to couples wanting to start a family

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06 Our Specialists Find out what AFF’s team have been up to this quarter 09 A Word From... Sara Baade, AFF’s Chief Executive 10 AFF In Action Discover the latest news affecting Army families 50 Book Club Young readers give their verdict on The Explorer 66 Giveaways Win a canal boat break, a surfing experience & more 68 Postbag Got a question about Army life? Get it answered here

ON THE COVER ALL SMILES

Maj Mike Claydon shares his experience of the Flexible Duties Trial, the forerunner to the incoming Flexible Service

PAGE 21

&You Summer 2018

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}

WIN!

Cruise the canals t with a brillian boating break

www.armyandyou.co.uk

FLEX IN THE FORCES

Meet the families successfully striking a balance between employment and Army life CHANGES AHEAD

Discover how Flexible Service could benefit your family REMOTE ROLES

Why a mobile military life doesn’t have to endanger your employment JEWELS ON THE MOVE

PLUS

School report A&Y Book Club London calling Fertility in focus #OurArmyFamily

THE MAGAZINE OF THE ARMY FAMILIES FEDERATION

How one spouse makes her business sparkle

‘IT’S HARD TO GET BACK TO NORMALITY’ Little Trooper Madison explains what it’s like when a soldier parent deploys

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AFF IN ACTION

Our specialists

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

Katherine Houlston

Cat Calder

Jilly Carrell

Karen Ross

Kate McCullough

Employment, Training, Allowances & Money

Foreign & Commonwealth

Housing

Education & Childcare

Health & Additional Needs

Transition

We have been working in partnership with Warwick University on a tri-Service spousal employment research project. Researchers have conducted surveys on spouses and employers as well as interviews with stakeholders and families to understand the real and perceived barriers to spousal employment and training and how many of them are unique to Service life. A full report will be published soon and will recommend what support is required to maintain employment and training as a Service family. Watch out on social media and our website for further information. To highlight an employment or training issue, contact me at etam@aff.org.uk

We are receiving many enquiries from spouses in the UK on visit visas who wish to make an application to remain in the UK under Armed Forces immigration rules. It’s not possible to switch from a visit visa onto the Armed Forces rules. You can only be granted a visa on a longer and more expensive immigration route, taking you an extra five years to be eligible for ILR and costing around £4,000 more. Applications are taking more than a year, during which spouses are unable to work or access the NHS. It’s recommended that families get the correct visa prior to coming to the UK. For information visit the F&C webpages – aff.org.uk

With the CarillionAmey contract finishing at the end of 2019, thoughts are turning to the next contract; how it will look, what it will deliver and how families will find the experience. AFF is delighted that we and the other families federations have been included in the contract discussions at an early stage and that we have a chance to help shape it to ensure that you get the best deal possible. We will be attending regular meetings in the coming months and hope to be included on the decision panel. If you have any questions on the new contract, contact me at housing@aff.org.uk

When new Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) rules for sixth form (see page 40) were published we found them difficult to navigate, so we asked for clarification. We have been reassured that the numbers affected will be limited, but around 150 children in the CEA system will start sixth form next year. The window for applying opens this June, so if you have a child entering sixth form in September 2019, familiarise yourself with the rules and apply as soon as possible. AFF is gathering your views to highlight issues to policy makers. If you have questions about your future eligibility, email ec@aff.org.uk or speak to your local admin office.

Thanks to generous funding from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, AFF has set up four additional needs support groups for parents who have children with additional needs and/or a disability. They’re taking place in Colchester, Catterick, Aldergrove and Windsor and each group will run for eight sessions throughout 2018. AFF is delighted to be able to offer this resource, so take the opportunity to come along and meet other families facing similar challenges. For more information, email me at additionalneeds@ aff.org.uk or go to the events page at aff.org.uk

The third part of our tri-Service transition research looking at families leaving the Army is underway and will be complete by the end of July. It has been a privilege to get to know the families we have interviewed for our case studies, who have all been so willing to share their resettlement stories – the good bits and the bad! They have been open about what they’ve learned in the hope that their experiences will benefit others. I am grateful to them for volunteering to take part and I’m excited for the next stage: bringing all the elements of the research together into a final report, which we look forward to sharing towards the end of the year. Watch this space…

How I have benefited from flexible working...

How I have benefited from flexible working...

How I have benefited from flexible working...

How I have benefited from flexible working...

How I have benefited from flexible working...

How I have benefited from flexible working...

Current and previous jobs have been parttime. I get a good work/family balance

I can fit in school runs and exercise before walking to my office in the garden

It makes it easier to be both an effective worker and mother

I can write in the evening, take calls and still get to a school play or hockey match

It gives me the scope to start and finish my work when it suits me – within reason

It makes a difference juggling childcare, work, volunteering and being an Army wife

06 Army&You summer 2018

@ArmyandYou


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A WORD FROM

WELCOME

Reaching modern Army families by Sara Baade, Army Families Federation Chief Executive

W

HAT is the definition of a modern Army family and how can we best support all families? These questions have many answers but, here at AFF, we believe that anyone with a soldier in their life is an Army family and can therefore seek our help.

What everyone agrees on is that the last few years have seen big changes to the typical family structure and how the family operates.

dual-serving, that both partners will have a career and that children can be theirs, hers or his, as well as many other variations. There’s still some way to go to better support these changes such as spousal employment and unentitled children, but I’m pleased to see that the Army has recognised that change is happening and has adopted a more flexible working model to better support today’s family.

However, there are various perceptions of what an Army family is and they’re not all as inclusive as ours. The MOD alone has more than seven different definitions, depending on policy, which In this issue of Army&You you in my opinion can be very confusing for those affected. can read details on the Flexible Service policy that’s What everyone agrees on, however, is that the last being launched next year, and I would like to take this few years have seen big changes to the typical family opportunity to applaud this very positive development structure and how the family operates. for Army families. It remains to be seen how well this will The Army has moved away from old be incorporated into Army life, but the policy stereotypes and accepts that families now come is there and that is a huge step in the right in all shapes and sizes. direction. The roles within the family have also Contact AFF It has the scope to support those of you who changed, and the assumption that the spouse @The_AFF are struggling to balance a hectic soldier’s life (traditionally the wife) is expected to be home on Twitter, with other family commitments, or those of to support the rest of the family (often male Facebook, you who have a demanding career yourself and soldier) is now long gone. your serving person is battling to support you. Instagram or There’s now a much greater recognition that Let us know how we can help you. Contact via aff.org.uk the serving person can be male or female, often your AFF co-ordinator at aff.org.uk &

www.armyandyou.co.uk

summer 2018 Army&You 09


AFF in action Toni Beacock and her family

#AFFwin FAM testing

The FAM team is holding a series of workshops that are exploring scenarios that might happen within the FAM pilot to see how they can plan around them. As a result of AFF consistently highlighting the importance of education under FAM, the team has now agreed to work on six different scenarios to better understand the impact that FAM will have on schooling. So far, our Education Specialist Jilly Carrell (pictured below) has been involved in the first and second stages of testing workshops along with the Children’s Education Advisory Service and Service Children in State Schools network.

#AFFwin Maternity success In February 2017, Army spouse Toni found out that she was expecting her second child whilst working as a locally employed civilian during a posting to Brunei. Toni’s husband was due to return to the UK that October, the same month their baby was due, so she had to leave her role. Before her return to the UK, Toni wanted to see what maternity benefits she would be entitled to. After making enquiries with

10 Army&You summer 2018

the Department for Work & Pensions, she found that she would not be entitled to claim maternity benefits from the UK as she had not contributed to the economy during the two years they had been out of the country. Toni contacted AFF’s Money & Allowances Specialist, Laura Lewin to gain further advice following this disappointing news. “Laura suggested I apply for the MOD Ex-gratia payment in lieu of Maternity Allowance which exists to remove disadvantage for spouses outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), who would

have otherwise been entitled to receive the Maternity Allowance had they remained in the UK,” said Toni. “So the eight-month battle began after initially having my application refused. Laura worked closely with AFF’s Brunei Co-ordinator and the chain of command. Eventually, I was awarded the Maternity Allowance I was entitled to, and I suffered no disadvantage thanks to the advice and support I received from AFF.” If you would like help understanding policy or have experienced similar issues, contact Laura at etam@aff.org.uk @ArmyandYou


AFF IN ACTION

#Onetowatch

#Didyouknow?

Prepping for postings

Seal of approval

AFF Chief Exec Sara Baade and UK & Overseas Director Collette Musgrave have been out and about around Wiltshire to check progress on the new Service Family Accommodation (SFA) building sites. They joined the Army Basing Team, Wiltshire Council, Aspire and developers Lovell for updates on the 917 SFA being built on Salisbury Plain for families rebasing from Germany and elsewhere, next year.

AFF’s UK regional managers sit on regional panels for the Covenant Fund grants and help decide which applications should

#AFFwin Easier and fairer After five years of lobbying from AFF, Foreign & Commonwealth Army families should now find the process of applying for a visa to enter the UK much easier and fairer, thanks to the addition of an ‘Armed Forces’ option on the UKVI website form – visa4uk.fco.gov.uk Since 2013, when the new Armed Forces immigration rules came into effect, all non-EEA

They also saw the sites of the two new primary schools, and plans for community facilities and improvements to other schools in the area.

family members of soldiers wishing to apply for a visa to enter the UK have had to use an online form. Unfortunately, the form didn’t have an option to apply as the spouse of a soldier, which created a number of problems. AFF has fought tirelessly for this to be changed and our F&C Specialist Katherine Houlston said: “This is a positive change for families and a great success for AFF. This should now mean less confusion over what type of visa people should select, which will lead to fewer rejected applications.”

#Onthecase Pushing for progress Several of our recommendations were included in the recent Covenant report from the Cross Party Group on the Armed Forces. It encourages the Welsh Government to: l Ensure that family members of Service personnel posted to Wales who are on an NHS waiting list are not disadvantaged by having to wait longer for an assessment, test or treatment than they would have prior to being posted to Wales l Consider the introduction of a Service Pupil Premium.

12 Army&You summer 2018

#Onetowatch State intervention AFF is pleased to see that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is planning an unprecedented intervention to prevent Armed Forces personnel in Scotland being ‘punished’ by tax rises. We have done lots of work highlighting this issue and we’re delighted

#Didyouknow? Alert and aware AFF’s Cyprus team – Sarah Cooper, Carolyn Aggar and Kelly Taylor – are now all qualified mental health first aiders. “The Armed Forces MHFA training course has taught us how to

#Onthecase Enquiries up

AFF also recommended that registered social landlords should waive local connection requirements for former partners of Service personnel so they can access social housing when leaving SFA. We will continue to try to push all these recommendations through into legislation.

Our spring article about Certificates of Good Conduct generated a number of enquiries for AFF’s overseas team. CGCs are required when you apply for certain types of employment or volunteer roles if you’ve lived overseas for 12

be accepted. Recent successes include a multi-use games area for a school in Catterick and developing connections between the Gurkha community and local schools in Hampshire. See more at armed forcescovenant.gov.uk

that it’s being raised at the very highest levels. The Defence Secretary wants to counter the Scottish Government's decision to create new income tax bands and increased tax levels that will leave personnel north of the border worse off than their counterparts in the rest of the UK. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and inform you of any updates.

spot the symptoms of mental health issues and signpost effectively,” said Sarah. “We are not trained in counselling, but now know how to appropriately reassure, respond and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.” See pages 26-27 for more on Army life in Cyprus.

months or more. It’s often very difficult to obtain a CGC when you’re back in the UK, so AFF is encouraging overseas commands to include more details in their pre-departure information to make families aware. If you’ve had an issue, go to page three to find your local AFF coordinator.

@ArmyandYou


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AFF IN ACTION

#Onetowatch Virtual brief AFF’s F&C Assistant Jessica Harriman recently paid a virtual visit to Cyprus as we trialled an F&C brief via Skype at Episkopi Station to families of 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, who will

be moving back to the UK in the summer. Jessica talked about common issues faced on overseas postings and when returning to the UK and was able to answer questions from the floor on personal cases and policy. It worked well, so look out for more virtual briefs from AFF in the future.

#Onthecase #Didyouknow? AFF's new look AFF’s new website launched in March and has had 35,000 hits at the

time of going to print. There’s news and guidance on all aspects of Army life. Have you seen it yet? Go to aff. org.uk and tell us what you think.

Rebasing support There continues to be rebasing and unit rotations in many areas of the UK and overseas – Chester to Cyprus, Germany to Dishforth, North Luffenham

to Preston to name a few. AFF is working with families and units to offer support every step of the way. “Mica Vanden, AFF’s North West Co-ordinator, and East Midlands Co-ordinator Claire Sunderland have shared a wealth of knowledge and local information that’s been

really helpful,” said Regional Manager Sarah Gilbody. “Over the years, we have gathered fantastic good practice that helps with a smooth move.” Are you on the move? Contact our co-ordinators with any questions – see page three.

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The word If you had to pick one word to describe your soldier’s job, it probably wouldn’t be “flexible”. Families fit around an unpredictable schedule with early starts and late nights, lost weekends and long spells of separation. The perfect work-life balance may seem impossible to achieve – but times are changing. Jill Misson reports…

M

ANY employers are embracing flexible working and the Army is no exception. From April 2019, all serving personnel will be able to apply to work part-time or to limit the number of days spent away from home, for up to three years. The MOD hopes that Flexible Service will be more familyfriendly, as Group Captain Justin Fowler explained: “We need to modernise to continue to recruit and retain the talented people

16 Army&You summer 2018

that the Armed Forces needs,” he said. “The impact on family life is consistently the highest reason people give for thinking of leaving and, in a recent survey, 70 per cent of our personnel said they wanted opportunities for a more flexible approach to work.” Applications will be supported where the Army is confident it can manage the impact on operational capability. Maj Gen Chris Ghika, Head Personnel Capability, said: “Flexible Service recognises

the vital role families play in supporting soldiers. “There is, and has always been, a balance to be struck between the needs of the individual and the needs of the Army.”

FITTING WITH FAMILIES For soldiers’ relatives, flexibility for their own employment journey is key to making Army life fit. Spouses who have been in a job for more than 26 weeks have a statutory right to apply for flexible working, although AFF is urging

employers to extend that right to cover all staff. Our Employment Specialist Laura Lewin said: “We work to educate employers about the importance of flexible working – it can be the difference between keeping or losing a fantastic member of staff.” Army spouse Kelly Clements enjoys working on board Virgin Trains as a customer service host. She said: “At work I feel like I’m me and I’m achieving something, so even with the long commute @ArmyandYou


FEATURE it’s worth it for my independence and sanity.” Kelly was struggling to arrange childcare around her shifts, so she requested flexible working. “My manager has always been supportive if my husband has deployed or my son is poorly,” she explained. “We sat down and devised a roster that is manageable.” Armed Forces Covenant signatories often make a commitment to allow spouses to work flexibly. Ruth Fry is a senior radiographer at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon. When her husband was due to deploy, she needed to stop working on Fridays to be able to collect their daughter from boarding school. She said: “Having a policy in place was a big relief. One of the senior managers was pleased that it was making a real difference to staff from the military community. If I hadn’t been able to reduce my hours, I’d probably have had to hand in my notice.” Reservist and Army spouse, Charlotte has negotiated a flexible arrangement in her job with her employer, Network Rail. She said: “I can partake in any Reserves work with the understanding that this will not be paid but agreed with my manager. Often a training weekend requires travelling on a Friday, so I have arranged to work compressed hours to finish early. “I believe Network Rail is such an understanding business for members of the Armed Forces both serving and former personnel.”

WORK-LIFE BALANCE Some employers can support flexible working requests when an Army family is posted. Recruit for Spouses has found that retailers including Waitrose,

“My manager has always been supportive if my husband has deployed or my son is poorly. We sat down and devised a roster that is manageable.” B&Q and M&S actively assist employees to relocate their roles. When Edith Wilkinson’s husband was posted to France, Cranfield University approved her request to work remotely. She had already been using Skype to supervise students and now has online meetings with her team. Edith said: “The application process encouraged my boss and colleagues to reassess how we work, and I hope the paperwork I submitted will be useful if other employees apply to work from home.” Flexible working is still seen as “a dirty word and an employee perk”, according to the social media training organisation Digital Mums. Its 2017 survey revealed 30 per cent of UK employees were not confident enough to ask for flexible working, 51 per cent believed that a request

would be viewed negatively by their employer and 42 per cent thought it would have a negative impact on their career.

A MODERN APPROACH Laura Lewin has also encountered the fear of asking. She said: “People can be terrified about approaching their line manager about flexible working or worried about what their colleagues might think of them.” One spouse said of their experience of shared parental leave: “His return to work with the Army was disappointingly in line with an outdated mentality. “Banter was expected, but comments from people senior to him about having a three-month jolly made it clear that many still consider childcare to be a role for wives and partners. “That judgement could easily

turn another family off from taking this type of opportunity. As the military looks to make this culture change, leaders must think about the impact of their words.” It remains to be seen what effect the Armed Forces Flexible Working Bill will have on recruitment and retention, but it is a step in the right direction for Army families. Jonathan Swan, from Working Families, said: “When parents can’t find the flexibility they need, employers lose out on their skills and experience. “It is really important to ensure a work-life balance is a realistic option for all employees and one that doesn’t carry a penalty.” Turn to pages 18-23 to find out how other families have been ensuring there’s a flexible fit to their Army life. &

USEFUL CONTACTS Laura Lewin etam@aff.org.uk

Recruit for Spouses recruitforspouses.co.uk

Dad Info dad.info

Remploy remploy.co.uk

Working Families workingfamilies.org.uk

Digital Mums digitalmums.com

British Army army.mod.uk

ACAS acas.org.uk

www.armyandyou.co.uk

summer 2018 Army&You 17


ASK THE BOSS Research from Digital Mums suggests 7 in 10 UK employees want flexible work, but more than half worry it would be viewed negatively by their employer. We asked co-founder Nikki Cochrane (pictured below) how to ask your boss for flex... 1 SOFTLY, SOFTLY Before you make an official request (something you can do annually) suggest a three-to-six-month trial. Your boss is more likely to say yes as it’s not such a big leap. Set out clearly how and when you plan to work to help mitigate any fears.

2 PUT THE BUSINESS FIRST Your request is more likely to be successful if you show the positives for the business. Put yourself in your boss’s shoes and think about concerns such as how you would be more productive working different hours, whether it would lower costs and save time commuting.

3 BE SPECIFIC Don’t just ask for ‘flexible working’. Put forward a specific arrangement that would work best for all. Consider options like compressed hours, working part-time, different start times or working remotely – be prepared to compromise.

4 BE VISIBLE Your boss may ask how they will know you are working, so suggest using digital tools like Slack and Trello to stay in touch, reporting clear deliverables on a weekly basis or sharing to-do lists.

5 DON’T APOLOGISE As well as legally having every right to request flex, being confident and unapologetic goes a long way. Present a clear case with all the benefits and don’t use negative language. Consider showing case studies of other companies that are making it work.

18 Army&You summer 2018

Social circle: Digital Mums co-founders Kathryn Tyler (left) and Nikki Cochrane with dogs Cooper and Rolo (right)

Work that works E ARLIER this year, AFF teamed up with online education business Digital Mums to offer one Army spouse a free place on its social media management course. For those of you who are looking for a career that fits around Army family life, the organisation is ideally placed to empower you to gain flexible employment. AFF has long campaigned to improve the employability of Service spouses and partners. Our Employment & Training Specialist, Laura Lewin, said: “We continue to receive feedback from spouses who tell us that the pressures of military life, in particular managing childcare, can make it hard to maintain a career while following the flag. “Flexible opportunities such as this can help to

boost spouses’ confidence and allow them to build a career around family life.” It certainly worked for Army spouse Ella Biggs who, after having two children, was keen to do work that fitted round the family and wasn’t affected by moving house every two years. She explained: “Another Army wife recommended Digital Mums and I was absolutely sold. Whilst the course was tough, it was manageable and gave me the confidence to get back in the workplace.”

SOCIETAL SHIFT Digital Mums’ goal is to encourage today’s employers to ditch the ‘nine-to-five, coat on chair’ approach and instead opt for #WorkThatWorks. “Our own research found that seven in ten employees would like to have flexible

working but only 12 per cent have ever asked for it,” said co-founder Nikki Cochrane. “And more than half think a request would be viewed negatively by their employer. “This suggests that the government’s ‘right to request’ law isn’t going far enough. We want the government to change the definition from solely describing ‘a way of working that suits an employee’s needs’ to ‘work that works for employees and businesses’. “It’s time to change the culture around flexible working and stop it being seen as a dirty word or an employee perk. A new definition will set us on the path to changing the way we work forever.” To find out more about Digital Mums, visit digitalmums.com & @ArmyandYou


EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING

WIN

Picture: Alexandra Hart

Enter our giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a free place on a Jewellery Moves workshop in the Hampshire or Wiltshire area! See page three for rules and details.

Jewels on the move Army wife Fiona Dowling believes you can make jewellery anywhere as long as you have the tools and materials. In fact, she started her business, Jewellery Moves, in Cyprus by running workshops on the beach. She tells us more about her truly flexible business… Tell us about your family We’re both Scottish and childhood sweethearts and we’ve been married for 12 years. We have three beautiful boys and a German Shepherd. This is our seventh quarter.

How and why did you start up your business? I graduated with a BA in Jewellery and Silversmithing then attended The Royal College of Art. I worked in

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London designing jewellery collections and continued through postings in Larkhill then Woolwich, but as postings became further away it became impossible. Wherever we ended up, I made sure that I had my workbench and tools. It was living by the sea in Cyprus that gave me the vision to put these tools to use. The concept behind Jewellery Moves is the

ability to ‘move’. I can run my workshops anywhere. In Cyprus most Saturdays you would find me teaching small groups whilst looking out onto the Med and I then started to host workshops in people’s homes. Dining tables were transformed into workbenches and friends gathered for a night in with a twist. It was amazing to see what could be created with basic materials and some guidance.

What are the pros and cons of running this type of business?

The military community is so supportive. I aim to teach in small groups and these have been well received in various military patches.

What are your future plans? My mantra is ‘where the experience is as precious as the jewellery you make’. You can make jewellery anywhere – you don’t need to be constricted to a traditional workshop. I’ll keep searching for interesting locations now that I’m back in the UK.

One of the best things about being an Army wife is the opportunity to meet new people. After years of making jewellery on my own, I’m now loving being part of a group and passing my skills on to others. It’s all about gathering together and feeling satisfied with what you have created.

What advice would you give to other Army spouses thinking of setting up in business?

What feedback have you had?

Follow Fiona on Instagram @jewellerymoves &

Do something that you love. In my case it’s jewellery and people. As a military spouse you need to be flexible both in business and in your family life.

summer 2018 Army&You 19


REAP THE REWARDS The shortage of roles offering part-time, home-based or flexible employment can lead to Army family members accepting jobs that are low paid, in a junior position or a different field altogether. Juliet Turnbull, of 2to3days, believes it’s time for businesses to see the benefit of recruiting talent in a different way… “The firms who are part of our community really understand the benefits of flexible working and it’s not hard to see why,” said Juliet. “Having a diverse workforce creates a happier workforce and a better understanding of customer or client needs.” Juliet has found that many employers are fed up with packaging every job into full-time positions to only attract standard-fit candidates. Companies consistently report that the biggest barrier to business growth is a dearth of talent. She explained: “They are desperate to find the right people and are more open to focusing on finding great talent and then working out the detail of how they will work.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT TRUST So how can you convince your employer to promote flexible working? “This is about trust and managing for outputs rather than how many hours someone sits at a desk,” advised Juliet. “Any business leader will agree that trusting staff delivers better results. I’d encourage employers to start with the assumption that it could work before ruling the option out.” AFF has been working hard to determine how Army spouses make work ‘work’ and it’s clear that for many, flexibility is key. Laura Lewin, our Employment Specialist, said: “We educate industry on the importance of creating flexible working opportunities and that benefits Army families and the employer. The work that 2to3days does to support mothers in their search for employment could help many in the Army community.” To register, go to 2to3days.com or contact Laura at etam@aff.org.uk if you have any employment questions.

20 Army&You summer 2018

Flexible in the Forces You may have already heard about Flexible Service (FS), which aims to provide Service personnel with a wider range of options to help them manage their lives. Group Captain Justin Fowler, leader of the MOD project team responsible for FS, told Army&You more... WHAT IS FS? It involves a number of changes to introduce more flexibility in the way that people can serve in the Armed Forces, but the most significant will be that your soldier will be able to apply to work part-time and/ or to restrict their level of separation temporarily.

HOW WILL IT WORK? The part-time arrangements will allow your soldier to have one or two days off per week, although other routines could be agreed. People will not be able to reduce their duties by more than 40 per cent. The restricted separation option will prevent your soldier from being away for more than a specified number of days per year, so

it will protect you from the longer spells of separation, such as deployments, for periods in your soldier’s service. Both options will result in a proportional reduction in pay, so people will need to think carefully before applying and discuss expectations with their chain of command. If granted, FS will provide a greater degree of certainty to allow you to plan your family life for that period of time. However, the Service will be able to cancel or suspend FS arrangements if necessary, where circumstances have fundamentally changed.

are concerned about how it might impact on operational capability or on their workload if someone else on their team works part-time. This is why applications will only be approved where operational capability can be maintained. However, if we are to make the most of these new opportunities, people at all levels will need to look for ways to support applications by finding different ways of doing things. This may require a re-prioritisation of tasks or, in some instances, there may be opportunity for part-time Reservists to undertake some of the work.

WHAT DOES FS MEAN FOR THOSE WHO DON’T TAKE IT?

WHEN WILL FS BE AVAILABLE?

We know that some people

From April 2019 – look out for more details at gov.uk @ArmyandYou


EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING

Striking a balance When Regimental Medical Officer Maj Mike Claydon heard about the Flexible Duties Trial, he felt it would be an ideal solution to ease the pressure of Army life on his young family. The trial is the forerunner to Flexible Service, which will be introduced next year. Mike chatted to Army&You about his experience…

M

IKE heard about the Flexible Duties Trial from a fellow medical officer who was in a similar position. “I’d returned from an overseas deployment which had not been easy on my wife, who was pregnant with our second child,” he said. “Our conversations had turned to life outside the Army, so the opportunity for some stability with a toddler and a new-born was very attractive.”

SEAL OF APPROVAL Mike is currently employed on full-time limited deployability (FD1), which means he is not liable for operational deployments or separation for more than 28 days. He said: “I was granted ten months on FD1 to coincide with the date that I was due posting. The application process is relatively logical and straightforward. “It required the approval of the chain of command

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up to the CO as well as confirmation from the RAO that I was eligible. “My CO was aware of our need for stability and was very supportive. “There was some concern from the medical centre that it would reduce my work output but I was able to persuade them that, as I

“As an option that is open to all at some point in their career I think it will be an enabler for long military service.”

would be around, it would have the opposite effect.” Being in barracks for an extended period has enabled Mike to better manage his workload within normal working hours and tackle some important but nonurgent projects. “This has increased my job satisfaction,” he added. “And I’ve been able to help look after our children as well as invest more in our marriage. “We are now more aware of the benefits the Army can offer in terms of community and quality of life.” The direct benefit the trial has had on Mike and his family during a busy stage in their lives has helped to set the conditions for a long career in the Army – and it is something that he would encourage others to do. “As an option that is open to all at some point in their career I think it will be an enabler for long military service,” he said. l Find out more about Flexible Service by visiting gov.uk

summer 2018 Army&You 21


Carving out a career In 2010, Gemma Zommerfield and husband Lee moved into their first Army quarter in Belfast. Since then they’ve had two more postings. In 2016, they decided to buy their first family home along with sons Sebastian (5) and Mason (3). Gemma told us how she’s managed to keep her career on track… Have you found a job at every posting? Yes, as soon as Lee receives a posting order I update my CV and register with recruitment agencies and job boards. I always aim to have a job secured before our move date. It’s important for me to have my own career and independence.

Have you followed the same career path? Yes, but it has evolved. Since the age of 17, I have worked within finance/payroll, but an opportunity arose for me to train and work in HR and I haven’t looked back.

What prompted you to ask your current employer for flexible working? Whilst we were posted to Reading, I worked for a design company for four years before Lee received his posting to Wincanton. I was upfront with my employers from the outset and although the company did not have a flexible working policy, I knew I could do my role remotely so I wrote a letter explaining how it could be performed effectively from home. They agreed to a threemonth trial and have allowed me to continue my role on a

permanent basis travelling into the office one day a week.

How has flexible working benefited your Army family life?

very quickly learn to go into work mode and switch off from chores. I sacrifice a room in the house to use as an office, so although it’s very convenient, there are drawbacks.

It has benefited me and the whole family. It has allowed me to develop my career alongside my husband’s.

What would you recommend to others who are keen to work flexibly? Find something you enjoy and are passionate about, then don’t let anything stop you achieving your goals. To request flexible working, do your research, put your request in writing and explain the business benefits. It’s always worth asking – your employers may surprise you. &

How easy was it to make the change from your previous working pattern? Very easy! I spend less time commuting, but you have to be focused and motivated to perform as effectively as you would from the office. You

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SPOTLIGHT

Happy family: Emily with husband Ed and sons Huw and Tom

Long-distance working Emily Fraser has been an Army wife for 12 years. She and her husband are currently living in their seventh quarter – an overseas posting to a US Army base in Germany – along with their two children, dog and cat. Army&You caught up with her to find out how she’s managed to keep working flexibly from overseas…

E

MILY admits she was “really worried” about being able to find a job upon arrival in Germany as she didn’t speak the language – a must for local employment – and nearly all the positions on base were for US citizens only. She thought it was unlikely that she could carry on her career in human resources, but was really enjoying her job, which she had held since 2016. “So, I bit the bullet and spoke to my manager,” explained Emily. “I was already homebased and much of what I do can be done via email, Skype and phone. “I suggested that I could

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work from home for three weeks per month and travel back to the UK for one week per month to attend meetings and catch up with the team. “Flights back to the UK are cheap if planned. We also had a new team member joining, who was prepared to pick up some elements of my work whilst I took on more strategic-level issues.” Emily’s manager responded positively and even suggested that she work part-time to start with, so that she could settle in. She added: “We agreed to trial it and if either party felt it wasn’t working, we’d reassess. I got a new computer, EU calling on my phone and made sure that

Skype worked. That was all it took to get set up.” Emily feels that so far, it’s working well. “I speak to or instant message my colleagues every day which helps reduce the isolation – and still have a laugh,” she said. “My world is running on two time zones and three currencies, so I spend my life feeling confused, but I love being able to continue my job. I’d had long enough before moving overseas to establish good relationships with my colleagues and managers, so they were content with the arrangements we put in place.

“At home, I have a day off a week to explore, meet neighbours, learn the language and have time with the children. Life overseas has its challenges, but the continuity of work has definitely helped me.” Emily’s advice to other spouses and partners looking for flexible working is to just ask. “The worst that can happen is that you are turned down, but at least you tried. It’s a good idea to have thought through your suggestions and have some answers prepared,” she concluded. “Some persuasion may be in order, as some employers can be very set in their ways!” &

summer 2018 Army&You 23


OVERSEAS

Professional & practical THE opportunity for Army families to work overseas can be limited. Whether you’re a professional or working in a field with more relaxed regulations, it’s worth considering how you’ll manage your time so you’re not disadvantaged when you return to the UK. Regulation, registration and professional body membership are all important to consider before your overseas posting. Planning to maintain these is critical to remaining appropriately trained, competent and fit to practise in your field of employment on your return.

To be effective, Continued Professional Development (CPD) should involve both training (formal) and development (informal) learning. Access to formal training may be limited from overseas, but it can be possible to take up informal opportunities to widen transferable skills like leadership, project management or IT. AFF Regional Manager Overseas Esther Thomas spoke with spouses who’ve continued their education and training, maintained their professional registration and even diversified from their original careers...

VICTORIA PORTER

JENNIFER BENNET

Location: SHAPE, Belgium Profession: Rural chartered surveyor Requirements: 20 hours of CPD every year and 10 hours of informal training

Location: BATUS, Canada Profession: Staff nurse Requirements: 35 learning hours plus 450 working hours over three years

Location: Ottawa, Canada Profession: Social worker Requirements: A continuing competence programme and 25 hours CPD per year

“I have been away from my profession for almost three years. Whilst the informal training is relatively easy to manage through reading articles and mentoring people, formal training has been more difficult. I’ve used a mix of online courses and returned to the UK for a one-day course. I’m starting a nine-month course which is delivered online and through face-to-face workshops. The learning centre at the European Joint Support Unit has been supportive and I will be able to sit my exams there.”

“I have been unable to work as I hold a UK nursing PIN number, which is not valid in Canada. I could have registered for a nursing licence but this takes around two years and is very costly. I’m looking at changing my speciality to school nursing as I’m working in the local school, which means I can hopefully use my experience to transition into a new career.”

“I’ve had to change my registration in three different countries due to my husband’s postings as each had their code of ethics and standards. My employer in Canada is committed to CPD, so has allowed me to attend training and forums and covered the cost for me to learn French. Accepting that I would have to start again was a knock to my confidence, but although it’s daunting, being forced to change the area of social work I practice in has given me the opportunity to challenge myself.”

TOP TIP: Travelling back is expensive so always try to combine a training trip with a visit to family.

24 Army&You summer 2018

TOP TIP: Seriously consider if an overseas posting is a feasible option. I revalidated my nursing PIN three months before I came here, which leaves me with nine months to find a job and revalidate again on my return.

LOUISA CAMERON

TOP TIP: Be flexible, be willing to try something new and accept that it may mean a temporary ‘demotion’.

@ArmyandYou


RACHEL GAUKROGER Location: Ukraine Profession: General practice doctor Requirements: 40 work sessions/year, annual appraisal and revalidation every five years “I’ve already planned to travel back to the UK twice a year to work for two weeks and combine this with my annual appraisal and conference. My revalidation will be due when I’m overseas so I’ve already completed all my compulsory requirements. As Ukraine’s healthcare system is not considered to be the same standard as the UK, any work or training will not count towards my CPD. If I don’t remain licensed I’ll need to complete six months of full-time supervised work, assessments and two further exams.” TOP TIP: Get your current workplace on board with supporting you before you go.

VANESSA

JULIE BOYLE Location: SHAPE, Belgium Profession: Veterinary surgeon Requirements: 105 hours spread over three years “Due to the language barrier I’m unable to train in my overseas location so I’ve done the bulk of my CPD online, occasionally returning to the UK. It’s incredibly expensive and difficult to fund if you can’t work overseas. Childcare has probably been the biggest hurdle as there’s no organised childcare available on an ad-hoc basis here. I’ve had to rely on friends. At least I’ll be able to return immediately to my profession.” TOP TIP: Most obstacles to carrying out CPD can be resolved with some lateral thinking and a bit of time. Give yourself a few months to settle before trying to complete your CPD requirements.

ELE WOLSTENHOLME

HELEN PARKINSON Location: Brunei Profession: Access to nursing student Requirements: 12-18 month course through distance learning “I’m allocated a tutor who I liaise with on a weekly basis and I complete exams through Skype presentations. I get lots of support from my colleagues through an online forum. Distance learning can be difficult as you have to be self-motivated and be able to work around family commitments. It can be frustrating waiting for feedback due to the time difference – and having a good internet connection is a must. As an ex-Regular soldier I was able to use my enhanced learning credits to help fund the course.” TOP TIP: This is a great career choice as it can move with you all over the world.

SHARON MURRAY

Location: Egypt Profession: Pharmaceutical consultant Requirements: Five-to-10 hours training per year to stay compliant

Location: BATUS Profession: Property business owner Requirements: Continuing compliance with current legislation

Location: Saudi Arabia Profession: Occupational therapist Requirements: A mixture of formal and informal training

“We moved to Cairo almost three years ago and I maintained my job by setting up a limited company and becoming a consultant for my employer. I’m able to use the computers in the Embassy but due to their location and poor connectivity I can’t conference call from there. I need to return to the EU for training which has financial and childcare implications for us. To work I would have needed an applicable working visa, which contradicts diplomatic immunity, so I decided to work through UK law.”

“I wanted something to come back to so I set up Welcome Homes. I studied independently to qualify in residential lettings and property management. Then I heard about the Spouse Employment Programme in Cyprus, an initiative to better equip military spouses for employment, which was run through the Army Education Centre. I applied for funding to become qualified in estate agency. It increased my confidence to get back into work when we returned to the UK.”

“I thought I would take a sabbatical for the two years, but being overseas has enabled me to diversify with courses in sensory integration foundations and neuroscience and I’ve also completed an instructor to baby massage course. I’m fortunate that I have CPD sessions here with a speech and language therapist and a Canadian physiotherapist. We are emigrating to Australia and by completing my CPD whilst living abroad I am hopeful that once settled, I’ll be gainfully employed in my profession.”

TOP TIP: Maintain your position as a consultant. An accountant can assist setting up a limited company and any tax issues.

TOP TIP: Take full advantage of what’s available to you. Make enquiries, speak to professionals and make a plan.

TOP TIP: Explore the varying opportunities within your profession, take a short course, read the articles you are interested in.

www.armyandyou.co.uk

summer 2018 Army&You 25


OVERSEAS: CYPRUS SPECIAL A HIVE OF INFORMATION AFTER 12 years working in the banking sector, Army spouse Sarah Quinn (pictured below) moved to Cyprus last year and became the information support officer at Dhekelia HIVE – a good place to start if you’re looking for work. “I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to volunteer in the HIVE in Dhekelia prior to securing the role,” she said. “The HIVE is the station’s focal point for relocation, deployment and other information relevant to the local Service community. “I research and maintain information through communication with local military and civilian agencies, so if you’re heading out to Cyprus, get in touch with the HIVE prior to leaving your current location and sign up to the HIVE job distribution list to see current vacancies on the island. “If you’re starting up your own business, we can make sure you’re up to speed on what forms need to be completed as this may help with the process of gaining your licence. “I applied for three different roles before I got this job, so don’t give up on applying – it pays to be determined.” Visit army.mod.uk/personnel-andwelfare/hives to find a HIVE blog near you.

Island enterprise With limited work opportunities in Cyprus, some spouses and partners make the most of their time in the sun by using their passions to earn a second income. Carolyn Aggar, AFF’s WSBA Co-ordinator, met with Army spouse Charlotte Page who has her own business, Lottie’s Vintage Loft, on the island… How long have you been in Cyprus? We got here in June 2017. Did you have a job in the UK? I worked for a company that specialised in antiques and retro homeware. I also started my business in the UK. What’s your business? I upcycle furniture and homeware, design soft furnishings and have a diploma in interior design, which is great as I can help people make their quarters more homely. I love creating unique pieces and

being in Cyprus gives me a lot more financial freedom to focus on the business. I work simply because I enjoy it. How did you go about getting a business licence? I went to the fiscal office on camp. At the time, the business licence cost €50. I submitted the application and within two months I was accepted and able to trade within BFC. The form was really easy to fill out and the process was quite straightforward. What advice would you give

Employment push THERE’S a move to improve recruitment and training and development opportunities on the island. This initiative is being headed up by Civilian HR, which is responsible for human resource services to Sovereign Base Area Administration and British Forces Cyprus civilian employees, recruited locally.

26 Army&You summer 2018

to someone who is posted to Cyprus and looking to run their own business? Do your research to see whether anyone else is doing something similar – it isn’t a large community but it will be harder for you if there is someone who is already well established. I would also see how accessible it is to buy more stock out here – things that are readily available in the UK might not be so easy to find or as reasonably priced. To find out more about running a business in Cyprus, contact rmcyprus@aff.org.uk &

As well as supporting employees, Civilian HR helps military and civilian staff manage locally employed workers, providing advice on employment issues and in interpreting policy. Civilian HR is developing better communication and HR News, a monthly newsletter, is available via your local HIVE. If you are looking for a job, arriving in Cyprus soon or already employed locally and require some support, contact Soula Koumi at koumi.sotiroula100@mod.gov.uk @ArmyandYou


LONG-TERM VISION IF you live in Cyprus, you may have heard about Androcles and Apollo and wondered what they are. Project Androcles is looking at the long-term plans for British Forces Cyprus, including what tasks British Forces do on the island, the mix of people required to do it and the estate that will be needed to support them. No decisions have yet been made and families currently on the island are unlikely to be affected – the earliest date for changes to begin is 2020 and they’ll take several years to complete.

SCHOOL CHANGES AFF has been told that there will be no immediate changes to schooling, but long-term decisions will depend on what Project Androcles decides

about the number and location of Service personnel on the island in the future. AFF’s Education Specialist will be keeping an eye how this might be affected by the MOD Schools Future Operating Model project, which is looking at the future of MOD Schools overseas. Project Apollo is an estates programme that involves surveying family accommodation, schools and other buildings so they can be strengthened, upgraded or replaced, in line with the earthquake risk in Cyprus. The project will last at least ten years. We’ll keep you updated about any of these plans once we know more at aff.org.uk – if you live in Cyprus or are posted there soon, email rmcyprus@aff.org.uk

s, concerns or AFF’s Cyprus team is here to help with any issue WSBA Coquestions you may have about life on the island. and Akrotiri, ordinator Carolyn Aggar (centre) covers Episkopi r (left) is on while in the ESBA area, Co-ordinator Kelly Taylo elia. AFF’s hand for families living in Ayios Nikolaos and Dhek oversees the team Regional Manager Cyprus Sarah Cooper (right) in the capital and is also your point of contact if you’re based wsba@aff.org.uk Nicosia. Get in touch at rmcyprus@aff.org.uk, aff.org.uk and esba@aff.org.uk or visit the Cyprus pages at

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summer 2018 Army&You 27


YOU’RE TRAINED FOR COMBAT. NOBODY’S TRAINED TO BE IN DEBT. Getting out of debt can be tough – especially doing it alone. Forcesline is a free, independent helpline, that’s outside of the chain of command for the Armed Forces and their families. We’ll listen and help get you back on track.

0800 731 4880 Open weekdays, 9am to 5.30pm

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FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH

Meeting families’ needs A

20

20

20

extensions/ settlement

S CT

www.armyandyou.co.uk

944

45

S CT

372

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RESEARCH highlighted the cost encourage soldiers to and policy staff on FF FAST FA FF FAST FA A A project of visas to settle in save a proportion these and other 17 17 funded by the UK, which has of their salary recommendations Forces in Mind increased by more towards future to help ensure Trust, supported than 180 per cent immigration information people needed per cent increase by AFF and over the past costs. Saving is provided help with in enquiries on citizenship/life in visas to other Service eight years from towards visa throughout the UK test enter UK charities, has £840 to £2,389. costs will reduce service and during highlighted a number The report the number of transition from the of recommendations for makes a number of spouses in the UK who Army, including an improving the support available recommendations, including: are overstayers and who are updated F&C support guide to F&C families, writes AFF’s F&C therefore unable to work or to for units, regular updates on Specialist Katherine Houlston. l GUIDE TO use the NHS. immigration rules and a helpline It’s crucial that new procedures IMMIGRATION ISSUES for units with F&C enquiries. are put in place to give you and AFF is working with the Army l ONLINE IMMIGRATION your soldier the information you to produce a simplified guide TRAINING PROGRAMME ONGOING WORK need so you can make informed for soldiers and families as FOR NEW RECRUITS The research made a number decisions about your future. well as support staff. The guide To ensure that potential recruits of other recommendations for will outline the main rules and are aware of the implications of improvements in support. We BIG ISSUES the regulations to be met to the immigration rules on their will continue to work together The research, which focused remain in the UK legally. It will ability to bring their families to with other Service charities to on the current provision for help people better understand the UK and the costs of visas to identify how these can be put Commonwealth families, the processes to be followed remain in the UK permanently, into practice. concluded that the biggest and will hopefully reduce prior to their recruitment. Further research is also issues are the cost of visas and the number of incorrect or likely to be necessary to fully the complexities of immigration unnecessary applications. WORKING WITH THE understand the needs of our legislation. These issues create CHAIN OF F&C families. FF FAST FA additional pressures with debt, l INCENTIVISED COMMAND A 17 employment, housing and family SAVINGS AFF will continue To find out more about this breakdown. SCHEME to work closely work, keep an eye on the F&C The report specifically This aims to with Army welfare pages at aff.org.uk & enquiries on visa summer 2018 Army&You 29


PIVOTAL POINT OF CONTACT YOU may never have heard of your Military Housing Liaison Officer (MHLO), but for accommodation-related issues, they are really useful to know. HOW CAN I CONTACT MY MHLO? Each brigade in the UK has an MHLO who acts as a conduit for housing concerns and can talk directly to CarillionAmey (CA) and DIO on your behalf if you’re experiencing issues. They can also tell you whether or not your request is actually viable under policy and, if it’s not, what your options may be. MHLOs can be contacted easily through your welfare team. HOW DOES AFF WORK WITH MHLOs? AFF works closely with MHLOs across the country. Regional Manager Central Sarah Gilbody said: “We share information with MHLOs and keep them up-to-date with trends affecting families. They are often pivotal in resolving issues as they can liaise between CA and families.” Matt Nunns, MHLO for HQ SW, commented: “95 per cent of issues are either dealt with by CA and DIO, or welfare teams. MHLOs deal with the five per cent of issues that have gone beyond that scope. “This includes allocations, additional needs adaptations, repairs that have gone on too long, through to just talking through an issue and advising on the best way to manage it. “My joint approach with AFF has worked successfully and will provide ever greater support to families in the future. AFF often provides me with a perspective that I may have missed, and I support them in a similar manner.”

30 Army&You summer 2018

PLANNING FOR THE PLAIN THE first thing we usually start to worry about once we know our next posting is the allocation of our next SFA. The e1132 application process means that you are now able to see all available SFA in your soldier’s entitlement within a tenmile radius. However, policy is clear that while you are allowed to put down SFA preferences, you should be allocated as

close to the duty station as possible first and then, if none are available, you will be allocated further out. Due to the large amount of unit moves in the Salisbury Plain area over the next two years, CarillionAmey and DIO have told us that they will now be enforcing policy very strictly. So if you are moving to the area, be realistic about your preferences. If you

have extenuating needs make these clear on your application but don’t be surprised if you’re allocated at your soldier’s duty station even if you put down preferences in other areas. Your soldier can access the details in JSP 464 volume 1 part 1 0201 on the defence intranet. If you have any questions, email Cat at housing@aff. org.uk &

REPORTING DAMP & MOULD

MANY of you living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) have reported incidences of damp and mould to your AFF coordinator or have recorded your mould issues on the AFF damp and mould database. To date, more than 1,500 addresses have been recorded. AFF regularly

shares the database with DIO and, as a result, many hotspots have been identified and funding has been put in place to refurbish these properties. In 2017 alone, hundreds of SFA had external insulation fitted to make them warmer, more than 750 had new doors and windows fitted and

almost 700 have had new roofs. If you’re experiencing an issue with mould/damp in your SFA, you can check if your address has been reported before – this can be very useful in your discussions with CarillionAmey, especially if you have only just moved in and have no knowledge of your current SFA’s

history. Please continue to report issues of damp and mould directly to CarillionAmey, but also let AFF know so that we can keep the database up-to-date. Contact your local AFF coordinator via the AFF website (aff. org.uk) or email our Housing Specialist Cat Calder at housing@ aff.org.uk

@ArmyandYou


YOUR HOME

‘No-one should move into a dirty home’ A

FF receives a significant number of enquiries about move-in matters – especially around cleanliness. Last year move-in/move-out issues accounted for 15 per cent of all of the housing enquiries we received. Cat Calder, our Housing Specialist, said: “AFF understands that the state of the property when you’re moving in can set the tone for an entire posting and we are disheartened that issues are still arising. “I encourage everyone who has issues to log an official complaint with CarillionAmey (CA). Don’t forget that you can claim compensation vouchers from DIO – apply within 14 days of move-in.” Katie, who recently contacted AFF with issues at move-in, said: “On arrival, we found numerous contractors still rectifying various faults. The property had been unoccupied for months, so CA had ample time to rectify the issues but they didn’t begin work until the day before our move-in. “The housing officer had informed the welfare team the night before, but neglected to contact us. “Our welfare attended

www.armyandyou.co.uk

that should be followed. l Ensure all issues, including cleanliness, are recorded on the move-in paperwork before you sign for it. All recorded issues should be rectified within 24 hours, even if it’s over a weekend. l Lack of cleanliness isn’t considered an uninhabitable fault so you can’t refuse to move in however, CA must send out cleaners.

“We conduct regular reviews of cleaning, equipment and performance and contractors may incur financial penalties for failures.” our move-in which was fabulous,” added Katie. “We raised a stage one and stage two complaint and recruited Cat from AFF who liaised for us too. I argued and made sure I was fully informed.” CA spokesperson Helen Thompson said: “No-one should move into a dirty home. Thankfully the vast majority of our 2,000 moveins a month go well. “Regrettably there’s still a level of failure and poor experience for families. We’re aware that some locations and contractors perform better than others and through our audits, customer feedback and complaints processes we can identify

and deal with underperformance. “We conduct regular reviews of cleaning, equipment and performance and contractors may incur financial penalties for failures.”

WHAT TO DO If you have a cleanliness issue at move-in, Cat recommends: l If possible, arrange removals for a day or two after move-in so contractors won’t be tripping over your removal crew if issues need to be rectified. l Read the move-in guidance at housing.carillionamey. co.uk so you know what to expect and the processes

If your property is deemed uninhabitable for any other reason, CA should resolve it within 24 hours and arrange alternative accommodation. This will either be a temporary fully-furnished home, an alternative permanent home in the same area or a nearby hotel. Helen added: “We will arrange for the removals company to store any removals and arrange redelivery for when the family’s home is ready. “If necessary, we arrange for pets to be accommodated, should the allocated hotel not allow pets.” If you’re having problems at move-in, AFF would like to know. Email Cat at housing@ aff.org.uk &

summer 2018 Army&You 31


EXCLUSIVE

#OurArmyFamily Whether married or single, parent, partner, cousin or child of a soldier, we want you to tell us all about your Army family. Follow #OurArmyFamily on Twitter and Instagram for more stories Ceri Wareing lives with her soldier Darren and Pug Bruce, who is soon to be a big brother to their first baby… GET INVOLVED

Do you and your loved ones want to share what makes up your #OurArmy Family? Send your details to editor@ aff.org.uk

We first met in 2005 whilst both working in Germany. It was Darren’s first posting and I was a UK-based civilian working in NAAFI’s head office. Ten years later a throwback pic on Facebook meant a shared laugh and a subsequent meet for a coffee (Darren drove a 200-mile detour on his way back to camp post-leave but claimed he was “in the area”).

32 Army&You summer 2018

We were married eight months later and, more than three years on, haven’t looked back. We love Army life. I’m a bit of a nomad having been brought up with a father in the RAF and, with Darren having joined the Army at 17, we relish the chance to explore new places – the further afield the better – so an overseas posting would be nice. It can be difficult to be away from home. We rent out our house so

sometimes I feel a bit sad at the thought of other people living in it. But being together is the main priority and you get to enjoy having a change on a regular basis. I love the makea-house-a-home-in 24-hours challenge! We really enjoy the squadron and mess functions and try to get involved as much as we can. I’m looking forward to being more active in the community whilst on

maternity leave. I always was in Germany and enjoyed the sense of kinship. The addition of a mini Wareing will bring lots of opportunities. My advice to a new Army family would be to stick together and keep communicating. Army life can be turbulent, so keep talking to one another – especially during the first year. For me, whilst I love the Army and support Darren to the hilt, keeping a sense of self has been important. Working as a marketing manager means my job is transferrable and I can work and live anywhere. &

@ArmyandYou


What are the Options?

What are Fertility preservation: the options?If

ou’re not ready to start your Fertility preservation: family just yet but want to If you're not ready to start protect that option for the your family just yet but want ture, fertility preservation of to protect that option for the sperm or eggs may be the future, fertility preservation ution. We of can obtain, prepare sperm or eggs may d store these samples for up be the solution. We can toobtain, 10 years. prepare and store

these samples forIfup to 10 ertility Treatment: you’re ady to start youryears. family now, offer the full range of fertility Fertility treatment: treatments. Options are If you're ready to start your rsonalised depending on your family now, we offer the full rcumstances and the level of range of fertility treatments. intervention required Options are personalised depending on your circumstances and the level of intervention required.

Fertility help for forthe the Fertility help armed forces Armed Forces The Thames Valley fertility team has The Thames Valley Fertility experience of providing treatment to team has experience of couples in the armed forces and we providing to couples appreciate thetreatment additional challenges in the Armed Forces and you can face. we appreciate the additional challenges you can face.

What Funding Am I What funding am entitled to? I entitled to?

Access to standard NHS Access to standard NHS funding fortreatment IVF treatment ca funding for IVF can problematic for military bebe problematic for military families, whoare are often movi families, who often around thethe country moving around country or even further afield. or even further afield.

However, if one person in a

However, if one person couple is a member of the in a couple is a member armed forces, this is dealt wi of the Armed Forces, this separately to the normal NH is dealt with separately to funding process. Depending the normal NHS funding certain other criteria, if the process. Depending on woman is aged certain other criteria,under if the 40, thr full cycles of IVF woman is aged under may 40, be ful funded andofifIVF the woman is three full cycles may aged and 42, on be fullybetween40 funded and if the full cycle of IVF may be full woman is aged between funded 40 and 42, one full cycle may be fully funded.

One in seven couples in the UK need help conceiving

One-in-seven couples in the UK need help conceiving

t Thames Valley Fertility, our experts are here to help. We work closely with couples to understan their circumstances, establish how we can support them and deliver the appropriate treatment. At Thames Valley Fertility, our experts are here to help. We work closely with couples to understand theirPartnership circumstances, we can support them and deliver the specialising e’re also part of The Fertility – establish a grouphow of national and international clinics appropriate assisted conception. It’s the largest provider of IVFtreatment. in the UK and has some of the highest success

rates in Europe. We're also part of The Fertility Partnership – a group of national and international clinics specialising in assisted conception. It's the largest provider of IVF in the UK and has some of When you’re in the armed forces, family planning can bring extra challenges – and it’s why we can the highest success rates in Europe. offer you extra help.

When you're in the Armed Forces, family planning can bring extra challenges – and it's why Contact us to find out more, including funding support we can offer you extra help.

Patient team 882support: 400 Contact us toServices find out more, including01628 about funding or info@thamesvalleyfertility.co.uk Patient Services team: 01628 882 400 or info@thamesvalleyfertility.co.uk Also, call to enquire about our open event at Alershot Garrison

on 30th May2018 and come and meet the team Call to enquire about our open event at Aldershot Garrison on 30th May 2018 and come and meet the team

www.armyandyou.co.uk

summer 2018 Army&You 33


Fertility in the Forces Experiencing fertility problems can be tough, but Armed Forces couples can face additional challenges, such as time spent apart and moves potentially resulting in a longer wait for fertility treatment. NHS England has an assisted conception policy for Service couples which funds three full cycles of IVF for qualifying women under 40, but not all Forces couples are aware of it and sometimes pay for private treatment unnecessarily. Tim Child, medical director of Oxford Fertility, part of the Fertility Partnership, and Professor at the University of Oxford, told Army&You about his experiences of helping those in the Forces to start their own families... How many of your patients are Service families? Based in Oxford, with satellite clinics across the Cotswolds, we’ve been helping couples from bases including Imjin Barracks, RAF Brize Norton, RAF Halton, Benson and Caddington for more than 30 years. At the moment, we have 12 Armed Forces babies due.

What’s your success rate? Almost half of our patients achieve a pregnancy – 45.7 per cent among those under 35 and 43.8 per cent across all age groups. We have an active research programme and participate in worldwide trials to drive this further. There are so many factors that influence a person’s fertility, no two couples we see are the same. With that in mind, I would never recommend a person looks at reported success rates and assume they will apply to them. Their combined fertility situation may lead to a higher or lower expected outcome; there are also treatment decisions that can make a significant difference to expected chances of conception. It’s best to undergo fertility tests, so you’re armed with facts on your fertility and your options.

How do you ensure your staff are aware of the NHS England Armed Forces 34 Army&You summer 2018

Assisted Conception Commissioning Policy? We have a brilliant patient services team which works closely with NHS England to keep abreast of the Armed Forces policy and paperwork requirements. The process is quite detailed and if it’s not followed we know it can cause frustration. For example, a full set of blood and semen tests must be carried out and sent with your application form. These must be within a specific time window otherwise they will need to be repeated. Our team works closely with secondary care fertility clinics and GPs to ensure everything is in place. We also have a patient questionnaire to catch any Forces couples who come to us through their local GP, rather than a military GP, and who may be unaware of the funding available to them.

Why is it important to recognise the unique issues that can affect Service personnel and their partners? Growing up as part of a Forces family myself, I understand the life involved with being posted every six-to-36 months. So, when planning a couple’s fertility treatment, it is essential to consider the additional real challenges that are faced by the Armed Forces. This helps us to build a treatment plan that

works within this. We also understand that undergoing IVF can be emotionally tough, especially if you live away from home or a partner is away. Our counsellor can talk you through it and point you to support.

If a couple has a problem with their treatment due to the needs of the Service, how do you help them?

When planning a couple’s fertility treatment, it is essential to consider the additional real challenges that are faced by the Armed Forces Tim Child

Availability and flexibility tend to be the two main challenges that couples in the Armed Forces face. A partner may need to be on deployment at critical stages of the IVF process, so we need to be flexible in our treatment whilst not compromising their chances of conception. The only change we, or any other clinic, can’t make, is moving a couple to another clinic mid-IVF cycle. Unfortunately, the cycle must complete at our clinic – this makes us even more mindful of planning for possibilities.

With couples sometimes paying for private treatment unnecessarily, how does your centre help to raise awareness of this policy? I worked as part of the committee to establish the NICE guidelines, recommending that couples receive three rounds of IVF, and am on the board of Fertility Fairness, a lobbying group for greater NHS IVF funding. I am > @ArmyandYou


HEALTH

delighted that the Armed Forces upholds this advice. To ensure as many couples are aware of the funding policy available to the Armed Forces, we highlight this on our website and follow up with any patients who indicate they are part of the Forces in our patient enrolment forms – we are keen to ensure no one falls through the net.

What is the catchment area for referrals? Certain clinics are awarded NHS England contracts so in theory can treat Armed Forces couples from across the UK. For us, as treatment involves about ten visits to the clinic, we tend to see couples from across the south.

What’s your advice to any Army family who is seeking support for assisted conception? Although the most common reason for a decline in fertility is www.armyandyou.co.uk

age, the extent varies for each person, and there are also many other factors that cause infertility, such as male factor, ovulatory disorders, blocked fallopian tubes and endometriosis. My advice is to undergo a relatively straightforward fertility test. This will arm you with the most valuable information – a clear picture of your situation. With these results your consultant will be able to give you an accurate picture of your fertility and if any steps need to be taken to help conception. It may provide you with the reassurance to continue trying naturally, it may reveal that simple dietary and lifestyle changes are needed to boost your chances of conceiving. However, it may also show that an operation or assisted conception is necessary. If you do need treatment, ask your IVF clinic or military or civilian GP about the NHS England Armed Forces IVF

Availability and flexibility tend to be the two main challenges that couples in the Armed Forces face. A partner may need to be on deployment at critical stages of the IVF process Tim Child

funding policy to ensure you meet the requirements. This includes age, weight and lifestyle factors and will help you to put changes in place straight away to cut down any waiting time. The government’s HFEA website has a good picture of the IVF clinics across the UK so this can help you develop a shortlist. Attend open evenings and ask about their experience treating Service couples to ensure they will be able to work with your additional needs. They need to be able to deliver treatment to the right level of flexibility, adaptability and success that the Armed Forces require. For further information on assisted conception support, including information for those living overseas or in the devolved areas, visit the health pages at aff.org.uk or contact AFF’s Health & Additional Needs Specialist Karen Ross at additionalneeds@aff.org.uk & summer 2018 Army&You 35


HEALTH

Food force

Army wife AJ Sharp, an associate member of the Guild of Fine Food and Great Taste Awards judge, shares her nutritional nous with Army&You…

TASTY TIPPLES WHEN I moved into our first military quarter, a neighbour said I’d have to get a wriggle on to finish unpacking in 72 hours. I must have looked at her completely blankly as she explained “furniture on day one, items in cupboards on day two and pictures up day three”. Terrifying. I don’t think I’ve ever unpacked my house in three days, especially not with small children under foot, but I get the premise. My riposte is to get the fridge-freezer plugged in, fill it with easy food and know when to relax. Day one when you’ve no

Food on the move IT STARTS about three weeks before the impending move. You have so much to think about that you can’t find the time to prepare meals in the same way. Takeaways become frequent until you are relying on your

neighbour’s kindness and KFC. This continues during the move and into the new quarter. We all do it. With so many families ‘upping sticks’ over the summer months I have put together a survivor’s guide.

Nearly all our family moves have consisted of epic 12-hour-plus car journeys and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Wherever you’re going, take snacks. Lower calorie popchips (from 59p) come in a variety

of flavours. Jujube Superfruit fruits (from £1.99) are packed with vitamins. Yazoo no added sugar milk drink (£1.60 for a fourpack) is perfect for junior travellers and my personal favourite are the high-protein, low-carb Carb Killa bars (from £2.49). Most important, especially for those in warmer countries, is to keep everyone hydrated. There are all sorts of apps which remind you to drink but we liked the simple practicality of a reusable 2.2lt bottle from the Big Bottle Co (from £14.99), not only is it more environmentally friendly, it also contains your recommended daily intake of water. And don’t forget to download films for passengers and podcasts for the driver – but don’t mix the two.

idea where to find glasses, toast your new home with a can of Most Wanted sparkling Pinot Grigio (from £2.25 for 200ml). Once you’ve found glasses and made some ice, enjoy a Marmahito made with Salcombe gin (from £37.50), blood orange marmalade, lemon, mint and elderflower tonic.

36 Army&You summer 2018

On a tight schedule? Try this trio of time-saving treats... DR OETKER BAKE IN THE BOX

SIMPLY ICE CREAM

YUTAKA SUSHI KIT

Nothing makes a quarter feel like a home than successfully baking a cake in your new oven. But who has the time? No need to find the tins for these boxes – just add milk.

Natural ice cream without any nasty additives. The Heavenly Honeycomb flavour contains real honeycomb pieces and is made in small batches by hand.

Why make sushi when you can buy it? This might be the perfect activity for granny to entertain anyone over the age of three – and you’ll have lunch sorted too.

£2.50

£4.99 for 500ml

From £6.30

@ArmyandYou


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School report

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

We send all new families information before they arrive and arrange a welcome meeting with the head teacher, where we outline the nurturing ethos of the school. We find out how we can support their individual needs, either academically or with their emotional wellbeing. A class buddy is chosen to be a friend and guide while a new child settles. Class teachers are available each morning or at the end of the day to address any concerns.

What practical support do you give Service pupils?

ool Name of sch

Are there any military links?

l Alexander First Schoo Location

Windsor

AMOUNT of s Service pupil

82 out of 120

We run a welcome group for new children, so they can settle quickly and feel part of the school. We also hold a Heroes Club specifically for Service children and they choose the club focus each week. When parents are deployed, we make sure we address any questions or worries a child might have. We work with Little Troopers to involve the children in a fun way to share worries or questions with their peers. We also have emotional literary support assistants to help children and a nurture class where a teacher works with small groups of children when there’s a need. We invite parents to have a sneaky peek on what and how children learn so that they feel confident at supporting children at home with their learning and encourage parents to attend our weekly awards assembly.

Unit welfare officers are very supportive. They often attend our school functions or judge our competitions. Chefs from the local barracks have worked with our children in preparation for their mini MasterChef competition. The school takes part in occasions such as Remembrance Day and we were invited to attend a ceremony at the barracks for Armistice Day. We also visited Combermere Barracks to explore the Household Cavalry Regiment’s (HCR) Museum. Both the HCR and Coldstream Guards have supported us in raising funds for the school.

Are there any special projects involving Service children?

We liaise with the charity Family Friends, which runs bespoke courses for children and the non-serving parent of Service families.

What do the kids think?

One pupil said: “I like school because everyone is kind to me.” Another added: “I love my school. I don’t want to leave.”

And the parents?

One parent explained that their four children had all loved the school, adding: “They have come on so well. All teachers have helped them settle. We are all very happy.” &

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

38 Army&You summer 2018

@ArmyandYou


Success story: Wallop Primary School head teacher Martin Lambert with year five and six pupils

Educational ups and downs

B

EING a mobile family will inevitably mean that your children change schools – and that can sometimes be to an establishment where the Ofsted report leaves a lot to be desired, writes AFF Education Specialist Jilly Carrell. But while this can be a worrying time, there are some positive things that can happen as part of the process. Wallop Primary School in Hampshire, which has around 50 per cent Service pupils, was placed in special measures by Ofsted in November 2014. Martin Lambert, head teacher, explained: “It’s never good news for a school when it’s categorised in such a way. “However, schools do suffer from the roller coaster effect where circumstances change and schools slip.” Army parent and Reservist Tracy Shaw, whose children attend Wallop School, said: “My children were happy, I didn’t want to take them away from the school just because it was in special measures. “We knew that there would be a real focus and effort to

“I felt the children needed the best that we, as professionals, could give them to allow them to flourish and grow, and leave with the skills they need to be a learner for the rest of their lives.” improve the school as quickly as possible and that this could only be positive for pupils and staff.” The school went through a few interim head teachers, which meant that improvements were difficult. Martin took over in May 2015 and since then has made it his mission to tackle the issues. He said: “By September, I had strengthened the leadership by appointing a new deputy head teacher and key stage one leader and plans were drawn to develop teaching and learning. “It was an uncomfortable journey – coming out of special measures always is. A clear and focused plan was needed and all staff had to be 100 per cent committed to develop the school and make it the place we all knew it could be. “My reasons for taking on a school in special measures were simple. I felt the children needed the best that we, as professionals, could give them

AFF would like to hear about your experiences. Has your child’s school been in special measures? If so, how was the process? Did you feel the school was supported and was in turn supportive to you? www.armyandyou.co.uk

to allow them to flourish and grow, and leave with the skills they need to be a learner for the rest of their lives. “We had to focus our efforts on teaching children core values and making sure that when we talk to them about these values, we begin to see them in action.” Once Martin had secured excellent leadership in the front office, Wallop School was on the up. He said: “There seemed an added vibrancy and urgency. Like a snowball, the school started to improve and gained momentum. We changed a lot of things – leadership has strengthened, there’s increased communication with parents and better teaching and learning.” Tracy added: “There were obvious improvements very soon after the report. “We are impressed with how hard the head teacher has worked to make school assemblies interesting and

fun, with a good sense of discipline too. The staff are very hardworking and there’s strong support and respect for the Armed Forces.” Hampshire County Council supported the school and Ofsted visited every term, granting Wallop School a ‘good’ rating in February. Martin concluded: “There’s no doubt that we haven’t finished the journey we are on, and there are always things to improve on. “However, I know we have the staff and capacity to continue along this journey.” &

MORE INFORMATION OFSTED REPORTS gov.uk SCOTLAND education.gov.scot WALES estyn.gov.wales NORTHERN IRELAND etini.gov.uk INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS Independent Schools Inspectorate isi.net/reports COMMENTS – GOOD OR BAD – ABOUT A SCHOOL parentview.ofsted.gov.uk

Perhaps you have experienced this on more than one occasion? Email AFF Education & Childcare Specialist Jilly Carrell at ec@aff.org. uk with your comments. summer 2018 Army&You 39


Happy campers: Boarders at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School in Dover (doyrms.com)

EDUCATION & CHILDCARE

Clarifying continuity concerns AFF has heard from many Army families concerned about the recent changes to Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA), so we asked the Army allowances team for clarification. Here’s what they said… Why are the rules changing? Recent MOD reviews have confirmed that CEA is key to supporting Service families, whilst also looking to improve governance and affordability.

What are the changes? CEA claimants are to apply for a new CEA Eligibility Certificate (EC) prior to a child entering the sixth form stage of education (year 12). This is an additional governance check to ensure the integrity of CEA. It will not remove eligibility from claimants simply because they may remain in the same location over the 22-month period whilst their child is in years 12 and 13. Application opens 15 months ahead of a child starting sixth form. Provided you apply early and are mobile in the 37 months from application to your child finishing sixth form (15 plus 22), you should be able to claim CEA.

When are the sixth form changes happening? This year, for example, the application window opens on

40 Army&You summer 2018

1 June for children currently in year ten and entering sixth form in September 2019. This is the first year that the changes come into effect. It’s strongly advised to apply early. Not only does this increase the likelihood you will be assessed as mobile, but if eligibility isn’t confirmed and CEA is refused, you’ll need time to make alternative arrangements. If you leave it as late as your child’s final term in year 11 to submit an EC application, and are deemed ineligible for CEA, it will normally result in you being financially liable for the first term of year 12 because many schools require one term’s notice. Siblings, special educational needs and devolved education will all be considered as part of the process. Other changes this year include an increase to the existing Guardianship Scheme and a reduction to the parental contribution for using a state boarding school.

What’s AFF doing? We will continue to ensure

WHAT IS CEA AND WHO CAN CLAIM IT? CEA exists to enable eligible Service personnel to provide their children with continuity of education despite being a mobile family. It can be claimed to help towards the cost of boarding school fees. It can start from the academic year that your child turns eight. There are three education stages from eight to 18. It’s public money, so it’s regularly reviewed and tightly regulated. Key to entitlement is the mobility of your family; your soldier must be accompanied by you at their duty station unless authorised as Involuntary Separated. Your soldier must also be in receipt of a valid CEA Eligibility Certificate.

that you have access to the right information and we will now be part of the review process, where possible. We are monitoring the impact of these changes and will feedback to the chain of command.

Need clarification? If you are confused by the process, check out the AFF website (aff.org.uk) for a range of scenarios to help explain how the new policy works. Please email our Education & Childcare Specialist, Jilly Carrell, with your concerns and questions at ec@aff.org.uk

More information l Children’s Education Advisory Service offers general advice. Email DCYP-CEASEnquiries@mod.uk or call 01980 618244. Unit HR staff will also assist. l Access CEA policy at gov.uk – JSP 752 part two, chapter nine. l Defence Instruction Notice 2018DIN01-020, published on 1 February 2018, complemented by Army Briefing Note (ABN 23/18) outlines more details. & @ArmyandYou


EDUCATION ADVERTORIAL

Expanding horizons (clockwise from top left): All Hallows hosts a cultural visit for Chinese pupils; a Farleigh School classroom is transformed into a French cafe; Chafyn Grove youngsters give snails a try; Chinese New Year is celebrated at Malvern St James Girls’ School; Packwood Haugh school pupils visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

FOREIGN AFFAIRS G

ROWING up in a world with shrinking borders, today’s young people are having to adopt an increasingly international outlook. A combination of crosscontinental trade, more accessible travel and the internet-enabled ease of communicating with contemporaries in other countries has created fertile ground for

those able to think in a global manner. This trend has not gone unnoticed in Britain’s schools, where a wealth of activities in and out of the classroom are helping to expand the horizons of the next generation – including those from Army families. Pupils at Wells Cathedral School don’t have to venture far for an

Pupils at Wells Cathedral School come from as far afield as Ukraine, Thailand and the USA

“The languages faculty draws students’ attention to the fact that a career in the Army with the knowledge of a foreign language is a great opportunity.” – Julie Desmarchelier, Wells Cathedral School – www.armyandyou.co.uk

international experience as the diverse student body includes children from countries such as France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and the USA. The school offers the opportunity to learn four principal modern languages, as well as Latin, and those from overseas are offered examinations in their native language – with Chinese, Czech, Russian, Korean all taken at Wells in recent times. Away from lessons, pupils get enviable opportunities to travel. Highlights include a homestay exchange with Wells’ partner school in Geneva, annual trips to Barcelona and Berlin for those learning Spanish and German and overseas arts and sports tours. Impressively, the school also runs the Sierra Leone Project, a ten-day trip to Freetown during which youngsters lead musical workshops and lessons at The Ballanta Music Academy and the JT Reffell French Memorial Primary and Secondary School and even perform for the British High Commissioner and the

British Council. Julie Desmarchelier, Director of Modern Languages, explained that the ample overseas offerings are designed not just to expand pupils’ minds in the present, but hopefully to open doors for them in the future. She added: “Every year, the languages faculty draws students’ attention to the fact that a career in the Army with the knowledge of a foreign language is a great opportunity and that GCHQ is always recruiting linguists.”

VALUABLE VOYAGES Providing pupils with first-hand experiences of other countries and cultures is also a key component of the education provided at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School (DOYRMS) in Dover. Drawing on the school’s Forces pedigree, youngsters have travelled to Bangladesh to tour military schools in the country as well as hosting Bangladeshis for a return visit. An overseas challenge expedition is held every two years, with an upcoming visit to India following hot on the heels of ›› summer 2018 Army&You 41


Open Morning Saturday 22nd September 9.30am-12.00pm Register at opendays@farleighschool.com

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EDUCATION ADVERTORIAL missions to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. These exciting trips combine trekking and cultural activities with volunteering work benefiting local charities. And budding performers have got in on the international act thanks to recent co-productions of West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera with a school in the United States which saw students from both countries cross the Atlantic to perform together. Such is the success of DOYRMS’ international education that it has secured the British Council’s International School’s award, a globally-recognised mark of its embedded approach to looking beyond the UK’s borders. Stephen Haslehurst, VicePrincipal (Curriculum and Progress), explained: “If students are to thrive, and to be able to seize opportunities presented to them in an increasingly borderless world of work, we recognise that it is vital that they have an outward approach to learning and the broader experiences that we offer as part of our curriculum.”

EARLY ADOPTERS Proof that you are never too young to explore the wider world is in abundance at Andover’s Farleigh School, where French is taught from reception classes upwards and Latin enters the curriculum from year six. A week-long immersion in la vie Française follows during the same year, with students able to practise their linguistic skills and experience Gallic life up close. Farleigh’s commitment to exposing youngsters to other ways of life also extends to a series of cultural days arranged for preprep pupils exploring Hinduism, Judaism and celebrating Holi Day. Those in year three enjoy an Ancient Greek day, while year four learns all about India by wearing traditional dress, making tasty

food and having a go at some of the country’s dances. A further treat for year three sees Head of French Henri Kennard’s classroom transformed into a French cafe, with pupils serving as staff and customers. Mr Kennard said: “At Farleigh, teaching pupils from a young age about different cultures gives us rich opportunities to make every child achieve through celebrating diversity and valuing different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. “Children are encouraged to make a positive contribution by respecting others and working collaboratively. They also develop team skills, which will contribute to their future economic wellbeing.”

LANGUAGE LOVERS Linguistics sits at the heart of education at Salisbury’s Chafyn Grove, where pre-prep pupils learn French – aided by two native speaker members of staff – and Spanish is available from year five onwards. Further options include Mandarin, Russian, sign language and Ancient Greek. Headmaster Simon Head explained: “The learning of language is a powerful vehicle of appreciation and understanding for other cultures. It also helps inform an enhanced understanding of English.” Exchange and residential trips to France, choir tours and an annual Alpine ski trip provide exciting international experiences, while Chafyn Grove’s children gain cultural insights during visits from the Gurkha community. And Mr Head points to the positive contribution made to by the boarding pupils who head to Wiltshire from overseas to study. He added: “It is a cardinal aim for all our children not to see difference as ‘other’ – whether that is on grounds of nationality

Chafyn Grove students take to the slopes

“It is a cardinal aim for all our children not to see difference as ‘other’ – whether that is on grounds of nationality or anything else.” – Simon Head, Chafyn Grove – or anything else. “However, there are specific advantages to sharing school with children from overseas in appreciating that the world is a larger place than Wiltshire. “Our overseas children add a great deal to our school environment on top of engendering that sense of wider community. By definition they are explorers and we hope our school will always be filled with curious children keen on discovery.”

GLOBAL CITIZENS Forces-friendly Adcote School may be nestled in the Shropshire countryside, but its horizons lie far beyond its immediate surroundings. Catering for day and boarding pupils aged between seven and 18, the school’s ethos of producing well-rounded, wellinformed global citizens is aided by the fact that one-fifth of pupils are from overseas. Students learn French and Spanish, explore the impact of the classical world on the modern era in a Latin club and get to experience overseas trips including visits to the World War

One battlefields of France and Belgium, Christmas markets in Lille and Bruges and adventures in Rome, Sorrento and New York. The school also hosts an international day with food, games and activities from around the world and has its own Rotary Club which puts on an international food fair and dress day. Headmistress Diane Browne said: “At Adcote, we nurture girls’ individual talents and pride ourselves on ensuring that all girls have the opportunity to excel. “We build aspiration, confidence and a caring attitude to others. Our small classes, in safe and secure surroundings, enable our girls to realise their full potential and be the best they can be.”

CREATIVE CLASSROOMS Evidence of the value placed on an international outlook at Somerset’s All Hallows School can be found in abundance in its thriving modern languages department, where role play, music and storytelling are used to bring French, Spanish, Italian and Latin to life. An annual languages week ››

“If students are to thrive in an increasingly borderless world of work, we recognise that it is vital that they have an outward approach to learning.” – Stephen Haslehurst, Duke of York’s Royal Military School – www.armyandyou.co.uk

summer 2018 Army&You 43


Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools Day and Boarding Boys 7 – 18

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EDUCATION ADVERTORIAL annual French trips, a Dutch sports tour or the annual ski trip to France or Italy, children learn a certain amount of independence and have great fun whilst learning language skills with their peers.”

WIDER WORLD An early introduction to foreign languages is on offer to youngsters at Packwood Haugh School, where pre-prep pupils build their linguistic talents through weekly French, Spanish and Italian sessions. Latin is introduced in year five, with Greek and Mandarin following. Lessons learned in the classroom are complemented by organised visits. An annual ski trip is open to all, while year eight students have recently benefited from travels to Iceland, France and the Netherlands where itineraries cover everything from history, geography and art to religious studies, languages and more. Headmaster Clive SmithLangridge explained: “While, of course, we can all pick up huge amounts of information from books, television and the internet, actually visiting a country provides children with a unique and invaluable opportunity to see and experience so much for themselves – at Packwood we believe that is when the real learning happens.” Day-to-day life at Packwood

Sampling sushi at Packwood Haugh School

“It is vital for children to develop an understanding and appreciation of the wider world.” –Clive Smith-Langridge, Packwood Haugh School – www.armyandyou.co.uk

Haugh also features an international flavour, with the dining hall cooking up themed meals and the school’s 24 pupils from Asia and continental Europe sharing their cultures with their British friends. Mr Smith-Langridge added: “In [today’s] globalised world, I believe none of us can flourish in isolation. Therefore, it is vital for children to develop an understanding and appreciation of the wider world. “As a prep school, our aim is to equip children with the knowledge, skills and characteristics that will enable them to go on to lead fulfilling and successful lives.”

BUILDING CONFIDENCE A diverse selection of cultures are on display at Malvern St James Girls’ School in Worcestershire, where pupils from 26 countries enhance daily life. The value of linguistics sits at the heart of the school’s approach to education, with the core languages of French, German and Spanish supplemented by extra-curricular options including Russian, Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese and Italian. Students are able to exercise their newly-acquired skills in practical ways, including celebrating Epiphany in French lessons, cooking Spanish dishes and writing to German penpals, while recent overseas trips have taken in France, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands. Headmistress Olivera Raraty said: “Languages can be perceived as challenging subjects but pupils who choose to study them learn to engage with challenge and are prepared to take risks. “In particular, speaking a language which is non-native is an exercise in building confidence and encouraging perseverance. “In that sense, it is a really good example of the growth mindset which all good educationalists are encouraging: that is, the notion that in order to learn and develop, we must be prepared to have a go and make mistakes. It is all part of the learning journey.” n

SCHOOLS DIRECTORY ADCOTE SCHOOL adcoteschool.org.uk ALL HALLOWS PREP SCHOOL allhallowsschool.co.uk ANDERSON EDUCATION andersoneducation.co.uk CHAFYN GROVE chafyngrove.co.uk CHRIST COLLEGE BRECON christcollegebrecon.com THE DOWNS MALVERN thedownsmalvern.org.uk THE DUKE OF YORK’S ROYAL MILITARY SCHOOL doyrms.com FARLEIGH SCHOOL farleighschool.com GODOLPHIN SCHOOL godolphin.org HABERDASHERS’ MONMOUTH SCHOOLS habs-monmouth.org MAIDWELL HALL SCHOOL maidwellhall.co.uk MALVERN ST JAMES malvernstjames.co.uk PACKWOOD HAUGH packwood-haugh.co.uk QUEEN VICTORIA SCHOOL qvs.org.uk ROYAL ALEXANDRA AND ALBERT SCHOOL raa-school.co.uk SALISBURY CATHEDRAL SCHOOL salisburycathedral school.com ST MARY’S SCHOOL stmarys.eu WELLS CATHEDRAL SCHOOL wells.cathedral.school To feature in our education advertorial, email info@tylerbale.co.uk

summer 2018 Army&You 45

To read more from our panel of teachers, visit armyandyou.co.uk/category/educationad

includes quizzes, workshops and treasure hunts in Spanish and French, Indian dancing and cooking and guest talks from a host of international speakers, while pupils can even have a go at creating their own languages. Deputy Head Richard Barnes told us: “In an ever-increasing international and globalised world, we believe that it is vitally important to value language learning and inspire our children to learn new languages and study different cultures. “Today’s children will be the workforce of tomorrow and, with technological developments, they will undoubtedly need to work and collaborate with colleagues in other countries, making an international perspective even more important.” Pupils arriving from overseas – including those from Army families who have lived overseas – form an important part of the All Hallows community and bring insights from countries including France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, the United States and China. Mr Barnes added: “We believe that the children’s language learning and cultural awareness can only benefit from opportunities to travel overseas with their friends. “Whether on one of our two


n o i t a r e n e G g n u Yo YOUNGE FOR THE

R M

FA M I L Y R ARMY U O Y F O EMBERS

A little trooper

Madison Fetigan (pictured below, top right) was born in Germany and has lived across the world as part of an Army family. The 14-year-old told us about her role helping mum Louise with Little Troopers, the charity dedicated to supporting Service children... Can you remember when the charity started with that first trek up Snowdon? Yes! I was seven and my dad was serving in Afghanistan, so it was just me and my mum. I remember getting ready for the trek. Me and the two other girls I was trekking with were sent donations of kit such as sleeping bags (which I still use for the Little Troopers summer camp). We had the privilege to go on ITV’s Daybreak programme and sit on the red sofa, talking about our Snowdon trek and why we wanted to do it. Whilst my dad was away, my mum kept talking to me about what more she could do to help me, and that’s when she decided to start My Daddy is a Soldier Adventures (now called Little Troopers) so she could help other military children like me.

more involvement as I love the charity and everything it does.

How has Little Troopers helped you as an Army child? It’s given me a sense of pride that my dad is in the Army. It has helped me through my dad’s deployment periods and introduced me to other military children going through the same thing. My dad is currently in Afghanistan again and the charity is a great way to help me feel stronger and get through it. I can’t wait for summer camp so I can see the many old friends that I have made over the years.

How important is it for other people to understand what life is like when your

parent is away? Extremely. Your whole world is changed, routines get switched and it’s hard to get back to normality. Little things such as an achievement at school or, in my case, swimming, you can’t tell them about it because they won’t be there when you get home. It’s especially important that people understand that it’s okay get upset and then they can be there to support you.

What would you say to other military children about Little Troopers’ support? Take advantage of everything Little Troopers can give you. Check out the story app, come to events and use the resources to help you. It’s a fantastic way to make memories to tell your parent about when they come home!

How did that experience help you when your dad was away? It made me feel less alone. My friends and I kept busy with fundraising and practising for the trek. It made me determined to get through the whole experience and accomplish something whilst he was away.

As the charity has grown, how much involvement have you had? More and more, especially since it has gone tri-Service. I’m always asking mum if I can make up the resource packs – I made 200 last weekend and it went towards my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Mum asks me for advice and input on new ideas and I help her at events such as the summer camp. As I get older, I hope to have www.armyandyou.co.uk

Find out more at littletroopers.net

summer 2018 Army&You 47


Open Day

Saturday 13th October

‘a top-tier prep school’ Good Schools Guide

Packwood Haugh School

Ruyton XI Towns, Shrewsbury SY4 1HX Telephone 01939 260217

www.packwood-haugh.co.uk

PADERBORN PERFORMERS

www.armyandyou.co.uk

UK,” explained Andréa. “There are now so many young people who benefit from our school.”

PART OF THE COMMUNITY As well as performing at competitions and shows across Europe, the academy’s main draw is friendship. Ten-year-old Lola Jones said: “It has helped me settle in Germany because it made me feel much more comfortable in

school and out.” “The best thing is being part of a close team and having lots of performance opportunities,” added Jessica Strutt (15). “It has helped me to be part of a community and make different friends that I wouldn’t have at school. I never want to stop dancing and I’ll be sad to leave.” With support from regular sponsors Grant & Green TaxFree Car Sales, Paderborn Lippstadt Airport, Taunton School

and the Queens Royal Hussars, the academy is set for a bright future right up until the final troops leave Germany. Follow the group’s progress @bfgDanceAcademy &

Images: NG Photography

FOR around 100 youngsters living in Paderborn there’s a fantastic place to showcase talent, build confidence and make friends. BFG Dance Academy, run by Army spouse Andréa Hannon, has gone from strength-tostrength since it was formed in 2016, with a host of high-profile performances by young people aged three-to-18. “Dance has helped me make lots of new friends,” said Pearl Thomas (15), who has lived in Germany for 13 years. “I joined for fun and didn’t intend to be a competition dancer. I now have a second family. Dance has really helped my confidence.” “The aim when we started was to provide dedicated dance education to children in BFG to ensure they have the same opportunities as they would in the

summer 2018 Army&You 49


A&Y BOOK CLUB

All set for adventure In this edition’s Army&You and Reading Force Book Club, four Service youngsters have checked out The Explorer by Katherine Rundell – winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award…

The Explorer transports you to the Amazon rainforest and the descriptions of the animals make you feel like you are there. The main characters are Con, Max, Lila and my favourite, the brave and daring Fred. The children are plane wrecked deep in the rainforest and must escape the dangers. A secret map, swimming with dolphins and surviving without adults – what’s not to love?

MAXWELL BLAKESLEY (13) The characters were believable, you could sense their fear and trepidation. It is very well written, and you could easily mistake it for a real-life story. I like the way you are never sure if they’ll make it out of the Amazon or not – I won’t spoil the ending!

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

FENELLA RAWLINS (9) Without giving too much away, a group of children need to escape from the jungle and the story follows their adventures. My favourite character was Lila, a kind-hearted girl who adopts a pet and is protective of her brother. I particularly enjoyed when Fred is threatened and has to throw fossilised poo to defend himself! This is a great book for both genders from eight upwards.

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

MOLLY SYMONDS (10) The Explorer is a great book. I loved how humour is weaved in with action and adventure. There were lots of bits which made me laugh out loud. When Fred, Lila, Con and Max discover Baca, a sloth, I thought this book couldn’t get any better, but Katherine Rundell has made it one of the most popular in my bookcase. This book is a must read.

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

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50 Army&You summer 2018

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Published by Bloomsbury, paperback priced £7.99.

NATHANIEL BLAKESLEY (10)


Bake well with friends

Strike while the oven’s hot and join the nation’s biggest bake sale Bakers of Britain: host a bake sale during Armed Forces Week, 23 June–1 July. Be part of The Force for Good by helping us raise money to empower Veterans and their families to reach their potential.

Sign up for a free fundraising pack h4hweb.com/afdbake or call 0300 303 9888 Help for Heroes is a limited company registered in England (06363256), and a charity registered in England and Wales (1120920) and Scotland (SC044984). Registered Office: 14 Parkers Close, Downton Business Centre, Downton, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP5 3RB. Registered with Fundraising Regulator.


The trek of a lifetime S

HORTLY after the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015, WO2 Paul Vicary had a ‘lightbulb’ moment whilst walking down from Everest Base Camp (EBC). He felt compelled to help the Nepalese people affected by the terrible situation and one of the local guides told him that the only way to help was through tourism. Paul decided to see if he could take some Army families – often the ones left behind – out there for the trip of a lifetime. Back in the UK, a presentation on the planned expedition attracted 82 people, from which a group of 30 women signed up and began setting up committees, fundraising and training. Two charities were chosen – Community Action Nepal, which supports the Nepalese population, and Family Activity Breaks which provides getaways for bereaved military families – and a target of £120,000 was set. With only 18 months to raise the money, the group set to work planning events including an afternoon celebrating Nepalese culture and a charity boxing event

52 Army&You summer 2018

which netted £36,000. The trekkers set off in 2017 and, after a nerve-wracking flight to Lukla, took on high rope bridges, steep climbs, cold, thin air, altitude sickness and tiredness. Their pace slowed as they approached the snowcapped mountains where altitude made even a few metres feel like running a marathon, but after seven days of hard trekking, the

building for the Langtang region, which was severely affected by the disaster. Marianne, who took part in the trip, said: “It was one of the hardest things I have ever done but an amazing experience. “After being married to the Army for 23 years, it was nice to have some ‘me time’. It was the first time I had ever been away from my family for that length of time

“Not all girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. EBC girls are made of adventure, fine wine, brains and no fear.” group finally reached EBC where a giant poppy was laid as an act of Remembrance to mark the Passchendaele centenary. This was the largest group of women to ever reach Base Camp and the participants made it and returned safely in around 10 days. Since returning, the group has reached its target of £120,000 and Community Action Nepal is set to build an earthquake-proof

and gave my husband an insight into what it’s like to be at home managing the family.” Ailsa, an Army wife of nearly 27 years who has supported her husband through numerous tours, trips and postings, agreed. She said: “Until I went on the trek, I don’t think I really appreciated just how much difference having a loving family at home could make.

“Every text, voicemail, FaceTime call, Facebook post or email motivated me to continue to put one foot in front of the other, especially when I was feeling unwell, exhausted and cold.” Training lead Rose added: “Not all girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. EBC girls are made of adventure, fine wine, brains and no fear. “They trained during the winter, no Welsh mountain too high. Our trails were crooked, winding, lonesome and dangerous, leading to amazing views. “Praise has to go to the Sherpas who followed us almost invisibly assisting with carrying our backpacks if we were feeling the altitude, always with a smile on their faces. “My thanks to the Sherpa who picked me up to avoid a boulder hurtling down the mountainside; the fact that there was a sheer drop the other side of the path made me all the more grateful!” Have you had an adventure you’d like to share with Army&You? Contact us at editor@aff.org.uk &

@ArmyandYou


YOUR FAMILY

Singers’ centenary story THIS year marks the centenary of the end of World War One. Fierce heroism from the troops was matched by the country’s women who raised children alone, nursed and worked tirelessly despite the

“I couldn’t believe how good we sounded, and I felt so proud to be a part of something so worthwhile.” Charlie, Digby MWC

loss of husbands, sons, fathers, brothers and friends. The Military Wives Choirs (MWC) have created their own musical tribute, telling the story of the women of 1918 as well as today. As Lorraine from Bicester MWC put

it: “We stand shoulderto-shoulder with other wives and daughters in supporting our loved ones. We keep the home fires burning as poignant today as 100 years ago.” Inspired by this thought, 69 Military Wives Choirs came together in January and February to record a commemoration album like no other. More than 1,105 voices feature on two of the tracks written for the MWCs which include the singers’ own lyrics on what Remembrance means to them. Sarah, from Lyneham MWC, summed up the feeling of putting on the headphones for the first time, explaining: “It was an exciting atmosphere which provided a real sense of togetherness.” Conductor Hilary

Davan Wetton led the women through the recording process and the sessions finished with choir members getting to hear their voices played back, unedited, which turned into a particularly emotional experience. “[It] was magical,” said Charlie, from Digby MWC. “I’m not an emotional person and I don’t know whether it was just the raging hormones in me – because I went into labour that night – but even I was crying. “I couldn’t believe how good we sounded, and I felt so proud to be a part of something so worthwhile.” The Military Wives Choirs’ new album, Remember, will be released at the end of June. Find out more at militarywiveschoirs.org &

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We need foster carers who can provide a loving, supportive home for children in care. We will provide you with suitable placements to match your circumstances. You will be part of a professional team and be provided with your own support worker, ongoing training and a 24 hour helpline. In addition, you will be paid a generous allowance.

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“We work closely with Military Housing Liaison Officer Mick Fadel, CA and DIO to get housing issues resolved as quickly as possible. We listen to families and gather evidence of trending issues. Much of the work is awaiting agreement, such as installing post boxes at Wellington Barracks along with new flooring for the play area.”

FINDING WORK

LONDON CALLING How do you feel when your soldier’s assignment order comes through for central London? Excited to be in the big city, or daunted by Army life in a busy location? We chatted with AFF’s London Co-ordinator, Becky Green, and families at Queen Mary Buildings (QMB), Westminster, to find out…

T

HE first thing that families will want to know is what the accommodation is like. “Flats are great, spacious and modern; and rent is low at QMB,” said Army spouse Vicky. “The flats don’t have much storage and having no garden means you have to either store or get rid of garden furniture and outdoor toys. If you have small children, you have to pack a bag to take out with you just to get some fresh air.”

GETTING AROUND Most Service families in London don’t drive because of busy traffic, expensive insurance and

an annual fee to park outside flats. But transport links are great and there are so many things to do within easy reach. There are free or cheap activities all over the city. No matter your interests or how old your children are, you’ll find something to suit you.

COMMUNITY SPIRIT There’s a close feel within each patch and families meet at coffee mornings, where you can also find Becky on a monthly basis. “Units are spread all over London and are not often in contact with families, so Facebook is important to ensure people stay up-to-date – the Westminster group is very

active,” she explained. There’s good community spirit too. At a families’ day at Wellington Barracks, everyone got together to paint the kids’ play area and clear communal spaces.

AFF’S WORK Where there have been issues, AFF has been on hand to help. Ongoing problems with the lifts at Wellington Barracks have made it a struggle for parents. Becky said: “Getting children and pushchairs up and down four or five floors of stairs can be a nightmare. “Soldiers have even helped out with collecting supermarket deliveries from the ground floor.

London has lots to offer if you’re looking for a job and there have been no issues reported to AFF about finding school places. It’s a different matter for pre-schoolers, with few places available and costly fees. Childminder Victoria, who only takes children from Service families, said: “Myself and a childminding friend are full and have waiting lists. Lots of spouses want to work, but there’s no affordable childcare. It can cost up to £1,600 a month if you’re full-time.” There’s some compensation for cost of living as ranks below sergeant receive London weighting allowance. It does mean some soldiers find themselves worse off when promoted, however. Army spouse Holly admitted that while London can seem overwhelming, there’s lots to enjoy. “It has its difficulties, but overall we like it,” she said. “I would advise others to join the Facebook page, get chatting to other families and be a part of the community.” If you’re posted to London and would like support, contact Becky at london@aff.org.uk &

EXPANDING CAPITAL There are many other areas across London home to Army families such as Kingston, Putney, Woolwich, Windsor and Northolt. Pictured here are the spouses of Service personnel who are studying at the Royal College of Defence Studies. These women have come to London from all over the world and they meet every week at Kingston Community

54 Army&You summer 2018

Centre. They’ve had fantastic support from AWS Community Development Worker Sue Bazan, who runs group sessions and organises excursions for the families. Wherever you are in London, AFF is here to help. Contact our co-ordinator, Becky Green at london@aff.org.uk @ArmyandYou


UNITED KINGDOM

At the heart of your community London living brings unique challenges for Army families, so who’s on hand to support you? One person who’s helping to bring the community together at Queen Mary Buildings is Army spouse Victoria Cook. We caught up with her to find out more…

A

FTER working in hospitality for 17 years, Victoria is now a registered childminder looking after children from military families. She’s been married to a long-serving member of the Band of the Scots Guards for 12 years and has been based in London for the last decade with her two young children. As well as being a volunteer with the Army Welfare Service, Victoria runs coffee mornings and stay-and-play sessions. She explained: “I set up a much-needed family playgroup two years ago and also took over coffee mornings when the ladies who ran it moved on. “I’m happy to be involved with any children’s activities within our community and help with the running of the

“I enjoy helping people, it’s something I’ve always done.” community centre. “I also keep families updated with information through social media.” Victoria is well known for giving families a warm welcome and makes them aware of anything that is going on in the area – she even provides cakes out of her own pocket for get-togethers. “I enjoy helping people, it’s something I’ve always done,” she added. “In the community we all live in, I think it’s important to support each other where we can. Moving to London can be a daunting experience and a lot to take in. Community

spirit can help make that transition less stressful. “It’s always good to have people on hand with knowledge and information, from where to buy a pint of milk to the best schools in the area. With so many faces in London, it’s reassuring to see a few friendly and welcoming ones in your own community.” AFF’s London Co-ordinator, Becky Green, often meets Victoria when she’s out and about at QMB hearing about families’ issues. She said: “Victoria does a fabulous job, especially for families new to the area. “She is always happy to give advice and is especially good at informing families of all the fun things to do in London. She organises lots of events to keep children occupied and give families a chance to socialise. Victoria makes what she does look so easy but a lot of thought and effort goes into what she does.”

WORTHY WINNER Victoria is our summer Community Champion and wins a tablet courtesy of DXC Technology

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

&

www.armyandyou.co.uk

summer 2018 Army&You 55


A postcard from...

K I N LO S S How long have you been an Army family? We married on New Year's Eve 2015 but we've known each other since university. We rekindled our relationship through letters when Lawrence was in Afghanistan. Time in the Highlands: Since January 2016. How many other military families live in the Highlands? In Kinloss there are around 2,000 people. There are a number of other bases across Scotland. What's your quarter like? It's great. We're lucky with the location as we look out over fields and, as we have no children, it feels on the large side. It does get cold here and as I often work from home, I have to find efficient ways to heat the house. Are there any employment/training opportunities? I launched my own business whilst living here and have built a client base in Scotland. Transport links are great as there are multiple flights a day to London from Inverness. The overnight train to Euston is my favourite way to travel for business. Generally, there are fewer employment opportunities in Kinloss because of its remote location but if you can drive 40 minutes

56 Army&You summer 2018

to Inverness, there are more options. What about schools/childcare? There are lots of school options and outdoor activities. Where do Army families get together? The mess is very active. We have a monthly families' get-together and every six weeks there's a more formal event. Who supports families? We have good support from welfare services and a community liaison officer who has been really active on a range of issues from local transport to education. What's the best thing about living in the Highlands? For us it's the great outdoors. I'm most at home in the mountains and before we moved here I had no idea how wild and beautiful this area is. Would you recommend the Highlands as a posting? Absolutely. I think it's a perfect posting for families who enjoy exploring. It helps if you can both drive. I've also been lucky because Lawrence has not been deployed, as a long deployment would make you feel more isolated, but the community here is so supportive and welcoming.

FROM:

Catherine Ainsw orth, husband

Lawrence and Labrador Ziggy

WHERE: Kinloss, Scotland

@ArmyandYou


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Caught in the crossfire M

ILITARY marriages are more likely to end in conflict than couplings forged on civvy street, according to recent research from across the Pond. The study, conducted by job website Zippia, found 30 per cent of those following the flag in the US – where tours can last up to 18 months – were destined for divorce. While no single factor determines the fate of a relationship, readers of Army&You will know only too well the additional strain deployments, frequent moves and integrating a returning partner into daily family life can bring. And in the event that such pressures do become too much for a relationship to bear, confrontation and cross words are often common characteristics of a split. However, putting aside differences in a bid to protect any children involved from the crossfire is paramount – if not always easy, explained Lin Cumberlin, a chartered legal executive at Batt Broadbent Solicitors in Wiltshire. www.armyandyou.co.uk

“A relationship break-up is hard for everyone involved, not least children who are likely to experience a wide range of emotions,” she said. “The breakup of a family unit can cause a significant sense of grief to parents and children who will be affected by the change in their lives and the feeling of loss. “It can be a very difficult time for the grieving parent to cope with their own emotions, never mind those of their children.” Fortunately, the majority of couples going their separate ways are able to decide on domestic arrangements for their children without seeking legal support. “In most cases the court does not need to be involved as the parents are able to agree themselves what will happen when they separate,” said Allen Bailey of Scotts Wright Solicitors in Catterick Garrison. “They may, for example, agree that the children live with one of them and spend time with the other on a frequent basis or that the children split the time with each of them more equally. “Parents do need to remember that any arrangements they may

“A relationship break-up is hard for everyone involved, not least children who are likely to experience a wide range of emotions.” Lin Cumberlin, Batt Broadbent

agree on need to be flexible and may alter over time such as a change in working hours or the children moving schools.” Even when things are amicable, Allen suggests such arrangements are put in writing in the form of a parenting plan [templates of which are readily available online] – a course of action which is also endorsed by Belinda Hunter of Surrey and Hampshire-based firm Wills Chandler Solicitors. “If you have agreed the arrangements in relation to the children you should consider completing a parenting plan,” the chartered legal executive added. “It helps you to put the best interests of your children first and to set out a shared commitment to your children. “Your plan will help you work out the practical decisions about children’s care in areas such as communication, living arrangements, money, religion, education, healthcare and emotional wellbeing. “Negotiating your own agreement can be the cheapest and easiest way to reach a settlement following separation. ›› summer 2018 Army&You 59


Specialists have an advantage The same is true in family law Owls are specialists as they can rotate their heads to see right round. At The Family Law Co we are specialists too; our expert knowledge helps us to see the wider picture in all aspects of family law, including divorce, separation & financial matters, co-habitation agreements and grandparents’ rights. Contact us for specialist advice on all areas of family law.

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“Where one parent is a member of Her Majesty’s Forces, often greater consideration needs to be given to the practicality of caring for a child.” Suzanne Foster, Parker Bullen This option isn’t suitable for everybody but it can work if you have mutually agreed to separate, remain on good terms and generally agree on issues relating to the children.” Court action, however, is not the only option for those who don’t see eye-to-eye in regards what arrangements are in the best interests of their children. Gail Salway, who heads up the family department at Everys Solicitors, which has offices across Devon and Somerset, said: “Parties that find themselves in this situation are now encouraged to attend mediation and a mediation information assessment meeting. “If you and your former partner are willing to attend and wish to avoid contentious court proceedings, then mediation can be used to resolve the issues concerning where the children will live, how often they will see the other parent and how holidays will work etc.” Tamsyn Windle, a senior solicitor at Howell Jones LLP, agrees that legal intervention is not always a necessity. She told Army&You: “Family mediation services can often be of assistance in exploring and assisting the parents in deciding arrangements and as such can be, but do not necessarily have to be, formalised by way of written agreement or court order. “There is no obligation to obtain a court order and in general the court will not get involved unless application is made to it in the event of dispute or because the parents would like an Order by Consent.” Engaging with a solicitor can also often help steer couples from the courtroom, according to Laura Clay-Harris of Howes Percival. “If they find it difficult to speak directly or there are areas they cannot agree on, they should consider mediation or collaborative law, which will allow them to manage the situation between them but with the assistance of their solicitor,” she said. “A solicitor can be instructed who can give guidance and can enter into communication with the other parent or their solicitor. Correspondence between solicitors can resolve matters.” However, should parents ultimately find themselves calling on the courts they will discover a legal system that firmly favours www.armyandyou.co.uk

finding middle ground, stressed Antonia Mee, a partner at London-based Burgess Mee Family Law. “The court wants parents to reach an agreement between themselves,” said the specialist family lawyer. “Even if the parties are unable to reach an agreement with the assistance of their solicitors or a mediator, the court still wants them to try to negotiate at court and the first two hearings in proceedings are dedicated to this. “If the case goes to a final hearing where there are major issues to be adjudicated upon, the court will still want the parties to try to resolve the smaller issues which remain in dispute by negotiating outside the court in breaks from the proceedings.” When a court is required to decide the key elements of access, custody, residence and contact – now referred to as a Child Arrangement Order (see page 63), its primary concern will be the welfare of the child rather than the preferences of warring parents. Holly Mullen of Hawkins Family Law explained: “In order to make this decision, the judge has several factors to weigh up which include but are not limited to: the child’s wishes and feelings; their physical, educational and emotional needs; the likely effect of any change in their circumstances; their relevant circumstances such as age, sex and background; any harm suffered or likely to be suffered by them; and the capability of the parents of meeting their needs. “This can be a difficult balancing exercise but usually the starting point is a 50-50 division of care.” Suzanne Foster – a partner in the family department of Salisbury and Andover law firm Parker Bullen – pointed to parents’ professions as an example of one of the many factors deliberated by a judge, stating: “Where one parent is a member of Her Majesty’s Forces, often greater consideration needs to be given to the practicality of caring for a child – especially where the serving parent may need to undertake deployment and tours of duty.” Suzanne was also quick to highlight that, in addition to directing where a child lives and with whom, Child Arrangement Orders can be used to govern which school a child attends, what surname they should use and within which religion they are brought up. Andrew Woo, a partner at Brewer Harding & Rowe, echoed the view that family matters were rarely straightforward affairs. “There is nothing contained within the law that says that a child should live specifically with mum or with dad,” he said. “The welfare of the child and their best interests are what the court will consider first and foremost ››

Lin Cumberlin, Batt Broadbent battbroadbent.co.uk

Allen Bailey, Scotts Wright Solicitors scottswright.com

Belinda Hunter, Wills Chandler wills-chandler.co.uk

Gail Salway, Everys Solicitors everys.co.uk summer 2018 Army&You 61


The breakdown of a relationship is a difficult time. We know there are additional challenges when one or both of you are serving in the armed forces. Our specialist family lawyers advise on all aspects including: • Divorce and separation • Children • Finance and property • Pre and post nuptial agreements • Military pensions • Co-habitation agreements For a free initial consultation, and a 10% discount on fees* when you quote “ARMY”, email family@howespercival.com or call 0116 247 3564 “Howes Percival LLP is ‘exceptionally good; clients feel reassured about their cases’.” Legal 500 * Discount does not include court fees, counsel fees or disbursements. Terms and conditions apply.

62 Army&You summer 2018

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“It is not expected that a child should make a choice between parents. Children do not always fully appreciate what is in their best interests.” Sophie Key, Howes Percival when determining any decision regarding child arrangements. There is no right or wrong answer as each case is different. “Both parents should try to agree together on where they will live. A court can be asked to decide, but this can be a painful process and the court will only make a legal order if it feels there is a need to and all other options have been exhausted.” Children are, of course, not without their own voice and can have a say in where and with whom they reside. Whether this voice is heard, however, depends upon the child’s age and maturity, explained Lin. “In 2014, the Government made a commitment that, from the age of 10, children and young people involved in all family court hearings in England and Wales would have access to judges to make their views and feelings known,” she continued. “Giving children a voice either in a court room, via a Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service report or via mediation can help influence the outcome of their futures and should enable separating parents to focus on what their children want.”

Although acknowledging that some youngsters welcome the chance to share their view, Sophie Key of Howes Percival cautioned that doing so can place them in a difficult position and cause anxiety. “Greater weight is given to the child’s view the older they are, but each child is different and some are more mature in their approach than others of the same age. It very much depends upon the level of understanding that a child has and how able they are to see the bigger picture. “It is not, however, expected that a child should decide and effectively make a choice between parents. Children do not always fully appreciate what is in their best interests.” Regardless of how good relations are between you and your partner post break-up, Suzanne insists that seeking legal advice is always a sensible option. “There is never a disadvantage to taking legal advice to ensure you fully understand your legal rights and obligations,” she concluded. “It may not be necessary for the solicitor to take any further action and the other side need not know that legal advice has been taken. “Taking advice from friends and family, whilst well meaning, should be discouraged. Your solicitor will have no emotional involvement in the situation and can often give advice about aspects you may not have even considered. Forewarned is forearmed. “Being informed will enable you to make well-considered decisions which could help you to avoid getting into conflict with the other parent.” n

Tamsyn Windle, Howell Jones Solicitors howell-jones.com

Laura Clay-Harris, Howes Percival howespercival.com

CHILD ARRANGEMENT ORDERS Troubled by the terminology? Sarah Plant, Partner and Head of Family Law at Peter Lynn and Partners – a Swansea-based specialising in child law – provides the lowdown on Child Arrangement Orders... Child Arrangement Orders replaced Residence and Contact Orders in 2014. The new order sets out who a child should live, spend time or otherwise have contact with. Is this different to an existing residence or contact order? No. The only change is a single order will be issued rather than a separate residence and contact order. A Child Arrangement Order talks of parties in terms of “the person with whom the child lives” (i.e. the resident parent by another name) and the person who www.armyandyou.co.uk

the child spends time with or otherwise has contact with (the non-resident or contact parent). When the order states the child lives with both parents (albeit in different places at different times), it’s comparable to what was previously known as a Shared Residence Order (as before, times spent at each parent’s home can be different). The same features of the resident parent and nonresident parent exist. For example, a parent with whom the child lives (what was called the resident parent) can take children abroad for up to a

month without the non-resident parent’s or court’s consent, while the non-resident parent (parent who the child spends time with or otherwise has contact) cannot. Existing residence and contact orders will be treated as Child Arrangement Orders. Bear in mind that if you were a resident parent (including a parent with shared residence), you will be considered a person with whom the child lives. If you have a Contact Order, you will be considered a person with whom the child spends time or otherwise has contact.

Antonia Mee, Burgess Mee Solicitors burgessmee.com

Holly Mullen, Hawkins Family Law hawkinsfamilylaw.co.uk summer 2018 Army&You 63


Everys has been providing high quality legal advice for many years. Offering a full range of legal services, including family, children and matrimonial matters, we place great value on the on-going relationships we have with all of our clients. Our range of expertise includes: • Family and Matrimonial • Conveyancing • Employment Law • Buying/Selling Businesses • Tax Planning • Wills, Trust and Probate • Personal Injury • Property, Contract & Inheritance Disputes • Dispute Resolution For more information on our range of legal services call 0800 8840 640 or visit www.everys.co.uk Offices: London, Exeter, Taunton, Honiton, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth, Seaton, Dubai. Authorised & regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No 49465 and the Financial Conduct Authority No 120379.

64 Army&You summer 2018 Army and You ad.indd 1

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Relative success family members who do not need ‘leave’, for example if the child has lived with them for a certain length of time. “When looking at ‘leave’, a court will consider the nature of what they are applying for and their connection with the child. Only if they are granted ‘leave’ will a court consider if it is in the child’s best interests to, for example, spend time with extended family members.” Pursuing contact though the courts is an avenue Belinda Hunter of Wills Chandler Solicitors believes puts a lot of strain on family relationships and describes as “costly, time consuming” and “emotionally stressful”. “Taking the matter to court should normally be the last resort for anyone seeking contact with a child or grandchild,” said the chartered legal executive. Allen Bailey of Scotts Wright Solicitors in Catterick agrees: “Following a break up, the most obvious steps a grandparent, aunt or uncle can take to see a child is to communicate and reach an agreement with both parents. “If the child has had regular contact with extended family members then it is beneficial that this continues. All parties should have the best interests of the child at the forefront of their minds and a child will benefit from stability following a break-up.” Andrew Woo of Brewer Harding & Rowe shared this sentiment: “Whilst the court decides matters on a case-by-case basis, relatives with established relationships are often seen as integral to family life and important to the welfare of children.” n

Suzanne Foster, Parker Bullen Solicitors parkerbullen.com

Andrew Woo, Brewer Harding & Rowe brewerhardingrowe.com

Sarah Plant, Peter Lynn and Partners peterlynnandpartners.co.uk

Imran Khodabocus, Family Law Co thefamilylawco.co.uk summer 2018 Army&You 65

To read more from our panel of legal experts, visit armyandyou.co.uk/category/lawadv

GRANDPARENTS of “pad brats” could have the right to see their grandchildren after a divorce enshrined within law. A change to the Children’s Act, which would refer to a youngster’s right to a relationship with members of their extended family, is being backed by MPs after the issue was debated in the House of Commons. Highlighting the need for a revision of the regulations, Conservative MP Nigel Huddleston said: “Divorce and family breakdown can take an emotional toll on all involved, but the family dynamic that is all too often overlooked is that between grandparents and their grandchildren. “When access to grandchildren is blocked, some grandparents call it a kind of living bereavement.” If rubber-stamped, the proposed amendment would include aunts and uncles having access to nieces and nephews and negate the need for relatives to navigate the current legal process of applying to a court for access rights and for a Child Arrangement Order to be put in place. “Generally, [extended] family members do not have an automatic right to spend time with your children,” explained Imran Khodabocus, an Associate Solicitor at The Family Law Company. “If they are not being allowed contact, they may have to consider making an application to court. Don’t forget, before they can apply to court, there is now the prerequisite that they will have attempted mediation with the person with whom your children live in an attempt to reach an agreement. There are some limited exceptions to this requirement. “If mediation doesn’t work out, then they normally need to apply to a court for permission. This is known as ‘leave’. There are some


Giveaways

One entry per household per giveaway. Closing date for entries is 8 July 2018 unless otherwise stated. See page three for competition rules. Your information will not be used for marketing purposes. Winners’ names and T&Cs are published on the Army&You website.

Click the giveaways tab at armyandyou.co.uk and follow the links before entries close on 8 July

Bedtime buddy Do you crave a calm bedtime for your little one? Award-winning sleep aid Lumie Bedbug promotes a good night’s sleep for children and babies using low-blue light LEDs which combine a reading light, sunset feature and night light. Fully adjustable, the sunset feature creates a gradual transition to night and the light control is smooth and silent, allowing you to easily check on your child without disturbing them. Find out more at lumie.com

We have two of these cute bedtime friends to give away, usually retailing at £59.99.

66 Army&You summer 2018

Wander the waterways From rural retreats to exciting waterside city centres, discover the joys of winding around the UK’s canals with Anglo Welsh waterways holidays. Visit iconic sites like the Anderton Boat Lift in Cheshire, the World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in North Wales, or moor up in destinations like Stratford upon Avon, Chester or Oxford. You don’t need to be an expert – tuition is provided as part of the holiday package. To find out more, visit anglowelsh.co.uk Win a three- or four-night break on a boat for four people, priced up to £845. Anglo Welsh is offering all Service personnel up to 15 per cent off the price of its holidays.

BIRTHDAY BRILLIANCE Wouldn’t it be great if your soldier was always home for birthdays? The Queen of Birthdays can’t change tour dates, but she can change the birthdays! Her handcrafted certificates arrive in a golden envelope and move birthdays to a more convenient date. To prove she’s done it, all the details are logged in an official

ledger that can be checked for free at any time. Surprise your partner, delight the kids, and never miss a birthday because of military commitments again. We have ten certificates up for grabs. You can also enter code ARMY395 at thequeenofbirthdays.co.uk to get one for £3.95 instead of £7.

@ArmyandYou


Blissful babies

Perfect prom Don’t miss this summer’s Battle Proms. Raising money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, these exciting events include a 60-piece orchestra and vintage vocals, a breathtaking Spitfire display and even a First World War cavalry show and live fire from more than 200 cannons. The proms take place at stately homes including Highclere Castle in Hampshire, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and Ragley Hall in Warwickshire. Visit battleproms.com for full dates and venues.

Does your little one wake up when the pushchair stops moving? The Rockit keeps rocking so you don’t have to. Simply attach to your pram, buggy or stroller and its adjustable speed gently rocks your baby just like you would. With your baby content, you can enjoy a coffee, unpack the shopping and even avoid those late night walks to get them to drift off. The Rockit uses a gentle rocking motion to safely soothe your baby. Scientific tests show the vibration level closely mimics the normal hand rocking of a pushchair. Find out more at rockitrocker.com Enter to win one of two Rockits, retailing at £39.99 each.

Win one of three pairs of tickets, worth up to £88 per pair.

Mural makeover Transform your room with a stunning Komar wallpaper. Choose from more than 700 designs – from a magical Disney photomural to brighten your little one’s bedroom, to an awe-inspiring landscape to bring inner calm to your SFA or own home. Murals are available on either a paper or non-woven material and are easy to apply. See the full range of designs at komar.de/en/ Army&You is offering you the chance to win one of three photomurals, priced at €150 each.

Surf in Snowdonia Surf Snowdonia is the world’s first inland surf lagoon and the only guaranteed surf break in the UK. Set amongst the forests and mountains of Snowdonia, learning to surf has never been easier with waves generated at the push of a button – ready to go when you are! Win a beginner’s lesson for two people including positioning, paddle technique and how to catch a wave, followed by a night in a lagoon-side glamping pod with access to a hot tub and sauna, worth £180.

www.armyandyou.co.uk

summer 2018 Army&You 67


Postbag

Something to share about Army life? Tell us about it by emailing editor@aff.org.uk – you don’t need to worry that it will affect your soldier’s career. Please include your name and address. They will not be revealed to anyone outside AFF without your permission.

continuity, not the threat of uncertainty, disruption and instability to children’s development. Why have we been abandoned in this key moral component area? Name and address supplied.

CEA betrayal THE Army has senior officer ‘champions’ for race, gender, LGBT and stammering, but where is our advocate for the harassed minority of families claiming Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA)? The latest Defence Instructions and Notices (DIN) on changes to sixth form arrangements (see page 40) further erodes the established CEA principles. In 2010-11, the Chief of the General Staff and Adjutant General indicated CEA would continue to be

supported. On that basis many committed to be mobile and serve, taking up CEA to provide stability for their children. Bizarrely, the DIN dresses up disrupting continuity of education from GCSE to A Levels as aiding stability. This is clearly designed to cast off claimants in order to save money, but it is in breach of the terms under which key long-term decisions to commit to boarding were made. Continuity must mean

Star letter THE writer of this letter wins a set of four personalised natural edge

68 Army&You summer 2018

Response from Col John Oldroyd, Army Pay Colonel: Thank you for your letter. We recognise this is an area of considerable interest following the publication of the conclusions of the 2016/17 MOD CEA Review. The Army position, endorsed by the Executive Committee of the Army Board, continues to be that CEA supports a genuine need and that it is one of the most significant interventions that support mobility. In this context, I would also observe that the majority of new claimants are not officers – it is increasingly an allowance that is drawn across the ranks. However, CEA is a considerable expense, so it is right and particularly important that eligibility is properly assessed.

coasters from Military Covers, run by Army spouse Hayley Rowley. The coasters, priced £24 per set, are 10cm x 10cm and made out of British slate sourced in the Scottish Highlands.

The recently-announced change to the governance arrangements as children transition into sixth form is part of a refined confirmatory process. It should be noted that there are no changes in the eligibility arrangements and that generous timelines have been implemented to ensure that parents have plenty of time to weigh their choices and reapply. We envisage that other than reapplying, there will be no impact on those who continue to meet the long-standing mobility criteria. Response from AFF Chief Exec Sara Baade: CEA is a cornerstone for our soldiers and families. It’s key for retention, so it’s important that the policy makers get this right. We’re disappointed to see these changes, particularly as AFF was not involved in the consultation process. We will continue to monitor the impact that this change has on families and will use our evidence to try to influence future decisions.

Each one can be engraved with a unit or Service insignia and personalised with your soldier’s name, rank and number. Go to militarycovers.com to see the full range of military-themed items.

@ArmyandYou


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POSTBAG

OPINION A SUPPORTIVE SERVICE I AM Annie Belasco, a campaigner for mental health awareness. Following a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 25, my mental health declined whilst I went through recovery. It was then that I met Sam, a soldier in the Household Cavalry. I started to write and speak about mental health to support families who are experiencing or have experienced trauma, focusing on the impact on relationships. As a serving soldier’s wife, I wanted to contribute to the voice of Army communities and their challenges and feedback around mental health support services. My research was based on feedback from military spouses regarding awareness of mental health support and what they would like to see. I found that isolation and loneliness were the biggest contributors to the decline of a soldier’s partner’s mental health. The participants fed back that mental health is less compromised when their partner is at home and there to support and share challenges. Some felt that despite living in a community, they still felt daunted. I spoke to Daniel Broxholme, of the Army Welfare Service, who said: “We have a complex and varied role which is inclusive of supporting the wider Army family community. “Mental health within the Armed Forces is becoming less stigmatised. I would like to think that within the next 20 years there will be no stigma around mental health and that anyone that needs support will ask for it. We are always here.” The Armed Forces have been very supportive to me, recognising a serious situation when I was in hospital. We were not married at this point, but Sam was able to be there when it mattered most. Thanks to the Army, this made my recovery easier.

Annie’s book Love and Remission is due to be released in June.

70 Army&You summer 2018

Where are the healthy options? IT WAS interesting to read the article Keep your family fighting fit in the winter 2017 edition of Army&You. Although a great article with lots of handy hints for families and soldiers, I was surprised to read about Tracey’s Healthy Soldier Cookbook and the ‘healthy soldier toolbox’ available on the Army web pages. My soldier spent three months in Canada last year and his single biggest complaint was the quality of the food available on camp. From a lack of fruit, to food being reheated from one meal to the next and a general lack of healthy options, it really lowered his morale. In fact, more than once the poor food on offer forced him to travel elsewhere for meals, which, as you know, is no mean feat when BATUS is so far from the nearest town. I would ask that the Army looks internally to its own cookhouses as a starting point for its health promotion. Of course it’s important for families to eat healthily too, but it would be nice to know that when my soldier is away from home he is eating properly and able to maintain a positive outlook. Name and address supplied.

Response from AH Personal Services, Col Nathan Sempala-Ntege: I am sorry you felt that your soldier was unhappy with the quality of food available while they were deployed in Canada. Without details of the deployment, it is difficult to comment, but I can provide some detail on the messing situation in BATUS. Firstly, similarly to those in the UK, all kitchens in BATUS have messing meetings and customer comment sheets available, so it should have been possible to raise any issues at the time. If your soldier was deployed as temporary staff, they may have been fed under Canadian feeding arrangements which do have some differences to the UK and which may take some time to get used to. For example, their policy on messing rates can result in lunch and the main meal being of a similar type. However, the Canadians run a balanced nutritional meal system and salads and fruit should be available at all meals. There are specialist military UK catering staff from the Royal Logistic Corps in BATUS who liaise between the Canadian and UK militaries to ensure that the right nutritional standards are met and also that any feedback is properly considered. @ArmyandYou


We exist to provide a lifetime of support to soldiers, veterans and their immediate families. We support up to 100 front line charities and specialist organisations – such as SSAFA, Combat Stress, Royal Star & Garter and the NSPCC – to deliver help on our behalf. We also make direct grants to some 5,000 individuals, ranging in age from 6 months to 105 years old. Through our network of support, our work touches the lives of around 80,000 people worldwide, every year. Donate or get involved in fundraising at www.soldierscharity.org facebook.com/soldierscharity

instagram.com/soldierscharity

@soldierscharity ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is a registered charity in England and Wales (1146420) and Scotland (039189). Registered Office: Mountbarrow House, 12 Elizabeth Street, London SW1W 9RB, Tel: 020 7901 8900, Email: fundraising@soldierscharity.org

Gary Jamieson, former Scots Guardsman, injured in Afghanistan in 2010, Charity Beneficiary. © Malcolm Cochrane


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Army&You Summer 2018  

The Summer 2018 issue of Army&You, the official magazine of the Army Families Federation

Army&You Summer 2018  

The Summer 2018 issue of Army&You, the official magazine of the Army Families Federation