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Army &You AUTUMN 2014

WWW.ARMYANDYOU.CO.UK

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}

HOME SFA CHANGES INCOMING FAMILY ALL ABOUT MATERNITY FEATURE THE SECRET LIFE OF ‘ARMY BRATS’ GERMANY WE QUIZ BFG’S TOP MAN DIARY DATE LATEST NEWS ON AFF’S BIG DEBATE

BEYOND THE WIRE

HERE TO HELP Meet AFF’s team of caring Co-ordinators

How you can become central to your community

THE MAGAZINE OF THE ARMY FAMILIES FEDERATION

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

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FROM THE EDITOR

ARMY&YOU IN NUMBERS

47

Life lessons

Percentage of those polled in our Big Survey considering buying their own home in the next year (page 9)

T

HIS edition of Army&You is all about real-life stories from Army families. It’s these personal accounts that show what life is really like. We feature two young people who share their experience of growing up as “pad brats” (pages 26-27), the close bond a group of Army wives developed when training for a half marathon (page 29) and a heartfelt and honest account on IVF treatment from a military couple (pages 32-33). As the Army heads for an increasingly settled future in the UK, Service families are getting maternity allowance and more involved in civilian balancing babies with life. Life Beyond the business (pages 22-23) Wire (pages 38-39) and look at geographical investigates the differences in benefits of creating across the Service families education connections with UK (page 36). your community And don’t forget to are getting more and we hear from grab your diary and involved in families who’ve done make a note of AFF’s just that. Big Debate happening civilian life Our Day in the Life on 21 October. It’s your of an AFF Co-ordinator chance to have your say (pages 40-41)shows you – further details on page 11. how we work at a local See you there! level and introduces our virtual support service – meaning AFF is contactable wherever you are living. We drill down to the facts on

13.1 The distance in miles run by a dedicated team of fund-raising Army wives (page 29)

7 The number of questions we had answered on your behalf by BFG’s top man (pages 44-45)

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70 The number of countries around the world in which AFF serves Army families (page 51)

Charlotte

&Army You

AUTUMN 2014

WWW.ARMYANDYOU.CO.UK

On the cover...

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}

HOME SFA CHANGES INCOMING FAMILY ALL ABOUT MATERNITY FEATURE THE SECRET LIFE OF ‘ARMY BRATS’ GERMANY WE QUIZ BFG’S TOP MAN DIARY DATE LATEST NEWS ON AFF’S BIG DEBATE

BEYOND THE WIRE

HERE TO HELP Meet AFF’s team of caring Co-ordinators

How you can become central to your community

THE MAGAZINE OF THE ARMY FAMILIES FEDERATION

aff

@ArmyandYou

AFF Virtual Co-ordinator Hayley Watson and her son Frankie. Hayley is part of our world-wide team working on your behalf.

F

Armyandyou

Picture: Elliott Forrester, www.photoforrester.com

K

www.armyandyou.co.uk

DID YOU KNOW? You can win everything from photography lessons to jewellery in this issue. Turn to pages 54-55 to find out more. www.armyandyou.co.uk

autumn 2014 Army&You 03


CONTACTS

CONTACT AFF

?

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

AFF UK

Find us on Facebook or tweet @The_AFF

CENTRAL OFFICE 01264 382324 us@aff.org.uk

SOUTH HAMPSHIRE 07527 492803 southhants@aff.org.uk

AFF VIRTUAL CO-ORDINATOR 07974 970696 coord@aff.org.uk

SALISBURY PLAIN 07527 492783 salisburyplain@aff.org.uk

REGIONAL MANAGER SOUTH 07824 534345 regmgrsouth@aff.org.uk

SOUTH WEST 07787 301826 southwest@aff.org.uk

OXFORDSHIRE 07787 091883 oxfordshire@aff.org.uk

SOUTH EAST 07733 147001 southeast@aff.org.uk

NORTH HAMPSHIRE 07527 492863 northhants@aff.org.uk

LONDON 07901 778948 london@aff.org.uk

AFF GERMANY

@affgermany

(0049) 05221 297 9644 germany@aff.org.uk

HOHNE (0049) 01522 547 7710 hohne@aff.org.uk

GUTERSLOH (0049) 03221 214 9895 gutersloh@aff.org.uk

PADERBORN (0049) 01520 744 9741 paderborn@aff.org.uk

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

EAST ANGLIA 07527 492807 eastanglia@aff.org.uk REGIONAL MANAGER NORTH 07585 333115 rmnorth@aff.org.uk

YORKSHIRE 07557 977141 yorkshire@aff.org.uk

SCOTLAND 07780 093115 scotland@aff.org.uk

WEST MIDLANDS 07557 977290 westmids@aff.org.uk

WALES 07527 492868 wales@aff.org.uk

EAST MIDLANDS 07587 456280 eastmids@aff.org.uk

NORTHERN IRELAND 07729 159013 ni@aff.org.uk

AFF OVERSEAS (0044) 07795 687930 overseas@aff.org.uk CYPRUS (00357) 2596 2110 rmcyprus@aff.org.uk

@affcyprus

ESBA (00357) 9932 4990 esba@aff.org.uk

CANADA (001) 403 544 4600 canada@aff.org.uk

WSBA (00357) 9789 2230 wsba@aff.org.uk

KENYA (00254) 07198 51834 kenya@aff.org.uk

YOUR AFF SPECIALISTS HEALTH & ADDITIONAL NEEDS

EDUCATION & CHILDCARE

HOUSING

FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH

EMPLOYMENT TRAINING & MONEY

COVENANT LIAISON

07552 861983 additionalneeds@ aff.org.uk ✪ Post generously

07527 492869 ec@aff.org.uk

07789 551158 housing@aff.org.uk

fcassist@aff.org.uk

07799 045955 etam@aff.org.uk ✪ Post generously

07833 448352 covenant@aff.org.uk

sponsored by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity

sponsored by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity

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DID YOU KNOW? You can get your questions answered by the chain of command through our Postbag pages. Turn to page 64 to find out how!

04 Army&You autumn 2014

@ArmyandYou


OUR EXPERTS

OUR EXPERTS

We quiz our experts on what they have been up to over the last quarter. Their contact details can be found on the left, or you can meet them at our Big Debate (www.aff.org.uk/bigdebate).

LUCY SCOTT, EDUCATION & CHILDCARE

KAREN ROSS, HEALTH & ADDITIONAL NEEDS

CAROLINE MAYNE EMPLOYMENT, TRAINING, ALLOWANCES & MONEY

Families continue to contact me trying to find school places, with questions about the number of admissions authorities and help with the appeals process. Information from the Department for Education (DfE) and the National Audit Office shows the demand for school places is increasing. I am concerned that the number of children involved with rebasing will put further strain on the system and add to families’ worries. I’ve shared your concerns with the DfE and for guidance on soldiers moving mid-year, into their own homes, to a different LA than the unit or at end of service.

Together with our Housing Specialist I’ve been working on the additional needs adaptation for quarters to try to improve the process. There’s good news as DIO has agreed to source an occupational therapist for families if there is an issue acquiring one from your local authority. We would like to follow families requiring adaptation through the process to see if it is working. Any problem areas can then be identified and fed back to DIO.

My role is diverse, but this edition I’m focusing on employment. My key goal is to remove disadvantage in the job market for Army spouses and raise awareness among employers to support spouses in the workplace. I deal with both Service and government allowances and benefits and recent questions have been about Jobseeker’s Allowances and Tax Credits. I have been working on AFF’s Employer of the Year Award, while our Jobs&You employment portal enables us to engage with employers to ensure they are Forces family friendly and will take on spouses.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT ARMY LIFE? Meeting new people.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT ARMY LIFE? Magnolia – it’s a blank canvas!

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT ARMY LIFE? Patch life with wild, happy children.

KATHERINE HOULSTON, FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH

CAT CALDER, HOUSING

JULIE LOWE, COVENANT LIAISON

I have been working on an issue for F&C families with one-year passports. In April 2013, Her Majesty’s Passport Office started issuing restricted one-year passports to overseas spouses applying for their first adult passport. In order to receive a ten-year passport, you are now required to return to the UK for an interview. If you don’t, you have to pay for a renewal. Spouses have had to wait weeks and received conflicting information. AFF is compiling evidence which will be presented to the chain of command and Min(DPWV). I am questioning why spouses have to pay when returning to the UK is expensive and time consuming. WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT ARMY LIFE? Free circuits sessions with cute PTIs.

For many years, families have come to us with issues on damp and mould in quarters. AFF set up its own mould database – we gave these results (and there were lots!) to DIO. Elm Hill, Warminster, in particular was an issue with ten families being told that it was a “lifestyle issue”! We took this to DIO and they decided to do some invasive structural investigation. It was discovered that the roofs were failing and water was getting into the walls causing the mould. DIO has now replaced all the roofs on this estate along with new windows.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT ARMY LIFE? Community spirit.

Local Authorities (LAs) have increasingly more power to set their own agendas and policies on services such as housing, education and childcare. It’s therefore vital that AFF highlights the unique nature of Army family life at this level. So we’ve been out meeting chief executives, Armed Forces Champions and council officers in areas affected by rebasing and others with an Army footprint. The Community Covenant enables us to work in partnership with them to present your views. We’ve also exhibited at the annual Local Government Association Conference, which had more than 1,000 delegates! WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT ARMY LIFE? Having friends seemingly everywhere!

DID YOU KNOW? Got an inspirational story about Army life? Share it with Army&You’s readers by emailing editor@aff.org.uk www.armyandyou.co.uk

autumn 2014 Army&You 05


Queen Victoria School Raising to Distinction Open Morning Sat 20 Sept 2014 Admissions Deadline Thu 15 Jan 2015 Queen Victoria School in Dunblane is a co-educational boarding school for the children of UK Armed Forces personnel who are Scottish, or who have served in Scotland or who have been members of a Scottish regiment. The QVS experience encourages and develops well-rounded, confident individuals in an environment of stability and continuity. The main entry point is into Primary 7 and all places are fully funded for tuition and boarding by the Ministry of Defence. Families are welcome to find out more by contacting Admissions on +44 (0) 131 310 2927 to arrange a visit.

Queen Victoria School Dunblane Perthshire FK15 0JY

www.qvs.org.uk


IN THIS ISSUE... 9 A WORD FROM... Chief Executive Catherine Spencer examines the results of our Big Survey

11 HAVE YOUR SAY Find out why you should attend this October’s AFF Big Debate

17 BUSINESS AS USUAL?

CONTENTS

Life beyond the wire As the Army heads for a settled future in the UK, military families are getting more involved in civilian life. A&Y investigates the benefits of creating connections with local communities...

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IPPING into the “real world” beyond the wire can seem pointless, writes Kate Viggers. If you’re posted for a year or two at most, why go to the effort of making civvy friends or joining local groups? But as a result of rebasing – leading to Find your local authority growing stability and increased home online at gov.uk ownership - more Army families are now in a Use community Facebook position to build a life in their community. pages to find out what’s on For those already doing so, the benefits locally are clear. There’s more info on Ex-Royal Signals Mel Amman has set up a Community Covenant Scout group in Upavon and is also planning to initiatives at aff.org.uk launch an archery club. Mel explains: “We feel it’s important to mix because we’ll probably want to settle [here]. Getting to know the locals will make that easier. The Army does a great job of providing services but there is an equally fun and rewarding world outside your camp gates.” Fi Walker, an Army wife from Middle Wallop, agrees that creating connections is key to a happy posting. When she grew concerned about the “disjointed relationship” between the military community and her children’s school, she volunteered to become an official liaison to help families like hers interact with teachers. “I know some tend to stick on camp but for those who married into this life, integrating is a chance to become part of a civilian community again,” she says. “It widens your circle of friends and if you live away from family, local people will be there for you.”

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awareness of issues affecting the Armed Forces and encouraging the serving population to help their wider community. In line with Covenant aims, MCI teams work out of regional brigades to promote the military and address disadvantages for Army families. They support and inform local authorities on education, employment, housing, health and community schemes. “Engaging with the community is not new; personnel have done this for years through homecoming parades and so on,” explains Dr Sarah Wareing, SO1A Civilian Engagement. “We are asking to co-ordinate and be consistent in our requests for support from the authorities and communities in which we work and live. “By understanding issues [like] mobility, civilian organisations can adapt their services accordingly.” Hampshire County Council (HCC) was one of the first to sign the Covenant. Today, HCC is running a veterans’ mentoring scheme, raising awareness of the experiences of Forces children in schools and improving opportunities for the area’s Nepali population. Doug Gould, HCC’s Armed Forces Liaison Officer, says: “Our work improves understanding from both social groups on how the other lives. Forces families make a major contribution to Hampshire’s economy and quality of life; they are an integral part of [the] community.” Mel agrees. “Soldiers and their spouses bring a valuable set of skills and experience that civilians do not have, and vice versa.”

FEATURE A SUCCESS STORY In order to achieve successful integration between residents, planning and commitment is required from all involved. Rutland County Council worked closely with welfare and regimental teams to minimise the impact of rebasing and promote healthy relationships between incoming and existing populations. Visits to Cyprus and Germany familiarised families with their new home; advice was given on schools, housing and employment, along with a welcome pack and discount cards for amenities. Following an in-barracks community sports festival, many serving personnel joined local teams. Others volunteer as councillors, ensuring military interests are represented at county level. Rutland’s employers have also been proactively recruiting soldiers’ dependants. Feedback has been hugely positive. “Our transformation could not have moved along any smoother. “We in Kendrew Barracks truly feel ‘joined up’ and completely at home,” says Lt Col Lonnen. Helen Briggs, Chief

GET STUCK IN! HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY Local or parish council www.gov.uk Scouts www.scouts.org.uk Guides www.girlguiding.org.uk Sports clubs Church groups Parent & baby/toddler groups School PTA or Governor

Community connection: Fi Walker with youngsters from Middle Wallop Primary School

Wildlife Trust www.wildlifetrusts.org Conservation groups www.naturenet.net Ramblers’ Associations www.ramblers.org.uk Book clubs Arts societies www.nadfas.org.uk Theatre groups Youth clubs Neighbourhood Watch www.ourwatch.org.uk Campaign for Real Ale www.camra.org.uk Collectors clubs www.collectors-club-of-greatbritain.co.uk Local events committees fetes/ carnivals Dog walking groups Freecycling/Recycling/Upcycling Historical societies www.local-history.co.uk

Executive of RCC, adds: “I have been proud of the way England’s smallest county embraced the challenges of rebasing and supported our Armed Forces to become part of the Rutland community.” BENEFITS OF BELONGING Behind the wire, the way of life and the neighbours are comfortingly familiar. But venturing beyond could be the start of something constructive and rewarding for military families and civvies alike. Sarah says: “[Enabling]

Craft clubs

MILITARY CIVILIAN INTEGRATION TEAMS While integration brings many advantages, it’s important to remember the impact of a military presence on the civilian population. “Having a camp, large vehicles and troops running around is sometimes not easy for locals,” says Fi. The Community Covenant was drawn up in 2011 to encourage a positive relationship between civvies and soldiers, by improving public

38

What does the new SFA maintenance contract mean for you?

22 MATERNITY MATTERS Our guide on everything from allowances to balancing babies and business

26 PAD BRAT BULLETIN Service siblings Georgia and Harrison on growing up with the Army

personnel and families to be more visible in the community can only be a good thing, to keep our profile high and our unique needs in the forefront of people’s minds.” “Give it a go!” urges Fi. “To mix with a person who has no idea about life as a Forces family is very refreshing. “Civilians are supportive and interested. I have amazing friends all over the country and their brief time in my life has created wonderful memories.” n

54 Army&You spring 2014

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41

I REALISED JUST HOW HARD LIFE CAN BE FOR AN ARMY SPOUSE WHEN MY HUSBAND DEPLOYED

32 PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS Army wife Liesa shares the ups and downs of her emotional fertility journey

35 PREMIUM PERFORMANCE Honouring the state schools going the extra mile for pupils from Service families

38 BEYOND THE WIRE Army&You examines how military families can cement their links with civilians

62

40 A DAY IN THE LIFE Ever wondered what’s involved in being an AFF Coordinator? Find out here!

44 QUESTIONS TO THE TOP AFF’s Director Germany puts your questions to BFG’s top man

53 GURKHA GET-TOGETHER AFF hits the road to gauge Foreign and Commonwealth families’ concerns

61 CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ We hit the road in Volkswagen’s latest camper for mobile mamas and papas

62 COOL FOR KIDS From fun beds to cuddly buddies, A&Y looks at what’s hot for your young ones

64 POSTBAG Your views about every aspect of Service life

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IT IS NOT OUR CHOICE WHERE WE ARE SENT TO LIVE – IT IS OUR JOB

The pursuit of happiness Army&You chats to a Service wife about the emotional rollercoaster of IVF treatment...

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Y NAME is Liesa and I am an Army wife. I am also infertile. That is not all I am. But sometimes I feel as though those two things define me. They shouldn’t, but they do. It can be difficult to concentrate on – or even enjoy – other parts of your life when you struggle to achieve the one thing that other women seem to be able to conquer without issue – having a baby. While we were posted in Scotland, it became apparent that I was experiencing fertility problems. I didn’t have time to waste. I was 38 and I still hadn’t fallen pregnant. My doctor said we should go straight to IVF, due to my age. I was (at that time) eligible for three rounds of IVF on the NHS. Great news! And then we were posted to Catterick. I told myself not to panic. It would be okay. I would just pick up where I left off and start my treatment in England. But North Yorkshire PCT (Primary Care Trust, now called Clinical Commissioning

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It can be difficult to understand the emotional pain associated with IVF

32 32 Army&You autumn 2014

www.armyandyou.co.uk

UNITED KINGDOM HEALTH

Groups or CCGs) did not do IVF for anyone at that time, regardless of eligibility criteria. I found myself still barren, extremely disappointed in the system and with no other options, all because I was a partner of a person serving in the Armed Forces. It didn’t seem fair. My doctor in Catterick put forward a request to the MOD for a review of my case. It went before the Exceptional Case Board and I was granted funding for one round of IVF. Relieved, we met with the consultant and he booked me in for treatment. And then we were told we were being posted to Cyprus. I experienced a horrible sort of déjà vu. I was assured that the military hospital in Cyprus had experience in IVF, so I allowed myself to breathe again. After all, wouldn’t the stress of IVF treatment be lessened somewhat by an endless supply of sunshine? Upon arrival, however, we found out that the hospital had recently closed and the MOD had a new contract with

one of the civilian hospitals which did not include assisted conception. After much discussion, it was finally deemed best to fly me back to the UK for MOD-funded treatment with the consultant whom I had originally seen. Result. While I’m grateful that I received funding for at least one cycle, it was a long process to get there and the IVF was unsuccessful. I have since undergone another round of IVF at a clinic in North Cyprus, which we have funded ourselves. It was successful, but ended in miscarriage. We are going for a third and final round of self-funded IVF, at the same clinic as last time, in October this year. I am hoping it will be third time lucky. It can be difficult to understand the emotional pain associated with IVF. The treatment itself is highly invasive and sometimes painful, not to mention financially crippling. I have been lucky enough to get a job here in Cyprus, which is the only way we have been able to afford to

@ArmyandYou

save up for the luxury of IVF. I did a lot of online research, made a myriad phone calls, and talked to dozens of medical professionals (both in and out of the Army) and met with as many outside agencies as possible to get information and help. I found it incredibly frustrating that we did not get the same access to treatment as our civilian counterparts. I am pleased to hear that the NHS has decided to review and change some of the policies regarding fertility treatment for members of the Armed Forces. After all, it’s not our choice where we are sent to live. It is our job. If you are experiencing fertility issues, find out exactly what help the CCG in your next possible posting area will offer you. Make sure you surround yourself with friends (and family, if you are lucky enough to be posted near them) whilst undergoing treatment. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that one should not ride alone! And good luck to you. n

www.armyandyou.co.uk

IVF AND ARMY LIFE AFF continues to receive many enquiries about assisted conception, particularly In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). Karen Ross, AFF’s Health & Additional Needs Specialist, looks at the criteria and entitlement for different areas and how it affects Army couples… PARTNERS are often unsure whether they are entitled to NHS-funded IVF or what the criteria are for treatment where they are living. Some people have been accepted for NHS treatment in one clinical commissioning group but found they do not meet the new criteria when they move. This postcode lottery has had a real impact on mobile Army families, creating added anxiety to an already difficult situation. GOOD NEWS IN ENGLAND NHS England has realised the impact of both mobility and the postcode lottery. Last year, it released a policy which applies to Armed Forces couples who have fertility problems, need particular treatment or help to get pregnant or are preparing for cancer treatment and wish to preserve fertility. This means that wherever you live in England, if you meet the treatment criteria you will be

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NHS England has realised the impact of both mobility and the postcode lottery

eligible for two cycles of NHSfunded IVF treatment. To view the policy and read full breakdown for IVF eligibility for Forces families living in UK and overseas, visit the health pages at www.aff.org.uk The other issue that AFF is often asked about is being allowed to remain in an area once treatment has been agreed or commenced. There is information on the Defence Intranet on this. Ask your soldier to download the Career Management of Serving Personnel who are accessing, or whose wife, civil partner or partner is accessing Assisted Conception Services DIN, which provides useful information. Couples are encouraged to keep their chain of command informed so that consideration can be given where possible. For more info or to give feedback, email me at additionalneeds@aff.org.uk There are also useful links at www.aff.org.uk

autumn 2014 2014 Army&You Army&You 00 33 autumn

autumn 2014 Army&You 07


A WORD FROM

A WORD FROM...

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

Picture: Nicci Shayler

negative effect l 31% of families have moved three times in the last five years l 72% have had to buy a second car.

What matters to you

F

AMILIES have faced unprecedented change through redundancy, restructuring and the rebasing of troops from Germany back to the UK. Servicemen and women have faced long working hours and the impact on families has been immense. Our June Big Survey, which many of you answered online and through our Co-ordinators, gives us a good idea of your main areas of concern. Housing, schools and healthcare are the top issues over rebasing, with childcare and spousal employment not far behind. l 35% of those who answered have been an Army family for more than 10 years

71% The amount of those living in their own home do not feel part of the Armed Forces family

l 47% told us that they are worse off financially than two years ago and the majority agree that the pay freeze, cuts to allowances and non-serving partner’s inability to work are factors l 76% say that the soldier’s unpredictable working hours affect them getting a job l 47% are considering a house purchase in the next three years l 71% of those living in their own home do not feel part of the Armed Forces family l 65% know nothing about the New Employment Model l 40% do not know what the Armed Forces Covenant is l 43% say that the number of schools or childcare settings their child has attended has had a

There’s clearly work to be done to improve communications with families and help more people understand the changes happening to the Army and the measures which have been put in place to aid partner employment, house purchase and money management. AFF will report all the survey’s findings to the chain of command and policy makers. Keep an eye on the AFF website (www. aff.org.uk) for the full report. ANOTHER CHANCE TO HAVE YOUR SAY AFF’s Big Debate on 21 October in London gives you a unique opportunity to put your burning questions directly to people that can make a difference. Traditionally, your top concerns have been housing, education, deployment and childcare but these are joined by new emerging issues due to defence cuts. The list is in no way exhaustive – you can feed in your questions at conference@aff.org.uk As well as the debate, we’ll also give you a free lunch and a chance to enjoy a wide range of exhibitors, including many with training and job opportunities across the UK. We look forward to seeing you there! n

DID YOU KNOW? AFF’s Big Debate 2014 takes place at London’s prestigious Institute of Education on 21 October. www.armyandyou.co.uk

autumn 2014 Army&You 09


PRIDE • SELF-DISCIPLINE • CHARACTER • SPIRITUALITY • SPORTSMANSHIP • LEADERSHIP • RESPECT FOR OTHERS

An independent school style education at an affordable price The Duke of York’s Royal Military School is a full state boarding academy for children aged 11 to 18. Historically established for military families, we now welcome applications from any student who wants to study at our unique school with its strong military ethos and traditions. The School has recently been graded Good in all areas by Ofsted.

Why study with us? • We are in the top 100 non-selective state schools for GCSE results. DfE 2013/14

• Every student is actively encouraged to achieve the very best

they can - developing their self-confidence, teamwork and leadership skills while living and studying in a friendly and supportive community.

• Our

military ethos, ceremonial parades and Combined Cadet Force will help your child to develop essential life skills including character and resilience.

“One of the strongest parts of the Dukie community is having your friends around you all the time. One of my proudest moments of being a Dukie was watching the school marching band play the anthem for the England rugby team at Twickenham.”

Bryony Y13

• They will enjoy an active independent school lifestyle with

sport, music, drama and activities all playing a key role while studying for their GCSEs and A Levels.

• Our £24.9 million School refurbishment will be completed

by September 2014. Your child will benefit from purposebuilt classrooms, a new Sports Centre, new and refurbished boarding houses, and a drama studio.

For 2014/15 our fees are £3,665 per term. We are competitively priced because you only pay boarding fees. Please call us to arrange a hosted tour of the School.

Open Day, 4 October Contact us for details

www.doyrms.com admin.office@doyrms.com Tel: 01304 245073


AFF IN ACTION

BIG DEBATE

GET INVOLVED For more information and the latest news on the Big Debate, go to aff.org.uk/bigdebate

What’s your question?

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RE you full of questions about the future and whether changes to the Army will affect your family? Are you enjoying or enduring being part of the military community? However you feel about Armed Forces life, the Big Debate on Tuesday 21 October is for you. Register for your free place via the AFF website and come armed with your opinions, ideas and burning issues! Answering questions on the day will be the British Army’s most senior officers, including the new Chief of the General Staff, Lt Gen Sir Nicholas Carter. The Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Anna Soubry [pictured left]

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Come armed with your opinions and burning questions

What? AFF’s Big Debate When? Tuesday 21 October, 10.30am – 4.30pm Where? 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

and many other experts will also be on hand, ready to answer queries and give advice.

OUR GOLD SPONSOR

OUR SILVER SPONSORS ASK AFF If you have a specific problem affecting your Army family, AFF can help. The Big Debate is a great opportunity to see one of our many experts and talk faceto-face about any issues affecting you and your loved ones. AFF Specialists can offer guidance on housing, education, childcare, employment, training, allowances and money, health, additional needs and immigration for foreign and commonwealth families. Join us at the Big Debate and tell us your concerns. n

AFF works for you... TIRED of taking any old job just because you’re an Army spouse? Want to improve your skills? Get yourself to AFF’s Big Debate on 21 October.

Bring your CV for a power hour of employment related opportunities throughout the day. AFF is hosting a range of exhibitors – from employers

and training providers to higher education representatives – to help boost your confidence and get the job you want! We’re putting the

employment spotlight on you – the Army spouse. In the meantime, check out our online employment portal, Jobs&You at www. armyandyou/jobs

DID YOU KNOW? As well as the Big Debate, we hold local AFF Roadshows. Visit www.aff.org.uk for details. www.armyandyou.co.uk

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GRAPEVINE

GRAPEVINE GET INVOLVED

Really useful bits about Army life

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

DEFENCE DAYS OUT Army&You’s guide to some of Britain’s best military museums... MUSEUM OF ARMY FLYING MIDDLE WALLOP Admission: Adults £9, children over 5 £6.50 Open: 10am-4.30pm Military discount: Free to serving personnel www.armyflying.com

Story tellers: The Coffee & Chat members responsible for Army wife, military life

Museum’s family attraction

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GROUP of Army families stationed at Bovington Camp have been working with The Tank Museum to produce a new display on what life is like for Army families. Members of the Coffee & Chat group, who meet to socialise and support each other, got together as part of the museum’s outreach programme to come up with ideas to represent their way of life. This new exhibition gives visitors an insight into what it’s really like to be married to a soldier. Army wife, military life is

SERVICE SNAPSHOT: One of the displays on show at The Tank Museum’s Army wife, military life exhibition

Top tweets Why has a convoy of British Army trucks just gone past me in town? Artillery pieces and the lot! Making me feel proud to be #British

@StefanLukeDone

divided into three sections: Home, which focuses on the challenges associated with moving every few years; Operational Tours, dealing with one of the hardest times for a military family; and Experiences, looking at the many opportunities that being married to a soldier can give you. Felicity Wood, Education officer at The Tank Museum, said: “The Museum contains a huge amount about tanks and the lives of tank crews and it’s fantastic to enrich that story by including the experiences of their spouses and families.” l www.tankmuseum.org

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

I just cannot understand how wife, kids and me got through 25 years of service without an AFF

@old_chap

@ArmyandYou a support from day one and continue to believe in us and little troopers, thank you.

@daddyisasoldier

NATIONAL WAR MUSEUM EDINBURGH CASTLE Admission: Adults £9.60-£16, under-5s free (castle entry) Open: 9.45am-4.45pm Military discount: Free for serving personnel www.nms.ac.uk FIREPOWER WOOLWICH, LONDON Admission: Adults £5.30, children 5-15 £2.50, under-5s free Open: 10am-5pm Tue to Sat (closed Sun/Mon) Military discount: Entry £1.30 for serving personnel www.firepower.org.uk EDEN CAMP MALTON, NORTH YORKSHIRE Admission: Adults £6.50, children £5.50 Open: 10am-5pm Military discount: £1 off per person for serving personnel and family www.edencamp.co.uk ROYAL WELCH FUSILIERS MUSEUM CAERNARFON CASTLE Admission: Family £20.25, adults £6.75, children under 16 £5.10 (castle entry) Open: 9.30am-5pm Military discount: Free to serving members of Royal Welch Fusiliers www.rwfmuseum.org.uk

DID YOU KNOW? Firepower museum’s artefacts cover a 700-year period of artillery history, including weapons, medals, drawings and diaries. www.armyandyou.co.uk

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GRAPEVINE

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

1. Change of scenery The Royal Scots bid farewell to Lothian ahead of their move to Belfast – via @BritishArmy

2. Celebrity reader TV’s Dan Snow engrossed in A&Y while visiting the Army Air Corps ©HQ Army Aviation Centre

3. Royal encounter Prince Harry pictured during a visit to Estonia with 1 LANCS – via @BritishArmy

4. Service songstresses Portsmouth Military Wives Choir members before a D-Day concert – via @Primusprotect

Paws outdoors WITH miles of paths to explore, there’s no need to leave your four-legged friend at home next time you’re planning a family day out or a holiday. The Forestry Commission has sniffed out some useful canine health tips, some great events and many dog-friendly places to eat and stay including motorway stops. Whether you’re after a leisurely stroll or energetic dash the “Ruff Guide to the Forest” makes sure you have everything you need. Click www.forestry.gov.uk to find out more.

Picture: Pat Spencer

Snap shot

DID YOU KNOW?

Permission for your pooch

that their cases have not been dealt with properly. This new right, which will enable all Service personnel to appeal directly to the ombudsman, will cut down on what can be a lengthy and anxious appeal period under the current system. For more information, log on to www.gov.uk

IF you live in SFA or SSFA (hiring), you need to ask your Housing Service Allocations Centre for permission to keep a domestic pet. You can do this when applying for your quarter using the e-1132, or by emailing or writing to the HASC. There’s advice on your responsibilities as a pet owner in DIO’s customer guide Pets in your home, which can be found at www.gov.uk

EARLIER this year, the Queen’s Speech set out legislation for the creation of a Service complaints ombudsman to protect and support our UK Armed Forces. It will give the ombudsman the ability to investigate concerns from Service personnel who feel

Safety site’s seating plan

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HAT IS the best car seat for your little one? The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ revamped website offers advice on the safest way for children to travel. Properly-fitted car seats are effective in protecting children in a crash, but it’s essential that it’s suitable for your child’s weight and size.

The site provides up-todate information on the types of seats available, how to use them, the law and things you ought to know if you carry other people’s children in your car. It’s easy to navigate and mobile-friendly, which could come in handy if you’re out shopping for a child car seat. Find out more by visiting www.childcarseats.org.uk

DID YOU KNOW? You can put your own photos forward to appear in Snap shot! Tweet your snaps to @ArmyandYou

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@ArmyandYou


THE THIRD VOLUME OF MICHAEL PALIN’S CELEBRATED DIARIES OUT NOW IN HARDBACK, EBOOK AND ON AUDIO www.orionbooks.co.uk


YOUR HOME

IN BRIEF

Business as usual... for now For those of us living in Service Families Accommodation in the UK, it’s business as usual for any maintenance and repairs needed. However, later this year CarillionAmey will take over the contact. Cat Calder, AFF Housing Specialist, tells us what to expect…

Keep it clean AFF has received enquiries from many of you concerned about fly-tipping in your area. Here, AFF’s Housing Specialist Cat Calder reminds us all about the importance of keeping our housing areas free from litter… FLY-TIPPING is illegal, an eyesore, encourages vermin and is potentially dangerous to children, local wildlife and the environment. The money and time DIO spends on clearing rubbish would be much better spent on our houses and improving the local infrastructure. So if you have large pieces of rubbish, unwanted household items or garden waste that you want to get rid of, take it to your local recycling centre or ring the council and ask for a bulk refuse collection. There are also companies who will come and take away rubbish for you, but do check that they are a certified waste carrier – if they fly-tip your rubbish you could be liable for a fine of up to £5,000. To find a validated carrier, go to www. environment-agency.gov.uk If you are having issues with fly-tipping in your area, report it to your local council or email housing@aff.org.uk www.armyandyou.co.uk

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HE new contract is scheduled to roll out in Scotland and Northern Ireland in November and in the rest of the UK the following month. Although you may still see some of the same workmen around the patch, the method of working is set to change with a new ethos to encourage a “first-time fix” on repairs and a proactive approach. The biggest change will be that CarillionAmey will now deal with both allocations and repairs. HOW WILL THIS BENEFIT FAMILIES? ✔ A single, free phone number for all issues (repairs and allocations) ✔ More ways to contact the helpdesk including online where repairs can be reported and tracked ✔ Enhanced repair times ✔ Texts 24 hours before all appointments and a call an hour before if required ✔ Improved web page

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The method of working is set to change with a new ethos to encourage a “first-time fix” on repairs

Call MHS on 0800 707 6000 for repairs. For allocations, call the HASC on 0800 169 6322

✔ More Customer Access Points (CAPs) covering repair and allocation issues ✔ Easy-to-use guides for move appointments ✔ Faster turnaround of SFA after move-out ✔ You will be able to submit and track complaints online ✔ Improved satisfaction surveys AFF is encouraged by the new contract and we are hoping that it will lead to an improved level of service for families applying for and living in SFA. As with any change, there’s the risk of issues and we will be monitoring the roll out of the contract closely. We will be a part of the working groups to help ensure that all goes as smoothly as possible. Look out for further information in the next edition of Army&You. Remember that until the new contract goes live you should continue to report repairs, apply for SFA and register complaints in the normal way. n

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YOUR HOME Proud purchase: Vicki and her Army family moved into their own home last year

Where the heart is? A

‘best bits’ of Army life.” FF recently commissioned a report Claire, who lives in Oxfordshire added: “I by researcher Anna Verey to help us Whether you receive a monthly list of events that have been understand more about geographically live in SFA or scheduled or are going on in the area close to my dispersed Army families. your own house, husband’s camp. We specifically wanted to know the reasons you “I am quite self-sufficient – I don’t need any choose to live unaccompanied in your own home it’s important help but would tap into the system if I needed it.” instead of in Service Families Accommodation to have friends “Whether you live in SFA or your own house, it (SFA), and the challenges or benefits this brings. who don’t mind is important to have friends who know how it is The families included in the report had all made being leant on [in the Army] and who don’t mind being leant on. the move from SFA and therefore were ideally “Friendships are more quickly formed when placed to compare the support available. living in SFA so if you choose to live in your own Army&You chatted to those who have made the home, make a point of leap out of SFA and into their getting the details for own homes about what your soldier’s unit welfare support they would like to REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS team. That way you see. have the reassurance of Vicki, who lives in her own l Developing a “Contact Pack” which could be sent to knowing that they’re at house in Hampshire, told each newly-housed military spouse/family containing hand to provide support if it us: “I don’t have any direct useful information of relevant support networks is needed.” contact from my husband’s l More invitations for the spouse to The full report is available unit but if there was a real attend events on base at www.aff.org.uk emergency I’ve got one of l Standardising the military welfare AFF is here to support all those JCCC cards. support system Army families no matter “A business card or contact where you are living, so details of someone in the if you have an issue, do welfare office would be get in touch with us at good. us@aff.org.uk or come to AFF’s Big Debate on 21 “I do go to the social events on the base still, October – see page 11. n which is a nice way to keep in touch with the

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18 Army&You autumn 2014

@ArmyandYou


To find out more about HypnoBirthing, visit www.hypnobubbas.co.uk

Keep calm and HypnoBirth! Inspired by her calm third labour, Army wife Louise Harris (pictured below) wanted to share her experience…

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HAVE three sons – Edward (5), Albert (2) and Henry (1) – and I am a real advocate of home and HypnoBirthing. As soon as I found out I was pregnant the first time, I started looking into methods of natural childbirth. It was almost as if I instinctively knew that there must be a way to have an easy and comfortable birth. It was then that I discovered HypnoBirthing – a complete

education programme designed to bring the art of birthing back to the mother allowing her to summon her natural instincts to have her baby with ease.

Find your Forces forefathers DID your ancestor fight alongside Wellington, Nelson, Kitchener, Harris or Monty? Forces War Records (FWR) may hold the answer. The website contains records of Service personnel from medieval times right through to the present day and has also compiled a library of more than 1,000 publications, some more than 100 years old. 20 Army&You autumn 2014

After our third son Henry was born in our Army quarters last year, I trained to become a HypnoBirthing practitioner. The practice revolves around mastering relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques. Through HypnoBirthing, my second and third sons were both born at home following a C-section with my first birth. HypnoBirthing will transform the way you view and experience birth. n

HYPNOBIRTHING CHECKLIST ✔ Fill pool and monitor temperature ✔ Get drinking water ready ✔ Ensure HypnoBirthing CD is in the room ✔ Keep birthing scripts close by ✔ Have refreshments handy ✔ Prepare candles/ aromatherapy ✔ Make birthing room comfortable and intimate ✔ Have atomiser, wet flannels and ice ready ✔ Make up hot water bottle, wrap baby’s clothes around it ✔ Share your HypnoBirthing book and birth preferences with your midwife

To coincide with the centenary of WW1, Forces War Records has acquired the hospital admissions and discharge registers of more than one million casualties. From field ambulance to stationary and general hospitals, users can trace their ancestor’s journey from the fields of Flanders back to the British mainland. It comprises just a fraction of the original number of records, the vast majority of which were destroyed or have been lost. For more details, log on to www.forces-war-records.co.uk @ArmyandYou


Calling all poets

YOUR FAMILY

Published author Sally Blackmore (pictured) explains how you can help with her latest project... MY most important role in life is as a mum – and more than that, as an Army mum. I am also a poet and publisher. I am working to publish an anthology of 21st century voices alongside those of the poetry of the First World War and I’m looking for your help. I can think of no better way to mark the importance of the centenary socially and in the literary world than by seeing WW1 poetry alongside responses from today’s Servicemen and women and their families. Responses may be poetry or prose, art work, photographs, paragraphs from letters; emails; Facebook comments; tweets from the front or artwork such as as a picture your child has painted. That way as

Legal Aid – are you eligible? Mandeep Gill, Consultant Solicitor, discusses your options… THE Government can help with your legal costs if you are eligible for Legal Aid. In some cases, it is free. In others, you may have to pay towards the cost. Legal Aid covers legal advice, family mediation and representation in court and some tribunals. You may be entitled to help for housing, debt, family, education problems and assistance if you are accused of a crime. You will not receive assistance with work-related problems unless you have been discriminated against. You cannot

www.armyandyou.co.uk

receive Legal Aid for most private family law cases such as divorce or disputes about children and finances unless you're a victim of domestic violence or abuse. This covers psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse. To see if you are eligible, call the Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0845 345 4345 or visit the Legal Aid eligibility calculator at www.gov.uk (search for Legal Aid). To find “Qualifying for Legal Aid”, visit www. adviceguide.org. uk and choose from one of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England or Wales.

many people as possible can take part. I have taught children of serving personnel so understand that they too have a voice alongside spouses, parents, siblings, relatives, friends and neighbours. Once I have gathered some people who want to contribute, I will set up a Facebook group so we can all chat. If anyone in your Army family is interested in helping me with this project, contact me by email at sally.blackmore@ gmail.com l Sally’s collections of poetry, Random and Deployed, are currently for sale at www.behindthehighstreet.co.uk with proceeds going to Help for Heroes and SSAFA n

Beauty&You Make-up artist and Army wife Grace Brown’s top tips on getting ready in a rush… TRYING to put your make-up on when you’re in a hurry? Now this is a skill we all wish we had! You can’t do a full face of glamorous make up in minutes but here are a few tips for when you’re running late! Stila One Step Correct is a great way to achieve flawless skin without foundation. The cream has a mix of peach tones to eliminate dark areas and blue tones to banish unpleasant red tones. I love this product – it’s a must for those busy mornings when you’ve overslept! Foundation can be tricky to blend in a hurry and how you apply it makes all the difference. It’s best to invest in a “buffer brush”. Not only will it give you a natural finish but it can be done neatly no matter how quickly you apply it. If you want to make a statement, a bright lipstick is the quickest way to change up your look. Finally, spray some hairspray on a clean mascara wand and comb your eyebrows to keep them neat all day. Add a lick of mascara and voilà! Who would have guessed that took just minutes to do?

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Making sense of maternity AFF has received a number of queries from spouses posted overseas who feel they have been disadvantaged when applying for Maternity Allowance (MA) due to lack of information, poor advice or because a posting during pregnancy has cut short the qualifying period. Caroline Mayne, AFF Employment and Training Specialist, looks at the process...

PREGNANT AND POSTED – CAN I GET MA? Yes – you can get MA in a European Economic Area (EEA) country as long as you satisfy the rules. These are just the same as if you were living in the UK (you must have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the week your baby is due). EEA countries have reciprocal agreements for certain benefits which means you are entitled to MA if you fall pregnant overseas or, if you move overseas whilst you are claiming. KEY MESSAGE To continue your entitlement to MA if you are posted overseas within the EEA, the last place you worked and paid National Insurance (NI) must be in the UK. I’M NOT ELIGIBLE FOR STATUTORY MATERNITY PAY (SMP) BUT THINK I CAN GET MA. HOW? If you’re working in the UK, fall pregnant and are due to move overseas, notify the job centre as soon as you know as they will manage your MA claim. If you’re already overseas when you need to make the claim, contact the DWP International Pension Centre. WE ARE OFF TO GERMANY SOON AND I’M PREGNANT. I 22 Army&You autumn 2014

MA DEMYSTIFIED There are two Maternity Allowances available. Both types of payment are intended to help you take time off work both before and after the date your baby is due. You cannot get both at the same time. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) If you’ve been employed by a UK employer continuously for at least 26 weeks into the 15th week before the week your baby is due and you’re earning an average of at least £102 a week (before tax) Maternity Allowance (MA) If you’re unable to get SMP, you may be able to get MA to help you take time off work when you’re pregnant or have a new baby. To qualify, you must have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the week your baby is due and have earned an average of £30 in any 13 weeks in the 66 weeks before the week your baby is due.

WON’T BE ABLE TO RETURN TO WORK AFTER THE BABY IS BORN. WILL I HAVE TO PAY THE SMP BACK? If you resign during your maternity leave, this does not affect your entitlement to SMP from your former employer. The company will still be required to pay. There’s no requirement for you to have to repay any SMP or a requirement for you to return to work for six weeks after the end of your maternity leave. If you have Contractual Maternity Pay (such as a company scheme) then you may have to pay this back. I WORK FOR A LOCAL COMPANY IN SHAPE AND HAVE FALLEN PREGNANT. CAN I CLAIM? If you have been working in another EEA country, you may be insured for sickness. If you are, you could claim maternity benefit under that country’s scheme and your UK insurance may help you get it. The authorities there will ask the HMRC NI Contributions Office for details of your UK insurance record. HMRC will send the E104 form on to them. They will usually need to get in touch with your previous employer in the UK. The authorities who run the foreign maternity scheme will then decide using their own rules.

I RUN MY OWN BUSINESS – CAN I CLAIM MA? You must have been paying Class 2 NI contributions, have been self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before the week your baby is due and have earned at least £30 a week over any 13-week period. WE LIVE IN BATUS – CAN I CLAIM MA? If you’re accompanying your soldier overseas to countries outside the EEA and fall pregnant, you may be entitled to an MOD Ex-Gratia Payment in lieu of Maternity Allowance. Information is available on the AFF website – www.aff.org.uk CONTACT AFF We would love to hear your experiences of claiming MA or benefits whilst overseas. We will work with the MOD, Armed Forces Covenant and DWP to improve the processes and policy for you. Email me at etam@aff.org.uk MORE INFORMATION l International Pension Centre +44 (0)191 218 7777 l DWP guide: click on “overseas enquiries and benefits” at www.dwp.gov.uk l www.gov.uk/benefits-ifyou-are-abroad l Benefits and entitlements www.moneyadviceservice. org.uk @ArmyandYou


EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING

IN BRIEF

Proactive parent: Rebecca Stokes-Whittaker used her maternity leave to start an engraving business (www.bestokestokes.co.uk)

Making maternity count Got a business idea? Your time on maternity leave might be the perfect chance to get the ball rolling! Army wife Rebecca Stokes-Whittaker tells us more... THREE years ago, Rebecca never dreamed that she would be a stay-at-home mum running her own business that could easily fit alongside her soldier’s career. But when her new baby came along before a posting to Headley Court, she decided to use her time on maternity leave to get the cogs turning again. “I was all set to go back to work, but after moving it proved hard,” she told Army&You. “So I decided to use my skills instead and start

❝❞ With a little bit of imagination, you can be successful in any area you choose

planning my own business.” The result of Rebecca’s endeavours was Bespoke Stokes, an engraving business which is now flourishing. She added: “I am so pleased that I [started the business], as I can now take [it] with me, whatever the future holds for me and my little family. “With a little bit of imagination you can be successful in any area you choose and potentially find a satisfying career path which fits perfectly with Army life.”

BALANCING BABY AND BUSINESS! ✔ Settle on your business idea – something that fits your skills, experience, goals and most of all passion! ✔ Know your customer – who is your product/ service for? ✔ Check out the competition – think of creative ways to make your business stand out ✔ Manage your time – be realistic about what you can achieve with a new baby

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✔ Create your brand – name, logos and marketing materials ✔ Research business regulations, tax and finances ✔ Don’t forget to ask permission from Defence Infrastructure Organisation if you’re planning to run your business from your quarter ✔ Find out more information at www.gov.uk, www.startupdonut.co.uk, www.mumplusbusiness. co.uk, www.startups.co.uk and x-forces.com

HELP WITH THE HUNT Finding the perfect job is never easy but AFF’s Big Debate (21 October) will have a focus on employment and training. Organisations offering jobs, courses and advice will be there, so bring your CV. Visit stands from HSBC, Serco, Sodexo, CarillionAmey, Cranfield University and recruitment specialist Brook Street and get equipped for work with Career Transition Partnership, SORTED! and RBLI Lifeworks. A special Q&A session will focus on overcoming some of the barriers to finding great jobs – come and hear our panel’s views and feel inspired. Visit www. aff.org.uk/bigdebate or turn to page 11 for more info.

INSPIRING CONFIDENCE LIFEWORKS Families will also be at AFF’s Big Debate, helping you get the job you want. The service is available to all spouses and partners of any serving member of the Armed Forces including Reserves. Take Army wife Gail Wilman, who signed up for a LifeWorks course when she experienced a crisis of confidence after taking up a teaching post in Chatham. With a view to making a career change, Gail was encouraged to write a new CV that didn’t focus on teaching, and the process proved to be inspiring and surprising. She explained: “The course was fantastic. It’s helped me to re-evaluate my life and has shown me that, far from losing my skills, I actually have lots of skills I haven’t been using.” l To find out more, go to www. rblilifeworksfamilies.co.uk or come to AFF’s Big Debate.

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Tools for talent

Three talented entrepreneurs have recently completed the first stage of the Armed Forces dependants’ business start-up programme at the University of Wolverhampton. They’re now driving their companies forward with help from “Supporting the Unsung Heroes”, tailored to meet Forces families’ needs. Here, they share their experiences with Army&You…

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PAULA FERRIS POSITIVE ENERJE

JEN IVES GRIPPY LEADS

CLAIR HUGHES CALICOCLAIR

INTERESTED? ENROL NOW!

Paula has been running a successful business as a fitness instructor, personal trainer and sports therapist for more than ten years. But there were areas that she struggled with, such as accounts, marketing and social media. “I have always known my weak points but have never had the confidence to face them until completing the course. I now have the knowledge, information and understanding to take Positive EnerJe to the next level. “Fitting the course in to my working week was manageable as it was designed to avoid problems families face like childcare, distance and cost. I would encourage anyone thinking about enrolling to do so!”

After several years of developing the idea for a multi-loop grip dog lead, Jen took the opportunity to turn the concept into a reality. “It has given me the opportunity to meet other like-minded people, access the support network and make business connections. “I have made a few sales to delegates on the course, their recommendations are great for promoting my business and I value their opinions.” Grippy Leads has featured at various events, including Crufts 2014.

As a professional nurse it became difficult for Clair to maintain employment, often moving home and trying to juggle shift-work around family demands and her husband’s Service commitments. “When I fell pregnant again I wanted to stay at home with my baby so I looked for new interests. I made gifts for family and friends and received such good feedback that I wondered if I could turn my hobby into a business. “The course has given me the tools and confidence to take my love for crafting to another level. They have helped me to approach my business with a commercial mindset, from understanding my product value to managing my time and marketing.”

Supporting the Unsung Hero is available to dependants of serving Armed Forces personnel, veterans and Reservists at no cost. Run by the University of Wolverhampton, Black Country Chamber of Commerce and HIVE, the tenmonth programme includes an introduction to selfemployment session, a fourday business start-up course and a seven-month individual and group mentoring programme. There is a course in Cyprus later this year and plans to run one in Germany to support families who are rebasing. Visit www.wlv.ac.uk/ supportingtheunsunghero for more information.

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@ArmyandYou


EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING

Encouraging entrepreneurs Army&You meets the Wiltshire women making waves in the world of business...

KRISTEN Smith has built up a healthcare consultancy recruiting nurses across Europe to work in the UK. And she does it all from the family quarter in Tidworth. “If you run your own

business, you set the rules; you create your own dreams. “There’s lots of help in Wiltshire and if your partner’s military job is under threat, knowing there’s a second income can really take the pressure off. “My advice for military spouses who have a business idea is to make the most of the support available. There’s nothing to lose in taking your idea to the next stage!”

THE Enterprise Network’s (see below) Castledown Enterprise Centre proved to be the ideal office base for Stacy Ashton, who divides her time between a busy part-time job and looking

after her toddler. Stacy left the Army after a 13-year career as a combat medical technician. She has set up a training division from her new office: “My son Archie’s nursery is just five minutes down the road, so I can drop him off on the way to work,” she says. “I really love my little office – it feels like working from home, but with none of the distractions.”

BRING OUT YOUR INNER INNOVATOR AT GROWING WOMEN’S NETWORK WILTSHIRE is already home for many of you, and, as Army basing plans take effect, several thousand more families will be coming to the area. The Enterprise Network (TEN), led by Wiltshire Council, recognises the entrepreneurial potential among military spouses and is offering free, impartial, business start-up support, advice and grants.

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Affordable office space, hot desks, meeting and training rooms and “virtual office” services will be provided in and around the Salisbury Plain super garrison area. TEN is hosting a series of free networking events just for women entrepreneurs which are proving extremely popular. See www. theenterprisenetwork.co.uk for more details.

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Forces family: Georgia and Harrison Kent, who grew up around the

military

Pad brat bulletin Georgia (21) and Harrison (18) Kent have spent their entire lives in a military family. It’s something that they’re both incredibly proud of – so much so that they’ve both decided to pursue careers that will give something back to the Forces community. Here, they share their story of what it’s like to grow up as military children…

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EING born into a military family isn’t a decision you make yourself. It’s one that is pretty much made for you. Being a “pad brat” is almost like its own brand; only other children with military backgrounds will empathise with your feelings and experiences. My earliest memories of Army life were at Sandhurst; being five years old and carefree. There are certain elements of the house and estate that I remember; paddling in the lake, military parades and living on a street with lots of children my age. For Harrison, his memory starts in Harrogate when he was five, having recently learnt how to ride a bike and starting school. When you’re younger, being around the military does have its difficulties, but generally it’s easier to make friends and a new bedroom and new school can be exciting.

26 Army&You autumn 2014

❝❞ We have enjoyed exploring places we might never have seen

Now, my brother and I are the oldest military children still “serving” on our patch. Last month we moved from Chester to Cardiff (move number 15). Most friends that we were brought up with in our battalion of the Royal Welsh all stopped being “active” military children some years ago. It’s a lot harder to settle in to an area as older children. POSITIVES TO ARMY LIFE There are lots of positives we feel we have benefitted from. Every new place is an opportunity to start afresh with brand new people. We have enjoyed exploring places we might never have seen and grown in confidence as we have to make friends and get involved as soon as we arrive in our new area. Going abroad and living in Cyprus for four years is probably one of our most treasured experiences @ArmyandYou


SPOTLIGHT throws at you. Many people don’t get the chance to travel or to visit places even within the UK, let alone the world, so take every opportunity you get, do as many things as possible and embrace it. No posting is ever going to be the same.

and has given us memories for life. A PLACE CALLED HOME For us, “home” has always been Swansea, where the majority of our family is based. But I guess that’s not really our family home. Home is just wherever we put our roots for a period of time. The house seems to stay the same but the place changes. As we have grown older, we have started to notice more of the difficult side of Army life. We’ve seen the effect that dad going to Afghanistan really has on our mum, and how people view us as a “split” family. Our dad has taken part in numerous tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, each time harder than the last. Whilst dad was away in Bosnia on a peacekeeping mission, someone said to mum: “You’ll be okay; he will come home on weekends.” It shows that the hardest part of being a military family is not being surrounded by people who are aware of your circumstances – it’s making sure the wider community understand what it’s like.

SIBLING SELFIE: Georgia and Harrison Kent, pictured with their parents, are full of praise for the benefits of life as Army brats

ADVICE TO OTHERS Our advice to other young people living the military life is simply to make the most of what life

FUTURE ASPIRATIONS My brother and I have been overwhelmed at the work the military has done. Our family is not only immensely proud of my dad but also of other serving military personnel. Due to this inspiration, I hope to give back in some small way by teaching in SCE schools abroad. Harrison has always been interested in IT and engineering, so hopes to develop this into a career in the military. Through the confidence we have gained from travelling as military children, next year we are going to teach English in schools in Madagascar and travel to Borneo to work with the orphaned Orangutan project. We’ve talked about writing a book or starting a blog for other military children; old or new. We hope to share some of our experiences, the pitfalls and laughs and maybe support those of you who need it. n

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SPOTLIGHT

Proud moment: Royal Irish Regiment wives receive their Shamrock Half Marathon medals

Army wives strong Camaraderie took on a whole new meaning when the families of 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment set themselves a half-marathon challenge. The team told Army&You more…

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N THE summer of 2013, a group of us started training out on the sports field with the Army PTIs. As the season came to an end, membership had grown dramatically and the pitches were taken over with committed wives pushing out sprints and burpees. “Phys” may be a part of our husbands’ jobs, but for us it took everything we had to turn up four nights a week. BRINGING OUT OUR BEST Out on the fields there’s no rank, everyone’s troubles are left at the door and for that one hour, it was just about us. Corporal Foster and his team soon made us realise that we had already begun quite a journey just by turning up. By Christmas, belief had been born, confidence was growing and it was then that

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the gauntlet of the Shamrock Half Marathon was laid in front of us. The commitment required to train for a half marathon is no secret, but this was a military wives half marathon. Training on dark nights with head torches, battling wind, rain and snow, was difficult enough, but added to this were our absentee husbands who were in Worcester helping with the floods or deployed in Afghanistan. But, we overcame it all; failure was not an option. FEELING PROUD It was a proud and emotional moment when lined up in front of the battalion at the St Patrick’s Day parade. The Killaloo, our regimental song, was piped and cheers rang out as we began the long run ahead.

❝❞ There is Army strong and then there is Army wives strong

As we ran, we worked hard together; giving encouragement when it was needed to keep morale high. As we crossed that finish line with our husbands and the battalion watching on, we knew they were proud but not nearly as proud as we were of ourselves. We raised more than £3,500 for the Royal Irish Welfare team through this challenge. We celebrate the achievements of our soldiers frequently, but just this once it was about us, the silent ranks. This is not a story of the pain and endurance required to complete a half marathon; rather a story of how, when a group of Army wives come together, we can achieve anything. There is Army strong and then there is Army wives strong. n autumn 2014 Army&You 29


Young inspiration YOUNG GENERATION

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my bedroom or where no one could hear me, so the thought of singing alone in front of Gareth Malone terrified me! However, as I learnt the techniques I got more confident in my voice and myself. My first big performance was at the Royal Albert Hall. I was so nervous but it was the most amazing experience. And it didn’t stop there. Within a week we were in London recording Wherever You Are which became the Christmas number one.

ILITARY, wives and choir. Three simple words, but when you put them together they create something incredible, writes Chloe Livingstone. I was 15 when I started my journey with the Chivenor Military Wives Choir and was so inspired by the strength of the women who I was singing with that I started going to choir every week. Their courage was something I admired and it was something I felt spurred on to do from my own experience of being separated from a loved one. HAVING A ‘WEEKEND DAD’ WAS HARD Being an Army kid can be tough and I’ve had my fair share of dad being away from home. For three years he worked away all week at another base, only returning on the weekends. He couldn’t help me with my homework, talk about school or just eat dinner with us as a family. When we moved to Chivenor everything changed. My dad was living with us again and I decided to join the choir with my mum, Carol. At first I was nervous, being one of the youngest members of a choir full of strong and talented women. I’d always loved singing but mainly in the shower,

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I got more confident in my voice and myself

LIFE-CHANGING CONFIDENCE Since then I have gone through school and college but the choir has been a constant even though my father is no longer serving. It’s given me something positive to pursue, something I love and I have another family who I can laugh, cry and obviously sing with too! The choir has helped me in ways I would never have thought possible. My confidence has grown and my insecurities have disappeared. I never thought singing could change my life but it has. I am so happy that I took that step and joined and I would encourage all other young women with parents in the Services to do the same. n l To join your nearest Military Wives Choir, visit www.militarywiveschoirs.org

50 adventurous things... YOU can’t beat fun in the great outdoors… but convincing your kids to sample some fresh air can be a daunting task! Now you can get a helping hand by signing up to the National Trust’s “50 things 30 Army&You autumn 2014

to do before you’re 11 3/4” and embarking on an awesome adventure. The scheme is free to join and boasts activities ranging from building a den and making a daisy chain to the more daring cave exploration

and rock climbing. Get ready to hunt for bugs, catch a fish, make a mud pie and go on a walk in your bare feet. Record your escapades online or in a young one’s free scrapbook – available

from National Trust properties. The more activities your little adventurer completes, the closer they get to achieving their Explorer badge. Visit www.50things.org.uk and get adventurous! @ArmyandYou


24 businessmen

6 film makers

14 in security

45 IT managers

30 in admin

7 lawyers

11 pilots

8 models

22 bar tenders

15 in logistics

3 chefs

24 in hospitality

16 actors

9 doctors

36 in finance

9 armed forces

7 builders

19 teachers

36 students

26 engineers

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The pursuit of happ Army&You chats to a Service wife about the emotional rollercoaster of IVF treatment...

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Y NAME is Liesa and I am an Army wife. I am also infertile. That is not all I am. But sometimes I feel as though those two things define me. They shouldn’t, but they do. It can be difficult to concentrate on – or even enjoy – other parts of your life when you struggle to achieve the one thing that other women seem to be able to conquer without issue – having a baby. While we were posted in Scotland, it became apparent that I was experiencing fertility problems. I didn’t have time to waste. I was 38 and I still hadn’t fallen pregnant, so my doctor said we should go straight to IVF due to my age. I was (at that time) eligible for three rounds on the NHS. Great news! And then we were posted to Catterick. I told myself not to panic. It would be okay. I would just pick up where I left off and start my treatment in England. But North Yorkshire PCT (Primary Care Trust, now called Clinical Commissioning Groups or CCGs) did not do

32 Army&You autumn 2014

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It can be difficult to understand the emotional pain associated with IVF

IVF for anyone at that time, regardless of eligibility criteria. I found myself still barren, extremely disappointed in the system and with no other options, all because I was a partner of a person serving in the Armed Forces. It didn’t seem fair. My doctor in Catterick put forward a request to the MOD for a review of my case. It went before the Exceptional Case Board and I was granted funding for one round of IVF. Relieved, we met with the consultant and he booked me in for treatment. And then we were told we were being posted to Cyprus. I experienced a horrible sort of déjà vu. I was assured that the military hospital in Cyprus had experience in IVF, so I allowed myself to breathe again. After all, wouldn’t the stress of IVF treatment be lessened somewhat by an endless supply of sunshine? Upon arrival, however, we found out that the hospital had recently closed and the MOD had a new contract with one of the civilian hospitals which did not include assisted conception.

After much discussion, it was finally deemed best to fly me back to the UK for MOD-funded treatment with the consultant whom I had originally seen. Result. While I’m grateful that I received funding for at least one cycle, it was a long process to get there and the IVF was unsuccessful. I have since undergone another round of IVF in Cyprus, which we have funded ourselves. It was successful, but ended in miscarriage. We are going for a third and final round of self-funded IVF, at the same clinic as last time, in October this year. I am hoping it will be third time lucky. It can be difficult to understand the emotional pain associated with IVF. The treatment itself is highly invasive and sometimes painful, not to mention financially crippling. I have been lucky enough to get a job here in Cyprus, which is the only way we have been able to afford to save up for the luxury of IVF. I did a lot of online research, made a myriad phone calls, talked to dozens of medical

@ArmyandYou


HEALTH UNITED KINGDOM

iness professionals (in and out of the Army) and met with as many outside agencies as possible to get info and help. I found it incredibly frustrating that we did not get the same access to treatment as our civilian counterparts. I am pleased to hear that the NHS has decided to review some fertility treatment policies for members of the Armed Forces. After all, it’s not our choice where we are sent to live. It is our job. If you are experiencing fertility issues, find out exactly what help the CCG in your next possible posting area will offer you. Make sure you surround yourself with friends (and family, if you are lucky enough to be posted near them) whilst undergoing treatment. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that one should not ride alone! And good luck to you. n

www.armyandyou.co.uk

IVF AND ARMY LIFE AFF continues to receive many enquiries about assisted conception, particularly In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). Karen Ross, AFF’s Health & Additional Needs Specialist, looks at the criteria and entitlement for different areas and how it affects Army couples… PARTNERS are often unsure whether they are entitled to NHS-funded IVF or what the criteria are for treatment where they are living. Some people have been accepted for NHS treatment in one clinical commissioning group but found they do not meet the new criteria when they move. This postcode lottery has had a real impact on mobile Army families, creating added anxiety to an already difficult situation. GOOD NEWS IN ENGLAND NHS England has realised the impact of both mobility and the postcode lottery. Last year, it released a policy which applies to Armed Forces couples who have fertility problems, need particular treatment or help to get pregnant or are preparing for cancer treatment and wish to preserve fertility. This means that wherever you live in England, if you meet the treatment criteria you will be

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NHS England has realised the impact of both mobility and the postcode lottery

eligible for two cycles of NHSfunded IVF treatment. To view the policy and read a full breakdown for IVF eligibility for Forces families living in UK and overseas, visit the health pages at www.aff.org.uk The other issue that AFF is often asked about is being allowed to remain in an area once treatment has been agreed or commenced. There is information on the Defence Intranet on this. Ask your soldier to download the Career Management of Serving Personnel who are accessing, or whose wife, civil partner or partner is accessing Assisted Conception Services DIN, which provides useful information. Couples are encouraged to keep their chain of command informed so that consideration can be given where possible. For more info or to give feedback, email me at additionalneeds@aff.org.uk Visit www.armyandyou.co.uk/ivf for a full breakdown of criteria.

autumn autumn 2014 2014 Army&You Army&You 00 33


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EDUCATION & CHILDCARE

CARING CURRICULUM St Mary and St John CEVA Primary School’s Service Premium was spent on a range of great initiatives including: l Free after school sessions each week l TA led support groups and oneto-one sessions l Forces Choir l Employed a Forces Support Assistant l Purchase of computer software to support the E-Blueys l Deployment board to help children understand where parents are working l Trip to celebrate the return of parents from Afghanistan l ‘Postcard to Afghanistan’ competition won by Forces children who were taken to the Military Tournament and enjoyed backstage passes l A quick guide containing information for families looking for school places.

Cuddles for Cuddles: A pupil hugs one of St Mary and St John CEVA Primary School’s three bears

Premium performance

Our salute to those state schools going the extra mile to embrace and accommodate Forces children

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David added: “It has given me a much deeper AMILIES and schools alike often contact understanding of issues faced by Service pupils AFF to ask us about the Service Premium and how schools can help. We can and should use – the extra funding given to any state elements of this as examples of good practice.” school in England with military children. Some great examples of support included To raise awareness of the scheme and celebrate welcome films made by children, a Forces choir, and share the great ways money is being spent, one-to-one sessions, deployment boards, photo we recently ran our Excellence for Forces Children books, memory boxes and a combat club. Award. Twenty six schools – across three If you have questions about how your child’s categories – made our shortlist but the worthy Our wish is that school is spending its Service Premium, why winners were: the children have not take this issue of Army&You into school 1-10 Service Pupils: Lee Common CE to show how the money is being used in School, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire positive, enjoyable other areas. 11-20 Service Pupils: St Mary and St John and lasting memories Church of England Voluntary Aided (CEVA) St Mary & St John THE WINNERS Primary School, North Luffenham, Rutland The award-winning St Mary and St John 21+ Service Pupils: Carterton Primary CEVA Primary School Primary Church of England Voluntary Aided School, Oxfordshire School impressed judges with what it offers Overall winner: St Mary and St John CEVA Service pupils. Primary School Children can join in the Forces Choir and have Each of the category winners received access to three bears, Cuddles, Snuggles and certificates and St Mary and St John Primary Medals, who are there for youngsters when Church of England Voluntary Aided School their parents are away. The bears have become scooped £500 from the award’s sponsors Sodexo. symbols to all children in school – both Forces and The judges included the Adjutant General (AG) Lt non-Forces. Gen Gerry Berragan, Joy O’Neill from the Service Parents endorsed the school with comments Children’s Support Network and David Fugurally Warm welcome: Carterton such as: “My children benefitted most from the from the Department for Education. Primary greets new after-school clubs. As my husband has been AG said: “I was struck by the level of ingenuity Service pupil Abbie-May deployed for 12 months in a two-year period, I find and imagination applied to the use of the Service it very difficult to do weekend activities with three Premium, and choosing a winner from each young children.” n category was difficult.”

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www.armyandyou.co.uk

autumn 2014 Army&You 35


Geography exam If you are moving between devolved regions there’s specific educational information you need to know to help prepare your child for their new school. Swot up on the differences between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland using Army&You’s revision notes...

ACADEMIC YEAR The school year generally starts in early September and ends in the third week of July

ACADEMIC YEAR The school year generally starts in early September and ends in the third week of July

BIRTHDAYS Children born between 1 September and 31 August will all be in the same school year

BIRTHDAYS Children with birthdays from 1 July until 31 August will go into the year below England and Wales

EXAMS GCSEs at the end of Year 11, AS Levels in Year 12 and A Levels in Year 13 FUNDING The MOD Education Support Fund for Service children in state schools is UK-wide. The Service Premium is available for schools with Service pupils INSPECTORS www.ofsted.gov.uk

TIME AT SCHOOL It’s now compulsory to stay in some form of education or training for longer. Pupils who started in Year 11 or below in September 2013 will need to continue until at least their 18th birthday. There are UKwide opportunities for further education, training or an apprenticeship post-16

EXAMS GCSEs at the end of Year 11, AS Levels in Year 12 and A Levels in Year 13 FUNDING Extra funding is available for schools with Service pupils INSPECTORS www.etini.gov.uk

TIME AT SCHOOL Children can leave school at the end of Year 11, as young as 15 depending on when their birthday falls

TYPES AND AUTHORITIES The admissions authorities are called Education and Library Boards

ACADEMIC YEAR Children usually return to school for the beginning of the academic year in the third week of August and break up for summer holidays in June BIRTHDAYS Those born between 1 March and 31 August, will be in the year below their peers in England and Wales EXAMS In Scottish schools, students sit Standard Grades, Highers and Advanced Highers FUNDING University courses vary all over the UK, but in certain circumstances, it’s possible to apply for free Scottish University places. All other areas have fees to pay INSPECTORS www.educationscotland.gov.uk TIME AT SCHOOL Children can leave school at the end of Year 11, as young as 15 depending on when their birthday falls. TYPES AND AUTHORITIES There are no Grammar schools in Scotland

ACADEMIC YEAR The school year generally starts in early September and ends in the third week of July BIRTHDAYS Follows the same rules as England EXAMS As England and Northern Ireland with the addition of the Welsh Baccalaureate, which combines personal development skills with existing qualifications to make one wider award FUNDING In North Wales it’s possible to apply for funding from the MOD for independent day school fees so your children can have lessons in English INSPECTORS www.estyn.gov.uk TIME AT SCHOOL Children can leave school at the end of Year 11, as young as 15 depending on when their birthday falls. TYPES AND AUTHORITIES There are no Grammar schools in Wales

Some educational practises are the same throughout the UK: All schools are inspected, all children have a legal right to a school place and all children work towards a public examination at the end of school. Service Children’s Education schools abroad follow England’s education system. If you have any concerns or questions about education, contact Lucy Scott, AFF Education Specialist at ec@aff.org.uk 36 Army&You autumn 2014

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EDUCATION & CHILDCARE

Stumped by Service schooling? STARTER FOR TEN... The MOD has a Moving School pack. It comes in three parts – a guide for parents, children’s activity book and schooling history – and is hard to miss thanks to its neon yellow and bright pink colouring! Pop into your local HIVE or email CEAS at enquiries@ceas.uk.com to get a copy. EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE? Let Ofsted know what you think about your child’s school at www.parentview.ofsted. gov.uk The site has a special section on boarding and a chance to comment on how a school helps your Service child.

l SP in Northern Ireland comes from the

Department of Education Northern Ireland l ESF – or Education Support Fund – is MOD

money for schools with Service children to bid for, available for the whole of the UK.

None the wiser? If you need any further info, email Lucy Scott at ec@aff.org.uk

SP & ESF = CONFUSED There’s some confusion over the various pots of money available for schools. Here’s a quick reminder: l The Service Premium (SP) is Department for

Education (DfE) money for Service children in state schools in England

NEED A SCAN? Service Children’s Assessment of Need (SCAN) is the new name for the assessment that will take place instead of an Education, Health and Care Plan in the UK for children with special educational needs and/or additional needs overseas. AFF ASSEMBLY So far this year, the AFF has voiced YOUR views to the Department for Education; MPs; The Directorate Children and Young People; The Forces Pension Society; The Westminster Education Forum; Local Authorities; charities interested in Army families; head teachers and the Ministry of Defence. If there is anyone you think we’ve missed or would like us to meet on your behalf, get in touch. n

The Royal Hampstead Education Fund DO YOU NEED HELP WITH FEES FOR ANY SCHOOL, COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY IN THE UK? The Royal Hampstead Education Fund provides financial assistance to help with the education and training of the dependents (up to 25 years of age) of members or ex-members of the UK Armed Forces. For more than 150 years we have helped to provide betterment through education for thousands of the needy dependent children of members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force. If you require assistance with fees for any school, college or university in the UK, please visit our website and follow the steps outlined to have your request considered by our grants committee.

Contact us through: www.rshtrust.com www.armyandyou.co.uk

autumn 2014 Army&You 37


Life beyond the wire As the Army heads for a settled future in the UK, military families are getting more involved in civilian life. A&Y investigates the benefits of creating connections with local communities...

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IPPING into the “real world” beyond the wire can seem pointless, writes Kate Viggers. If you’re posted for a year or two at most, why go to the effort of making civvy friends or joining local groups? But as a result of rebasing – leading to Find your local authority growing stability and increased home online at gov.uk ownership – more Army families are now in Use community Facebook a position to build a life in their community. pages to find out what’s on For those already doing so, the benefits locally are clear. There’s more info on Ex-Royal Signals Mel Amman has set up a Community Covenant Scout group in Upavon and is also planning to initiatives at aff.org.uk launch an archery club. Mel explains: “We feel it’s important to mix because we’ll probably want to settle [here]. Getting to know the locals will make that easier. The Army does a great job of providing services but there is an equally fun and rewarding world outside your camp gates.” Fi Walker, an Army wife from Middle Wallop, agrees that creating connections is key to a happy posting. When she grew concerned about the “disjointed relationship” between the military community and her children’s school, she volunteered to become an official liaison to help families like hers interact with teachers. “I know some tend to stick on camp but for those who married into this life, integrating is a chance to become part of a civilian community again,” she says. “It widens your circle of friends and if you live away from family, local people will be there for you.” MILITARY CIVILIAN INTEGRATION TEAMS While integration brings many advantages, it’s important to remember the impact of a military presence on the civilian population. “Having a camp, large vehicles and troops running around is sometimes not easy for locals,” says Fi. The Community Covenant was drawn up in 2011 to encourage a positive relationship between civvies and soldiers, by improving public

54 Army&You spring 2014

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awareness of issues affecting the Armed Forces and encouraging the serving population to help their wider community. In line with Covenant aims, MCI teams work out of regional brigades to promote the military and address disadvantages for Army families. They support and inform local authorities on education, employment, housing, health and community schemes. “Engaging with the community is not new; personnel have done this for years through homecoming parades and so on,” explains Dr Sarah Wareing, SO2(A) Civilian Engagement. “We are asking to co-ordinate and be consistent in our requests for support from the authorities and communities in which we work and live. “By understanding issues [like] mobility, civilian organisations can adapt their services accordingly.” Hampshire County Council (HCC) was one of the first to sign the Covenant. Today, HCC is running a veterans’ mentoring scheme, raising awareness of the experiences of Forces children in schools and improving opportunities for the area’s Nepali population. Doug Gould, HCC’s Armed Forces Liaison Officer, says: “Our work improves understanding from both social groups on how the other lives. Forces families make a major contribution to Hampshire’s economy and quality of life; they are an integral part of [the] community.” Mel agrees. “Soldiers and their spouses bring a valuable set of skills and experience that civilians do not have, and vice versa.”


FEATURE A SUCCESS STORY In order to achieve successful integration between residents, planning and commitment is required from all involved. Rutland County Council worked closely with welfare and regimental teams to minimise the impact of rebasing and promote healthy relationships between incoming and existing populations. Visits to Cyprus and Germany familiarised families with their new home; advice was given on schools, housing and employment, along with a welcome pack and discount cards for amenities. Following an in-barracks community sports festival, many serving personnel joined local teams. Others volunteer as councillors, ensuring military interests are represented at county level. Rutland’s employers have also been proactively recruiting soldiers’ dependants. Feedback has been hugely positive. “Our transformation could not have moved along any smoother. “We in Kendrew Barracks truly feel ‘joined up’ and completely at home,” says Lt Col Lonnen. Helen Briggs, Chief

GET STUCK IN! HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY Local or parish council www.gov.uk Scouts www.scouts.org.uk Guides www.girlguiding.org.uk Sports clubs Church groups Parent & baby/toddler groups School PTA or Governor

Community connection: Fi Walker with youngsters from Middle Wallop Primary School

Wildlife Trust www.wildlifetrusts.org Conservation groups www.naturenet.net Ramblers’ Associations www.ramblers.org.uk Book clubs Arts societies www.nadfas.org.uk Theatre groups Youth clubs Neighbourhood Watch www.ourwatch.org.uk Campaign for Real Ale www.camra.org.uk Collectors clubs www.collectors-club-of-greatbritain.co.uk Local events committees fetes/ carnivals Dog walking groups Freecycling/Recycling/Upcycling Historical societies www.local-history.co.uk Craft clubs

Executive of RCC, adds: “I have been proud of the way England’s smallest county embraced the challenges of rebasing and supported our Armed Forces to become part of the Rutland community.” BENEFITS OF BELONGING Behind the wire, the way of life and the neighbours are comfortingly familiar. But venturing beyond could be the start of something constructive and rewarding for military families and civvies alike. Sarah says: “[Enabling]

personnel and families to be more visible in the community can only be a good thing, to keep our profile high and our unique needs in the forefront of people’s minds.” “Give it a go!” urges Fi. “To mix with a person who has no idea about life as a Forces family is very refreshing. “Civilians are supportive and interested. I have amazing friends all over the country and their brief time in my life has created wonderful memories.” n


Pictures: Liz Rhodes

UNITED KINGDOM

A day in the life

AFF Co-ordinators are based around the world and work directly with families, local command and service providers. By chatting to families face-to-face in the community, on the phone, via emails and through web-forums, AFF collects evidence and represents your views to the Army and policy makers. Here, we reflect on a typical day for Jenny, a member of the UK team…

O

NCE the usual morning mayhem is out of the way, I make my way to a mums-and-tots group. I don’t go there each and every week, but I like to pop in once a month. When I’m not at this location – AFF Co-ordinators cover large areas – there’s a noticeboard with my contact details and some other information about AFF’s current work. There were lots of people there, as it was a baby weighing day, and although it was hectic I managed to chat to many Army mums (and a dad), and welcome some new people too. I picked up a couple of enquiries, one I could answer 40 Army&You autumn 2014

❝❞

Jenny works 15 hours each week and covers an area of 300 square miles with around 10,000 Army families

straight away, and one more complex issue. I reassured the lady that I would pass it on to the appropriate AFF Specialist who will be in touch. On the way out I met up with my new volunteer to show him where to update the noticeboard with information about the latest edition of Army&You and details of AFF’s Big Debate – a conference for all Army families being held in London on 21 October. INFORMAL CHATS Always one to maximise every opportunity when I visit a unit, I managed to catch the Unit Welfare Officer for a quick chat and, although we can’t discuss individual issues without a family’s

permission, we discussed the Army’s rebasing plan with many families due to move to the area. We chatted through how the units and brigade are liaising with the local authority to make sure there are enough school places available. I asked if rumours that the local crèche will close are true, and I was delighted to discover they are not. Before I left, I was able to pop back in to the mums-andtots to reassure concerned parents. A newly-arrived mum took a moment to ask me about access to welfare support. Some people prefer to ask questions in private and I always make sure I’m able to take them somewhere quiet. @ArmyandYou


UNITED KINGDOM

V I RT UA L SUPPORT If you don’t live in an area where there’s a Co-ordinator, then Hayley Walton, AFF’s Virtual Co-ordinator might be able to help…

FOLLOWING UP Once back home I followed up on the more complex enquiry from earlier in the day with the relevant AFF Specialist and checked my emails. I was delighted to see that Mrs Jones, a lady who I met last week, has had an offer for an alternative quarter following my advice. It’s always nice to get good news. I also had an invite to a housing meeting; its excellent timing as I’ve been receiving some concerns about fly tipping in the area and I want to find out what’s being done. I had a response from AFF’s Education Specialist, who I had asked to clarify a question about education in France for a family moving there soon. I pinged an email to the anxious mum before switching off for the day and dashing out to pick up the kids! Find your local AFF Coordinator on page 4 or visit www.aff.org.uk for more information. Co-ordinators will use all your enquiries to build up a picture of evidence that AFF can use to lobby for change and improvements to Army family life. n www.armyandyou.co.uk

THE Virtual Coordinator is a new role created in addition to the local AFF Coordinators. The post involves working at a local level, reaching out to Army and Reserve families who live in isolated areas with smaller military populations and locations that don’t already have an existing AFF Co-ordinator. I have now been in this post since April and work 25 hours a week from home. So far it has been challenging but rewarding; one day can be completely different to the next and I never know what to expect. I work with families to find solutions to issues or signpost families in the

LIKE many AFF staff, Hayley has lots of experience of Army family life. “I started off Army life living in a tent as we weren’t married and therefore couldn’t move into our quarter straight away,” she said. “It was only for two weeks whilst I started a new job but it happened to be the wettest summer in history! “I realised just how difficult life can be for an Army spouse when my husband, Alec, deployed to Afghanistan. The constant worry about Alec and the struggle to juggle my career and my little girl, Sydney, was hard.

right direction. I am building up contacts and collecting enquiries via telephone and email every day, which are collected as evidence and contribute to our families’ concerns. I also advertise AFF’s campaigns and events. Every email and telephone call I receive from a family is treated with complete confidentiality. It isn’t easy being married to somebody in the Forces – whether Regular or Reserve – and it’s even harder when faced with longterm separation and uncertainty of what’s going to happen or where your soldier will be sent next. I would love to hear from you, so please get in touch at coord@aff.org.uk n

“Before I met Alec, I thought the Army was just a job rather than a way of life. “Shortly after moving to Dorset, I joined AFF as the South West Co-ordinator and I started understanding this unique lifestyle. I would talk to spouses who were all professionals in their previous lives, trying to work out how they can fit their careers around frequent postings and their soldier’s irregular hours. “I understand how important it is for Army families to feel as though they have a voice, to know that they are not alone and that they are listened to.” autumn autumn2014 2014 Army&You Army&You 35 41


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UNITED KINGDOM

UNITED KINGDOM

Managing moves

Families from 16 Regt RA are currently relocating from North Luffenham in Rutland to Thorney Island, Hampshire. We take a closer look at how the Unit Welfare Office and HIVE have worked together to keep those involved as well informed and supported as possible…

W

manage,” he said. “We’re not moving into an empty camp, so we have to wait until SFA is vacated. The main frustration is there’s a difference between the number of families who are moving and the number of houses available!” The unit has tried to move families with schoolaged children over holiday periods where possible. “Although we’ve warned the receiving local authorities of exactly how many children to expect for each year group, they’re unable to save any places,” said Maj Fox. “They can only deal with each family on a case by case basis. It would help us if addresses could be allocated sooner.”

HEN the move was announced, Unit Welfare Officer Maj Stephen Fox and HIVE Information Officer Vanessa Newton paid several visits to their new location. She said: “We visited schools, quarters and communal facilities; took lots of photos, spoke with the local authority and worked closely with the local HIVE and NHS. “All the information was put into moving packs that are issued to families as soon as they get their new address so they’re able to see what’s there.” MOVING MADE EASY Their united approach has certainly been appreciated by families with many of you telling AFF that: “It was all very straightforward and easy,” and “I found the information on local places and facilities useful.” Vanessa splits her time between HIVEs in different areas, so when she’s not around in North Luffenham, families can access the specially created noticeboards with photos, maps and details on schools and quarters. Families can also pick up hand-outs on things like local bus timetables,” she added. OVERCOMING HURDLES Maj Fox said the biggest constraint is that the regiment is moving over a year-long period. “It’s a trickle feed which makes it more difficult to

www.armyandyou.co.uk

❝❞

Concerned about rebasing? AFF is here to help! Find your local Co-ordinator or Specialist on page four

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Both Maj Fox and Vanessa agree that becoming familiar with the new area is key. Vanessa said: “I would urge any information officer to visit the area that families are moving to – it was a godsend. “We’ve linked with UWOs and HIVEs in Germany to prepare packs for when families arrive here in North Luffenham too. Our transition blog is really useful as families in BFG can log in and find out what to expect.” Katherine Bangurah and Alison Hunt, AFF’s local Co-ordinators for the two areas have also been involved. Katherine says: “It’s great to see units and the community support agencies such as HIVE, coming together to make things work.” n autumn 2014 Army&You 43


Pictures: Maj Wendy Faux, British Crown copyright

GERMANY

Questions to the top

Major General John Henderson, General Officer Commanding British Forces Germany, is responsible for all the services we use in Germany, similar to a UK local authority. Diane Weir, AFF Director Germany, was invited to Maj Gen Henderson’s office in Bielefeld and we asked families living in BFG for your questions. Here’s what she found out on your behalf…

AFF: Why are injured soldiers being failed so badly when facing medical discharge in Germany? GOC BFG: It has been recognised that not all soldiers preparing for a medical discharge have been afforded the support they and their families should have received; steps have been taken to ensure that this does not happen again. In Germany, all soldiers who are sick at home are placed on the Wounded Injured and Sick Management Information System. This system is reviewed by the Personnel Recovery Unit every 28 days, which then engages with units to review all cases and provide expert advice. 44 Army&You autumn 2014

❝❞ I am committed to do all I can to improve the lot of those serving in Germany, right up to the end GOC BFG

Can you look into driving lessons for dependants? The MOD can conduct military driving tests in Germany but unfortunately this does not apply to dependants. Dependants can take a Theory Test in BFG, however you will still have to complete the practical training and test in the UK. If you wanted to obtain a German National Licence you could do this through a German driving school at your own expense. If you pass, it can be exchanged for a UK licence. Can dependants be employed in staff jobs in BFG if they have the right experience? I am committed to offering

employment to dependants where appropriate. There will be opportunities to secure civilian contracts until particular stations close. This will give opportunities to those who wish to settle in Germany to secure work in their chosen location, albeit in the short-term. I understand that spousal employment is important, but unaccompanied service may also be a lifestyle choice as the future Army will be based in the UK and the future is geared towards greater stability. Can those who wish to remain in Germany stay? This is not that simple; there must be a position for that individual and they must have @ArmyandYou


GERMANY

A family of four is entitled to three Get You Home journeys per person. Would it be possible for one person to use more than three from the twelve? The aim of the allowance is to reduce separation from close family, friends and the UK lifestyle that results from an overseas posting. It cannot be transferred to family members, including children at boarding school in the UK, because it is inconsistent with the aim of the allowance. A case has been put to the MOD for a more flexible use of GYH journeys to assist an increased number of return trips to the UK by personnel. Once we have their decision we will let you know. If we sign to say it will be our last move out of SFA, why can’t we have the move to our own home paid for? Not everyone’s situation is the same and the regulations do not apply to all. I advise you to seek advice from your unit admin office. The right to removals paid for at public expense is through an assignment order, although we do have instances in which we can

If you have a question on Army family life in BFG, do get in touch with AFF Germany at germany@aff.org.uk

move families earlier for example medical, welfare or compassionate circumstances which can be at public expense; at any other time it is at your own expense. Can we use our last fuel coupons on the drive home to the UK? Fuel coupons may only be used for BFG-registered vehicles. We have recently improved the service to the

BFG community, including the ability to de-register your vehicle and re-register for UK use prior to departing Germany. I would argue that this is more beneficial to families than the use of fuel coupons for their last trip. My recommendation is to fill your car up before you deregister it. n

Picture: Dominic King, British Crown Copyright

the right skill set. If individuals express a desire to continue to serve in Germany the correct way to do this is through a posting preference proforma via their chain of command. There will be no guarantee as there may be more than one application for the same post and a board will identify the most appropriate candidate. All applications will be based on their merits and where possible will allow personnel to remain in Germany.

From the top: AFF Director Germany Diane Weir poses your questions to Maj Gen John Henderson, General Officer Commanding British Forces Germany autumn 2014 Army&You 45


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GERMANY

GERMANY IN BRIEF WILL there be school places for my children back in the UK? Why can’t quarters be allocated sooner? Will there be enough quality teachers left in Germany? How will we preserve community spirit in BFG? Come to AFF’s Germany Roadshows and get your questions answered. Find one near you: ★ 30 Sep: FallingbostelHectors, St Barbara’s Barracks, Fallingbostel ★ 30 Sep: Hohne-Bergen Community Centre, Seymour, Bergen ★ 1 Oct: Tigers Den, Barker Barracks, Paderborn ★ 2 Oct: Club 47, Princess Royal Barracks, Gütersloh Go to www.aff.org.uk for timings and more info. IF you are in Germany, visit www. patient-wise.de to get information on accessing health services in your area, 24/7.

Adaptations – what you need to know Are you moving back to the UK? Do you require additional needs adaptions to your Service Families Accommodation? If so, here’s what you need to know…

T

O MAKE your return as stressfree as possible, it’s important to follow these steps so that DIO can find the most suitable quarter for your needs: l Inform the HASC Manager as soon as you can l An occupational therapist (OT) or medical report will always be required and in some instances will need to be assessed in the SFA you’re potentially moving to l If moderate- to high-level works are required, an OT may need to assess you in the new quarter. You could be entitled to funding for the return journey for this

Concerned? Contact housing@ aff.org.uk or additionalneeds@ aff.org.uk

l There are waiting lists for local authority OTs, so you may need to access one through DIO/MHS; discuss with the Housing Manager l Don’t book your removals or move-out unless you have a confirmed date for move-in – it can take some time l A suitable quarter should be identified within 15 days. Once design is agreed and finance approved, works should be completed within 12 weeks l If you need to move before the move-in date, speak to your Unit Welfare Officer or chain of command. You can find the ANA SFA process at www.aff.org.uk n

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autumn 2014 Army&You 47


OVERSEAS IN BRIEF

The SHAPE of things to come Earlier this year, AFF Overseas Director Phil Robertson and Germany Director Diane Weir visited SHAPE, NATO’s Europe headquarters in Belgium. A&Y chatted with Phil about the issues they encountered…

IN THE LOOP DID you know that some Cyprus postings are to the island’s capital Nicosia? As well as the six-month op tour known as OP TOSCA, personnel and their families can also be posted to UN BRITCON. AFF and the HIVE held a couple of forums with families recently to get a feel for life in Nicosia. Generally you told us that you were enjoying your time there, but you did raise some issues. Concerns ranged from housing repairs to a lack of transport and confusion over claiming allowances. Those of you with children at boarding school would like more help with getting your child to an airport when travelling to back to Cyprus. CONNECTING FAMILIES Although support in Nicosia is good, the fact that there are only a few families means it can feel isolated. It’s the perfect example of why AFF has recruited a volunteer in this area! Rachel ReesHughes can help by keeping you updated on AFF’s work, reporting issues to the AFF Cyprus team and publicising our events. With Army families spread all over the world it can be difficult to know where to go for support, so if you’d like to become an AFF volunteer in your overseas location, contact us by email at overseas@aff.org.uk If you are in Nicosia and could do with some support, contact AFF Cyprus at rmcyprus@aff.org.uk

48 Army&You autumn 2014

I

T WAS really useful to compare SHAPE families’ views to those of you in other locations like Cyprus and Canada. Many of your concerns apply to anywhere overseas and raising them enables us to lobby for change on your behalf.

Picture: Sgt Emily Langer, DEU Army

MONEY MATTERS Many families told us that their Disturbance Allowance did not cover the expense of their move: “It might be sufficient within the UK, but it is not if you are leaving British shores.” Those with children at boarding school in the UK said that three funded return journeys per year were not enough. Families can be out of pocket if they want to see their children more than three times in 12 months. See Postbag, page 66. DOES THE COVENANT COUNT? We hear lots of talk but not much action on what the Armed Forces Covenant can do if you’re posted overseas. For example, a spouse in SHAPE was refused yearly travel insurance because

she lived overseas. She quoted the Covenant to the company but it made no difference. Another family were refused a mobile phone contract for their son at boarding school because they had a BFPO address. These are disadvantages that families would not face in the UK. Our Covenant Liaison, Julie Lowe, will raise these issues with policy makers, so let us know if you’ve had similar problems at covenant@aff.org.uk FINDING WORK Many spouses had given up work or taken career breaks to accompany their soldier. There were jobs in SHAPE but they were low-skilled; this echoes other overseas postings. DENTAL ISSUES The lack of on-site orthodontic treatment is a frustration to many locations where there is a relatively small community. AFF’s Health Specialist, Karen Ross (additionalneeds@aff.org. uk) is monitoring this. Wherever you are, contact us about Army life abroad at overseas@aff.org.uk n

THE OVERSEAS OFFER Many of you have made recommendations to AFF about how overseas postings can be made more attractive for families. We are working to help make improvements in these areas: ✔ Spousal employment and training support ✔ Get you home package – more than one per year for families in far-flung locations ✔ Disturbance Allowance – to be increased when families posted outside the UK ✔ Armed Forces Covenant – better understanding of how it applies overseas ✔ Fair weighting – overseas posts add value to your soldier’s career as in the UK ✔ A minimum level of information available in all areas pre-posting ✔ Childcare – explore alternatives where there are no childcare settings ✔ Local Overseas Allowance – to ensure it genuinely covers the cost of living overseas

@ArmyandYou


OVERSEAS

Something on your mind? FOLLOWING a successful trial in Canada, a new counselling service has been launched to support Army families, no matter where you are. Army spouse and qualified counsellor, Cat Williams, offers support via telephone or Skype. So if you’re struggling to cope with relationship problems, anxiety or the challenges of living overseas, you can chat to someone who’s had first-hand experience of Army life. Cat’s “Stay Calm and Content” service has been endorsed for families living in Ralston, Canada, where the medical centre will cover the costs via a “prescription” for the initial six sessions. Her focus has been to help people recognise their own achievements in coping with the challenges of moving and living in BATUS. She says: “Once a person’s confidence

increases they become more able to find their own resources to cope with the challenges they’re facing.”

HELPING HAND: Army spouse and qualified counsellor Cat Williams offers support online and by telephone

UNIQUE LIFESTYLE One of Cat’s clients said it helped to talk to someone who is familiar with military life: “At first I wasn’t too sure about telling another person my problems however, Cat understands. “She’s aware of the challenges and issues a lot of families experience here and has helped build my confidence back.” Another added: “Having a counsellor here in BATUS has been a lifeline in this remote overseas posting.” Contact Cat to see if funding might be available in your area. Email cat@ staycalmandcontentcom, call 07799641347 or visit www.staycalmandcontent.com n

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Algeria Argentina Austria Australia Bahrain Bangladesh Belgium Bermuda Bosnia & Herzegovina Brazil

ARMY life can take you and your soldier to some far-flung locations, but did you know that AFF serves families in no fewer than 70 countries worldwide? Here’s our global guide – see if you can sort Kenya from Kazakhstan and Bermuda from Brunei!

Brunei Canada Chile China Colombia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Egypt Estonia

Have soldier, will travel

OVERSEAS

Ethiopia Falkland Islands France Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece India Indonesia

Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kuwait Lebanon Macedonia

Malaysia Morocco Myanmar Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria Norway Oman Pakistan

Poland Qatar Romania Russia Saudi Arabia Serbia Sierra Leone Slovakia South Africa South Korea

autumn 2014 Army&You 51

Spain Sudan Sweden Thailand Turkey UAE Uganda Ukraine USA Zimbabwe

OVERSEAS


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Gurkha get-together Following changes to immigtation and nationality law, AFF has been on the road visiting camps around the country. With Shorncliffe in Kent among the many stops , F&C Specialist Katherine Houlston reveals that citizenship concerns topped families’ agendas...

W

E ANSWERED lots of questions about the new minimum income requirement, how to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), citizenship and the options available when your soldier leaves the Army. Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) was a hot topic for the Nepalese families based in Shorncliffe as many of them were granted this visa on entry to the UK from Brunei and were concerned they needed to apply for ILR.

❝❞

Children of Gurkha families are now eligible to apply for citizenship

HELP FOR FAMILIES Gurkha soldiers are not able to apply for citizenship whilst they are still serving but as a spouse, you’re eligible once you have ILR/E and meet the requirements. This includes taking the Life in the UK and English Language test, as well as being in the UK on the first day of the five-year qualifying period. The good news is that children of Gurkha families are now eligible to apply for citizenship once the spouse has been granted. STRONG FEELINGS At Deepcut, one of your main concerns was the

minimum income requirement, which was introduced in December 2013 for soldiers wishing to bring dependants to the UK or switch their spouse onto a dependant visa. Many of you were angry about the level of income required, especially those soldiers who had enlisted before the rules changed. COMING TO A TOWN NEAR YOU We’re planning to visit more areas in the future, so if you’d like us to give a presentation where you live, speak to your local AFF Co-ordinator – www. aff.org.uk – or your unit welfare officer.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED Do we have to apply for ILR once in the UK if we have ILE? No. The guidance states that “ILE carries the same entitlement as Indefinite Leave to Remain”. The confusion arises because the visa still has an expiry date, which is a requirement for visas issued overseas, but you can ignore this. Do I have to transfer the ILE to my new passport? No. You can carry both your

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old and new passports when travelling to or from the UK instead. If you don’t wish to do this or if you’re having problems with employers who do not understand the rules, you can apply for a Biometric Residence Permit costing £104, which will replace your visa. Go to www.gov.uk/transfer-visa What is the minimum income requirement? £18,600 if you don’t have any children, £22,400 if you

have one child and an extra £2,400 for each additional child. It still applies if your soldier is a British citizen. Can we meet the requirement in other ways? Yes, you can include savings and income from property or investments, but you need to have more than £16,000 in savings. What about Foreign and Commonwealth soldiers who are single parents?

If you have sole responsibility for your child you don’t need to meet the minimum income requirement to bring them to the UK. What can you do if you don’t meet the requirement? Send your details to the F&C team. We’re working with an immigration solicitor about the possibility of raising a legal challenge to these rules. Contact us via the F&C pages on the AFF website or email fcassist@aff.org.uk autumn 2014 Army&You 53


GIVEAWAYS Get set for autumn with this issue’s selection of cool competitions!

Crystal clear CAITHNESS Glass, a division of Dartington, is one of the world’s premier names in glass paperweights and gifts. Each and every piece is a unique work of art individually handcrafted by the skilled makers in the Crieff Factory in Scotland. To mark the centenary of the First World War, this stunning poppy paperweight has

been designed as part of a series of remembrance pieces. It’s crafted with black and red powder colours pushed up inside the clear glass in the shape of a poppy, with rich heather coloured glass melted in behind. Take a look at the full range at www. caithnessglass.co.uk Enter our competition to win a poppy paperweight, worth £42.

HOW TO ENTER Click the giveaways tab at armyandyou.co.uk and follow the links. One entry per household per giveaway. Closing date for entries is 12 October 2014. See page four for competition rules.

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

EXTRA GRIP FOR YOUR LITTLE CRAWLER CREATED by single dad-of-two and serving soldier Matt Bolton, Crawlerz is an innovative new UK brand. Recently shortlisted for “Best New Product to Market 2014”, its range of rompers with incorporated anti-slip safety grip support your baby’s development by providing extra grip on slippy floors. Visit www.crawlerz.co.uk and discover what the expanding range has to offer. We have three £30 vouchers up for grabs. Don’t let this exciting chance slip away!

Become a photo pro WHETHER you’re a novice or amateur enthusiast, Jessops Academy offers a wide choice of courses across the UK from beginner to specialist levels to help you get the best from your camera. It’s a great gift idea as well as the perfect way to improve your own

54 Army&You autumn 2014

photography skills. Courses are run by Jessops’ highly-experienced team of trainers, all outstanding photographers in their own right. Each course lasts a full day (10am4pm) and prices start from just

£119, or £79 when bought with any camera, lens or flashgun. For a full list of courses and venues, go to www.jessops.com/ academy You could win a photography course to the value of £149 (excluding wedding photography) with Army&You.

@ArmyandYou


GIVEAWAYS

Brilliant bravery book FOR Exemplary Bravery, by Nick Metcalfe MBE QGM, is the only book about the Queen’s Gallantry Medal (QGM) and its recipients. It gives a fascinating history of the UK’s non-combatant gallantry award, as well as the design of the medal and how it is made. Filled with stories of extraordinary

bravery, every one of the 1,044 recipients are included along with personal recollections and some never-before-published records. Read more about this captivating book at www. queensgallantrymedal.co.uk For your chance to win one of two copies of this thoughtprovoking title, worth £55, don’t miss out, enter today.

SYMBOL OF STRENGTH LOOK at this gorgeous Stronger Together bracelet from the Military Wives Choirs. Designed by Claudia Bradby Jewellery and made of cultured pearls and silk ribbon, the bracelet features the MWC logo on a sterling silver charm. Five pounds from each sale is donated to the Military Wives Choirs Foundation, which provides funding and support for individual choirs and national projects. Order your bracelet, priced £36, at www. claudiabradby.com Army&You has two bracelets to give away.

Get down to giraffe

MARVELLOUS MARBLES

WHETHER you’re settling in for a weekend breakfast, enjoying a welcome coffee break from shopping, dining with friends or treating the little ones – giraffe is the ideal destination. Freshly-made and reasonablypriced, giraffe’s menu has something to suit every taste. Dishes vary from comforting classics and familiar sandwiches, stir-fries and salads to around-the-world-plates with a ‘giraffe’ twist for culinary explorers. Service personnel can get 25 per cent off food all day Mondays to Fridays and after 6pm Sundays at giraffe with a valid ID or Forces discount card. Find your nearest restaurant at www.giraffe.net You could dine out on Army&You as we have two £50 vouchers for giraffe to give away.

IF you love traditional toys then marble runs, by Quercetti, are for you! A favourite for generations, promoting creativity and logical reasoning, now your little ones can enjoy these fabulous sets. There are eight different designs to choose from, each offering hours of fun experimenting with interlocking chutes, bridges, pillars, and spinning wheels. Visit www. kindtoys.co.uk today and get the marbles rolling! Army&You is giving away a marble run worth £38 to one lucky winner.

Skribbies: inspired by little artists PERFECT for getting your youngster’s style and imagination flowing; Skribbies customisable-footwear can be drawn on over and over again thanks to their unique wipe clean surface. These trendy high-tops have a shiny white surface so your child can alter the look of their shoes as often as they like. Create unique designs using the magic ink pens and funky monster stickers included; simply draw-wipedraw to create a different pair of shoes every day! Available in a selection of colours and sizes; visit skribbies.com today and feed your little one’s imagination. Army&You has teamed up with Skribbies to give away a pair of these cool shoes, worth £39.95; enter for your chance to win these creative kickers!

www.armyandyou.co.uk

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3. START THE DEBATE When you have all finished reading, it’s time to start talking! Decide on a venue, get some drinks and nibbles in and turn up armed with your copy of the book and any questions or comments. Use the list of key themes to get you started, but try to let the discussion be led by your opinions. 4. SHARE Whatever your group’s conclusions, we want to hear them! Contact us via Twitter (@ Armyand You), Facebook (Armyand You) or email (books@ armyandyou.co.uk) and tell us what you thought. We will publish a selection of your comments online and in the next issue. 56 Army&You autumn 2014

It’s very rare for women to become solicitors in the 1920s and Evelyn Gifford is one of only a handful. A clever, talented and intelligent woman, she takes on intriguing cases in the face of relentless sexism.

From brothels to banquet rooms, The Fair Fight is a raucous and intoxicating tale of courage, revenge and female boxing set in Bristol in 1799. This is historical fiction at its very best.

Set in Northern Ireland, this acclaimed debut novel by Michele Forbes tells the story of Katharine, who is caught between the steady, reliable love of George and the passion of Tom.

Independent women with more opportunities than women pre-First World War; morality and defending those without a voice; sexism in the workplace; love – balancing ambition with expectation.

Women trapped by circumstance and society’s rules who strive to find independence; ownership; wealth – men with money vs the men and women beholden to them.

The power of loss and absence; motherhood and maternal love; the Belfast Troubles.

According to the author, Evelyn’s “understanding of every issue provides rich territory and embroils the reader in a tumultuous interweaving of the various strands of her life”.

This story takes the reader straight to the sounds and smells of the Bristol streets. As the author puts it “women were out there beating each other up on stage whilst Jane Austen was sipping tea”.

Ghost Moth has been hailed by Sebastian Barry as “a stellar debut” and “triumphant story”, and described by Roddy Doyle as “clever, unpredictable, beautifullywritten and crafted”.

TITLE: The Woman in the Picture AUTHOR: Katharine McMahon PUBLISHER Weidenfeld & Nicolson

TITLE: The Fair Fight AUTHOR: Anna Freeman PUBLISHER Weidenfeld & Nicolson

TITLE: Ghost Moth AUTHOR: Michéle Forbes PUBLISHER Phoenix

Readers of Army&You can order copies of The Woman in the Picture for the special price of £10.99 (rrp £12.99) by calling 01903 828503 and quoting ref no: PB107; The Fair Fight for £10.99 (rrp £12.99) by quoting ref no: PB106; and Ghost Moth for £6.99 (rrp £7.99) by quoting ref no: PB108. UK postage and packing is free, for overseas add £1.60. @ArmyandYou

SYNOPSIS

2. PICK YOUR BOOK Once you’ve got your group together, decide which of this quarter’s titles (right) you want to focus on. You can pick one or read them all – the choice is yours.

Welcome to the A&Y Book Club. Each quarter we will be suggesting three titles for you to read and discuss. You can take part with an existing group, start a new one with military or civilian friends or even make this a family activity. Pick a book from the selection below and follow the step-by-step guide on the left.

KEY THEMES

1. GET SOCIAL It doesn’t matter whether you want to join an existing club, form your own or enlist family members – the first step in taking part in the A&Y Book Club is to gather fellow readers!

Words with friends

WHY THIS?

HOW IT WORKS

DETAILS

A&Y BOOK CLUB


ENTERTAINMENT

ENTERTAINMENT GLAMPING ESSENTIALS LED Storm Lantern This light source is ideal for camping, caravaning and more.

Campingaz 400 ST Stove The stove’s powerful Xcelerate technology ensures high performace and fast boiling and also features two burners and an additional infrared grill that is perfect for toasting.

IF the thought of sleeping on lumpy ground in the outdoors fills you with dread, Army spouse Carla Glynn has a clever solution; Feather Down Farms “Glamping”. Army&You’s guest reviewer stayed at the Country Retreat Wyresdale in Lancashire with her husband, Wayne, and two young sons…

H

AVING been given a warm welcome from the owners, I approached our “Frills tent” with trepidation, following in the wake of my galloping children. I was delighted to find beds already made up with billowing duvets and crisp white linen, fluffy towels, running water, a WC and, best of all, hot water shower and hot tub. I was impressed by my husband’s prowess in building a fire outside the Safari tent with a glorious view over the lake and lighting the stove inside while the boys decided which of the beds they were going to have. All tents come with a double, a set of bunk beds and the fun cupboard bed, suitable for one adult or two children. After slinging up the hammock found in the

Discovery tent and having a meal, we sat relaxed around the campfire, fresh air filling our lungs, listening to the sheep and cows in the fields as the sun set over the trees and we planned our adventure for the following day. After an exquisitely restful

sleep, the morning cuppa took a little longer than usual on the stove (all logs and kindling are provided), but we used the time collecting pine cones and watching geese on the lake before walking to hire a boat for a day on the water and an adventure in the woods. A trip up to the manor house to the Apple Store café during your stay is an absolute must for handsome cake portions, afternoon tea or their doorstop cheese on toast with homemade chutney. Cakes are baked by the lady of the manor and there is a large area for the kids to play. If you want to get “off garrison” and back-to-basics with some home comforts, this is the place for you. I am fully converted – sign me up for the next trip! n

Everything you need for civilised alfresco dining! The Summerhouse Picnic Pack has a built-in coolbag, detachable bottle holder, blanket, cutlery and crockery.

Outwell Miramar Summer Hammock This classy hammock has easy-folding steel frames and strong polyester fabric. It also comes with a carrybag for easy storage and portability. Perfect for camping, a garden party or day out at the beach.

Outwell Miramar SoulPad 4000-Ease Tent One of the easiest SoulPad tents to pitch, it holds its shape well and looks great every time.

All items available from Cotswold Outdoor (www. cotswoldoutdoor.com) with a 15 per cent Armed Forces discount*

l www.featherdown.co.uk

GET INVOLVED! Want to write a review for Army&You? Send an email to reviews@armyandyou.co.uk for more details. www.armyandyou.co.uk

autumn 2014 Army&You 57

*NOT TO BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH ANY OTHER OFFER OR DISCOUNT. ONLY VALID WITH PROOF OF IDENTIFICATION IN-STORE OR BY QUOTING THE DISCOUNT CODE ONLINE. INCREASE ONLY APPLIES TO 10% DISCOUNT CODES.

Happy glampers

Summerhouse Four-Person Picnic Pack


GRAPE EXPECTATIONS Army&You talks cadets, courting and Chianti with world-renowned wine expert Oz Clarke

WHAT connections do you have with the Army? My father and mother met when they were both serving with the Army Medical Corps in Burma and that meant there was always an appreciation of the military in our household. When you are growing up, your view of the Army can be considerably tainted or strengthened by your parents and mine appreciated it enormously. I personally found the mixture of discipline and creativity very interesting. I was then in charge of the Cadet Corps at my school. When CCF loomed, half of your friends spent an age thinking how they could get out of it, but I just took it seriously and thought how I could get the 58 Army&You autumn 2014

most out of it. I enjoyed my time, although I did once aim a pistol at a visiting general on the bluffs at Canterbury where we did a lot of our training! My brother was in the Coldstream Guards and served for three tours in Northern Ireland. He is still in contact with them now and uses them with youth clubs he is involved with. He finds that if he can get the RSM to give the kids a day of hard yakka it can be amazing how many of them it can have a positive effect on. How did you get into the world of wine? I fell into it – as much as anything it was a desire to find sex! I went to university with very few shillings in my pocket,

but having read too much Evelyn Waugh I was convinced that the life of gilded youth was mine for the taking. I thought music and acting might be an option, but there was also a wine society which was subsidised. For £2 per term I could go to four tastings and take a guest to each one and I thought that being sophisticated about wine would be a great way to attract women. My first date was with a girl called Francesca. I

put on my best t-shirt and jeans and she turned up with green clothes, green sequins on her face and green body paint on pretty much all of the rest of her. We arrived at the tasting to be met by a man in a pinstriped suit and a room full of more people in suits and Francesca probably thought she had been set up. I didn’t get a second date from any of my first four tastings, but I can still recall the first evening when they brought the last wine out. @ArmyandYou


ARMY&ME THREE WINE MEN: Oz Clarke (far left), Tim Atkin and Olly Smith are on a mission to bring wine tasting to the masses with their popular tour.

English wine-tasting team and that I should join up. I had to ask the director for an afternoon off from rehearsals so that I could travel down to London and taste wine. It was probably the only time he has ever had that request! I got in to the team and we threw out a challenge that we would go around the world, competing in different countries and tasting their own wines. We went to Germany, France, Italy the USA – and we kept winning. Because I was acting at the time, the newspapers loved it and there were always front pages of me celebrating our wins in whichever role I was in. There was one picture of me holding a glass of wine as General Perón in Evita – probably the last time I wore a military uniform!

It was a Bordeaux from 1962 and to this day I can remember the flavours. There was this amazing smell of cigar boxes and blackcurrant and I found myself thinking that I should take this seriously. It was from there that I met my good friend Charles Metcalfe and between us we tried to get all of the “hoorays” out of the wine tasting society. I had played county cricket, and Oxford hockey, but there was always someone better than me. I eventually decided that becoming an expert wine taster was the way to go.

Can anyone be a wine connoisseur? Most of us can do it if we are able to tell the difference between a good cup of tea and a bad one or a Costa and a Starbucks coffee. You could even do it if you can tell the difference between a banana and a haddock! Some people have bad palates and will find it difficult, but that’s not the case with the majority. If you have an interest in flavours you can have a go at wine tasting. The real ability is to be able to put it all into words – that isn’t easy and it’s something that some of the best wine tasters struggle with.

Did you ever think of working for a wine producer? People were asking if I wanted to join the wine trade, but it didn’t appeal to me. It was badly paid, old-fashioned and filled with the sons of the minor gentry. Instead, I went off and became an actor and singer. It was while I was doing a performance of Dracula in Sheffield that Charles got in touch and said there was an

Does a higher price guarantee a higher-quality wine? It’s not a case of the more you spend, the better the wine. You should be able to get good stuff at low-end prices – supermarkets do own-brand bottles for around £5, so it’s worth looking at Beaujolais and Temperanillos. If I can make one plea to your readers it would be to avoid the half-price offers that

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supermarkets run where a bottle will be sold for £5 rather than £10. They might suggest that the prices have been dropped down, but in reality they are artificial. You’re better off going for an own-label wine that doesn’t have the marketing costs associated with it. How can you make the most of your wine-buying buck? I suggest looking at areas that perhaps aren’t as popular as the likes of Italy and France. Consider a Hungarian or Romanian wine and you might find that the grapes are better and you don’t have to pay extra pounds because of where in the world it is from. Portugal is also not as popular as it should be – the flavours are excellent. A single-vineyard Vinho Verde can be sharp, snappy and tip-top. If you buy a cheap bottle, you might find that it’s a bit rough – a £5 bottle of Chianti might be thin, for example. But from Spain you can get offers for Riojas which, if you like it, you can start trading up from a £6 to an £8 to a £12 bottle. If you like sherry, it is one of the cheapest wines on the market despite being difficult to produce. A proper one can contain wine that is 10-15 years old and cost as little as £10. Tell us about the Three Wine Men tour. What we try to do is give the public the kind of opportunity that the three of us get several times a week – to go into a room full of wine producers and taste an entire range of wines with no pressure. There are wines from every corner of the world and the people there are ordinary drinkers who are used to going to a supermarket or wine merchant, getting a choice of 10-12 wines and feeling pressured into buying. We offer 2-300 wines from Romania, Croatia and Macedonia through to

Australia, Chile, France and Italy. All we ask is that you come with a open mind and overcome any prejudices by trying something you perhaps had never thought of before. There’s an air of social pretension and nervousness about wine and I have always tried to stop that. With Three Wine Men, you can go in unthreatened and try any wine you want – that is the reason people are there. I haven’t come across a single person who felt out of their depth and it’s really like being invited to a big party. What is your favourite tipple? Right now I might say a Bloody Mary, but another time it could be a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a juicy Rhone Valley red. There is an astoundingly good selection of ales available at the moment and cider is catching up too. It all depends on lots of factors from your mood to the weather. The unpredictability of wine life is what continues to thrill me – life’s too interesting to always tread the same path. n

WIN: A DATE WITH THE THREE WINE MEN Fancy a festive tipple? Come and join the Three Wine Men this November and December for a sensational wine-tasting experience. Oz, Olly and Tim are on a mission to get us enjoying new wines alongside delicious food. Whether you’re an expert, enthusiast or just enjoy the occasional slurp – grab a glass and get tasting from the hundreds of wines exhibited at the show. Visit www.threewinemen.co.uk for dates, venues and prices. l Army&You has a pair of tickets worth £50 for the Christmas tasting taking place in either Manchester or London. To be in with a chance of winning, follow the instructions on page 54 stating your preferred venue or log on to the Army&You website at www.armyandyou.co.uk Entrants must be 18 or over and usual rules apply.

autumn 2014 Army&You 59


CHOOSE FROM OVER 50,000 PRODUCTS AND 250 TOP OUTDOOR BRANDS At Cotswold Outdoor we know that time with the family is precious. Make the most of the outdoors this season with our fantastic range of outdoor clothing and equipment. Whether you are heading off to the forest for a family walking trip or out to the lakes for the day, we have everything you need for your next adventure.

THE NORTH FACE GIRLS RESOLVE REFLECTIVE JACKET

Visit one of our nationwide stores today and choose from our great range of in-store products and services to get the whole family kitted out this summer. Alternatively, you can visit COTSWOLDOUTDOOR.COM and take advantage of a vast range of products as well as extended online ranges from a number of top brands including The North Face, Berghaus, Haglöfs and Rab.

15% OFF

FOR ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL*

WE’VE RAISED OUR DISCOUNT* FOR ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL TO 15% AND CONTINUE TO OFFER VAT FREE DELIVERY TO ELIGIBLE BFPO ADDRESSES.

Planning a day trip? We have some great kit to help you stay protected outdoors. The North Face Resolve Reflective jacket for children is a fully waterproof and breathable jacket, perfect for helping the kids carry on enjoying themselves even in the rain.

The Haglöfs Corker X small 5L Rucksack is an innovative daypack with a smart side-door opening for easy access. It takes the weight off your shoulders whilst allowing the kids to bring all the toys and games they need.

INCREASED DISCOUNT

HAGLÖFS CORKER X SMALL 5L RUCKSACK

Our price match promise also means that if you find a product that we sell cheaper and immediately available anywhere else in the UK, we will match that price or refund the difference on the spot.**

INCREDIBLE VALUE. EXPERT ADVICE. KIT YOU CAN TRUST.

STORES NATIONWIDE | COTSWOLDOUTDOOR.COM *Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Only valid with proof of identification in-store or online by quoting the discount code. Increase only applies to 10% discount codes. **Visit COTSWOLDOUTDOOR.COM for details

WEB ONLY


MOTORING

MOTORING REVIEW: CALIFORNIA SE

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Army&You took to the wheel of the California 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion Techology 140 PS pictured below.

California dreamin’

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RITING objectively is rarely easy but when your subject matter spares you the strife of pitching a tent, provides a comfortable seat in the sun and serves up a chilled beer, it is nigh on impossible. In short, those looking for a rounded review of Volkswagen’s California SE campervan should avert their gaze. Easily influenced? Perhaps, but in defence of this reluctant camper, there is very little not to like about this nextgeneration recreational vehicle. Yes, the California’s squared exterior lacks the charm of its classic predecessor and its price tag of circa £45,000 may leave some wincing, but the act of sliding open the campervan’s side door reveals an Aladdin’s cave of design ingenuity. While the most noticeable features are those which set the California apart from your average family runaround – namely a kitchen complete with fridge,

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gas cooker and sink; two double beds and an electronically-powered pop-up roof – it is the attention to detail and hidden extras that really impress. Volkswagen has utilised every inch of space to deliver a practical and comfortable vehicle in which to explore the great outdoors. Integral window blinds, deckchairs stowed in the rear tailgate, cleverly-concealed tables and cavernous cupboards combine to create a clutter-free living area without compromising on the necessities for a weekend away. Further enhancing the campervan’s “glamping” credentials are a raft of hitech extras. Spotlights and a striplight provide illumination at night while a programmable heating system – running off its own battery – ensures none of the California’s inhabitants will be left shivering in their sleeping bags. There is also an AC inverter with a 230V socket that can power electrical equipment up to 150W without the

need to connect to the external mains hook-up. Those accustomed to the rigmarole of roll mats and the risk of relationship rifts that comes with unpacking and repacking a tent will immediately recognise the principal benefits of the California as being the ease and speed in which you can set up camp. Within minutes of pulling on the handbrake, the roof can be raised, awning deployed and beds made. Quite simply superb stationary, the California is not short on quality when it comes to hitting the road either. Economical and surprisingly maneuverable, it certainly beats taking a “walk on a winter’s day”.

Design Performance Value Overall rating

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RETAIL THERAPY

Sleep in style FED up with battling flat-pack furniture that comes with nonsense instructions, missing pieces and assembly techniques that would put an engineer to the test? If so, Legare’s new range of Easy Fit Kids’ Beds may be the just the ticket. Available in fun themes including surfing, princesses and frogs, each of the beds can be put together in just three minutes

– and best of all, no tools are required! The incredibly-strong tab/slot design is the secret behind the quick assembly, while the lack of screws means the beds can be disassembled with just as little fuss – perfect for Army families on the move. l For more information, visit www.cuckooland.com

COOL CARRIERS BRITISH brand Cuties and Pals’ colourful suitcases and backpacks provide the perfect solution for coordination-conscious children. The Cuties in question, including Cazbi the Bee, Pupster the Dalmation and Chico the Chick (pictured below), adorn options such as hard-shell suitcases and school backpacks. Prices range from £5.99 for a string bag to £69.99 for a hard-shell. l www.cutiesandpals.co.uk

£299

£279

£279

BEST BUDDIES

VIEWERS of Dragon’s Den may recognise the cute line-up of cuddly creatures below as the BoBo Buddies. Aside from their obvious good looks, each of the adorable animals is actually a children’s backpack containing a cosy blanket for your little one to wrap up in. From Raffy the giraffe to Mungo the monkey, each BoBo Buddy is fitted with elastic straps to make them easily wearable on your young one’s back, while the soft tummy can be used as a pillow when sleep comes calling. Buddys costs £24.95 and the range also includes toddler backpacks with reins (£19.95) and BoBo Blankies (£11.95). Find out more at bobobuddies.com

DID YOU KNOW? Army&You’s Twitter feed – @ArmyandYou – is a great place to access the latest news from across the military family.

62 Army&You autumn 2014

@ArmyandYou


RECIPES

Lancashire hotpot with braised red cabbage

Re c co ipe ur Ap te by M p, sy i av of cha ail Un el ab ifo Ca in le r no m F es oo an w on di d iO es S.

SERVES: 6 l PREP TIME: 2 HOURS FOR THE HOTPOT B 1kg lamb neck and shoulder, diced B 1 onion, finely sliced B 2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced B 1 can ale, preferably Lancashire brewed B 1 litre chicken stock B 3 tbsp flour to coat meat B Sprig of thyme B 5 large peeled and sliced potatoes

FOR THE RED CABBAGE B 300g red cabbage, finely sliced B 90g water B 80g balsamic vinegar B 6 tbsp red wine B 12 cloves B 1 onion, finely sliced B 2 bay leaves B 80g sugar

METHOD Place the meat in a hot pan and brown all over, then add flour, mix well and add the sliced onion and carrot. Cook for five minutes then add the beer, chicken stock and fresh thyme. Place in an ovenproof dish and lay sliced potatoes on the top until all the meat is covered with potatoes. Place in a hot oven – 180°C – for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes turn golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 120°C and continue cooking for 60 to 90 minutes or until the meat is tender and the potatoes are cooked through. For the braised red cabbage, mix all the ingredients together and marinate for six hours. Place in a pan and cook with the lid on until soft and tender. www.armyandyou.co.uk

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POSTBAG

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

Picture: Africa Studio

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

CONTACT US

STAR LETTER

On the fence HOW many organisations does it take to replace a fence panel? Apparently more than the two currently involved – MHS and DIO! Various fence panels came down in my garden over the winter storms. They remain strewn across the lawn and the ones at the front are particularly attractive enhanced by the barbed wire keeping them together. Without AFF, I would have no idea where we are at with repairs as neither DIO or MHS have bothered to give me any updates. Having chased MHS after 28 days had come and gone, I was told they don’t deal with storm damage and the request for funding had been passed to DIO.

After another 28 days I contacted MHS who looked at my file and noted that DIO had refused funding. When I asked why, they told me that my only access to that information was by raising a stage one complaint. Apparently DIO don’t talk to customers about repair issues! Thanks to AFF I was able to ascertain that DIO and MHS are arguing about whether my fence was in such a state of disrepair that it would have fallen down anyway. That argument has been going on for almost five months! No one has officially bothered to contact me to update me. This is my home – even if it is for a short while. The lack of communication regarding

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64 Army&You autumn 2014

this whole issue is hugely disrespectful.

Name & address supplied Response from Ann Marie Wilsdon, Service Family Accommodation Regional Manager (South East): There were a number of incidents of major damage to our estate last winter, some of which severely affected properties and caused potential risks to public safety. While we were lucky to have been free of the severe flooding that affected many areas outside of the military estate, the storms meant that we lost many trees and damage was suffered to roofs and buildings. This generated an increase in requests for maintenance and repairs, the majority of which were associated with fences. Our staff on the ground and on the helpdesks worked hard to absorb the extra work caused by the storms and we apologise to those who suffered delays while we recovered from the effects of the additional workload.

@ArmyandYou


POSTBAG

Picture: Peter Davies, MoD

Cause for concern?: A Reservist during training at Middle Wallop

IS ARMY RESERVE UP TO SCRATCH? A FRIEND of mine is now a Reservist having previously been a Regular soldier. I understand the Army’s need to reduce manning costs, but having heard her description of her most-recent training weekend I am unconvinced that Reserve soldiers will be trained to the same level as Regular soldiers. This concerns me as surely it must affect the safety of all our soldiers not just Reservists? Their three days training consisted of meeting at 8pm on a Friday evening, driving to the training destination, having a run on the Saturday followed by a unit dinner and leaving by 10am on Sunday. She told me that they had to be let home in time for Sunday lunch or “they won’t come back again”. Does the MOD seriously expect me to believe that Reservist soldiers will be trained to the same level as Regulars and will be able to competently support Regular soldiers if this is the case?

Name and address supplied

SAFE AND SECURE WE live in married quarters where there have been a significant number of break-ins recently, especially in garages and sheds. This morning we found that the lock on the back door to our garage is no longer working and this means that the door cannot be locked and won’t stay shut. When I reported the problem to MHS I was offered an appointment in two days’ time. When I pointed out that this would leave our garage unsecured, I was told that we should only keep a car or motorbike in the garage and if we chose to keep other possessions in

www.armyandyou.co.uk

Response from Directorate Training (Army): It is difficult to counter specific

VOTING ISN’T EASY

comments without knowing the full circumstances. However, as a matter of general policy, Army Reserve unit commanding officers are responsible for meeting their unit’s mandated military outputs. Army Reservists’ individual performance levels are measured through the conduct of Military Annual Training Tests (MATTs). Failure to attend key training events could both inhibit unit effectiveness and lead to Reservists failing their MATTs, thereby failing to qualify for the Commanding Officer’s Certificate of Efficiency. When preparing to deploy, all Reservists conduct additional – usually Regular Army-led – mission-specific training, which is validated before they mobilise at RTMC, Chilwell. During the last decade or so of operations, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, some 27,000 Reservists have mobilised successfully to serve alongside their Regular Army counterparts – many for multiple tours – performing their duties professionally and effectively whilst sharing equally all associated risks and dangers. In the future, Army Reserve units will integrate with Regular units, both in the conduct of increasingly demanding collective training and, when necessary, in preparation for operations.

I’M grateful that the summer edition of Army&You highlighted the need for people to inform the electoral register if they wish to vote in the upcoming Scottish Referendum. As a Scot married to a serving member of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, I am frustrated and disappointed by how difficult the Scottish Government has made it for me to have a vote. We currently live in Shrivenham, but we’re lucky that we have an address to nominate in Scotland and I’m in the process of changing my vote to a postal address using our Scottish home address. However, after more than ten years living in Fallingbostel, some of my husband’s colleagues no longer have an address they could nominate in Scotland – they have been too busy serving their country, but are no less Scottish for it – and so will lose the right to vote in September. Please continue to highlight that people can have a vote – postal, proxy or “Service voter” – but that it might not be an easy process.

there, that was our choice. While I understand that repairs have to be prioritised, surely it is unrealistic to say that garages should only be used for a car or motorbike. Where else are we to store a lawnmower or garden tools?

Name & address supplied Reply from DIO: We’re sorry to hear of this problem. Though it may seem like a long time to wait, this work has been classed as an urgent repair and maintenance providers have responded well within the required timescale for this category of work. Lawnmowers and other equipment may be stored in garages but doing so is at the owner’s risk.

Name and address supplied Response from the Electoral Commission: The rules around members of the Armed Forces, or their spouse or civil partner, registering to vote in Scotland have not changed for the referendum and you can register as an ordinary voter or a Service voter in the usual way. The way someone chooses to register to vote will depend on their personal circumstances but to register as an ordinary voter they would need to be resident at an address in Scotland. They can register in Scotland as a Service voter if they are resident at an address in Scotland or they would have been resident at an address in Scotland if they or their spouse or civil partner were not posted abroad. As the voting age for the referendum is 16 years old, special rules have been put in place to enable 16- and 17-yearolds to register to vote if they would be living in Scotland if not for their parent or guardian’s Service. This registration is only valid for the referendum. The deadline to register is 2 September. Go to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk for more information.

autumn 2014 Army&You 65


POSTBAG

Have you got the X-Factor? X-FACTOR, the additional element of a soldier’s pay provided for the inconveniences of Service life, is a magician’s hat – with many things seemingly included. I would be grateful for answers to the following questions:

A decent spousal income is a necessity. It’s time to make the X-Factor a separate allowance, with significantly more being paid to those posted overseas. There seems to be too many inconsistencies to make its calculation believable.

Name & address supplied l What percentage of X-Factor is accounted for by spousal employment? Has this percentage increased between 1990-2014? Is a married person paid more X-Factor than a single person? l The Navy and RAF do not have directed postings, the Army does – does this mean that we receive more X-Factor for this considerably greater inconvenience?

Response from PS10 (Army): The X-Factor is a percentage increase to the military salary of Service personnel, intended to reflect the differences experienced by members of the Armed Forces over a full career and in civilian life, which cannot be taken directly into account in assessing pay comparability. X-Factor is reviewed by the Armed

DISUNITED STATE... AGAIN! I WRITE regarding the response by Lt Col Steve Bostock to a letter titled Disunited State, where he refers to Europe-based personnel being able to “nip back for half-terms and key events” and wondered whether he had actually calculated the price! As Europe-based parents of two 10-and-under age children, I can assure him that it is not a “relatively small cost”. There are 18 return journeys to be accounted for, not including those all-important key events referred to of which three come under the SCV policy. Even by hunting for the best deals, the cost per return trip is a minimum of £223 (£3,345 per year) if travel is undertaken at anti-social hours. Due to the frequency of travel, spousal employment has also had to be forgone. Added to this is the bizarre ruling in respect of SCV that no fuel can be claimed for within Europe, so our 50-mile contribution does not start until we hit Folkestone (we are not in receipt of fuel coupons). When we asked why this was, we were advised that it is because travelling via either the ferries or Channel Tunnel was not the preferred route of choice; we should apparently be flying our children back and forth. Due to the location of their school, the airport has to be Southampton where flights are more expensive. Because of their age there is the unaccompanied minor surcharge as well as an escort to the airport which is not provided by the school.

66 Army&You autumn 2014

Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) every five years, comparing the conditions for Forces personnel and civilians. The last review was conducted in 2012 and resulted in an increase from 14 per cent to 14.5 per cent for Regular (and mobilised Reserve) personnel. Current factors include: Turbulence, danger, separation from home and family, job satisfaction, job security, hours of work, stress at work, leave, support to personnel and families, training, promotion and early responsibility, autonomy/management control/flexibility, divorce, health and education, individual rights, adventure and travel, trade union membership and industrial action and travel to work. The AFPRB tends to place most emphasis on the turbulence, danger and separation elements. It traditionally reviews the impact of spousal employment challenges within the turbulence element. However, in their 2014 report it recommended that the next review considers spousal employment as a separate component, thus emphasising their understanding of the growing impact of this issue. PS10 (Army) has no visibility of Royal Navy or Royal Air Force direct posting policy and cannot comment on your specific second question.

The cost – a mere £490 versus £223 for one of their non-CRB checked parents to collect them. Whilst we appreciate that there are limits to the funding available, are grateful for that which there is and appreciate that we chose to go the CEA route; we regret the platitudes of Lt Col Bostock fall a little short. Some things just can’t be polished!

Name & address supplied Reply from AFF Chief Executive, Catherine Spencer: The additional expense and challenge of assignments outside of the UK is a key focus for AFF’s Overseas Branch – to further explore the inequality families face abroad. I accept that the MOD faces financial challenges, but current policy leaves families bankrolling the MOD’s need to have personnel overseas. The family is likely to have no second income and funding travel to meet with modern boarding school holidays and weekend leave is financially punitive. Boarding school is now based around frequent contact with parents and thus the MOD must support the overseas offer to ensure that children do not miss out on vital family time because their parents cannot afford the travel costs to see them. It is draconian to think that three contact visits per year is sufficient. Unless progress is made on this, it is my intention to ask for comment from the Children’s Commissioner.

@ArmyandYou


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Army&You Autumn 2014  

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

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