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Autumn 2021

{for everyone with a soldier in their life}

FIT FOR BUSINESS Meet the military spouses making it in the health and wellbeing industry

Win your family a country cruise


OF AGE Youngsters reflect on the highs and lows of having a parent in uniform




Your blogs CV writing tips Education excellence



Links with the Armed Forces stretch back to our founder, Jack Cohen who Served in the Royal Flying Corps in the Great War. In 1919, demob money in hand, he began selling groceries from a stall using the dedication and commitment he had learnt from his Service life. Fast forward 100 years and the company he founded, Tesco, still retains proud links with the Military. In 2015, we launched our Armed Forces Network which brings together former and current members of the Armed Forces, and their families, supporting them and helping them to develop as colleagues. From small and humble beginnings this has grown steadily to be one of the largest networks within Tesco. Indeed, Tesco Group, were the fi rst retailer to sign the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. At the time of signing, we made a commitment that we will always look to do more for our heroes who regularly put their lives on the line to defend our country. Around 300 Tesco colleagues are members of the supermarket’s Armed Forces Network, who regularly get together to assist and support the lives of those linked to the Services, through network brunches and coffee mornings and our larger summer event, as well as supporting local and national charities like Walking with the Wounded. Here, two of our ex-Service colleagues talk about resettlement and the role Tesco has played…

Martin Weathers

Tesco Express, Retail, Customer Assistant In a nine year Military career, Martin Served with the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in roles including training clerk, movements controller and Headquarters Squadron Clerk that took him to Europe and Canada and saw him deployed with 7th Armoured Brigade in Saudi Arabia prior to the Gulf War in 1990. He joined Tesco in 2016. On leaving HM Forces… When you leave the Armed Forces (which everyone must at some stage), you don’t just lose a job, but a vocation, which you were not only trained to do, but have been continually ‘conditioned’ to

do throughout your Service. You also lose your income, your home, your work clothes; friends and colleagues (who are nearer to being family than friends), a medical, social and welfare system tailored for your distinct needs. You lose your identity in many respects. In short, your entire way of life has to change. It isn’t called ‘Service life’ for nothing. Leaving service life can be a difficult time, especially for those that may have been in this chosen career path for a long time, and may have associated psychological problems, such as Combat PTSD. The majority of Veterans are not so drastically affected, working and supporting families, but they were once part of a cohesive, professional team for which the Military had conditioned them, and may be struggling with feelings of isolation in their communities. This can be magnified if the individuals have experienced combat. Advice for Service-leavers… Prepare! When you relocate, check out the area for doctors’ surgeries, dentists, schools (if applicable), etc. Find your closest Veterans’ breakfast club and join it. Alternatively join your closest Reserves Unit. Don’t expect your neighbours to understand Military life. Some may think Veterans are Second World War ‘old and grey guys’. Start to prepare at least a year before you are due to leave and think about resettlement courses carefully. Keep in touch via social media with your Regiment and friends. I started to run my local combined Armed Forces and Veterans’ breakfast club, which is very successful locally and I also volunteer part time for The Veterans Charity, alongside my Tesco job and both my manager and peer staff are very supportive of my efforts.

Ahmed Gamil

Stores Gamil was in the RAF for 12 years as an aerospace systems operator. Most of his time was spent in the north east at RAF Boulmer but he also completed a tour with No.1 Air Control Centre (1ACC) in Lincolnshire working with the deployable radar unit. He completed overseas detachments in Afghanistan working with the US Marines and two tours in the Falkland Islands. On leaving the RAF… Leaving the RAF was a difficult decision. I enjoyed being in the RAF but not necessarily the available roles. It was also difficult as I had a young family and we were finding it hard to balance my wife’s career, family life and the requirements of the RAF. The decision to leave was hard but was the right choice. After I left the RAF I continued studying part time for my degree and working as an apprenticeship assessor. Once I completed my degree I started looking for graduate opportunities. I applied for a number of graduate roles, choosing Tesco in 2019 as it offered a challenge and the opportunity to work locally and achieve a better work-life balance.

Joining Tesco… With Tesco I got exactly the challenge I was looking for! Working in the store on the graduate programme has been great. I’ve received a lot of support and encouragement and given a great deal of responsibility. There’s a different challenge every day and no two days are the same. I’m currently on my placement as a team manager and worked through my first Christmas with Tesco. It has been a real eye-opener to see what has to go in to running a store on a daily basis and has given me a greater appreciation into the complexities of retail. Advice for Service-leavers… If someone was leaving the Military my advice would be to give yourself plenty of time to plan what you want to do. Take full advantage of your resettlement time and build up your civvy qualifications. Network as much as possible; it really surprised me how complicated and different the job applications had become since I’d joined the RAF. It is easier securing a job through a network connection than going through the normal application process. My final bit of advice would be not to get disheartened if you don’t get a large number of replies or interviews. There’s a lot of competition and employers may have very specific requirements for the role.

New Commitments… The re-signing of the Covenant in 2018 commits Tesco to uphold its key principles, including: • Supporting Veterans who have left the Armed Forces with employment at Tesco. • Aiding spouses and partners of Serving personnel to get jobs at Tesco stores. • Promoting the Reserve Forces to Tesco colleagues. • Ensuring flexibility around life changes due to partners’ Military service so colleagues are not disadvantaged. Tesco is already one of the biggest employers of Serving and former Service personnel, with thousands of Veterans working in roles across the business. The retailer is also one of the biggest employers of Reservists and has a record as a Forces-friendly organisation.

Find out more at:


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

EDITOR Lisa Youd // 01264 554004

CONTACT AFF VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS 8am to 7pm, Monday to Thursday 8am to 5pm, Friday // 01264 554004


An ongoing piece of work for AFF recently has been remote working for spouses overseas. It’s a complex picture, see ‘Opportunities or obstacles?’ on pages 34-35. Elsewhere, we focus on health and wellbeing with an honest account of mental health struggles from an army spouse (page 32), and we turn the spotlight on some of you who run businesses in the health and fitness industry (pages 28-29). Don’t forget to check out our regular BlogSpot, Postcard and #OurArmyFamily features. And, if you fancy taking a few friends on a narrowboat for a fun day out, make sure you enter our awesome autumn giveaways on page 63! Enjoy the issue. LISA YOUD, EDITOR

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in Scotland with registered charity number SC048282. Principal office: IDL 414, Floor 1, Zone 6, Ramillies Building, Marlborough Lines, Monxton Road, Andover SP11 8HJ COMPETITIONS To enter, visit One entry per household per giveaway. Full T&Cs on the website. Closing date is 18 October 2021. ADVERTISEMENTS Interested in advertising in Army&You? Contact TylerBale Communications. Email: Tel: 01252 714870 / Web:

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autumn 2021 Army&You 03

Posts generously sponsored by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity

As a mum to two teenagers, I have a ringside seat of how difficult it can be to cope with army life in addition to all the other trials and tribulations of growing up. Many of you will be in the same boat and have grappled with issues such as helping your children to deal with exam stress while your soldier is away or doing all you can to assist them in the process of making new friends for the umpteenth time in their young lives. Luckily, there are lots of organisations that offer fantastic support to our military youngsters and through the pages of this edition, we highlight what’s out there, and hear from teens and young adults about what life is really like for those with a parent in the armed forces. Take a look at our three-page feature ‘Coming of Age’ on pages 14-16 and ‘Growing pains’ (pages 18-19). We also speak to experts about applying to university (page 27) and putting together your first CV (page 26), while ‘Young lives in Limbo’ (page 21) explores the issues faced by Foreign & Commonwealth children when they reach 18 and haven’t got a valid visa. Our cover star is a pupil at Wellington Academy, which has made great use of extra funds to offer specific support to service children, find out more on page 23.

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follow us on Don't forget to agram and Facebook, Inst d more news an Twitter for lots ree th tails on page features – de





such contrasts is, The evidence of just anecdotal. however, more than to commission an The MOD’s decision Selous – led by Andrew independent review life the impact of forces MP – that explored matter. more light on the on families shed published in 2020, Living in our shoes, ons including made recommendati information to help providing better parental absence children cope with of moves to frequency the and reducing stability. Researchers improve educational with access to extranoted a problem lists due to long waiting curricular activities social isolation. which can increase

army Growing up in an nging, family is ever-cha often challenging and , but it’s difficult to navigate g and also character-buildin can help develop a unique set of skills. life So what is military and like for teenagers young adults in 2021? Jill Misson reports…

“I found it hard picking up the curriculum and having to think quickly about my GCSE options. Social pressure was a big shock for me too.”

Specialist support encouraged to

Navigating the service

found slopes: Ashleigh adjust to in Canada hard to

posting who work closely are returning from a School Liaison Officers All local authorities the North them understand Pupils’ Champion. with schools to help appoint a Service After relationships with service children. has two, providing parents make strong experiences of their Yorkshire already of even sessions. an online toolkit as they arrive, or schools as soon speaking to pupils, workshops and one-to-one to the for both teachers a huge difference increase in demand before, it can make resources was created This year saw an pupils, Nickie provided.” quality of support and parents. from secondary school impacted booklet from the The Moving Schools Young explains: “COVID-19 with Advisory Service Many had to deal Children’s Education Common bonds in Herefordshire, them significantly. a new and testing questions to ask manning School (CEAS) suggests At Weobley High parents being away with Passport allows a club for students Some struggled school and the Pupil Emma Smith started vaccination stations. says: “I’ve been no release for their to record their thoughts. local garrison. She the children from home learning with they back to school was open and relaxed surprised at how anxieties and coming even if they are from masks and being Challenging changescan take some seem with each other, difficult with wearing The old groups. schools Transitions between very different friendship restricted to a bubble.” forces part of the wider Ashleigh (14) recently overseas, Educational getting used to. cliché about feeling In MOD schools and found it hard seem to be true.” Advisory Specialists returned from Canada family really does Psychology and staff to first. a presentation to the pressure of the settling back in at Emma, who gave also acknowledged shocked difference has run a recovery adds: “They were She says: “The big raise awareness, pandemic. The team some their ‘Hearts and put on us by the previous schools was the pressure to learn how many programme alongside they it hard picking been to and how promoting emotional teachers and I found of our students had Minds’ initiative, mental health. challenges that could and having to think up the curriculum might face different wellbeing and positive and attitude. GCSE options. Social Armed Forces Covenant quickly about my influence their behaviour Funding from the being told off for Little Troopers to shock for me too.” pressure was a big “One girl remembers Fund Trust has enabled had Hub she school also Resource because School simply Teenagers at boarding her handwriting create a Secondary way at her previous life back at home. need to adjust to been taught a different (more on page 60). Esther Thomas made her anxious cope with a lot of AFF’s Overseas Manager school, and this has “These children things that their wrong ever since.” to hear my eldest adds: “I was upset about getting things uncertainty and change, Lives says using the Thriving hasn’t had any ‘real’ hard to relate to,” declare that she The school is now civilian peers find “We think it’s really location for years. by the Service Children’s friends at her home toolkit developed founder Louise Fetigan. loads from school (SCiP). Director Phil feel recognised and Fortunately she has Progression Alliance important that they to in the are often the one across the globe given the opportunity families are connect and they believes and Dent included, children’s lives: “If life.” constant in service talk about military employs Regional In Wales, SSCE Cymru

cons to all types HERE are pros and as summed up of upbringings and, of the teens perfectly by a couple the to, one spent following Army&You chatted cocktail serve up a powerful flag can certainly emotions. of experiences and but it my parents serve, “I feel proud that from everyone else,” makes me feel different I will “I’m always worried explains Lucy (15). behind but moving have to leave everything be resilient.” to me taught has of conflicting feelings: Euan (14) also talks for my dad had to leave “I felt down when but one of the months on deployments is the ability to best skills I’ve learned every two to being posted make friends due years.”


autumn 2021 Army&Y


21 Young Lives In Limbo Exploring the visa void faced by some young adults 23 A Class Apart Setting the grade in supporting service students 27 Higher Hopes? Things to think about for those targeting university 36 Staying Stationed The rules relating to staying put for schooling 37 NEETs In Your Nest? How young adults impact on housing entitlement 38 Clued Up On Cash Tips on introducing youngsters to money matters



14 Coming Of Age The highs and lows of having a parent in uniform 18 Growing Pains Sources of help for those navigating childhood 26 Sell Your Skills How to make the most of growing up in an army family 28 Labour Of Love Meet the spouses muscling in on the health industry 32 How Full Is Your Bucket? The dangers of not stopping stresses from overflowing 34 Opportunities Or Obstacles? How easy is it to work remotely overseas?


06 Our Experts Find out what AFF’s team has been up to this quarter 09 A Word From... A welcome note from our chief executive 10 AFF In Action Discover the latest news affecting army families 63 Giveaways Win a countryside canal cruise for family or friends 64 Book Club Young readers revel in a summer sizzler 65 BlogSpot You share your experiences of army family life

@ArmyandYou Picture: senivpetro

Growing pains



Meet the military spouses making it in the health and wellbeing industry

Win your family a country cruise


OF AGE Youngsters reflect on the highs and lows of having a parent in uniform



Bake Off meets BFG


SSCE Cymru guide from SSCE

(formerly access Togetherall or over, you can If your child is 16 works with the MOD free. Togetherall the Big White Wall) for all serving personnel, support services in and NHS to deliver They are experienced and their families. with reservists, veterans military community forces and wider alcoholism and supporting the armed family and relationships,

such to support on issues ask AFF for links AMILIES regularly bullying and being disorders, self-harm, about as wellbeing, eating getting in touch The number of you the a victim of crime. has increased during for your children mental health support mental health problems statistics state that ten pandemic too. NHS risen from one in in England have among five to 16-year-olds one in six in 2020. in 2017 to around

in schools NHS support are ready to support children and young

who there will There are 183 teams colleges. By 2023 3,000 schools and who are people in around three million pupils support to almost health be 400, offering other common mental depression, and experiencing anxiety, and helplines, buddying telephone consultations issues. It includes therapy and workshops. well as one-to-one Children Services, and networks, as federations, Defence issues AFF, the other families asked for the unique organisations have new the MOD and other when training the children to be considered k faced by service at england.nhs.u teams – search MHST mental health support

experiences. Head



A pupil from Wiltshire's Wellington Academy, which has made great use of extra funds to offer specific support to service children (page 23). Picture: Stuart Harrison Photography

Little Courses support Military Child Wellbeing in primary and secondar service children been designed to schools. They’ve th the unique challenges children to explore olds – inclu encourage military 6-11 and 11+ year two courses – for mo experience. The deployment, house cope with separation, topics on how to themes such as belongin as well as personal and living abroad, et – littletroopers.n identity and mindfulness

Jane Smith Photography

Horse play

horses (inset above) that being around tak It’s well documented and wellbeing, so on mental health Tedworth have a positive effect local saddle club. going on at your previ a look at what’s for example, has (TEC) in Wiltshire, ma Equestrian Centre and young people for young carers programm run one-off sessions During its enrichment a mental health conditions. came in three days Academy, children nearby Wellington organisation, prob life skills such as TEC also teac They gained invaluable teamwork. and regulation solving, emotional who has been co ADHD and Asperger’s been a young adult with person who has and another young since he was 13 e massively improved their self-confidenc – both have had horses – head to contact with the

mental SSAFA Chatter topics, including tackles a range of by SSAFA, the This series of podcasts and inclusion. Created wellbeing and diversity wellbeing amongst the series discusses Armed Forces charity, 8 to adults who from children under a range of age groups,

Trust ian Education The Royal Caledon a better (RCET) project aims to gain Matters RCET’s Your Mind that service the unique challenges understanding of face with people in Scotland children and young to wellbeing, and how mental health and them. It’s currently effectively support and will launch being produced next year –

Find out moreaccessing support for your If you’re having issues about their wellbeing, child or have concerns or contact me at healthsupport see

Service Army Welfare range of activities year-round, AWS a As well as delivering established in is becoming well Community Support support, group work one-to-one peer schools, providing

and drop-in sessions. mental AWS, says: “Building Sarah Magee, from in the work we do. wellbeing is embedded people the value of young We understand from trusted adults, receiving support and having a safe positive relationships feel comfortable. place where they confidence and We aim to instil empowered to self-belief, so they’re issues futures.” build bright action projects on take part in social Voice and the Young people can involved in Youth and be actively they care about topics on the agenda One of the biggest UK Youth Parliament. wellbeing and resilience. AWS now is mental health, get involved with great reasons to gain a sense of “There are many meet new people, Sarah. “You can activities,” adds health and wellbeing. new skills and improve volunteer with can belonging, develop and to your community You’ll make a difference

LGBTQ+ guidewith an LGBTQ+ child, it can be difficult to

family said: If you’re an army contacted AFF recently One family who child. find specific support. family with an LGBTQ+ be the only military recognise “I know we cannot network which can a central support mobility brings.” I would welcome military life and frequent the extra complexities with LGBTQ+ children. a guide for parents The MOD has created


autumn 2

Picture: jcomp -

2021 18 Army&You autumn

a job is the or holding down nt. world of self-employme turning Many of you are



EING part of a military family can have a huge impact there on your career and why our are many reasons community is particularly moves, affected: frequent history gaps in employment to rely and not being able partner for on your serving a few. support, to name increasingly an However, to finding popular alternative

Labour of love

your skills and talents doing into businesses – something you love other which fits around we meet commitments. Here, and five military spouses pursued partners who have muscled their passions and wellbeing into the health and industry…

Victoria Martin Victoria Martin Fitness

I’ve been Military connection: Ash for 10 married to soldier years.

My Military connection: Household husband is in the Cavalry Regiment.

When Why start your business? Northern we were posted to perfect Ireland, it was the what I have opportunity to do of my son virtual sessions. loved since the birth journey through I had never – fitness and health. a job (I’m or time to fit and trying to secure have you faced had the confidence What challenges teacher). busy It was also a part-time PE it in around my husband’s through the lockdowns? catalyst for n along with However, it was the schedule in London tough as a new businesswoma an app – becoming motherhood. with homemy business the daily duties of and mum, especially I needed. The within the to today’s possibly the boost I completed courses military schooling. But thanks is expanding and Juggling work and used our second community then been able to year, I’ve first times at technology, content, life: It can be struggle programme I’m developing more which have year to build and flowing use online services for my to keep the business could take it my classes and challenges my business so I a blessing in keeping working been advocate parenting, huge a alongside members. I’m wherever we go. now and business going. and how being and Ash away every of mental health I can community, exercising then, but as it’s online, military a of and Be part a work Juggling Perfect for a Top tip: Don’t hesitate. is incredibly choose my hours. been back and having support to make life: Since we’ve confident enough wellbeing. military spouse! free time in not just a important for our in Windsor I have something of yourself, my follows the school hours to manage the challenges military spouse who step. It’s better What have been online and Top tip: Take the business coaching career of her soldier. something than through the lockdowns? their fitness to regret starting support women on moving back at all. @ArmyandYou Home-schooling, regret never starting of it all to the UK in the midst

I have Why start your business? training always been a physical on a new instructor but it took posted to twist when we were business Brunei. I moved my keep hold of online so I could advantage my clients and take technology. of ever improving

Military connection: and mum of two.

My partner Military connection: is in the Light Dragoons. Why start your business? child, After having my second and a passion to educate folk sparked empower pregnant within me. As a non-binary I wasn’t well pregnant person, birth support, represented within the Red Tent so I trained with with The Birth Doulas, and then ethos is to Uprising. My entire and show that hypnobirthing for everyone, doula support is need to find sometimes you just for you! the right person military Juggling work and is life: Juggling everything done seven challenging. I've with months alone, pregnant, a pandemic! two young kids, in

Lianne Ayling Fitness with Lianne

Jemima Tulloch S.L.A.M Aldershot @slamaldershot

Beth Godbolt The Earth Doula

relied a lot on lockdowns? I've emotionally friends to help me I started in and with childcare. always been lockdown, so it’s I've slowly this way for me, and adapt to each learnt how best to a lot curveball. I've transferred I often online, of my services I’m finding work at night, and military families ways to support after this struggling financially year. and Top tip: Ask for help offered. Your accept it when it’s and you business is important deserve to put it


military life: Juggling work and the main part Initially, pilates was I worked out of the business and in the evenings of my living room shuffles to with frequent furniture My business fit the students in! the four years really expanded in we were in Shrivenham. biggest What’s been your the challenge throughout for lockdowns? In preparation I had already our house move, to keep started online pilates

clients. All in touch with current down and our pictures were but boxes were everywhere, within then it was postponed arriving. four days of the lorry was great Luckily the weather film outside. It and I was able to curve with was a steep learning failed videos, lots of mistakes – ice and lorries no sound, noisy I learnt quickly. cream vans, but

autumn 2021 Army&You 05

grateful for this.

Top tip: I'd recommend My o your own business. m definitely faced tricky but it c in this past year, dema to thrive due to a

this type of community the military setting.


de to consider if you important things There are some tax respons , ranging from your become self-employed particularly you’re legally compliant, to ensuring that overseas. taking your business from Amey you’ll need permission If you live in SFA, from that address to run a business local commander held a webinar Jobs (FFJ) team sp Our Forces Families that support military year with three organisations can watch it on the F You their business aspirations. info abou you’ll also find more Start-ups page, where to help you get started. support available

and go for Top tip: Upskill early when I have it! I’m much happier At work, I’m not my own identity. the physio’ ‘mummy’, I’m ‘Diane and that feels great.

2021 28 Army&You autumn

the chal What have been through the lockdowns? this pas has adapted well our work year. I moved all socialising and playgroup was online and everyone

military Juggling work and is currently life: My husband makes juggling deployed which and my two little people little trickier but running SLAM a has having my own business

I live with Military connection: and two my soldier husband boys in SFA in Harrogate.

more fle

meant my time is

my children was able to take as build a ‘to work’, as well where community for mums listened to, they feel supported, celebrated. encouraged and

I Why start your business? in 2002 qualified as a physio to set up my and never planned moving house own business, but it to stay so often, I embraced chartered.

Army wife

I Why start your business? 2019. It launched SLAM in Like A Mother’ stands for ‘Sweat designed for – a workout group children women to bring their a primary along. Originally decided to school teacher, I after start my own business As flexible moving frequently. wanted I was, as teaching where I to create a business

Diane Farebrother Diane Farebrother Pilates Physiotherapy &




Picture: Amanda

family The new service Education in Wales) Service Children’s and Cymru (Supporting support for children health and wellbeing the contains links to Wales have enhanced health boards in fastyoung people. Some so that they are for service children, Child offer on healthcare when trying to access into the referral process tracked through (CAMHS). All referrals Mental Health Services the referral and Adolescent identify whether are screened to or visit paediatric services too. See page 33, armed forces family is a child from an uk

biggest What’s been your the challenge throughout

Your blogs CV writing tips Education excellence


Children’ online.



live alone. To listen, ssafachatter

out and transgender It discusses coming some insightful case issues and includes for Parents of LGBT+ studies. Search ‘Guide

a youth leader.” or even become To us, gain qualifications activities near you. for details of AWS See your local HIVE turn to page 61. AWS’s work in schools, read more about

anxiety, depression, m coping – go to is challenging and n bereavement Navigating childhood al Needs and be an additional complicatio with military life can This, The Forces Addition (FANDF) and young people. Disability Forum group that has a vision to ensure for service children has is a tri-service ordeals of COVID-19, and disabilities SSAFA’s FANDF together with the with additional needs that all forces families , and parents, needing they need. led to some youngsters On report last receive the support & Additional Needs its Families Fighting Health Our published lived group The issues and your extra support. of help… some of the key Ross, looks at sources year, which highlights Specialist, Karen

Autumn 2021

{for everyone with a soldier in their


2021 14 Army&You autumn

Useful links

l forcesfamilies

l ameydefence

l supportingthe

l heropreneurs

l l


l militarymums

autumn 2


Our experts

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

What ’s the most influential book you’ve read?

Anna Hutchinson – Education & Childcare As the autumn term begins, take a moment to remind your child’s school about the Education Support Fund. The current bidding round remains open until 30 September and is there to support schools with projects and initiatives that help mitigate the effects of mobility and deployment experienced by their service pupils – there's a great example on page 23. Amongst other things, the fund has previously helped to set-up forest schools, equipment for specialist activities, training for staff and family support. Last year, approximately 16,500 children benefited from the fund. If your child’s school would like to know more, they can find further idetails at

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

Jenna Richardson – Employment & Training Summer leave is over, the children have gone back to school and the ‘churn’ of postings is almost complete. So, this is a prime time for many of you to explore employment or training opportunities. As well as being our employment and training focus month, this September we celebrate the second birthday of our Forces Families Jobs (FFJ) site, which continues to grow daily as we welcome new forces-friendly employers and training providers. We have lots of exciting events and developments planned for FFJ – so keep an eye out and make your first stop for job hunting. More on page 31.

Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA by Barbara Maddox

Katherine Houlston – Foreign & Commonwealth All children born overseas to non-UK personnel are entitled to register as British citizens using form MN1 (available at Since April 2015, the cost of doing so is borne by your unit and you should register your child as soon as possible as the process can take a few months. Once you have received confirmation of their citizenship you need to apply for a British passport. If you have a child who has taken on the nationality of your overseas location, or you’ve been told your child isn’t entitled to citizenship, contact Go to the new ‘overseas assignments’ section of the F&C webpages at for more information.

Hollywood Wives by Jackie Collins – it taught me loads!

Karen Ross – Health & Additional Needs Last year the families federations received funding from NHS England to commission a study into the experiences of mobile armed forces families accessing public healthcare in England. The research, which was undertaken by Anglia Ruskin University, was completed in July and the report will be published soon. Families were interviewed together with stakeholders involved professionally with supporting armed forces families’ healthcare. Keep an eye on the AFF website for the launch – If you’re experiencing issues with accessing NHS healthcare, contact me

Cat Calder – Housing Are you the parent of a young person aged 16-24 who is not in education, employment or training? Have you considered a posting overseas which you subsequently turned down due to issues relating to taking them with you, such as a smaller house as a consequence of change in entitlement or problems with accessing medical care if they’re not classed as entitled family members? AFF's overseas manager would love to hear from you if you’ve experienced any issues whilst abroad or have decided not to take a posting as a result. Contact

Claire Hallam – Money & Allowances There’s good news for army families claiming benefits – the Department for Work and Pensions has revised how its armed forces champions work. A new management role has been introduced in each of the 11 Jobcentre Plus groups. They will oversee the 50 champions, who will be able to deal directly with you if you have a complex case. Get in touch if you’ve had to use a DWP armed forces champion or if you’ve had an issue claiming a benefit as an army family –

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss – I have given a copy to each of my boys and godchildren on their 18th birthdays Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J K Rowling – a magical book that I can always read and revisit with my boys

Carolyn Morton – Policy & Research Officer In the first half of 2021, AFF continued to see enquiries relating to the difficulties of COVID-19, including testing and quarantine rules. Your continued engagement with us allows us to build a picture of the realities of armed forces life and this evidence supports our engagement with the army, MOD and other government departments when trying to effect positive change on your behalf. We will also be continuing to monitor the progress of the Armed Forces Bill and any changes to the Armed Forces Covenant.

06 Army&You autumn 2021

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Enhance your family’s pension potential. Join us. Job done. There are times when you need clarity to understand the ins and outs of your pension and take control of your income potential. We provide guidance and support on an individual basis, dealing with more than 15,000 pension enquiries a year, typically receiving responses like this one from a Member with a Medical pension enquiry.

Many thanks for producing this information so quickly. My Medical Board sits shortly so as soon as I know the outcome and dates I will let you know straight away. Once again, thank you for your help in this matter – this information will be a great help to myself and my wife as we look to the future.

Independent, not-for-profit Independence is vital to our work, calling governments to account whenever we spot injustice or unfairness in the system. And this year we celebrate our 75th Anniversary of supporting the Armed Forces Community. We are funded entirely by subscriptions from our membership - now more than 60,000 strong and growing. Any surplus helps fund our outreach programmes of free-to-attend Roadshows and Webinars at bases throughout the country and overseas, and our attendance at CTP Employment Fairs.

Visit: Annual membership for you and your spouse/partner is just £41. As a Member, you’ll have exclusive access to our Forces Pensions Consultants and our informative Webinars –and you’ll receive our bi-annual enewsletters and magazine, Pennant. You’ll also have access to our wide range of membership benefits from discounts on new cars and white goods, to insurances, low-cost money transfers and a good deal more.





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HE new UK armed forces families’ strategy is due to be published soon by the Ministry of Defence. It’s been several years since the MOD last looked at service families’ issues in any detail, and we’re really pleased to see that this work is now a priority. Along with the Naval and RAF families federations, AFF has been feeding evidence into this strategy to ensure that your voices are heard, and that the lives we lead as army families are understood and properly considered. Families are a really important part of the UK defence community – I’d be expected to say that, wouldn’t I? But there are sometimes assumptions made about who we are and the support we need. Everyone at AFF is passionately committed to helping you have your say on what your real concerns are, and to making change based on this evidence. We’ll continue to do that over the coming months so

AFF has placed forces children’s needs at the forefront of our work for many years. We’ve pushed for change on the school admissions code, for example, and you can now use a private address when you make your application (page 24). We get many questions about the Service Pupil Premium, and we’ve worked with Defence Children Services to highlight where this, and other funding streams in the devolved regions and overseas, is being put to good use by schools. And for the young adult in your family who might be looking to start their career, head to the Forces Families Jobs website, which has lots of information for them on employment and training.

Talk to us

“Everyone at AFF is passionately committed to helping you have your say on what your real concerns are, and to making change based on this evidence.” that this strategy turns into real actions on childcare, education, families’ employment and training, housing and support to our non-British families.

Your opinions truly matter

Thank you for all the reactions to the stories in our last edition of Army&You (pictured left). It’s great to

get your feedback, and really helps us to gauge what matters to you, and to provide information that’s interesting and useful. This issue looks at teens and young people living military life – deployments and disrupted schooling and how this impacts academic achievement, entry to higher education and forming friendships.

As the families’ strategy takes shape in the coming months, we’ll make sure that these, and many other issues affecting your army family life, are taken into consideration. So please continue to contact us with all your concerns – even if you just have a comment or experience you want to share – and follow us on social media so you can spot our surveys and quick polls. We want to hear from you! &


autumn 2021 Army&You 09





Picture: © Karolina Grabowska for Pexels

A printable guide to applying for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit has been added to our website – – by AFF's Foreign & Commonwealth team. The resource takes you through the process stepby-step and will be helpful if you’re an EU family making an application to enter the UK to join a family member who is a British citizen. You can apply for the permit if you lived in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland with an eligible family member before 1 January 2021. Applications must be completed by 29 March 2022.


SHINING A SPOTLIGHT ON LIFE OVERSEAS If you’re a service family based overseas, you’ll have undoubtedly faced significant challenges over the last 18 months due to COVID-19 and Brexit. AFF’s Understanding Overseas 2021 survey is launching next week to find out about your recent experiences. We’d like to know whether you enjoyed your posting, what you found challenging and where you found the best support. Not been overseas? We'd love to hear why that's the case. Your views will help us gather evidence to ensure that overseas issues are highlighted to key decision makers. Take part at #OnTheCase


SOUND ADVICE A podcast by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) features AFF’s Health & Additional Needs Specialist Karen Ross, along with representatives of the RAF and Naval Families Federations. RCGP veterans’ clinical champion Dr Veronica Grant hosts the two-part podcast on general practice and the care of military families. It is aimed at GPs and primary healthcare teams and discusses the challenges faced by military families, such as frequent moves, and ways in which NHS GPs can support them. You can hear what Karen has to say by searching ‘general practice and the care of families of service personnel’ at

10 Army&You autumn 2021

Our Employment & Training Specialist Jenna Richardson has been working with education partnership Pathways, which recently hosted a free higher education webinar for service children and spouses. The event aimed to debunk myths, provide information and signpost families to useful resources. The partnership conducts outreach work with secondary schools across the East Midlands to promote higher education to students from underrepresented groups, including service children. AFF worked with the team to support the event and provide an insight into military family life. Jenna encouraged a tri-service approach and highlighted areas to focus on. #AFFteamwork



You may have read in previous editions of Army&You that AFF has been working with Aldershot MP Mr Leo Docherty on issues with broadband at Aldershot Garrison. Since his appointment as Minister for Defence People and Veterans earlier in the summer, we’ve continued our engagement with him to highlight some of your general concerns about army life. Chief executive Collette Musgrave – pictured right – met with him in London where agenda items included the Future Accommodation Model (FAM), communicating directly with service families effectively and the increasing challenges to serving accompanied overseas. During a visit to Northern Ireland, the Minister also spoke with AFF’s Manager Devolved Emma Perrin, who shared a rundown of the unique issues families can face moving to or living in the province.

AFF’s knowledge was a welcome addition to 26 Engineer Regiment’s recent welfare morning, which saw AFF’s Housing Specialist Cat Calder deliver a virtual presentation. Commanding Officer Lt Col AJ Scott commented afterwards: “The information provided was clear, educational and well delivered. I've received very encouraging feedback as a result of your presentation and the welfare team has reported an increase in queries and advice. I'm committed to providing soldiers and families under my command the very best level of welfare advice and support that I can; you played a critical role in this provision.” If other units would like a virtual presentation from one of our specialists email

Plus Maeve Novak, our Regional Lead South, discussed housing and childcare availability with Mr Docherty on a recent visit to London District. If you have any questions or issues relating to army life, see page 3 for a full list of our contact details.


#AFFwin #AFFinvestigates


Picture: © Tima Miroshnichenko for Pexels

Over the last few months AFF has noticed a significant increase in enquiries from people having problems finding an NHS dentist. Our Health & Additional Needs Specialist, Karen Ross, is on the case. She's written to the chief dental officer for England and been liaising with the Covenant team, DHSC and NHS England to see what can be done. Visit our health webpage for more info at or contact #GoodToKnow

FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH FACTS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS There’s a new overseas section on the F&C pages of the AFF website to make it easier for you to access the help and information you need if you’re a non-UK family based overseas or considering a posting overseas. Topics include applying for citizenship during an overseas assignment for soldiers and spouses, details on where to take the English language test and info on citizenship for children born during an overseas assignment. For more, see

LIAISON SOLVES PASSPORT PROBLEMS Thanks to our new contact in the armed forces team at HM Passport Office, Foreign & Commonwealth soldiers and their families are now being issued passports for the length of their overseas posting rather than one year. Spouses issued passports for one year were having to reapply at personal cost for a new passport every six months to comply with new Brexit regulations for overseas assignments. Many airlines also require passports to be valid for more than six months, which led to further issues for spouses in this position. If you have a passport which was only issued for one year, please get in touch with our team at


Elite Football Programme in partnership with League One team, Fleetwood Town FC International Piano Academy and All-Steinway School Golf Academy ranked No.1 Astronomy Centre with Planetarium

Call 01253 774321 to arrange a tour (in person or virtual). Register to attend our Open Day and receive a prospectus:

autumn 2021 Army&You 11



If you’ve asked for an electric vehicle charging point to be installed at your quarter, Amey should be contacting you to arrange an installation survey. Installations began over the summer so if you live in Service Family Accommodation and have plans to buy an electric vehicle, you should register your interest through the helpdesk – Be aware that if you install a charging point without requesting approval, you may incur charges when moving out.

The deadline to let your school know that your child is part of a service family, so they can get Service Pupil Premium funding, is now October rather than January. So, if your child goes to a state school in England, let them know as soon as you can at the start of the autumn term. For more information on how this funding can be used see

Picture: © Ed Harvey for Pexels

SOCIAL MEDIA EDGE If you’d like to sharpen your social media skills, why not check out SMSpouses Live? The special event comes from the team behind #SMSpouses, an online course from BFBS Academy, which offers training on how to use social media to grow your business, or to find a career in social media. It takes place on 19 October at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate from 10am until 3pm and looks to be a great day of learning, workshops, entertainment, stalls and food. You’ll learn how to edit videos on your smartphone, create engaging Instagram stories and plan a creative digital campaign in 20 minutes. And, you can chat to the Forces Families Jobs team too! Tickets are £5. Search #SMSpouses at

FOCUS ON FINANCES A leading service charity has called for better financial education of those in the armed forces and their families, and highlighted the need to make better use of existing financial briefings and support. The statement made by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) says: “Research has shown that some ex-service personnel and their families are exposed to financial instability when transitioning out of the armed forces and that the lifestyle can leave some financially unprepared for civilian life. Financial instability and stress can lead to wider health, family, and social repercussions.” AFF’s Policy & Research Director and Money & Allowances Specialist have met FiMT and other organisations about this work and hope to do some FiMT-funded research on financial resilience in armed forces families in the future.

CAREER MAG LAUNCH If you’re a military other half looking to build a career that fits around your lifestyle, a new magazine created by a military spouse could help. Career Pursuit provides tailored advice for jobseekers and entrepreneurs, plus information and contact details for resources, companies, training, courses and mentoring. In addition to AFF and the other families federations, organisations featured include The Military Coworking Network, the MILSPO Business Network and Supporting the Unsung Hero. Copies are available at army information offices throughout the UK or you can read it online at

12 Army&You autumn 2021



ALLOWANCE UPDATE The MOD has now released further information about the new Local Overseas Allowance, which came into effect on 1 July. It’s being shared through your soldier’s chain of command. The new rates will not be in the public domain – for more information, please ask your soldier to speak to their unit admin team.

A LITTLE EXTRA HELP The team at South West Family Values are all familiar with military life and have experienced the challenges that it can throw at you. Thanks to funding from the Veterans’ Foundation, they can offer military families in Hampshire advice and support where they’re experiencing issues as a direct result of service life. This could involve coaching, signposting to services to offer support for mental health issues, advice on finances and relationship work. If you’re in the area and in need of extra support, contact

COURAGE AND CARE An NHS mental health service for veterans, service leavers and reservists, Op COURAGE, launched earlier this year. To access it you must be a resident in England and have served for at least a full day, be registered with a GP in England – or be willing and eligible to do so – and provide a military service number or other form of eligibility. If your soldier is about to leave the army and is struggling with their mental health, they could get help. For the most urgent cases, they could receive a same-day referral. Go to to find out more.

autumn 2021 Army&You 13


COMING OF AGE Growing up in an army family is ever-changing, challenging and often difficult to navigate, but it’s also character-building and can help develop a unique set of skills. So what is military life like for teenagers and young adults in 2021? Jill Misson reports…


HERE are pros and cons to all types of upbringings and, as summed up perfectly by a couple of the teens Army&You chatted to, one spent following the flag can certainly serve up a powerful cocktail of experiences and emotions. “I feel proud that my parents serve, but it makes me feel different from everyone else,” explains Lucy (15). “I’m always worried I will have to leave everything behind but moving has taught me to be resilient.” Euan (14) also talks of conflicting feelings: “I felt down when my dad had to leave for months on deployments but one of the best skills I’ve learned is the ability to make friends due to being posted every two years.”

Picture: senivpetro -

14 Army&You autumn 2021


The evidence of such contrasts is, however, more than just anecdotal. The MOD’s decision to commission an independent review – led by Andrew Selous MP – that explored the impact of forces life on families shed more light on the matter. Living in our shoes, published in 2020, made recommendations including providing better information to help children cope with parental absence and reducing the frequency of moves to improve educational stability. Researchers noted a problem with access to extracurricular activities due to long waiting lists which can increase social isolation.

“I found it hard picking up the curriculum and having to think quickly about my GCSE options. Social pressure was a big shock for me too.”

Specialist support

All local authorities are encouraged to appoint a Service Pupils’ Champion. North Yorkshire already has two, providing workshops and one-to-one sessions. This year saw an increase in demand from secondary school pupils, Nickie Young explains: “COVID-19 impacted them significantly. Many had to deal with parents being away manning testing and vaccination stations. Some struggled with home learning with no release for their anxieties and coming back to school was difficult with wearing masks and being restricted to a bubble.” In MOD schools overseas, Educational Psychology and Advisory Specialists also acknowledged the pressure of the pandemic. The team has run a recovery programme alongside their ‘Hearts and Minds’ initiative, promoting emotional wellbeing and positive mental health. Funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has enabled Little Troopers to create a Secondary School Resource Hub (more on page 60). “These children cope with a lot of uncertainty and change, things that their civilian peers find hard to relate to,” says founder Louise Fetigan. “We think it’s really important that they feel recognised and included, and are given the opportunity to talk about military life.” In Wales, SSCE Cymru employs Regional

School Liaison Officers who work closely with schools to help them understand the experiences of their service children. After speaking to pupils, an online toolkit of resources was created for both teachers and parents.

Common bonds

At Weobley High School in Herefordshire, Emma Smith started a club for students from the local garrison. She says: “I’ve been surprised at how open and relaxed they seem with each other, even if they are from very different friendship groups. The old cliché about feeling part of the wider forces family really does seem to be true.” Emma, who gave a presentation to staff to raise awareness, adds: “They were shocked to learn how many previous schools some of our students had been to and how they might face different challenges that could influence their behaviour and attitude. “One girl remembers being told off for her handwriting simply because she had been taught a different way at her previous school, and this has made her anxious about getting things wrong ever since.” The school is now using the Thriving Lives toolkit developed by the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP). Director Phil Dent believes families are often the one constant in service children’s lives: “If

Navigating the service slopes: Ashleigh found returning from a posting in Canada hard to adjust to

parents make strong relationships with schools as soon as they arrive, or even before, it can make a huge difference to the quality of support provided.” The Moving Schools booklet from the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) suggests questions to ask a new school and the Pupil Passport allows children to record their thoughts.

Challenging changes

Transitions between schools can take some getting used to. Ashleigh (14) recently returned from Canada and found it hard settling back in at first. She says: “The big difference was the pressure put on us by the teachers and I found it hard picking up the curriculum and having to think quickly about my GCSE options. Social pressure was a big shock for me too.” Teenagers at boarding school also need to adjust to life back at home. AFF’s Overseas Manager Esther Thomas adds: “I was upset to hear my eldest declare that she hasn’t had any ‘real’ friends at her home location for years. Fortunately she has loads from school and they connect across the globe in the

autumn 2021 Army&You 15

holidays via social media.”

complex for young people who are not in education to accompany parents as they now need a visa in their own right to work in host nations,” says Esther Thomas. When Callum’s family was posted to Canada, he had a frustrating wait of many months for immigration to recognise his status and issue a work permit. “I find it difficult to understand why the regulations are so out-of-date and don’t reflect modern society,” he says. “Young adults in their late teens or post-uni often still have to live at home, not through choice but because they can’t afford not to. “How can it be right for an 18-yearold to suddenly lose the right to live with their parents? “There should be an entitlement to remain as a family unit.”

On the right path

Some research has suggested that young people from armed forces families are less likely to go to university than their civilian peers, although the 2020 Selous report noted the lack of consistent data and cautioned against generalisations. In an in-depth study by the University of Winchester, service children were not shown to underachieve up to GCSE level. Nevertheless, universities and colleges are identifying service children in their widening participation programmes and applications to UCAS are flagged. Beka Avery, Project Manager at the education outreach programme, Pathways, says: “We spent time talking to local authorities, community engagement teams and colleagues who work with service children to understand the additional challenges they may face in making decisions about their future.” Students with a serving parent have taken part in a study by Brunel University to share their experiences, including how unpredictability in their lives can impact their studies. Skills Development Scotland has career advisers who work alongside young people from service families to help them reach their potential. Armed Forces Champion and veteran Alistair Ferrier explains: “It’s important to ensure they recognise their strengths like resilience and relationship building to help them with career choices – whether that’s college, university, an apprenticeship or work.”

Status struggles

When a young person from an army family is over the age of 18 but under 24, they’re no longer automatically classed as an entitled family member unless they remain unmarried and in full-time education, although there is an exception for anyone with additional needs. Housing allocation may be affected and families posted overseas may face additional travel costs and restrictions on access to medical and dental treatment. When he finished university, Callum Jenkins moved to Germany to live with his parents and worked in the BFG vehicle licensing office. “Since Brexit it has become more

16 Army&You autumn 2021

Key connections

A mountain to climb: Callum Jenkins (left) joined his parents Nico and Rich in Canada but faced a long wait for the authorities to acknowledge his status

“I find it difficult to understand why the regulations are so out-of-date and don’t reflect modern society. Young adults in their late teens or post-uni often still have to live at home, not through choice but because they can’t afford not to.”

FIND OUT MORE l l l l l l l l l l @the_real_troopers l search CEAS at

There are many organisations coming up with new ways of communicating with young people. A SCiP project in the pipeline aims to reach post-16s who have become isolated by helping them to build connections through an online platform. SSAFA Chatter is a new podcast series with episodes for children and their parents around mental wellbeing. The Royal Caledonian Education Trust, has welcomed young people to help design a board game and comic book to explain life in a forces family (more on page 60). Reading Force is engaging with teenagers to find out what resources they want and working with a young designer to come up with an eye-catching design for new materials. The Real Troopers has been set up by Tilly Radwell who was a military child herself. She has written an e-book called On The Move and is building a community on social media (more on page 61). Tilly says: “Everyone has had unique experiences and their own ways of dealing with situations that could really help another young person, so this is a place to turn to get advice and to read the stories of those who have been through it all before.” Growing up in a service family may not always be easy but many young people will look back with a smile. Ashleigh concludes: “I’m so glad we lived the army life, it’s given us so many opportunities to see and do things that other people don’t. “That has come with sacrifices but on the whole, it’s been great!” & @ArmyandYou



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Growing pains Navigating childhood is challenging and coping with military life can be an additional complication for service children and young people. This, together with the ordeals of COVID-19, has led to some youngsters, and parents, needing extra support. Our Health & Additional Needs Specialist, Karen Ross, looks at sources of help…


AMILIES regularly ask AFF for links to support on issues such as wellbeing, eating disorders, self-harm, bullying and being a victim of crime. The number of you getting in touch about mental health support for your children has increased during the pandemic too. NHS statistics state that mental health problems among five to 16-year-olds in England have risen from one in ten in 2017 to around one in six in 2020.

NHS support in schools There are 183 teams who are ready to support children and young people in around 3,000 schools and colleges. By 2023 there will be 400, offering support to almost three million pupils who are experiencing anxiety, depression, and other common mental health issues. It includes telephone consultations and helplines, buddying and networks, as well as one-to-one therapy and workshops. AFF, the other families federations, Defence Children Services, the MOD and other organisations have asked for the unique issues faced by service children to be considered when training the new mental health support teams – search MHST at

us, gain qualifications or even become a youth leader.” See your local HIVE for details of AWS activities near you. To read more about AWS’s work in schools, turn to page 61.

Togetherall If your child is 16 or over, you can access Togetherall (formerly the Big White Wall) free. Togetherall works with the MOD and NHS to deliver support services for all serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families. They are experienced in supporting the armed forces and wider military community with anxiety, depression, family and relationships, alcoholism and bereavement – go to

The Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum (FANDF) SSAFA’s FANDF is a tri-service group that has a vision to ensure that all forces families with additional needs and disabilities receive the support they need. The group published its Families Fighting On report last year, which highlights some of the key issues and your lived experiences. Head to

The Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET) RCET’s Your Mind Matters project aims to gain a better understanding of the unique challenges that service children and young people in Scotland face with mental health and wellbeing, and how to effectively support them. It’s currently being produced and will launch next year –

Army Welfare Service As well as delivering a range of activities year-round, AWS Community Support is becoming well established in schools, providing one-to-one peer support, group work and drop-in sessions. Sarah Magee, from AWS, says: “Building mental wellbeing is embedded in the work we do. We understand the value of young people receiving support from trusted adults, positive relationships and having a safe place where they feel comfortable. We aim to instil confidence and self-belief, so they’re empowered to build bright futures.” Young people can take part in social action projects on issues they care about and be actively involved in Youth Voice and the UK Youth Parliament. One of the biggest topics on the agenda now is mental health, wellbeing and resilience. “There are many great reasons to get involved with AWS activities,” adds Sarah. “You can meet new people, gain a sense of belonging, develop new skills and improve health and wellbeing. You’ll make a difference to your community and can volunteer with

18 Army&You autumn 2021

LGBTQ+ guide If you’re an army family with an LGBTQ+ child, it can be difficult to find specific support. One family who contacted AFF recently said: “I know we cannot be the only military family with an LGBTQ+ child. I would welcome a central support network which can recognise the extra complexities military life and frequent mobility brings.” The MOD has created a guide for parents with LGBTQ+ children. @ArmyandYou

It discusses coming out and transgender issues and includes some insightful case studies. Search ‘Guide for Parents of LGBT+ Children’ online.

SSCE Cymru

live alone. To listen, visit ssafachatter

Little Troopers Military Child Wellbeing Courses support service children in primary and secondary schools. They’ve been designed to encourage military children to explore the unique challenges they experience. The two courses – for 6-11 and 11+ year olds – include topics on how to cope with separation, deployment, house moves and living abroad, as well as personal themes such as belonging, identity and mindfulness –

Picture: Amanda Jane Smith Photography

The new service family guide from SSCE Cymru (Supporting Service Children’s Education in Wales) contains links to health and wellbeing support for children and young people. Some health boards in Wales have enhanced the offer on healthcare for service children, so that they are fasttracked through the referral process when trying to access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). All referrals into paediatric services are screened to identify whether the referral is a child from an armed forces family too. See page 24, or visit

SSAFA Chatter This series of podcasts tackles a range of topics, including mental wellbeing and diversity and inclusion. Created by SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, the series discusses wellbeing amongst a range of age groups, from children under 8 to adults who

Horse play It’s well documented that being around horses (inset above) can have a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing, so take a look at what’s going on at your local saddle club. Tedworth Equestrian Centre (TEC) in Wiltshire, for example, has previously run one-off sessions for young carers and young people managing mental health conditions. During its enrichment programme with nearby Wellington Academy, children came in three days a week. They gained invaluable life skills such as organisation, problemsolving, emotional regulation and teamwork. TEC also teaches a young adult with ADHD and Asperger’s who has been coming since he was 13 and another young person who has been bullied – both have had their self-confidence massively improved by contact with the horses – head to

Find out more If you’re having issues accessing support for your child or have concerns about their wellbeing, contact me at or see

Picture: jcomp -

autumn 2021 Army&You 19

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HAT’S life like for young adults who don’t have valid visas? It is a question that Katherine Houlston, AFF’s F&C Specialist, is better qualified than most to answer having recently spent time trying to help a number of over-18s resolve their immigration status. These cases can be difficult and distressing at times, she says. I’ve had young adults tell me things like: “I feel ashamed of my situation, no one understands how hard it is to be stuck, to not be able to progress with work or studies whilst friends are all moving forward with their lives.” And another told me: “I feel trapped and have been feeling trapped for a long time.”

Picture: © Jacob Dyer on Unsplash


Yes, in the cases that AFF has been involved in the young adults have spent the vast majority of their lives in the UK. Having been brought to the UK to join a serving parent, they should have received their

“No one understands how hard it is to be stuck, to not be able to progress with work or studies whilst friends are all moving forward with their lives.”

permanent residence status years before.


Due to circumstances out of their control their visas expire after they have come to the UK and their parents do not apply to renew them. In many cases the non-serving parent is also an overstayer and, for some, this is due to the relationship with the serving person breaking down. In most cases, it’s the cost of the visas which prevents them being renewed.


generally not affected by their immigration status. State schools are not required to check children’s visas. Once you start becoming more independent, you quickly find that your immigration status affects every aspect of your life. You won’t be able to attend college or university without a valid visa, you won’t be able to learn how to drive or get a job. Also, you won’t be able to open a bank account. These young adults end up in limbo – they aren’t able to move on with their lives.


are granted indefinite leave, they will not be eligible for student finance if they’ve been an overstayer in the three years before the start of the academic year. So, it means another threeyear wait.


Unfortunately, once children turn 18 they seem to fall into a gap when it comes to charitable funding. They are ineligible due to no longer officially being considered ‘dependents’. Their only hope is that parents or other family members can help to pay for the visa to get their lives back on track.


If you are a young person or know a young person in this position, we urge you to come forward. We will continue to work with military charities to raise these issues with government and encourage better information to be provided to service families.

autumn 2021 Army&You 21

Open Day

2nd October 2021


The Ma lve r n Col le ge Fa m i ly of Sc ho ol s s uppor t s your c h i ld, from t hei r fi rs t ac adem ic s teps to t he moment t hey s t ride i nto t he world a s a you ng a du lt . As one of t he g reat Eng l i s h i ndependent s c ho ol s , we h ave a proud a nd l a s t i ng conne c t ion to t he m i l it a r y, welcom i ng c h i ldren of s er v ice fam i l ies as bo arders s i nce 1 86 5, m a k i ng t he i r home w it h u s i n t he protec t ive em brace of t he Malver n Hi l l s . Th roug hout t he i r t i me at Ma lve r n , pupi l s are empowered to t h r ive ac adem ic al ly, wit h a r ic h bal ance of s up e r- c u r r ic u lu m a nd co -c u r r ic u lu m a c t iv it ies . From ar t , mus ic and c ult ure to s por t and phys ic al outdo or a dve nt u re , t hey c a n t r u ly exce l , whe reve r t hei r pas s ions l ie. Our unique hous e sys tem c reates a fam i ly e nv i ron me nt , a nd a fo c u s on deve lopi ng e mot ional i ntel l igence along s ide ac adem ic excel lence, ens ures our you ng p e ople a re re a dy for t he oppor t unit ies – and c h al lenges – mo der n l i fe br i ng s . Ma lve r n Col le ge , Ab b e rley Ha l l a nd The Downs Malver n offers up to 20 % di s count on ful l bo ardi ng fees for me m b e rs of t he Br it i s h Ar my, Royal Nav y and RAF. Tra nsform thei r world

Join us at our Open Day on Saturday 2nd October 2021 malve r ncol lege .org. u k /se rv ice -f a m il ie m l

Co - e duc at ion a l b o a rd i ng a nd d ay prep s c ho ol s : The Dow n s Ma lve r n – a ge 3 -1 3 t he dow n s m a lve r n . org . u k

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Co -educ at ional bo ardi ng and day s c ho ol – age 13-18 m alver ncol lege. org . uk/s er v ice-f amilie s.html

Picture: Stuart Harrison Photography



OT everyone understands army family life and it’s not easy to explain to your civilian friends what it’s really like. In school, you might be feeling a bit low because one of your parents is away on exercise, or perhaps you’re finding it difficult to make friends in a new location. So what can schools do to help? We spoke to The Wellington Academy in Wiltshire, where 65 per cent of pupils come from forces families. It’s used money from the MOD’s Education Support Fund to appoint a dedicated Military Service Pupil Premium Co-ordinator, Andrea Bailey, to help look after the academic transition and pastoral needs of the school’s service children. As a former science teacher and part of a military family herself, Andrea is well placed to understand the nuances and demands of forces life. Her role is to look after the emotional wellbeing of children during their school life. Work has already begun on a communications hub so pupils

A CLASS APART can stay in touch with family members who are posted abroad and may only be able to speak to each other during the school day.

Best of both Andrea Bailey

“Being a child in a service family can be tough and the resilience of these children never fails to astound me.”

Andrea says: “For many pupils of secondary school age, this could be the fifth or sixth school that they’ve attended in their lifetime. My role is to ease their transition and help to make sure that they are not at an academic disadvantage as a result of their family situation. “We will be putting support in place to enhance their progress in their learning, as well as to support their emotional wellbeing and development as young people. For me, this is the best of both worlds – I can focus on doing the fun things with the pupils and know that I’m making a positive impact on their lives. “Service families live such a unique life and it’s a challenge to understand exactly what the children are going through without first-hand experience. Being a child in a service family

can be tough and the resilience of these children never fails to astound me.” Wellington service pupil Margaret says she’s looking forward to the impact that Andrea will make: “I feel the service pupil co-ordinator will be very good at helping people understand problems with military life.” Is your child’s school going that extra mile to support its service children? Tell us about it, email

autumn 2021 Army&You 23

HUB OF UNDERSTANDING The word We all know that service children face a lot of challenges unique to military life, so how can we help them reach their potential and get the best outcomes from their education? One of the key players that AFF works with is the SCiP Alliance – a UK-wide partnership of organisations with a shared focus on helping service children thrive. Part of this is its hub network, which brings together groups of professionals to develop the quality of support provided for service children in their regions through sharing practice, supporting ongoing work and raising awareness of areas that need further research to bring about change.

Growing network

as serving on both its board and practice group, AFF regularly attends some of the hubs to talk about your lived experiences and ensure they’re understood when ideas are being discussed. Katherine Lawrence, SCiP’s Head of Operations, explains why it’s so important: “The network and each individual hub is characterised by an open, collaborative approach, by a collective energy to generate and act together on new ideas, and by a shared clarity of purpose. “The value lies not only in the shared vision and mutual support of the network but also in the hubs’ diversity and commitment to local initiatives.”

There are currently 12 hubs across the UK with the prospect of more to come. As well

on Wales

If you’re posted to Wales or are already living there, don’t miss the new guide for families from SSCE Cymru – Supporting Service Children in Education Wales. You’ll find useful information on multiple topics, covering many of the subjects you often ask questions about, including living in Wales, the Welsh education system and support for schools. There are details about the armed forces as well as more about SSCE Cymru’s work. Programme Manager Millie Taylor says: “We’re really excited to launch the new guide. The information is based on what service families in Wales told us they wanted in our survey and service children discussion groups. The content has been produced with support from many members of the SSCE Cymru network, including AFF, to ensure it’s accurate and relevant to the audience.”

ADMISSIONS ADJUSTMENT Last October the Department for Education invited the public to comment on its proposed changes to the School Admissions Code (SAC). The SAC is a statutory document which schools and local authorities in England must follow when considering applications for places. The revised code now allows service families to apply with a private address when accompanied with an assignment order. Previously, you had to have a unit or quartering address – good news if you’re moving into your own home. You can find the revised code at by searching for school admissions code. Local authorities will also be required to publish their admissions process on their websites, so that you

24 Army&You autumn 2021

can clearly see how to apply, and how your application will be dealt with. As part of the revisions the government has promised to deliver a ‘guide for service families’ to explain the admissions process. We’ll continue to push for this, as many of you have asked for it, so keep an eye on the AFF website for updates – If you need support, particularly if you’re appealing the decision of a school or local authority, contact


ai162091356146_186w x132hJune21b.pdf 1 13/05/2021 14:46:07


Inspired. Individual. Independent.


Inspiring children to reach new heights

Visit The Downs Malvern and you’ll find exuberant, energised children passionate about life and learning: a passion that will help them release their talents and fulfil their ambitions. To find out more, or book a tour, contact our Registrar on +44 (0)1684 544108.



Open Day Sept 18th

Discovering the world is on our curriculum.

With over 90 acres of beautiful grounds, Abberley Hall offers an unrivalled freedom to learn. Because instilling a sense of adventure and natural discovery is a vital part of an inspiring and nurturing education. Join us at our Open Day on September 18th 2021 Register at

Co-educa tiona l boa rding a nd day school a g e 2-13 www.abber leyh Pa rt of the Ma lvern College Fa mily of Sch ools

autumn 2021 Army&You 25

How to sell your service experience


RITING a CV at any stage of your career is sometimes a daunting task, but for those who are starting out with little or no work experience, it can seem like a major challenge. So how can young people from military families impress potential employers? The answer is easy, according to Sian Richardson (pictured below), Founder & Senior Career Consultant at Forces CV & Career Services… Generally, employers will want to know the answers to three questions: can you do the job?; will you do the job?; and will you fit into the team? Structure: Your CV should be tidy, and easy to read so that information stands out clearly. Start by giving your name, location and contact details. Profile: Open by writing a few lines which describe you and importantly, why you feel you’d be the ideal candidate. Key skills: Next, add a

projects you’ve been involved in at school, college, university or at home, how you’ve gained new skills such as online learning and presenting to your class, or things you may have done to help the community.

“Do you belong to a cadet force, scouts or guides and taken part in any activities which have shown your resilience and perseverance?” section to confirm that you have skills the employer is looking for. These can include things like teamwork, problem solving, communication, customer service, attention to detail, planning and organising, IT literacy, numeracy etc. If you have particular experience in the field of work you’re targeting, add in those role-specific skills too. By virtue of the environment in which they grew up, military kids are exposed to leadership, commitment and hard work from an early age. Resilience and adaptability just go with the territory. You may have been to boarding school or moved frequently, making new friends, adapting to new places, people

and ways of doing things. Overcoming these challenges may have enabled you to gain language skills, social skills and flexibility – all great attributes that hiring managers are keen to hear about. Experience: Even if it’s a weekend job or volunteering, it’s a great opportunity to show how you used the skills the employer is looking for. Set your application apart from others by including results you’ve achieved, projects you were involved in or what you did well. Due to the pandemic, you may have missed out on the chance to take part in work experience, but all is not lost! Think about

Interests: Include what you do in your spare time; do you belong to a sports team? Have you helped to train junior club members? Do you have a talent for art, engineering, cooking, languages, dance etc? Have you taken part in any productions? Do you belong to a cadet force, scouts or guides and taken part in any activities which have shown your resilience and perseverance? Have you raised funds for charity? All of these things help to show that you’re capable, motivated, teamfocused, results-oriented and someone who is committed to doing a good job. Qualifications: Remember to show off those grades. Your CV is a living, breathing document so keep it up-to-date as you move on. I wish you all the very best for the exciting career you have in front of you. You are awesome, good luck!

Clearing up the clearance conundrum Over the last year, AFF has seen an increase in families struggling to access Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates when they’re posted overseas. Applications made from overseas are processed differently than in the UK and this can lead to delays. It’s meant that some of you have been unable to accept roles due to not having the sufficient clearance required by your employers. This has been particularly problematic for those of you wanting to work in schools, nurseries, and health and care settings, as well as in the financial services sector. Army spouse Anna explained: “I applied

26 Army&You autumn 2021

for a check in August when I arrived in Belgium and finally got it in June the following year. I was hoping to do some supply teaching in a school which was desperate for staff, but without a DBS certificate I was unable to pursue this opportunity.” Jenna Richardson, Employment & Training Specialist at AFF, says: “This is a difficult situation, and it has caused some barriers to employment overseas. “A new online application system has been set up and is very effective, but at the time of going to print, it’s still in the roll-out phase and not available in all locations yet.”

Before you go

DBS certificates don’t have an expiry date, so it’s a good idea to have a recent certificate in place if you’re heading overseas and might want to work in a profession where it’s required. The DBS now offers an ‘Update Service’ for a yearly cost of £13, which your new employers can access without you needing to reapply. To take advantage of this service, you’ll need to apply within 28 days of your most recent certificate being issued. l More at or contact Jenna at @ArmyandYou

Back to business The Military Coworking Network is celebrating reopening its hubs this autumn. If you’re based at Blandford, Bulford, Leuchars, Sandhurst, Chivenor, Cyprus, Bovington or Lympstone, pop along as they’re ready to welcome new members. The sites are spaces where you, as non-serving partners and your adult children, can go to work and study. They are places where people come together to support each other professionally, share information and thrive.

HIGHER HOPES? F ROM exciting open days (or virtual ones) to the pressure of exams and getting the grades you need, going to university can be a rollercoaster of emotions. When you’re from a military family, there are some extra things to think about. AFF’s Employment & Training Specialist, Jenna Richardson, tells us more…

Your application

There is currently no prompt on the UCAS form to identify yourself as the member of a military family. If you’re under 21, you’re asked to disclose the profession of the highest earner in your family, but it’s no good if this isn’t the serving person, or you’re over 21. Current guidance from UCAS is to use your personal statement to highlight that you’re part of a forces family. Remember, the university admissions teams are unlikely to be aware of military-related irregularities in your application.

Talk yourself up

Your personal statement is your opportunity to sell your qualities to your chosen universities. As part of a service family, you’ve probably developed skills in time management and communication, independence, and have the commitment to really succeed in higher education. It’s helpful to include lines such as: “My dad is in the army and I’ve attended lots of schools, so I cope well settling into new environments” or “my mum is in the military and when she’s deployed, I take on all the family commitments so have developed

essential organisational skills, including meeting deadlines”. UCAS and the SCiP Alliance have some great resources to help with this.

Applying from overseas

This can be tricky, and we’ve had reports of people accidentally being processed as international students. UCAS has a specific process in place for UK citizens applying from outside the UK who are accompanying a serving person on a military assignment. The AFF website has details on how to complete your UCAS form –

Student finance

Service Family Accommodation is not considered to be an ‘ordinary residence’, which is an eligibility criterion for student finance. If you live in SFA, you need to apply to the nation where your serving person lived when they joined the army, regardless of where you live now. This is important because the offer between the devolved nations is different, and this may influence your choice of university. For more information, check our useful links or email me at

Book a trial

MCN hubs provide facilities that you would expect in any office – wifi, printing, good coffee and great conversation! The best way to find out more is to book a free tour and work from the hub for the day. It’s a chance to meet existing members, who’ll show you around and answer any questions.

The benefits

Coworking hubs offer an environment which will enable you to work productively without the distractions that working or studying from home can bring. Social isolation can have a huge impact on mental wellbeing and the hubs are more than just a space to work from. They offer a professional support network of like-minded people; a supportive and encouraging environment in which to develop employability skills, and tap into the expertise of others.

Get involved

Look out for special MCN events throughout the year – more at

Useful links

l l l Student Finance England – l l Student Finance Northern Ireland – l Student Awards Agency Scotland – autumn 2021 Army&You 27


EING part of a military family can have a huge impact on your career and there are many reasons why our community is particularly affected: frequent moves, gaps in employment history and not being able to rely on your serving partner for support, to name a few. However, an increasingly popular alternative to finding


Labour of love

Lianne Ayling Fitness with Lianne

Victoria Martin Victoria Martin Fitness

Military connection: I’ve been married to soldier Ash for 10 years.

Military connection: My husband is in the Household Cavalry Regiment.

Why start your business? I have always been a physical training instructor but it took on a new twist when we were posted to Brunei. I moved my business online so I could keep hold of my clients and take advantage of ever improving technology.

Why start your business? When we were posted to Northern Ireland, it was the perfect opportunity to do what I have loved since the birth of my son – fitness and health. I had never had the confidence or time to fit it in around my husband’s busy schedule in London along with the daily duties of motherhood. I completed courses within the first year, then used our second year to build and programme my business so I could take it wherever we go.

Juggling work and military life: It can be a struggle at times to keep the business flowing alongside parenting, working and Ash away every now and then, but as it’s online, I can choose my hours. Perfect for a military spouse! What have been the challenges through the lockdowns? Home-schooling, moving back to the UK in the midst of it all

28 Army&You autumn 2021

and trying to secure a job (I’m also a part-time PE teacher). However, it was the catalyst for my business becoming an app – possibly the boost I needed. The community is expanding and I’m developing more content, classes and challenges for my members. I’m a huge advocate of mental health and how being a part of a community, exercising and having support is incredibly important for our wellbeing. Top tip: Take the step. It’s better to regret starting something than regret never starting at all.

Juggling work and military life: Since we’ve been back in Windsor I have free time in school hours to manage my business coaching online and support women on their fitness

or holding down a job is the world of self-employment. Many of you are turning your skills and talents into businesses – doing something you love which fits around other commitments. Here, we meet five military spouses and partners who have pursued their passions and muscled into the health and wellbeing industry…

journey through virtual sessions. What challenges have you faced through the lockdowns? It was tough as a new businesswoman and mum, especially with homeschooling. But thanks to today’s technology, I’ve been able to use online services which have been a blessing in keeping my business going. Top tip: Don’t hesitate. Be confident enough to make something of yourself, not just a military spouse who follows the career of her soldier. @ArmyandYou

Beth Godbolt The Earth Doula

Jemima Tulloch S.L.A.M Aldershot @slamaldershot

Military connection: My partner is in the Light Dragoons.

Military connection: Army wife and mum of two.

Why start your business? After having my second child, a passion to educate and empower pregnant folk sparked within me. As a non-binary pregnant person, I wasn’t well represented within birth support, so I trained with the Red Tent Doulas, and then with The Birth Uprising. My entire ethos is to show that hypnobirthing and doula support is for everyone, sometimes you just need to find the right person for you!

Why start your business? I launched SLAM in 2019. It stands for ‘Sweat Like A Mother’ – a workout group designed for women to bring their children along. Originally a primary school teacher, I decided to start my own business after moving frequently. As flexible as teaching was, I wanted to create a business where I was able to take my children ‘to work’, as well as build a community for mums where they feel supported, listened to, encouraged and celebrated.

Juggling work and military life: Juggling everything is challenging. I've done seven months alone, pregnant, with two young kids, in a pandemic! What’s been your biggest challenge throughout the

lockdowns? I've relied a lot on friends to help me emotionally and with childcare. I started in lockdown, so it’s always been this way for me, and I've slowly learnt how best to adapt to each curveball. I've transferred a lot of my services online, I often work at night, and I’m finding ways to support military families struggling financially after this year. Top tip: Ask for help and accept it when it’s offered. Your business is important and you deserve to put it first.

Military connection: I live with my soldier husband and two boys in SFA in Harrogate.

Juggling work and military life: Initially, pilates was the main part of the business and I worked out of my living room in the evenings with frequent furniture shuffles to fit the students in! My business really expanded in the four years we were in Shrivenham.

in touch with current clients. All our pictures were down and boxes were everywhere, but then it was postponed within four days of the lorry arriving. Luckily the weather was great and I was able to film outside. It was a steep learning curve with lots of mistakes – failed videos, no sound, noisy lorries and ice cream vans, but I learnt quickly.

What’s been your biggest challenge throughout the lockdowns? In preparation for our house move, I had already started online pilates to keep

Top tip: Upskill early and go for it! I’m much happier when I have my own identity. At work, I’m not ‘mummy’, I’m ‘Diane the physio’ and that feels great.

What have been the challenges through the lockdowns? SLAM has adapted well this past year. I moved all our workouts, socialising and playgroups online and everyone was so grateful for this. Top tip: I'd recommend starting your own business. My own has definitely faced tricky moments in this past year, but it continues to thrive due to a demand for this type of community within the military setting.


Diane Farebrother Diane Farebrother Physiotherapy & Pilates

Why start your business? I qualified as a physio in 2002 and never planned to set up my own business, but moving house so often, I embraced it to stay chartered.

Juggling work and military life: My husband is currently deployed which makes juggling my two little people and running SLAM a little trickier but having my own business has

meant my time is more flexible.

There are some important things to consider if you decide to become self-employed, ranging from your tax responsibilities to ensuring that you’re legally compliant, particularly if you’re taking your business overseas. If you live in SFA, you’ll need permission from Amey and the local commander to run a business from that address. Our Forces Families Jobs (FFJ) team held a webinar earlier this year with three organisations that support military spouses with their business aspirations. You can watch it on the FFJ Business Start-ups page, where you’ll also find more info about the support available to help you get started.

Useful links l l l l l l l

autumn 2021 Army&You 29


BRANDED BY THE BRITISH ARMY How pride in a parent’s military service helped forge ‘pad brat’s’ professional path


OU don’t need to spend too long in the company of Susan Anderton, a master practitioner in the art of persuasive marketing, to discover one of the great influences on her own attitudes and behaviours. The managing director of The Brand Marquee is a self-professed “daddy’s girl” and talks openly of the pride she has in her father Patrick for his decision to dedicate his career to supporting one of the biggest – and most distinguished – brands in the world, the British Army. “I was what’s known as an ‘Army brat’ and spent much of my childhood living and playing on military camps,” she told Army&You, recalling with affection her dad’s days in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. “Having a parent in the Armed Forces isn’t easy given the nomadic nature of Service life and worry associated with a loved one potentially being put in harm’s way, but I didn’t know any different. I remember being scared on occasions – my mum was from southern Ireland, where people suspected there were anti-British militants so I had to be careful to not tell anyone we had a soldier in the family – but overall I have happy memories of dad’s service. “As an adult, I’m proud to be able to say he wore the uniform, but even as a child I knew from the stories dad told me that he believed in the British Army as an institution and was fully invested in what it did, stood for and its people. That commitment to a common cause and drive to collectively succeed has stuck with me ever since.” And while Susan never considered pulling on a pair of military boots and following in her father’s footsteps, she has made it her mission to apply many of the Army’s values to her chosen professional path. The 52-year-old’s march to The

30 Army&You autumn 2021

“I have happy memories of dad’s service. I’m proud to be able to say he wore the uniform.” Brand Marquee – a consultancy specialising in brand identity, marketing and business development – began, perhaps inevitably, at a technology firm with close ties to the defence sector. “Initially I was set on pursuing a career in computer engineering,” Susan added. “In truth, I wasn’t even 100 per cent sure what that meant back then but I had always been intrigued by technological advancements and a desire to be involved with emerging technologies – undoubtedly down to a fear of missing out! “My first employers quickly identified that my inquisitive nature and habit of asking everyone about what they were doing were better suited to the company’s PR and marketing department than the clerical job I’d originally been hired for. “Looking back my original manager was probably just tired of hearing my voice but I instantly felt at home with marketing.” It was a shift in direction that certainly paid dividends and led to Susan being recruited for a succession of business-tobusiness marketing roles. Over the following two decades she gained valuable experience enhancing the competitive positioning of everything from large corporates to small and medium-sized enterprises in a diverse range of sectors, which included professional services,

IT, construction, finance and retail and leisure. However, it was during a tenure on the executive board of a 55-strong architectural practice that Susan says she cemented her holistic understanding of marketing and first imbued the elements of the British Army she so admired into a commercial setting. “My time with the company coincided with the UK entering into recession in 2008, when businesses had to quickly perfect how to sell their services if they were going to survive and flourish,” she explained. “Doing so meant knowing your brand inside and out and then having every member of the team pulling in the same direction; projecting and practicing the firm’s identity. “You can’t sell to others unless you wholeheartedly commit to the cause yourselves.” It is an ethos that Susan has embedded within her own agency, where teamwork is at the forefront of sharpening clients’ competitive edge. “Our track record for helping companies to challenge and change perceptions of their products and services is down to doing more than just being an organisation to outsource functions of a business to,” continued The Brand Marquee’s founding partner. “We see ourselves as an extension of your ‘home team’ and immerse ourselves to ensure we have a

comprehensive knowledge of the job at hand. “It may sound cheesy but we have a soldier’s ‘can-do attitude’ and, importantly, the collective expertise to ascertain different strategies for success and then deliver it.” With The Brand Marquee now in its ninth year, it is a plan that stands up to scrutiny. Susan has assembled a team of experts that can be deployed to go into battle for an impressive portfolio of clients and has masterminded an ever-expanding catalogue of campaign victories – many of which have been delivered on behalf of technology companies. “The feedback we receive from clients and the measurable results we achieve for them validate our approach and serve as a daily reminder of the strength of our team and that I made the right decision in ‘pitching’ The Brand Marquee,” said Susan, who was quick to cite that both her parents have made a positive impression on her professional life. “I am lucky to have grown up in a house with two role models,” she concluded. “My mum left school when she was only 14 but has always shown entrepreneurial spirit. She taught herself maths and, having always wanted to run her own business, had the courage in her conviction to set up and run a successful hairdressing business.” Susan’s chosen career as a marketer may be markedly different to that of a soldier or salon owner, but it is clear the Anderton apple did not fall far from the tree.

Birthday bonanza!


AN you believe that Forces Families Jobs reaches its second birthday on 17 September? No, we can’t either! Throughout the pandemic, FFJ has grown into much more than just a jobs board, so if you’re thinking about training, going into business or looking for work, make it your first port of call. AFF Employment & Training Specialist, Jenna Richardson, has an update… Over the summer we broke the 10,000 barrier for live jobs, with 950 registered employers, 67 training providers and more than 6,500 registered users. Between January and June, we welcomed more than 65,000 new visitors to the site and recorded 5,500 responses to job adverts. FFJ now provides information about apprenticeships and volunteering, as well as a series of webinars, where we welcome

Go social... As part of our next experts to offer advice and support to members of our community. So far, we’ve featured CV writing, self-employment and opportunities with some of our valued employers, as well as an insight session with Pearson Education. If you missed these, you can view the recordings on our Job Seeker and Business Start-ups page.

step in the development of FFJ, we’re taking a dive into Facebook and LinkedIn, followed by other platforms in the coming months. We’ll be running collaborations with our employers and training providers, highlighting featured jobs, sharing news and updates and posting about events. So if you see us pop up on your timeline, like and follow us to keep track of what’s happening in the military spouse/partner employment space.

Coming to your screen

Meet the team... FFJ has recently welcomed

Wendy Quinn from the Naval Families Federation, and Greg Timlin from the Royal Air Force Families Federation team alongside AFF’s FFJ Administrator Sarah Johnson, and myself. We’re looking forward to taking FFJ to the next level.

We’re excited to soon be launching three short films – created by This Media Larke – which provide an insight into FFJ. Each looks at a different perspective of the FFJ community: the job seeker, the employer and the training provider. In our job seeker video, we meet military spouse Vasemaca, who explains how she used FFJ to secure a new role when her husband was posted and found it straightforward and easy to navigate. It’s helped her to find a job that was appropriate for her experience and qualifications. Project JEMS at Wiltshire College is featured in our film about training opportunities. We’re introduced to Salome (pictured), Louise-Jayne and Simran, who each had very different goals, but all needed Level 2 qualifications in English

and maths to progress to the next level. Amazon and Fujitsu are showcased in our employer video as both companies work closely with the FFJ team to support the employment of military spouses. Meet members of the recruitment teams and learn more about how and why they encourage the recruitment of military spouses to their workforces. This is just a taster, so head to the FFJ website and look out for more content about the adventures of Forces Families Jobs on social media. autumn 2021 Army&You 31


When you are part of a military family, additional factors can add to the general worries and stresses carried by others. Sometimes, our ability to cope and mental wellbeing can be pushed to the brink – as was the case for one army spouse, who warns Army&You readers of the dangers of not stopping stresses from overflowing...

CAN’T pinpoint what caused my mental health to deteriorate to such an extent that when I travelled by rail I would have to hold on to something at the back of the platform because I’d developed a fascination with jumping under a train. I never took those thoughts further but perhaps only because we were posted and I no longer used the train. My mental health issues continued for years. I have an incredible family but not even my husband knew the true extent of my problems. How could I tell him ‘I keep thinking about jumping under a train’ when he was thousands of miles away? But with great therapy, a better diet and more exercise I’m finally in recovery. I wish I’d taken steps earlier. I kept telling myself to get over it when I should have sought some of the great help available.

32 Army&You autumn 2021

Too much to deal with In therapy I learned how the brain works. How we have a ‘bucket’ that can overflow. If we have too many difficult things and not enough time to process them, stress, depression and anxiety can follow. In my bucket were many things I’d stoically collected: house moves, operational tours, stressful work, sick parents, desperately homesick children, lengthy separation periods, loneliness, poor sleep and diet and a real hatred of my next posting. And that was before I accompanied my husband overseas to an indescribably difficult

environment. There was a long list of perfect ingredients that contributed to my deterioration.

One size doesn’t fit all

There is no standard ‘depressed person’. Overseas I worked long days in a toxic organisation, attended official functions and kept pressing on, all the time adding to my bucket. Posted back to the UK, moving to a new house where I knew no one, starting a new job and trying to find my place among friends brought a new low. I could barely function. I did enough for work but nothing more. My husband did everything in the house and I put

“In my bucket were many things I’d stoically collected: house moves, operational tours, desperately homesick children... and a real hatred of my next posting.”

on more weight as I comfort ate. But then, miraculously, I found solution-focused hypnotherapy. In eight weeks of one-hour sessions I reclaimed my mental health from a start point of being a broken and sceptical individual. Through an audio file that helped me sleep, wonderfully relaxing hypnotherapy sessions and talking therapy, I recovered.

Back on track

Now, I’m hopeful, focused and enjoying life properly after years of being an observer. I’m eating better, exercising more and it’s working. So if any of the above sounds familiar, don’t wait as long as I did. Seek help through your GP or a trained therapist. My recovery has been truly transformative. & Useful links: @ArmyandYou

Picture: Amritanshu Sikdar on Unsplash

How full is your bucket?


IT’S GOOD TO TALK During her current posting to Surrey, army spouse Antoinette Broomfield is training as a psychological wellbeing practitioner. She’s now involved in delivering talking therapies, signposted by the NHS, to support people struggling with their mental health. We caught up with her to find out more…

l Guided self-help CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) supports you to develop coping strategies to make positive changes in your behaviour and thinking. It can also help you with stress and isolation that can be brought on by regularly moving, or changes such as deployments or exercises.

I met my husband in 2005 shortly after his first tour in Iraq. Fast-forward to 2021, three operational tours, two children and seven houses later and we are still enjoying the whirlwind of military life. As military families, we are perhaps tested more than most and talking to a trained therapist can really help you to cope with the challenges. Some talking therapies are available on the NHS in England as part of a programme called IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies). If you’re dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, panic or anger, you may be able to refer yourself directly into the service if it’s available, as long as you’re aged 17 or over and registered with a GP. I work for DHC Talking Therapies in Surrey, which is free and confidential. We offer a range of proven psychological therapies which come in many forms, meaning there is something for everyone. You can choose short courses of individual or group therapy treatments which are delivered either online, by phone, video call or in person.

l CBT is an evidence-based approach that helps you manage your emotions in a healthy way. You work with your therapist to identify current thinking patterns and behaviours that might be problematic and learn techniques to improve them.

What are talking therapies?

There are several types of therapy, depending on your situation and need:

l Counselling for depression (CfD) helps you explore underlying feelings and make sense of them, then empowers you to develop new ways of looking at yourself and the world around you.


YOU HAVE ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES We give you the strength to discover

l Some services also offer EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), for non-combat or compound post-traumatic stress disorder. You learn techniques to help you to make sense of memories from the trauma and to store these memories in a better way to help recovery. Depending on which interventions you’re offered, sessions usually run over four to six weeks and are normally up to one and a half hours long. If you’re struggling, it’s important not to wait to reach out for help. Go to and click ‘Access to NHS Psychological Therapies Service’.


autumn 2021 Army&You 33

Picture: © Jon Fu on Unsplash



NE positive of COVID-19 is that more people have been able to work from home, which is a real bonus for mobile army families. Whilst this means that there’s a greater chance of keeping hold of your job when posted, the idea that you can just pick up your laptop, move overseas and carry on working without any potential problems is far from a reality. AFF’s Overseas Manager, Esther Thomas, has seen a rise in families wanting information about rules and regulations. “Working remotely whilst overseas is not as simple as it may appear and we’ve been working hard to ensure that you have the right information to make an informed decision,” she says.

Rights, rates and rules

It’s important that you’re fully aware of the impact of working whilst accompanying your soldier overseas. “You have to navigate tax residency rules and rights to work, as well as local

34 Army&You autumn 2021

business rates and permissions to work from home,” adds Esther. “This is complicated by host nations having different rules, or agreements, with the MOD, many of which were written in the 1950s with no expectation of spousal employment, let alone remote working!” Getting this information isn’t straightforward, as AFF’s Employment & Training Specialist, Jenna Richardson, explains: “We’ve seen both spouses and employers experiencing difficulties in understanding the complexities of working overseas and finding the correct sources of advice.” AFF has been liaising with the chain of command and MOD to try to improve this support. Unfortunately, we still don’t have detailed guidance, but we’re continuing to raise this issue and the need for clarity. Claire Hallam, AFF’s Money & Allowances Specialist, has some advice on what you need to consider: “It’s really important to read the statutory residency test guidance and contact the HMRC helpline. “Everyone’s personal tax circumstances

vary, so you must get official advice. We’re liaising with HMRC to produce a factsheet for service families.”

Know before you go

AFF has also been working closely with the Army Personnel Centre to ensure that service families are prompted to think about these issues before they even start to apply for an overseas assignment. There are many things to check out before your plug in your laptop to start work! Jill, an experienced overseas remote working spouse, sums up the current situation: “There needs to be a concerted effort to look at this issue and come up with a mechanism for helping spouses navigate the murky waters of working whilst overseas.” AFF will continue to work on your behalf and update you with any developments at We’re keen to hear from any spouses and partners experiencing difficulties with working overseas, so do get in touch at @ArmyandYou

Your experiences Jill has frequently been posted overseas and believes that whilst the army encourages spouses to work remotely and run their own online businesses, it’s failed to provide the backup support. She started her business 12 years ago in Pakistan: “No one in the MOD had a clue how to help me. I was basically told you are a one-off, just stay quiet and no one will notice.” The family is about to begin their fourth move to a new country and yet this subject still fits squarely in the pretty difficult box. “This problem is not going away, it’s only going to start affecting more spouses.”

Whilst Bhav thought her posting to Kenya was an amazing opportunity for her family, she was nervous at the thought of having to give up work and fall behind in her career. She says: “I’m grateful that my employers are willing to allow me to continue to work remotely from overseas, the pandemic has had some benefits! I’m also grateful to AFF for their help in collating some of the correct documents to satisfy my employers. The terms of my employment haven’t changed, and I will be able to continue to work flexibly.”

One spouse approached AFF, looking for some information on the Defence Cooperation Agreement as her UK employer was keen to maintain her employment when she moved to Kenya. Her employers were anxious that it would trigger a permanent tax issue. She explains: “It cost us £750 in legal advice to get to the position where a specific decision could be made. I’m still amazed that the military wasn’t able to provide legal advice on this common topic since I’m sure they have lawyers working for them too.” Those of you who are accompanying your soldier to the USA need an Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) to work –and file US taxes – and the administration of these can take weeks. Military spouse Kate tells us: “I’ve found the EAD process very challenging. I have to apply to renew every time my husband’s orders are extended. Delays meant my right to work expired twice in six months. I had to leave my job as a television producer as a result.” If you’re hoping to work in the US, you’re advised to apply for your EAD as soon as you have a US address – currently, you aren’t able to use the Embassy address.

Fatou Cham was initially able to gain a job for six months as an office clerk in Germany under BFG. However, when the organisation changed to British Army Germany BA(G), she was made redundant. Whilst looking for work with NAAFI it became apparent that under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), non-UK nationals have restricted eligibility for some Dependant Employment Vacancies. What made matters worse was that Fatou had to return to the UK for several months to study and take the necessary tests at personal cost to gain British citizenship. She reports: “Though the changes have been challenging, it has been a great learning experience.”

Sara and Matt are on their fifth posting together and moved mid-pandemic to Sennelager, Germany. Sara says: “The organisation I work for is a multinational, therefore working across locations and time zones has always been the norm.” When the family were considering an overseas posting she had to investigate the potential to work remotely and found that in theory it was possible. “I was lucky that my company carried out their own investigations and were willing to support me, but information was difficult to find and I did a lot of research myself, reading the relevant SOFA documents and legislation to try to support my organisation in finding the right answers. “It is an unusual situation for employers, and I can understand why some could be put off.”

Kelly is about to move overseas and is taking her job with Pembrokeshire County Council with her. She’s already contacted HMRC to make the necessary tax arrangements to ensure her transition is seamless. “Where we can support the armed forces, or their families, we certainly feel it’s our duty to do so,” says the council’s Chief HR Officer Catherine Evans. “The challenges of military life can be difficult, especially in terms of frequent moves. We’re very pleased to support a member of our staff to continue in the role she has thrived in for the duration of her partner’s two-year posting.” Charlotte, who initially struggled to get adequate information for her employers, says the experience has made her think twice about accompanying her soldier overseas. “If this doesn’t work out and I can’t continue with my employment overseas, yes, I will go, but my future outlook in terms of travelling with the army and my husband will change,” she says. “I’ve been really lucky that my husband’s chain of command has been so supportive but it’s the system, not the people, that make this so difficult.”  autumn 2021 Army&You 35




NTITLEMENT to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) for your duty station ends when you’re posted, but what if you want to stay put for educational reasons? AFF Housing Specialist, Cat Calder, has the details… There are some circumstances where you may be able to extend your current entitlement when your soldier is posted elsewhere; this is known as retention and must be applied for and granted before the new posting starts. Retention will only be granted for up to 12 months so you shouldn’t consider it as a long-term option. You’ll be expected to move to the new duty station at the end of the retention period and will be entitled to delayed removals and Disturbance Expense as long as you still have more than six months left at the new duty station.

detrimental for your child to transfer their studies due to regional syllabus differences or continuous assessment work. You must provide a letter from the school/ college confirming that your child is completing a recognised critical stage of education and include start/end dates of the course and the impact of transferring. Retention for the specified stage of education will be possible up to the date of the final public examination but may be subject to successful reapplication after 12 months.

quarter may be retained for two academic terms or until the end of the academic year as appropriate. It’s also possible if the local authority (or equivalent in the devolved administrations) has agreed to go forward with statutory assessment. You’ll need to provide a letter from the school/local authority stating that your child is formally undergoing statutory assessment as well as a supporting education impact statement from the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS).

Learning location

Surplus options

Major milestones

Staying for SEND

If your child is within one of the recognised critical stages of education, retention is allowed on the basis that it would be

If your child is doing an apprenticeship in England with a local offer which can’t be replicated at your new location, you must provide a letter from the current education/training provider confirming the circumstances.

Where your child is undergoing statutory assessment for special educational/ additional needs at their current school, your

If you don’t meet the official retention criteria but want to stay so that a child can finish a school term or year, you may have the option to remain in your quarter on a surplus licence, depending on availability. Usually this means that you lose your entitlement to removals, however, for educational reasons the commanding officer can sign off a delay to removals for up to six months. Take a look at for info or contact me at

WHO'S LOOKING AFTER YOUR HOUSE? The National Housing Prime (NHP) contract, which provides management and maintenance services for Service Family Accommodation (SFA), will be replaced in spring 2022 by five new accommodation contracts. The changes are part of Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s (DIO) Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) programme. So, from next year, the SFA estate will be supported by: one National Accommodation Management Services (NAMS) contract, which will operate the National Service Centre responsible for managing your requests, such as scheduling

appointments for repairs and move-ins and outs; and four Regional Accommodation Maintenance Services (RAMS) contracts, which will ensure the SFA estate is maintained to the required standards. The winning bidders for each of the contracts were announced over the summer. The NAMS contract will be run by Pinnacle Group Ltd and the four RAMS contracts are to be overseen by Amey Community Ltd (Northern and Central) and VIVO Defence Services Ltd (South East and South West). Amey will continue to deliver its

contractual responsibilities, operating its helpdesk, administering moves and undertaking all SFA maintenance until the new contracts begin on 1 March 2022. DIO is now working closely with its future suppliers to allow a smooth transition, ensuring there is minimal impact on services to families. During the procurement process, DIO consulted widely with

stakeholders, including service families, and collaborated closely with AFF and the other families federations to ensure the new contracts address the key concerns that you identified. That consultation and collaboration will continue during the transition. Read more on the SFA page at or contact AFF’s housing specialist at housingsupport@


NEETs in your nest?

CCORDING to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, young people live with their parents for longer than they did 20 years ago. For service families with over-18s who are still at home and not in full-time education, employment or training (NEETs), there can be some challenges when their entitlements stop. AFF Housing Specialist, Cat Calder, tells us more… Within policy, while NEETs no longer qualify under the size of family criteria for the purpose of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) allocations, they can continue to live with you as nondependant adult children. You’ll never be expected to ask a child to leave home just because they have turned 18 and are not in higher education, nor will you be expected to move to a smaller quarter during a posting. Although you're no longer eligible for the same size SFA when you move, the allocations team will try to house

you in a similar size SFA, but only if it's available. Reassuringly, the age limits don’t apply to a son or daughter who is physically or mentally incapable of contributing to their own support.

so post-Brexit, also throws up other issues regarding the dependant status of NEETs, such as access to medical care or their ability to work in that location.

The future of housing

Alongside housing entitlement, there’s also an impact on allowances, such as subsistence costs, when moving. But allowance policy does state that your child can be classed as immediate family – with the approval of the Pay & Allowance Casework and Complaints Cell (PACCC), for a dependant son or daughter who is over 18 and under 21 not in education. Your soldier can speak to their unit admin team to clarify eligibility for allowances and discuss how to put in casework to PACCC. So if you’re considering an overseas posting with a NEET, ensure that you’ve asked about the possible associated issues which might affect your family.

Army life does move you around and as a result, you may be likely to move once your child has turned 18. There’s always the option – if no similar sized SFA is available at the new duty station – to request surplus SFA slightly out of the area. Under the Future Accommodation Model (FAM), it’s anticipated that within the available options, you could choose to rent privately and receive an allowance towards the costs. Once your child is 18, their element of the allowance will stop on your next assignment so do bear in mind that your personal contribution may end up being more.

Going abroad

Issues can arise if you’re posted overseas as housing tends to be very limited, so it’s likely that you’ll be allocated SFA at your new entitlement. Living overseas, even more


l If you’d like to read more, see JSP 464, or contact me at

Picture: © Gregoire Bertaud on Unsplash

Don't get caught cold by winter We know it’s only September but now’s the time to get ahead of the game and make sure your home is winter ready. Tick off the following checks to ensure you’re prepared for when the cold weather arrives. l Turn your heating on l Test radiators – bleed them l Cover outside taps l Check that gutters and

downpipes aren’t blocked l Check flowerbeds near the house – is the soil below the damp course? l Report dripping taps to Amey l Make sure you know where your stopcock is – ask your accommodation officer if you’re not sure l Check your insurance – do you have licence to occupy cover in place? l Don’t forget that a gas/

electrical safety inspection is a legal requirement so allow operatives in to complete this when your appointment is made. Remember, doing these simple maintenance steps in plenty of time means you can call in any necessary repairs before the cold weather arrives. Go to for further info or contact me by email at autumn 2021 Army&You 37




EACHING children about money matters early on will help them to better manage their finances as they get older. has some top tips for honing good home economics habits...

Lead by example

Show your children how to correctly balance your budget and live within your means. If you have a flippant attitude to your finances, the chances are they will too.

Pocket money

Picture: © Porapak Apichodilok for Pexels

Giving cash for jobs around the house is a great way to begin to teach children the value of money. When they want something, let them use their own money to buy it.

Take them shopping

Make sure your children are aware of what things cost. Take them shopping so they can see just how much – or how little – you get for your money.

Weekend job

When they’re old enough, encourage them to get a job. Having money they’ve worked to earn will cement its worth and if there’s something pricey they want, urge them to save up for it.

Open a savings account

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the pounds add up!

Want or need

Encourage your children to differentiate between something they want and something they need.

Making mistakes

Let your children make their own spending decisions. Sometimes they’ll get it wrong but it’s unlikely they will keep making the same mistakes.

CLAIM BACK CAR COSTS – associated administrative and vehicle depreciation costs l Leasing a car – charges incurred when cancelling a lease agreement l The cost of shipping one vehicle to and from your permanent overseas location.

What are the rates and how can I claim?

The current rate is set at £975 so you can claim back up to

this figure, if eligible. Your soldier’s unit HR admin team will need to check any supporting documents before they give approval. Full details of what’s needed can be found in JSP 752 v46 Chapter 9 section 4. Alternatively, if you choose to drive your car to eligible countries (Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar), you can

Picture: ©

AS part of the changes to the Local Overseas Allowance, a new allowance called the Overseas Private Vehicle Provision (OPVP) was introduced. So, what is the OPVP and how can it help you? OPVP helps with the cost of a car while you’re posted overseas. This can be used towards: l Selling and buying a car

claim Motor Mileage Allowance and one day’s subsistence as a contribution towards the journey. Find out more at and check if you’re eligible by asking your soldier to speak to their unit HR admin. If you have any feedback on OPVP, email

38 Army&You autumn 2021





S YOUR family has a secure income whilst your soldier is serving, you might be forgiven for not thinking much about retirement. However, it is never too early to save for retirement and, in this article, Mary Petley of the Forces Pension Society sets out the basics about AFPS 15 Added Pension provisions and how to get a quote. Surely buying Added Pension will tie us in to extra payments for years? No. Each AFPS 15 Added Pension contract lasts up to a year. Contributions can be as little as a £300 lump sum or monthly instalments of £25 per month. You decide what you can afford – and remember, because it comes out of pay before tax, it reduces tax liability. What does it increase? There is a choice. Contributions can either boost just the member’s pension or those of their dependants too. Obviously, if it is to boost the member’s pension AND those of his or her dependants, the cost will be greater as more is being enhanced. Whichever is chosen, the cost can be met by instalments or as a single lump sum. How much would it cost? It depends upon various factors, for example: l what is to be enhanced and by how much; l the member’s age when the contribution is made;

(EDP) benefits; l The Added Pension increases each year by the Consumer Prices Index. And the cons? l You cannot take the money out of the scheme as a cash lump sum; l If a pension increases too much in one year, HMRC’s Annual Allowance could be breached. What if, for example, my soldier is leaving the Army next year? Will that prevent the purchase of Added Pension? No. As the contract runs for only one year at a time, and as the purchase may be made by instalment or lump sum, the Added Pensions arrangements still work.

l when in the ‘contract year’ the contract begins; l his or her State Pension Age (SPA); and l whether the contribution is by lump sum or by monthly instalments. The last time I looked at the Added Pension cost factors, there were over a dozen assumption tables! Give me an example that will make sense to me. A soldier who joined at age 20 takes out the Added Pension contract at age 38 to purchase £100 Added Pension payable from SPA. The age on joining, age at the point of purchase and the SPA (68 in this case) have a bearing on the cost: l If member’s benefits only are enhanced the cost would be £1,566 as a lump sum or £133 per month for 12 months; l If member’s and the dependants’ benefits were enhanced the cost would be £1,687 as a lump sum or £144 per

month for 12 months. This may look like a lot of money but, remember, premiums come from pay before tax, thus reducing the member’s tax liability. What are the pros? l Added Pension offers value for money; l The commitment is short term; l Purchasing Added Pension is tax efficient as contributions come from pay before tax; l Increasing the pension will improve Early Departure Payment

How do we apply? Submit an AFPS Form 6 to Defence Business Services (Glasgow) to obtain a quote. This does not constitute a commitment – it is only if you like what you see and your soldier submits an AFPS Form 6A that the contract is entered into. These forms are available on JPA or on the internet at gov. uk/government/publications/ service-personnel-andveterans-agency-spvapensions-forms If you are a Member of the Forces Pension Society and have any questions, email: Or if you would like to know more about us, visit


Army&You 39




EING involved in military legal proceedings or a civilian criminal matter can lead to severe consequences, which could change you and your family’s lives forever. But it’s important to remember that you always have a right to legal advice and representation, which is essential, particularly when things may not be clear cut. If you have been charged with an offence, our team will guide you through the process in a clear and straightforward way and help prepare you for any police interviews. We can also take on your case immediately, represent you and defend your case in court if necessary. You will work with the same solicitor from start to finish, who will know your case inside out, which can help reduce any anxiety you might be feeling. We have represented army service personnel charged with a

40 Army&You autumn 2021

wide variety of military and civilian offences, with many matters dropped at the interview stage. Our clients have faced harassment and assault allegations; driving offence charges in civilian courts and drug offence charges. We have also prepared cases and represented clients up to Court Martial. Whatever the circumstances, we are by your side with expert legal advice.

Why choose B P Collins? l We can defend service personnel in the UK or abroad in all military legal proceedings, carried out under the law of England and Wales. l If you are facing an interview under caution, whether it’s at a base or civilian police station, we will obtain pre-interview

disclosure of information beforehand, help you to prepare, and be with you in the interview to safeguard your interests. l We can help you to decide whether to answer questions in an interview, put forward a prepared statement or answer ‘no comment’, which can be crucial to your case. l Our team has solicitor advocates with higher rights of audience, which means we can defend your case in court so there is no need to appoint a separate barrister, which would incur extra costs. l We are completely independent of the armed forces, and you will see the same solicitor from the start to the end of your case. You can call B P Collins’ military law and criminal law specialists 24/7 on 01753 889995 or email @ArmyandYou



RE you a military spouse or partner who’s feeling isolated or missing a sense of togetherness and motivation in your life? The Forces Wives Challenge (FWC) could be just the thing for you. It aims to unite women with partners in the armed forces through adventure and challenge, combating loneliness by providing opportunities to experience camaraderie, belonging and achievement. It was set up by Heather Sharp, who served in the regular army for 10 years, before making the difficult decision to leave due to the pressures of having a young family and a husband who was also serving. Heather says: “I then experienced service life on the other side of the fence and found it so much tougher. My eyes were opened to the incredible sacrifices made by families, and I really wanted to give something back.”

Expeditions worldwide

FWC has supported 18 expeditions and events, from scaling the world’s highest volcano in Chile to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and raised more than £50,000 for charity along the way. During the lockdowns, FWC was determined to carry on delivering events to keep the community motivated, including Pedal4Poppies for the Royal British Legion; Forgotten ‘C’ for Macmillan Cancer Support and #10ForTrees for The Woodland Trust. Nicola McCombe, who took part in Pedal4Poppies alongside her friend Hollie,

The FWC team at the summit of Ojos del Salado (6,893m) in Chile

says: “The weather was horrendous – torrential rain and strong winds, but it didn’t dampen our spirits! “Hollie and I rode over 35 miles visiting various memorials throughout Wiltshire and Hampshire where we laid poppies made by Hollie at each one. “It was great fun, even when we got lost, and we both had a sense of achievement when we completed it.”

Heroes’ footsteps

FWC has had another action-packed summer and members are now in training for the next ambitious overseas expedition.

In March 2022 FWC is taking the world’s first all-female team, the ‘FWC HOT Ladies’ to Norway to re-enact the famous Heroes of Telemark journey, a daring Second World War mission by Norwegian special forces across the Hardangervidda Plateau. Expedition doctor Kate Connelly adds: “It is a real privilege to have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of these brave young men whose determination and sacrifice helped ensure future generations could enjoy the freedoms we have today.” l To find out more or get involved, visit

SPRINGBOARD OF SUPPORT MILITARY charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which supports children and young people who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the armed forces, has re-shaped its Springboard programme for adults aged 18-25 to ensure they get sufficient support. Scotty’s founder, Nikki Scott, explains: “Turning 18 is a huge milestone in a young person’s life. They may have finished their education journey, they might be joining the workforce, starting training, further education or looking to start a family of their own. Scotty’s wants to be there to support them for their next chapter, particularly as it’s a time where

the absence of their parent might feel as apparent as ever.” The Springboard programme is designed specifically for bereaved young adults with the aim of providing them with life skills and career opportunities, as well as the chance to mentor younger Scotty’s members. Programme leader, Emma Peppercorn, says: “When a young person turns 18, they legally become an adult, so it feels right we should treat them like an adult too.” Those joining the programme will be known as ‘Springboarders’ rather than ‘Scotty’s members’ and receive support with securing education placements, help with getting into employment, general

information and guidance, access to a range of grants and the opportunity to get to know other bereaved young adults. Nikki added: “Accessing the Springboard programme is a really positive step. We know how huge the impact the death of a parent is, and we are working hard to ensure we provide the best support.” Scotty’s also offers support to bereaved forces children through three other family initiatives – the Smiles programme focuses on fun and community, the Support scheme looks after emotional health and wellbeing and the Strides programme helps with education and development. For more, see autumn 2021 Army&You 41




ADAN Hassan LL.B (Hons) & LLM (pictured below) is a specialist family mediator with a wealth of experience in helping divorcing or separated couples resolve and come to a fair settlement in respect of their finances, property and children. We asked her to shed some light on the work that she does... What is Family Mediation? Family Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution option where the parties are assisted by a professional, impartial and neutral mediator to resolve issues between themselves and make their own plans for the future without going to court. It can assist with decisions on marriage, separation, divorce, parenting schedules, child support, alimony, property division, elder care, the family’s budget, distribution of inherited property, family business succession, and a host of other

l It’s quicker. Mediation is the fastest and quickest way to find resolution and an outcome that is mutually negotiated;

Picture: freepik

family matters. It is a co-operative process where the parties have a greater control over their case without involving adversarial legal procedures and incurring huge legal bills. The parties make the decision, with the help of the mediator, and no one makes them to do anything against their wishes. The mediator helps the parties to reach their own agreements amicably, whilst trying to improve communication between them. What are the advantages of mediation over going to court? Where mediation is a suitable option to resolve disputes, and no exemptions apply such as domestic abuse, it provides many significant benefits as an alternative resolution process:

l It’s confidential. All communications in mediation sessions are confidential (except the disclosure of financial information or where there is significant risk to the life, health or safety of a child, the parties or anyone else); l It can preserve relationships. The parties can preserve a better relationship especially when there are children involved, and they will share parental responsibilities; l It moves beyond the “blame game” and fault finding. The parties do not discuss faults and blame during negotiations, which allows resolution to look forward rather than back. l It minimises emotional and financial distress. The parties work for the least possible emotional and financial upheaval for all concerned.

Separating or divorcing? Financial, Children or Property disputes? We can help provide equitable solutions for all parties through mediation. Mediation is a cost-effective way of resolving disputes and involves an independent, professional mediator helping you to make arrangements during and following divorce or separation. At Divorce Mediation Service, we specialise in Family Mediation & Family Law that is affordable and effective in resolving family disputes, and are available faceto-face and online across England and Wales.

KADAN HASSAN DIVORCE MEDIATION SERVICE Get in touch to find out more on 07961228846 or email: Picture: freepik

42 Army&You autumn 2021



Virtual, VITAL AND ALREADY VaLUED AFF’s new assistants enhance charity’s connection with your community


S AN independent charity, AFF is always looking for ways that we can support you better and this year we’ve hired three new Virtual Assistants to make sure we’re on hand to help outside of normal working hours.

Led by Manager England, Carole Rudd, our VAs are online Monday to Thursday 8am-7pm and Friday 8am to 5pm. “The addition of virtual assistants means there is a dedicated team as a first point of contact,” says Carole. “Our team is friendly, knowledgeable and happy to chat. 01264 “Their normal working day also includes scanning 554004 social media for any emerging trends or issues, which CONTACT@ helps us build a picture to gather evidence. AFF.ORG.UK “Our VAs offer a more rounded approach and are already benefitting families. One recent enquirer told us ‘I work office hours so it’s nice to speak to someone friendly out of hours for information when you have an issue’. Another added ‘I’ve learnt more from you in the last ten minutes than in my entire army career!’.”




MILITARY CONNECTION I was an army child and I’m now an army wife.

MILITARY CONNECTION I served for seven years before being medically discharged in 2018 and I’m married to a serving soldier.

MILITARY CONNECTION My husband is in the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. We’ve been married eight years.

HOURS COVERED 8am-1pm Monday to Friday

HOURS COVERED 1pm-3pm Monday to Friday

HOURS COVERED 2.30pm-7pm Monday to Thursday and 3pm-5pm Friday “I wish I’d known more about how AFF can help with all things army life before starting work here – I’ve already learnt so much! I enjoy the variety of the enquiries coming through and being the first point of contact feels like a privilege. If we, as virtual assistants, don’t have the solutions, there’s a great team of experienced colleagues who will be sure to know the answer or how to get it. I hope that you utilise the service we provide, we’re a friendly team and very happy to help – I look forward to speaking to you soon.”

“I’ve been with AFF since 2018 in a previous admin role and was excited to be offered a post as a Virtual Assistant. Working in a team of three, our role is to be the first point of contact for you – by telephone, email or on Facebook. I share up-to-date information and offer advice in Facebook groups. I deal with lots of different enquiries and no day is the same – I love how varied my role is. In more complex cases, I refer to the relevant specialist or local regional leads. If there’s anything I can help you with, please do get in touch!”

“I joined AFF in 2017 and worked as AFF’s London Co-ordinator until 2020. I now spend my mornings as AFF’s Housing Assistant and afternoons as a Virtual Assistant. It’s my job to answer any questions you may have or put you in contact with the correct specialist or regional lead. You can contact us through Facebook, email or by giving us a call (I like to talk – I’m a typical Northerner). I’ve assisted families with a wide variety of enquiries, and I’m here to help with any queries or concerns you may have.”

autumn 2021 Army&You 43

ATHLETIC ACUMEN We take a tour of the sports facilities and sporting opportunities schools and colleges provide their physically-focused pupils


FFICIAL progress figures for GCSE place the Duke of York’s Royal Military School (DOYRMS) in the top 2% of schools nationally, providing an all-round education with a strong academic focus. The award-winning school is a prominent choice for Armed Forces families providing continuity of education for students within a caring and supportive boarding environment. What sets DOYRMS apart is the outstanding

standard floodlit athletics track (pictured), a floodlit all-weather hockey pitch, a purpose-built

school developing their sporting prowess. The school, open to 11-18-year-olds, also offers

sports hall, four squash courts, a state-of-the-

professional links with Ealing Trailfinders Rugby

art strength and conditioning gym suite, dance

Club and training from Olympians such as Jack

studio with harlequin floor, a six-lane indoor

Green (Olympic Games finalist and European

heated swimming pool, six lawn tennis courts,

Championships bronze medallist) and Grace

six rugby pitches, three cricket squares, two

Balsdon (GB Women’s Hockey bronze Olympic

climbing walls and a cross-country course.

medallist), who have coached the school’s

Sports clubs such as horse riding, swimming, rugby and tennis make up part of the 80 clubs available to students each week.

sports facilities set within the 150-acre parkland

With many competitive fixtures taking place

estate and the breadth of opportunities offered

on Wednesday afternoons and on weekends,

to its students. Facilities include an Olympic

students proudly compete as ‘Dukies’ for the


athletics and hockey teams respectively. The school also offer 50% Sport Scholarships to females in hockey and males in rugby who meet the school’s entry requirements with admission onto the programmes in Year 9, 10 & 12.

STUDENTS at Queen Margaret’s School for Girls (QM) enjoy having a riding school at their 75 acre parkland site in North Yorkshire. QM has a rich and successful history of being home to some of England’s most accomplished young equestrians. The riding school, which has recently been awarded a five star rating, has stables to accommodate 25 horses and girls can take advantage of lessons ranging from beginner to Pony Club B Test level. Riding lessons are scheduled to fit with the girls’ academic timetables. Thanks to the enviable facilities on campus, QM girls can keep their own horses at the school and are free to ride their own horses providing their school work and other commitments are up to date. Girls just starting out in the saddle also have access to tuition covering many disciplines, including dressage, show jumping, cross country and gymkhana skills. Hacking takes place on the beautiful adjacent Escrick Park Estate.

44 Army&You autumn 2021



AT Moorland Private School we allow our students to pair education with elite level ballet or football tuition via our academies. We have world-renowned staff in each of our academies, who are internationally recognised for their achievements, coaching and technique. We enable our students to work towards their aspirations, whether that is performing on an international stage or winning tournaments as a professional player. With the offer of two specialised academies alongside our core

the ultimate goal is smaller than

growth and development, it is at

inspire our students, some of whom

education for all, we not only

those who study it. However, our

this point in the student’s journey

may not reach the highest echelons

consider career advice for all our

academies are structured in a

in which skills learnt from years

in their field – not everyone can

students, but also utilise focused

way that once learners reach the

training are not left to go to waste.

be a Premier League player or

pathways for students who may

end of their GCSEs it becomes

have worked towards a specific

evident whether

Moorland academy have

how their skillset can make them

passion during their education

alternative career

a carefully nurtured set of

as an invaluable part of a larger

journey. As with any top-level

paths should

skills and attributes, making

operation. Whether that be moving

sport or discipline, the number

be considered.

them ideal for a variety of

into a production role within ballet

of students who actually achieve


roles within the fields of

or becoming a specialised football

sport and dance. Our focus

coach, we aim to ensure that all

at Moorland is to ensure we

our students can progress with

All students who are part of a

prima ballerina – to understand

satisfaction, not only utilising their original skill set, but adding additional value and outlining a distinct career route connected to their passion. Our specialised academy programmes are available to all children from military families at no additional cost, and are included in our academic school fees. As an established, CEAS approved, small family boarding school all of our military families can claim 93% of school fees through CEA funding.

ABBERLEY HALL PUPILS at Abberley Hall enjoy an enormous

Walking around the site, you will see the

and tackle the mountain bike trails as soon as

breadth of sporting opportunities during

sports hall which houses an impressive ricochet

lessons finish. Headmaster Jonnie Besley’s eyes

their time at school, most of which take place

court (a game loosely based on squash), the

light up when he talks about teaching pupils to

on site.

marvellous 1st XI cricket pitch and traditional

fish in the inkpot lake, inspiring them to take up

Alongside all of the routine sports of cricket,

pavilion, the brand-new all-weather pitch and

angling as they get older.

rugby, hockey, swimming, netball, tennis, cross-

the 25-metre swimming pool, all of which are

Abberley Hall’s link with Malvern College

country and athletics, they are also offered

a stone’s throw from the classrooms, enabling

has boosted an already impressive sporting

the chance to horse ride, fence, play ricochet,

quick transitions between lessons and games.

reputation at the prep school; specialist coaches

mountain bike, shoot, sail and ski. Whilst

Yet the tour gets a little more interesting when

come over to deliver sessions and masterclasses

sailing and skiing take place off site for obvious

you are taken down the hill to the stables and

and Abberley pupils go to Malvern for

reasons, all of the other sports are incorporated

ménage to meet the school ponies, or when

tournaments and competitions. Opportunities

into an Abberley Hall pupil’s timetable and take

you enter the shooting range to be greeted by a

are endless and pupils flit effortlessly between a

place in the 90 acres of rolling Worcestershire

cacophony of “bullseye!” cries. Children scale the

host of sports, common and more unusual, here

countryside in which the school is nestled.

outdoor climbing wall during their break time

at Abberley Hall.

autumn 2021 Army&You 45


SPORT is special at The Pilgrims’ School in the heart of Winchester. The staff teach a broad PE curriculum, accessing the state of art facilities at Winchester College, a short walk away. Every boy at Pilgrims’ takes part in a timetabled sporting activity every day, including the boys in the pre-prep, who also benefit from specialist coaching. At Pilgrims’ we believe sport is essential not only for fitness but also for developing life lessons. It encourages problem-solving, emotional development and self-belief as well as working as part of a team. The jewel in the crown is the Games programme which aims to be both competitive and inclusive, with football, rugby, hockey, cricket and athletics on offer. From September, we will have seven senior football teams at Under 13, encompassing the whole year group

walls – Roman, Norman and Saxon work. There

representative sport wherever possible – mainly

from Year 3-6 inclusive.

is no finer place to witness the closing stages of a

in the major games, such as through ISFA in

cricket match late afternoon.

football, London Irish in rugby and district and

There is also an outdoor pool and cricket is on offer from reception year up. From Year 4, boys are playing matches with other schools. The school fields themselves are situated

We encourage our boys to represent the school at a high level but we’re also committed

county cricket. Above all, at Pilgrims’, we believe participating

to making sure that personal successes are

in sport provides wonderful, shared experiences

by Wolvesey Palace, home of the Bishop of

celebrated too. We look to direct pupils towards

and is just one of the many ways our boys are

Winchester, and enclosed by the ancient city

sport scholarships at senior schools, and

nurtured and encouraged as individuals every day.

TO BE A SPORTSMAN TO BE A PILGRIM JOIN US AT AN OPEN MORNING WHOLE SCHOOL OPEN MORNING SATURDAY 2 OCTOBER VIRTUAL OPEN MORNING SATURDAY 16 OCTOBER PRE-PREP OPEN MORNING FRIDAY 12 NOVEMBER To book your place, contact our Admissions team. Tel: 01962 854189 The Pilgrims’ School, Winchester Day and boarding for boys aged 4-13 46 Army&You autumn 2021




T THE start of September 2020, Gordon’s School entered

one of the most exciting chapters in its 135 year history. A new sports hub and additional allweather pitch was added to the already extensive facilities on the 50-acre Surrey site and the school announced its partnership with Harlequins. As a result of the partnership, promising rugby players can now follow a pathway to a career in the game while receiving a first class education. All the major sports are represented at Gordon’s as well as equestrian; golf; karting, rowing and cycling. The new sports hall and all-weather pitch, enables the school’s sportsmen and women to

Form at Gordon’s. As part of the

best coaching, facilities and

compete in even more disciplines

scholarships, students follow a four

experiences. However, it’s not just

“The emphasis at Gordon’s is

such as futsal; badminton, indoor

module performance programme

the very sporty students that play

very much ‘why not?’ and we see

cricket, athletics, football and

involving athletic development

competitive sport, every one of

time and again those that would

basketball – whatever the weather.

such as strength and conditioning;

them is encouraged to have a go at

otherwise not attempt competitive

sport nutrition; sport psychology

something – whether representing

sport, doing so for their House,

and video analysis.

their House or against other

enjoying and benefitting from it!”

Over the past two years, Gordon’s golfers have plundered the county and national trophy cabinets,

The school organises sports tours

emerging as one of the strongest

to a number of countries, most

teams in the school’s history and

recently South Africa and Portugal.

losing just one game over the period. For the second year running, the

The commitment to sports extends to the school’s staff. Many

golf team returned to the school

of them have excelled in their

in Surrey Heath with silverware

fields, ensuring the highest level

from the Independent Schools

of coaching and commitment.

Golf Association (ISGA) Matchplay

The impressive line-up includes

Finals, after winning both the team

Pakistan Olympic hockey player

and individual events. In the ISGA

Muhammad Irfan together

Junior Open, Gordon’s won the team

with former GB hockey player

nett competition.

David Mathews; former Wales

The partnership between

international and ex-Chelsea player

Harlequins and Gordon’s, endorsed

Gareth Hall; former Fiji 7s skills and

by the Rugby Football Union, will

analyst coach Chris Davies; three

see rugby players at the school

times Olympian cox Alan Inns and

studying on the DiSE (Diploma in

Surrey Storm netballers Nicole

Sporting Excellence) programme,

Humphrys and Leah Middleton.

taking on the best in the country in

Some students leave Gordon’s

the RFU’s National ACE (Academy,

for American universities on

Colleges and Education) League in

scholarships for golf and football.

the forthcoming season.

Others are set to tread a path to

Another partnership with

becoming a professional sportsman

Aldershot Town FC will benefit

or woman in this country. But

footballers at Gordon’s, who

all take part in some form of

have reached the semi-finals

competitive sport, whatever their

of the ESFA (English Schools’


Football Association) U18 Trophy

Director of Sport Jamie Harrison

competition on the previous two

explained: “The ethos of the school


is to develop the whole child

Scholarships in sport are available to students coming into the Sixth


and our sporting infrastructure



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provides our students with the

autumn 2021 Army&You 47


LVS Ascot is an award winning, all-ability, independent day and boarding school that inspires boys and girls from 4 to 18 to exceed their expectations and become independent adults, through a rounded education that delivers academic rigor alongside sporting, performing and creative opportunities. The campus includes all Infant & Junior School, Senior School and Sixth Form Facilities as well as four Boarding Houses within a spacious 26 acre site. LVS Ascot facilities include: Infant & Junior School environmental garden, indoor swimming pool, fully equipped 250 seater theatre with state of the art light and sound, learning resource centre, astro pitch, fitness centre and wellbeing hub. Proud of its excellent academic and pastoral care, staff work together to ensure that every student’s personal development is nurtured, believing that encouragement and support are essential to help young people become caring, confident citizens for the future. LVS Ascot believes that sport is for all and that physical activity is an important element of a holistic education. Sport has a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing, helping students to develop resilience, determination, and mindfulness, as well as developing team player and leadership skills. Students benefit from expert coaching from LVS Ascot’s PE specialists, achieving sporting success at district, county and national level. The School proudly shares their facilities with the local community, hosting the Society of Head Boys’ Rugby Tournament and the Society of Head Girls’ Football Festival and organising the national annual ISA Girls Football Festival. Having recently won the ISA Award for Outstanding Sport in a Large School, LVS Ascot received praise from the judges for demonstrating the importance of sport throughout the whole school, via festivals, initiatives and professional pathways to encourage participation and inclusivity. LVS Ascot offer academic, sports and creative Scholarships, and special discounts are available to HM Forces and Diplomats. @MonktonBath

“As with many military families, we were reluctant to board our children but, from our very first visit, we were 100% sure that Monkton was for us. It really is a ‘home from home’ and we are as certain of that now five years on as we were when first we visited the school.” Current parent

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48 Army&You autumn 2021




PORT is one of those things in life

six artificial nets, an extensive retractable grass

strive for performance beyond Malvern and we

which is truly universal; a language

net area with four sight screens and four cricket

seek to ensure they can progress through the

that virtually everyone understands.

covers. The Junior cricket pitch comprises of

various pathways.

Whether you are a spectator, an athlete, or

three cricket squares comprising of 19 grass

a coach; sport has the power to unite and

wickets, one artificial wicket, four sight screens

across the sports namely Worcester Netball

inspire people in a range of ways.

and four cricket covers.

Club, Stourport Hockey Club, Puckrup Hall Golf

We have developed links with various clubs

There are an infinite number of reasons

The sports complex comprises of a double

why people love sport, some might include:

sports hall which is marked and equipped for

Club, Malvern Sword Fencing Club, Worcester Athletics Club, Ledbury Swimming Club and our

escapism from daily life, stress relief, discipline

cricket (which Worcestershire County Cricket

association with Malvern Tennis Academy (based

or camaraderie and part of this is about being a

Club utilise as their winter training facility), 5

at Manor Park Sports Club) means in addition

part of something, working towards something

a-side football, basketball, netball, indoor hockey,

to the excellent coaching they receive here at

whilst loving the unpredictability of it all.

badminton, and volleyball.

school, our pupils also have access to coaching

Because on any given day, going into any match,

The swimming pool is an impressive 25m

competition, or game, not knowing the outcome

deck level pool, there are two squash courts, a

benefits both club and pupils. As a result, we

brings with it a level of excitement you can’t

climbing wall, rifle range, a gym (boasting the

continue to see a growing number of current and

really get anywhere else!

latest technology), a strength and conditioning

former pupils representing their clubs, counties

suite and a studio utilised for a variety of classes

and in some cases countries.

We believe that in an era of electronic

and mentoring outside of the school which

devices and 24/7 streaming, the role of sport

and activities, which include yoga and Pilates.

as a counter-agent to the negative aspects

Behind the Roger’s Theatre are our Fives Courts

and clubs we can support our pupils through

of global inter-connectivity has never been

boasting four courts and our two tournament

the various pathways in the different sports.

more important. We deliver a comprehensive

standard Rackets courts are situated between

Many of our pupils are members of academies

programme of physical activity guaranteed to

the Theatre and House 6. In addition, there is

and are in pathways; in terms of rugby we have

enliven every pupil’s sporting experience. Roman

also an all-weather putting green.

pupils in the Worcester Warriors Academies at

philosopher Seneca said “Luck is what happens

A short walk from the main campus are our

Through the connection between the school

U15s, 16s, 17s and 18s and Gloucester Academy

when preparation meets opportunity” and so

Court Road playing fields; here we have eight

U17s; several of our hockey players are at various

here at Malvern we seek to provide opportunities

grass pitches which are utilised for Rugby

stages within the player pathway, some in the

for our pupils to engage in a range of activities

Union (in the Autumn), football (in the Autumn

Junior Development Centres, Junior Regional

and hopefully create a bit of their own luck.

and Spring terms) and a grass track for athletics

Performance Centres and we have players

in the summer, which is further enhanced by a

competing in the Futures Cup where players are

sports from the mainstream and well-known

shot put and jumps (long and triple jump) area

selected through into National Age Group teams,

sports – cricket, rugby, football, hockey, netball,

and throwing cage for discus; in addition to

several players in the Worcester County Cricket

athletics, and tennis – to the non-traditional of

this there is an artificial wicket at Court Road,

Academies and netball players selected into

rackets and fives. All our sport takes place within

utilised for cricket in the Summer term and two

county teams, as well as players representing the

the College’s 250-acre site.

all-weather pitches (one water-based and one

Severn Stars U17 and U19 pathway programmes.

At Malvern College we take part in a range of

On campus we have five key areas where pupils take part in sport and physical activity. Nestled between the main school and the

sand based) for hockey. In addition, another

We genuinely provide sport for all at Malvern

short walk off main campus is the Firs Courts,

College, whatever the level of participation,

here we have a short game practice area, a

offering our young people the opportunity to

sports complex sit our cricket pitches known as

covered double bay hitting net for golf, and ten

enjoy a variety of sports. The future is exciting

‘The Senior’ and ‘The Junior’. Here our players

hard courts for netball and tennis.

for sport at Malvern, and we are always eager

continue to build on the long and successful

With access to such fantastic facilities, we

to meet and support all pupils on their sporting

tradition of cricket, with 11 teams competing in

have coaches and staff who are here to support

journey regardless of their destination, be that

the Summer term. On the Senior there are three

pupils on their sporting journey be that taking

participation, aspiring to compete or at the

cricket squares comprising of 24 grass wickets,

up a sport for the first time, working towards

highest level of performance.

competing for school teams and for some

Mrs Chey Hooper-West, who has represented

playing for clubs and moving through sporting

Zimbabwe in hockey and is supported by a team


that have all played – and some still do – at club,

Many pupils have the ability and ambition to

Director of Sport at Malvern is the irrepressible

going that step further and working towards

county, or country level.

autumn 2021 Army&You 49



OR fledgling footballers, there can be few more experienced mentors than Brooke House College Football Academy’s technical director Micky Adams. The former Leicester City, Coventry City and Fulham boss has spent more than 800 professional matches in the dugout and, during his 19-year playing career, made a total of 438 English Football League appearances. Add being the first to spot the talents of ex-Chelsea star Wayne Bridge and the man responsible for handing England ace Harry Maguire his senior debut to the mix, and Micky is rightly respected by the 11 to 19-year-old students splitting their time between coaching sessions and the classroom at Brooke House. We caught up with the ex-Southampton fullback to find out more about his switch from management to mentoring at the Market Harborough-based College... On returning to education During the 2015/16 season I decided to take a step back from the pressures of full-time football management. After 20 years as a manager I needed to put something back into the game and when I was asked by Giles Williams [Brooke House College’s managing director] if I would like to come along and run some sessions and do a bit of mentoring, I thought ‘why not?’. I live nearby so it seemed a natural thing to do. I’ve been on the journey that some of these young players are going to go on and in that respect it was quite an easy transition from men’s football for me. I know that the path these players want to take is not always littered with gold, not always a comfortable ride and can be very difficult, but having experienced it I can hopefully offer some advice that is worth listening to. I like to think I’m a decent coach. I have worked with people like Harry Maguire, Muzzy Izzet and Robbie Savage and still believe I have the technical ability to bring the best out of players. On star-struck students There aren’t any! I’m working with youngsters between 11 and 19 who have never heard of Micky Adams. They don’t know Micky Adams as a player or a manager, so what comes out of my mouth and what I show them on the training ground has to be something they feel

50 Army&You autumn 2021

is useful to them. They just see me as a mentor and I am just pleased that I am passing some of my knowledge of the game on. Sometimes it’s not even the dads that recognise me – it’s the grandads who tend to know who I am!

“You need a certain amount of natural ability but that doesn’t always get you where you want to go because football is very much like being in the army. You get tested every day.”

On what it takes to make it to the top as a professional player You need mental courage and mental strength to achieve things in life. I got released by Sheffield United as a 15-year-old and was told I wasn’t good enough but when things got tough, I got going. You need a certain amount of natural ability but that doesn’t always get you where you want to go because football is very much like being in the army. You get tested every day – coaches will test you physically, mentally and tactically and it is the ones who can withstand everything thrown at them that become professional footballers. I think I had that mental fortitude that said ‘bring it on, let’s have a go’. The top players at top clubs are playing in front of 50-60,000 supporters and if they make a mistake, 50-60,000 will let them know about it. If that upsets your mindset or what you’re doing out on the pitch then you won’t get paid the big bucks – it’s as simple as that. It is the ones with the greatest mental strength who survive and thrive. On the pressures and successes of football management When you see a manager get the sack there’s probably a hundred applicants for his job. I managed to claw my way from 91st in the football pyramid as a manager to being one of 20 in the Premier League so I understand how hard it can be. The pressure of management is always there and there are always people willing to take your place. I was 34 when I got the Fulham job but didn’t really want to be a manager back then; I wanted to be a coach. I thought that coaching was my strength so to get to the pinnacle of the game as a Premier League manager is something I’m particularly proud of. It wasn’t handed to me on a plate and I had to work my way through the divisions. Even in the Championship it was hard work, but taking Leicester into the Premier League whilst the club was in administration was a great achievement. @ArmyandYou

SPONSORED FEATURE On the prospect of one day returning to topflight management You never say never but I am 60 next birthday. I have had a few offers to go back into management but I’ve not heard enough from the clubs in question to suggest that I would be going to a club vying for honours. They were jobs where it would be difficult for me to achieve the things I would want to do and I haven’t got the energy and strength for such a position at this moment in time. On finding job satisfaction in his role at Brooke House College It’s a fantastic school that presents fantastic opportunities to players. The best pathway for students is not necessarily into professional football. Not everyone can become a professional but we are as equally proud of those that settle on different futures – those that go to university, get a degree and still enjoy the beautiful game. l More than 20 players have progressed to a professional football career after leaving Brooke House College. During weekday mornings Football Academy students attend regular GCSE, A Level and University Foundation academic classes.

SECONDARY EDUCATION AND FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT A family run, independent international co-educational college with full boarding facilities for 11-19 year olds. Brooke House offers academic programmes Brooke H with a wide choice of subjects: o an ideal use is s • Key stage 3 for Force etting s • GCSEs and offe children rs Forces • A levels special r ates. • A level retake programmes • University Foundation Programmes: Business, Law, Finance, Medicine, Engineering, Science, Architecture • Brooke House Football Academy Contact: Brooke House College, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7AU, UK Telephone: +44(0)1858 462452 Email:

autumn 2021 Army&You 51



HE COVID-19 pandemic

and supporting those around us

of challenge is that sometimes it is

Kennet and Avon canal, camping in

presented unique

who aren’t coping so well, and not

hard and presents obstacles. The

the school grounds, or a night hike

challenges for children,

being too proud to accept help

way we deal with those obstacles

on Salisbury Plain.

when it is offered.

says more about our character than

parents and teachers alike, writes Sam Moore, Head of Adventure

The second aspect to the

whether we overcome them or not.

programme is “High Adventure”.

and entering unfamiliar

Most challenges can be tackled by

This includes more ambitious

environments teaches us skills that

persistence, trying again or looking

trips and experiences that involve

want to protect children from

will support us in everyday life.

for another solution. Adventure

relatively small numbers of pupils

disruption to their education and

Reflecting on our successes – or

requires a willingness to persevere

participating at a high level,

the unprecedented limitations to

failures – is key to learning and

when things get hard and to do

normally with a high staff to

their daily lives that the pandemic

contributes to our development.

so in a manner that supports and

pupil ratio. Typically, this type of

brought. We are used to being able

Mastering the lines (and your

encourages others to succeed

adventure will require time and

to fix things for our children and

nerves) for a role on stage,

alongside us.

dedication from the pupils and they

pupils, to put things right. But,

practising night after night to

through this time, we were not able

deliver a note-perfect recital,

is made up of two aspects. Firstly,

skills and competence at a given

to control events as they unfolded

playing your part in a dance group

“Accessible Adventure” where large

activity which will allow them

around us.

performance; all these experiences

groups have short experiences

to access remote or challenging

create that sense of achievement.

that serve as an introduction

environments. The potential for

to adventure. These serve both

misadventure is greater and care

Education at Dauntsey’s. Instinctively, as adults, we

We can, however, do our best to help children and young adults

Being open to new experiences

Adventure education plays

Dauntsey’s adventure programme

will have to work to achieve specific

learn some lessons from this

a significant role in building

as educational experiences in

must be taken to ensure that

experience. We can help them build,

resilience and equipping pupils

their own right, and as a gateway

participants are ready and willing

and understand the benefits of, a

with the necessary skills to set

to “High Adventure” for those

to engage with it. Examples of high

vital life skill – namely resilience.

them on the path to a fruitful and

that enjoy them and find them

adventure might be participating in

interesting life.

rewarding. The potential for

the Devizes to Westminster canoe

misadventure is much lower, hence

race, climbing in the Highlands or crewing our Tall Ship, Jolie Brise.

Resilience is about being able to adapt your behaviour, to come up

It is inevitable, and indeed

with an alternative route. It’s about

desirable, that tough times come

the term “accessible”. Examples

being ready for the next challenge

as part of all adventure. The nature

might be learning to kayak on the

52 Army&You autumn 2021

Younger pupils develop a


SPONSORED FEATURE: EDUCATION may not believe they can do, safe in the knowledge that, if things go wrong, we are here to guide their learning. As a result, pupils’


confidence and resilience rise dramatically as they discover what can be achieved, often under challenging conditions – and this pays noticeable dividends back in

1. Pack your kit the night before, don’t leave it to the morning of departure. That way if anything is missing, you have time to do something about it.

the classroom in terms of academic progress. I firmly believe that adventure should be an important part of education. It does not have to

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for – and accept – help. If have taken a wrong turn, put it right before you put yourself and others at risk.

involve far-flung destinations or big budgets. Plenty of research has shown there is not necessarily a correlation between the ambition and scale of an activity and the impact it has on the individual. Tackling a rope course, doing a night hike or orienteering on Salisbury Plain can all teach teamwork and communication as effectively as a week-long trip overseas. The recent pandemic will most likely lead to less ambitious school trips with a trend towards short-haul travel and schools taking advantage of their own campus or surrounding area. This

3. Don’t be afraid to go solo, you will be much more immersed in your adventure. However, make sure you are operating well within your capabilities, and that someone knows where you are going and when you will be back. 4. Don’t be afraid to take risks but understand the risks you do take. If your “gut” is telling you not to do something, step back and make sure you understand what you are doing fully. 5. Second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, snack, afternoon tea, dinner. It’s impossible to eat too much when you are working hard in the outdoors so embrace it and eat as often as you can!

can certainly deliver a genuine adventure experience for all. The internationally recognised Duke of passion for adventure through the

to follow leadership before they can

Edinburgh Award scheme, offered

accessible adventure programme

provide leadership when needed.

by so many schools, has certainly

which is then developed and

Importantly, they see that the best

come into its own. The Duke was

expanded as they move up the

leaders recognise and draw on the

ahead of his time when he endorsed

school, when they take on more

talents in other team members.

the County Badge Scheme and

challenging activities in the high

These traits are especially evident

created his eponymous Award back

adventure programme. Gender is

during the residential trips we run

not a factor in the uptake of these

such as our Moonrakers camp, Trek

in the 1950s.

activities because adventure is a

to the Stones, Duke of Edinburgh

we are born with – it’s built

part of life for all pupils from the

and of course sailing either a

over time, depending on the life

day they walk through the school

dinghy or on-board our Tall Ship,

experiences we have and how

gates for the first time.

Resilience is not something

Jolie Brise. Learning how to live

we respond to them. I think I

The results are remarkable.

with others in close quarters (there

am right in believing that the

Those who started as relatively

are none closer than the nine berths

resilience displayed by our pupils,

quiet and cautious by nature, grow

below deck on Jolie Brise), to work

when faced with cancelled public

in confidence and are willing to

as a team towards a common goal,

examinations and restrictions on

undertake new experiences. Those

to get organised and look after

their movements, came in some

who you might not immediately

yourself, are all valuable life skills

part from their adventurous

view as “the outdoors type” can

– and are particularly useful during

experiences at Dauntsey’s. As we

demonstrate great resilience

periods of lockdown when we

face unprecedented challenges and

and good humour in the face of

were all confined to our homes for

look to an uncertain future, it has

adversity. I particularly enjoy seeing

extended periods of time.

never been so important to help

pupils become as concerned for

Developing these traits can take

children and young adults develop

others as for themselves and – most

courage. Exploration inevitably

resilience in the face of adversity

importantly – being able to admit

involves a few wrong turns, so

and, in doing so, enable them to

and then correct their mistakes.

we work to build the confidence

emerge stronger.

Equally, the more confident learn

needed to tackle challenges pupils

6. Buy the best equipment you can afford and take advice from experts. The right kit will last you 20 years and be comfy and useful. Poor quality kit causes problems and can be dangerous. 7. Don’t assume that the best adventures involve travelling to far-flung destinations. The UK offers some of the world’s most challenging and exciting locations for adventure. 8. Leave the world as you find it. Find out about how you can protect the environments you are headed into, look at the Countryside Code or Leave No Trace for guidance. 9. Find adventures online which will inspire you – here are some organisations and people to follow: British Mountaineering Council –; Royal Geographical Society –; Al Humphries – alastairhumphreys. com; Belinda Kirk – belindakirk. com; National Geographic –; Red Bull – redbull

autumn 2021 Army&You 53


Years 7, 9 and 12 boarding places available. g Boardin 556 from £1, with per year A CE

‘Students who attend the boarding school provision exceed their predicted outcomes and consistently reach, and further, their potential’ OFSTED BOARDING INSPECTION REPORT 2019


Please visit to book a place 54 Army&You autumn 2021



Whatever your relationship to your soldier, we’d love to hear about your army family. Email us at and follow @ArmyandYou on social media for more stories…

Meet the Bowen family: Freya (21) and her brother Alex (15), parents Christopher (serving) and Katie and their greyhound collie cross, Misty. Here, Freya shares her story…

My parents have been an army family for 22 years and over the years my opinion of military life has varied. Sometimes I really wasn’t ready to move on to the next place and school, but I overcame it and settled down again. Sometimes we managed to unpack the last box before the next move! The best experience for me has been living in and travelling in Europe and getting a first-hand grasp of the German language. I have friends all over in the world and learn from their cultures and customs. The worst is not having an answer to the dreaded question: “Where are you from?”. I found this the most annoying when introducing myself at university for the first time. We have never lived

close to relatives and I struggled to comprehend that my cousins lived across the road from my grandparents. LEARNING INDEPENDENCE I learnt to live independently at boarding school and university; even the house moves don’t faze me now that we’re on the tenth one. The school changes affected Alex and I the most. Between us in the

different curriculums we each learnt about the Greeks four times but missed out on the Romans! My favourite posting was Joint Headquarters Rheindahlen in Germany by far! It’s where I say I’m from when asked. I grew up there and made the most memories, most notably getting asked for ID in the NAAFI when buying sweets when I was nine. When I was younger, I went to clubs with ‘patch’ friends, but I did miss

SHARE YOUR PERSPECTIVE Part of Freya’s art degree is focused upon the experience of the military child in relation to the importance of the serving person. If any school, college or university pupils (aged 5-23) are interested in sharing their perspective of military life through photos, artwork, poetry or mini-interviews, please contact Freya by emailing

out as a boarder. As a teenager I babysat for families during school holidays. I’ve always made a point of teaching all my friends some military lingo – the idea of getting ‘posted’ is a fun one. UNIQUE EXPERIENCE Recently I’ve created artwork on this topic for my art degree, unpacking the unique experience of the military child… an idea not too unfamiliar for an army family! The advice I would give to other children growing up in an army family is to embrace all the moves. A bad posting will fly by and only last two years, and so will a good posting, so make the most of the experience and locality whilst you can. &

autumn 2021 Army&You 55

15% forces discount off day and boarding fees and... SCS is on the approved list of schools for families who receive the Forces’ Boarding Schools Allowance - Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA)

Open Mornings Opportunity to Take part • Succeed • Shine

Come and visit us...

Time to

Nurture • Explain • Encourage


Space to

Learn • Explore • be Happy

Connect with us



Autumn Open Morning

Saturday 9th October 9.30am-12.00pm Contact our Registrar, Sarah O’Rorke:

56 Army&You autumn 2021


Exercise is great for getting that happy hit to lift your mood. Culinary queen AJ Sharp investigates the best foods to eat post-workout…


ome of my favourite patch moments involve all the other halves getting together to run a race, ‘try a tri’ or climb a mountain. Luckily, you don’t have to run marathons to reap the benefits as research shows that elevating your heart rate for just 10 minutes will start the feelgood factor off, 20 minutes is even better for you and 30 minutes of gentle exercise like walking, jogging or dancing is the real sweet spot for lifting your mood.

Get ready to rumble!

Let’s be honest, flavour is just as crucial as all the good nutrition it gives your body. Pre-fuel is just as important as recovery. To give your body a quality natural protein start, try handmade Rollagranola, which comes as a low-carb, keto-friendly range of fruit granolas. Made with up to 44 per cent nuts, it is a great source of fibre, protein and healthy fats. Order yours at or Ocado at £4.99.

Gee, that’s swell!

If you’re lifting weights then you’re no stranger to inflammation. From muscles to joints, it’s important to keep this to a minimum. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, and the best tasting version I tried was MOJU. Available in large bottles in Sainsbury’s or £43.90 for a pack of 24, MOJU’s Turmeric Shots are loaded with 16.3g of fresh turmeric root, combined with black pepper and cayenne pepper to maximise absorption, and apple and lemon juice for flavour.

Need a pick me up?

You can follow AJ @ajsharpflavourfanatic on Instagram

Dare Motivation is a vegan powder-based drink that helps to boost energy levels and has been popular among key workers in the pandemic. It was created by a doctor to help improve mental performance and combat fatigue. All of this from a blend of seeds, herbs, phytonutrients, pre- and probiotics and all 26 essential vitamins and minerals. I tried the cocoa-vanilla frosting option and it tastes pretty good, sweet with a rich chocolatey flavour that lasts on the palate at £30 for 15 servings. autumn 2021 Army&You 57


A legend in the baking W HEN lockdown hit earlier this year in Germany, army spouse and mum Michelle Cole was craving human contact, as well as cake, so she decided the best way to combine the two was to set up a Bake-off group. We find out how it came about and how it’s benefited the community… “Being relatively new to the area, and being subjected to lockdown, meant additional stressors for my family,” says Michelle, who met her husband Aaron while working as a teacher at an MOD school in Gutersloh. “Home schooling whilst caring for a toddler and being unable to do ‘normal’ everyday activities and meet people, meant less time being just me, and a lot of time cooped up in the house. “I wanted to become a better baker, so I put a shout-out on the local community group, and it developed from there,” adds Michelle, who is mum to Lucy and twins Zac and Luca. “I initially expected a handful of people to join in, but one month we had 22 bakers! Word of mouth was huge in getting the group up and running and Lindsay at AFF was very helpful!”

How it works

Every month, using Facebook, Michelle takes a poll to see which type of bake people would like to have a go at and whether they would like to bake, taste or both. Each Friday, after school, Michelle collects the bakes, then organises her route for dropping off. “Fortunately, everyone lives very close to one another, which helps logistically!” she says. “If anyone is not in, I ask that they leave a sealed tub on their doorstep, and I fill that with the goodies.” Each taster gets a score sheet and, once they have judged the bakes, they message a picture of their scores. Then, on the last Sunday of the month, Michelle announces that month’s top three winners. Kitty McCran, 15, is the youngest competitor and recently came third in the ‘fruit and veg’ category with her ‘Beet it Brownies’. She says: “I was a bit bored in lockdown, so asked if I could take part in the

If you know a person with a military connection who works hard to improve your local community, tell us about them – email and read more stories at

Culinary challengers (clockwise from above): Michelle, a star baker and Kitty’s ‘Beet it Brownies’

Bake-off. It’s definitely given me something to look forward to and I also love tasting other people’s bakes. A bonus was beating my mum!” Michelle has had the Army Welfare Service, NAAFI and BFBS offer their support by donating medals and prizes, and they are collaborating to come up with different events, baking workshops and even a cookbook in the future.

Healthy competition

Michelle explains how the Bake-off group has made a huge difference to the community. She says: “The Messenger group allows people to chat and everyone is offering tips and tricks and general support for one another. There is always a lot of healthy competition too! “I think it has brought different groups together who would not necessarily socialise otherwise. People are helping one another out and that is definitely a positive.” Michelle is confident that Bakeoff is here to stay. She concludes: “The format may change slightly as lockdown eases, and we may have to break for the weather occasionally, but so long as people want it, it will keep going.” &

Michelle wins a signed print from The Remembrance Collection by artist Jacqueline Hurley of POSH Original Art. Jacqueline’s collection is her personal thank you and tribute to our armed forces, veterans and their families; and a commemoration of those who have fallen or been injured in past campaigns. She paints to evoke emotion, reflection and remembrance in her unique and expressive style. To view the collection, visit


A POSTCARD FROM... Laura, Ashley, Elliot (8) and Sophie (6) on life in Germany

How long have you been an army family?

employment positions in the shop in HQ.

Time in Münster?

What about schools/ childcare?

Nine years.

Two years at HQ 1 (German/ Netherlands) Corps – we live in Nordwalde about 20km north.

How many other military families live in Münster?

One other British family live about 10km away, the other Brits in the HQ live in their own houses a bit further away or are unaccompanied.

What’s your quarter like?

It’s a very nice modern house, with a tiny garden to accommodate our two dogs but it’s on the edge of a village so we have very easy to access the countryside for walks and rides.

Are there any employment/ training opportunities? Working online from home keeps Laura’s CV full. There are a limited number of civilian

There’s an international school in Münster half an hour away which both Elliot and Sophie go to. Many families use the German school system.

about living in Münster?

Being in the centre of Europe and able to visit so many amazing places. The isolation can be a challenge especially to non-German speakers.

Would you recommend it as a family posting?

If you’re content living in the middle of a German community with minimal UK contact and are happy to learn or already speak German, it’s a great opportunity.

Where do people get together and who supports you? The HQ usually has a couple of events per year but most play dates are organised with international friends from the school which is 90 per cent HQ children.

How do you find the cost of living?

Additional child grants from the German government – even post-Brexit – and tax-free status mean we are financially better off than back in the UK.

In your experience, what are the best and worst things

Want to share your experiences of army family life? Get in touch by emailing

autumn 2021 Army&You 59


Teachers’ toolkit


DUCATION settings with service children have been benefiting from Little Troopers’ secondary school resource hub. Created in collaboration with teachers, families and behavioural experts, the available assets include lesson plans and templates for activities. Coombe Dean School in Plymouth, which has around 75 service children, has been running Little Troopers sessions with small groups of students. One of the first was a creative writing task where students were asked to write poems to reflect their feelings and emotions about having a parent deployed. Angela Hayes, the school’s inclusion co-ordinator, says: “The sessions were a

real benefit in facilitating a safe space for service children to share their thoughts and experiences of being part of a service family. “The children particularly engaged with the opportunity to write poems which were really expressive and insightful. The resources served as a really good way to initiate what can be tricky discussion subjects.” The school plans to use the hub as a regular part of its workshops for service pupils in the future. Angela adds: “Plans are afoot to raise the profile of service children support, including the introduction of a dedicated service child hub via Westcountry Schools Trust (WeST). This will enable us to share initiatives and events that we are involved in aimed

As he goes I wonder… Where will he go? Will he be safe and sound? Nobody Knows As we wait and wonder…. Will he come home? Finally, we know – He can come home – By Ellie Cotton

at supporting and enriching the school experience of our service children.” To find out more about the resources, see

FLYING THE FLAG FOR YOUTH IN SCOTLAND FORCES children and young people are co-producing a new mental health and wellbeing service in Scotland with the Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET). Your Mind Matters will aim to better understand and respond to the challenges that they face. A working group of children and young people has made great progress laying the foundations for a digital platform. Hope is a member of the group. She says: “I really enjoy the mix of sessions which allow me to build a rapport with other forces young people. “This is something I had not experienced before as, growing up as a daughter of

60 Army&You autumn 2021

a serviceman in the navy, I

didn’t receive any welfare or educational support until I found about the RCET. “I think many might assume if you don’t move around with your parents that everything is fine when, in fact, growing up I had no peers who could relate to the ups and downs of being part of a military family. “This was compounded further as a young person with additional support needs. “I would encourage any young person from a forces family to join us because it’s about taking our experiences and ideas forward to create a hub for young people to easily access support.” To join the working group, email

l The Trust is also behind Forces Life – a project to develop a military familythemed board game and comic book. Inspiration came from creative workshops delivered by Dekko Comics and attended by members of the charity’s Military Youth Forum. Emily, who took part in the sessions, says: “The project will teach civilian friends and teachers what it is like to be a forces child and they’ll be able to better understand how it feels when parents are deployed.” The game and comic will launch in February. To contribute your ideas, go to



ETWORKING as an older military child is important as it provides a chance to share experiences and support others. We spoke to Tilly Radwell, 22, who’s set up The Real Troopers on Instagram to do just that...

information and advice could be found in one place. When facing a challenge, kids can jump straight to the page that can help them. What sort of feedback have you had? Everyone loves The Real Troopers! Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from young people who love comparing experiences and recognise people that they’ve had a posting with, or parents who now find it easier to understand what their kids go through and are better able to help them.

Tell us about your military connection I’ve been a military child since the day I was born. My dad’s been in the army for 35 years. My family have only ever known the military way of life as both my parents were military children too. Where did the idea for The Real Troopers come from? When I was growing up, I always found there wasn’t much information for military kids on situations that we regularly face like moving school and house. We were brought up with the ‘get on with it’ attitude and just cracked on despite how hard it could be. I wanted to help kids that were like me, who struggled making friends and moving about and show them that it’ll be fine, using experiences of those who have done it all before. We’re the real troopers for being so resilient! Why do you think it’s needed? Now, more than ever, mental health is a really big issue for young people and

Social media maestro: Tilly, above and inset with her family following her dad’s return from a deployment to Iraq in 2013

there isn’t enough support. Everyone has a different story to tell and their story might just change someone’s life or offer exactly the advice they need. You’ve also written an ebook – what was the idea behind it? I wanted to create a guide where all useful

What are your plans for the future? I’d love to get as many people as possible involved with The Real Troopers to share their stories and read them. I want to be a connection between young people and organisations who can help them and offer the proper support if they need it. And another bigger and better book is definitely on the cards! l If you’d like to share your story and find out more, check out @the_real_troopers


A group of pupils at Alderwood School in Aldershot have been growing in confidence on the basketball court thanks to an Army Welfare Service community support team initiative. Sarah Magee and Agnieszka Tikoisuva teamed up with Detti Balla from The Source charity to deliver tailored programmes to support young people from both military and civilian families during the pandemic. The would-be sports stars discovered a real passion for basketball and created a weekly after-school club in their local park. As part of the project, young people also used music, storytelling and poetry to explore and better understand what makes up a person’s identity. Those taking part said they had enjoyed creating a safe space in school where they felt listened to and developed strong friendships. One pupil said: “I have found this group helpful as I struggle in school and get into trouble sometimes.” One new pupil at the school found it helpful to share stories about the challenges of

moving around and said that the group had helped with settling in and making new friends. And as is often the way in military life, some of the group even discovered they’d lived in the same places at different times. Head to your local HIVE to see the AWS projects and activities that are going on in your area. For more on wellbeing support, see pages 18-19. autumn 2021 Army&You 61

Learn  Create  Explore • Strong and caring school community • Outstanding academic results • Vibrant Music, Drama and Creative Arts • Sports for all: range of activities at all levels and links to Professional clubs • Day school with boarding at its heart. Flexi boarding and extended days available for busy families • Up to 20% discount for boarding Forces families (limited availability)

A warm welcome awaits you at our Open Events Prep School Open Morning

Sixth Form Open Evening

Senior School Open Morning

21 September

23 September

25 September

10.00am - 12.00pm

6.30pm - 9.00pm

9.00am - 12.00pm

Book your place at An Independent Co-educational Boarding & Day School for pupils aged 9 months - 18 years

The school is so welcoming and understanding of someone from a military background, I quickly felt part of the community. Student


NURTURE We are a co-educational, non-selective independent school set in a 56 acre campus in Somerset. Nursery to Sixth Form. Forces families pay from £530 per term (Years 3-4) up to £870 per term for full boarding in the senior school, plus CEA. POTL and R&R Flexibility.

INSPIRE 62 Army&You autumn 2021

Follow us @TauntonSchool @ArmyandYou


Click the giveaways tab at Entries close on 18 October 2021 One entry per household per giveaway. See page three for competition rules. Your information will not be used for marketing purposes. Winners’ names and T&Cs are published on the Army&You website.

Monster tale Macky Monster’s Daddy Works Away is the first in a series of children’s picture books aimed at two- to six-year-olds. Created by army spouse Stacie Wildney, it’s a fun rhyming story, in which a slime-loving monster shares his feelings about his daddy working away. Sometimes Macky Monster gets sad and misses his daddy, but he is always cheered up when he calls and sends his love.


If you want to relax and unwind, what better than taking to the water and winding your way along some of the UK’s beautiful waterways? Canal boat hire offers a great day out and the chance to stop off for a pub drink or lunch along the way. Three lucky readers could win a day’s canal boating for up to 10 people, with full tuition included.

If you’re not lucky enough to win, Anglo Welsh offers self-drive day boat hire from £99. To find out where the boat hire bases are, visit This prize is open to serving regular and reserve families only. Boats can be booked up to 28 October 2022 on weekdays only, subject to availability. No experience necessary. If you wish to book on a weekend or bank holiday winners can pay extra to do this.

Tricky team test Beat That! is a ridiculously-addictive challenge game that provides hours of entertainment for children and adults. Players win points by betting on their ability to successfully complete a series of funny, tricky and outrageous tasks using an assortment of random objects. Helping develop fine motor skills, dexterity and co-ordination as well as teach teamwork and healthy competition, Beat That! is the perfect pursuit for friends and family aged nine-plus.

Three lucky readers will each win a game worth £24.99.

Banish bad hair Manage an unruly mop with invisibobble – a game-changer in hair ties which was born out of a brainwave at a university party and an old spiral telephone cord – Once you have your hair under control, you can step into the shower and try out FOAMIE, a new plastic-free shower bar with a focus on sustainability –

We have two gift sets worth £19.99 each to be won, which include a book and a T-shirt, plus two books for runners-up worth £6.99 each.

Unfold an adventure There are so many brilliant things to do in Britain that it’s hard to picture them all without a means of seeing them in one place! That’s where ST&G’s Amazingly Adventure-Filled Great British Map of Wonders comes in. Budding explorers will discover 1,000 of the most fun things to do and places to go – from theme parks, festivals and museums to beaches, cycle routes and cool castles. And that’s not all – there are great games to play, notes to fill in, and even a huge map you can colour in on the back

We have five fold-out maps to be won, worth £14.99 each.

Two readers have the chance to win a £50 collection of body, shampoo, conditioner and face bars and an array of invisibobble hair accessories.

autumn 2021 Army&You 63



en Enter our giveaway to win a copy of The Great Godd entry and a Reading Force scrapbook. See page three for You yand rules. Already read it? Tell us your thoughts @Arm

A SUMMER SIZZLER In this edition’s Army&You and Reading Force Book Club, our forces youngsters share their views on The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff...

Published by Bloomsbury

RIO GREGORY (16) The book was a little slow to start but when the pace picked up, I couldn’t put it down! It is based on a family who escape to their beach house every summer to leave behind the bustle of the city. This year is different though as two newcomers arrive – brothers Kit and Hugo, who are polar opposites. Kit is the charming, golden boy and Hugo is quiet and glowering. Both have an unforgettable impact on the family as something fragile breaks in a summer of fun and deception. What is clever about this story is that the narrator is never identified. This adds to the mystery but we can tell whoever it is can’t help but desire Kit. The blue skies and summer heat laden with undercurrents of anxiety and creeping claustrophobia cause Hugo to begin to slowly reveal himself, whilst almost everyone else finds themselves drawn to Kit like a moth to a flame. Although this is a love story, it is not all romance. I’d recommend it to young adults but older readers would like it as it messes with your mind a bit – very clever!

SCARLETT MACDONALD (15) This book is very interesting and creative. I love the story and I’d love to find out the storyline behind it. It’s worded very well and you can tell a lot of effort has been put into it. It is an emotional rollercoaster, for example when the character of Hugo never wants to see his brother again. It is a good book to get your mind away from things. I enjoyed it and will be reading it again. I would definitely recommend it for age 15+.

READING Force is the free shared reading initiative for forces families where you can share a book and talk about it, together at home or via video call if separated from your soldier. You’ll receive a free book and scrapbook to fill in with your thoughts, letters, drawings and photographs. It’s a fun way to keep connected. Take part via your children’s school, HIVE, or register online at

d If your children woul s for like to review book email the A&Y Book Club, hattie@readingforce.o d ages with their names an



ALADDINSALLSORTS.CO.UK 64 Army&You autumn 2021



Welcome to Army&You’s BlogSpot. Write your thoughts about army life and send them to


My Insta perfection

By Emily, @sociallystyledbyemily Army life has meant that I, like so many others, spend months on my own every year whilst my husband is out of the country. I thought I had it all sussed – I had managed to find myself a part-time job at a local boarding school. I could make the school drop-off and pick-up and had all the school holidays off plus some! It was perfect, I could get back into work whilst not having to rely on my husband or friends to help with childcare. This job gave me a purpose other than being ‘mummy’ and I loved my routine of finishing work, going for a run and then collecting the children. Mentally, I hadn’t been in such a good place for years. But in March last year, within days of the lockdown being announced, my contract had been terminated and I never returned to work after the Easter holidays. I was devastated. I pleaded with HR to just furlough me, but they needed to save as much money as possible.

And that is when my business was born. With a love of social media and a newfound passion for design, I decided now was the time to work towards my dreams, not someone Emily wins a £35 voucher to else’s. I did the usual thing spend at Gillian Jones Designs — — of Googling everything, for our best blog. Artist Gillian, consuming as much a former Royal Navy officer and information as possible, military spouse, specialises attending virtual networking in vibrant and contemporary events and doing free military art and design. If you can’t quite find what you’re courses but I wasn’t signing looking for, she’s also happy to clients or making any create bespoke commissions. money. I was going round Follow @gillianjonesdesigns in circles. on Instagram and Facebook, and @GillAJones on Twitter.

Then I truly lucked out by

winning a ‘power hour’ with a fellow military spouse, Suzy from Mothers of Enterprise. That hour changed my life. I went on to have weekly business coaching and within six months I had gone from earning nothing and having no clients to hitting my first income target and being booked out! For the first time since Adam and I got married in 2014 I was fully financially independent and paying my way with the household bills. I’m so fortunate to say that 90 per cent of my clients are fellow military spouse business owners. I’m honoured that they come to me for support with their social media and love being part of a network of such talented individuals! autumn 2021 Army&You 65

Cross at constant rule changing By Nathaniel My dad is in the army, and for the past four years I have been a boarder at my school while we have lived overseas. Over the last year I’ve felt unsure if I will get home or, if someone at school gets coronavirus, where I would go. Mum and dad are overseas, my guardians are my grandparents and my parents don’t have any siblings that I could go to for isolation. I did get to spend time with a very close friend of mine when I had to isolate, as it was his half term, so I saw a lot more of him, which I really enjoyed. I have felt angry that the

goalposts kept on moving as, for example, when we tried to arrange to go to Turkey to see dad, it was put on the red list, so we had to change our plans. I was also sad that over 16 months I have only spent five at home (three in Kuwait and two in Turkey). I felt quite detached from dad as I hadn’t seen him for six months, and I didn’t get to speak to him as often as I would have liked due to us being in different time zones, and one of us being busy when the other was free to chat. I did get to spend a lot of time with mum though as I had to quarantine for six weeks with her and my brother. What I think has got to me the

Big fan of blogs? Read more at most has been the constant changing of the rules. My dayto- day life has changed a lot and, if I’m being honest, I liked the way things were before

COVID-19 and I didn’t want it to change. However, it’s nice to be able to get back to our lives with some certainty this time even if it is slower than I’d like.

We have a long tradition of working closely with Forces Families and remained open throughout the pandemic for Key Workers’ children.

Pay only 10% of the fees, around £1,000 per term* *This applies to Service Families who are eligible for the Continuity of Education Allowance, entering the School 2022/23. Additional means-tested support, subject to availability, may be offered to families who lose the CEA. Charity No. 525616

66 Army&You autumn 2021 @ArmyandYou

Helping you make the most of your money

Financial products and services exclusively for those who support and serve in the Army and their families. Forces Mutual understands the needs of the Armed Forces and we’re here to help you make the most of your money. Kit & Personal Possessions Insurance

Life Insurance

Car Insurance

Mortgage Advice provided by Tenet Mortgage Solutions

Personal Accident Insurance

Travel Insurance

Kit & Personal Possessions, Personal Accident & Travel Insurance is provided by Ageas Insurance Limited. Car Insurance is provided by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc. PMGI Limited, trading as Forces Mutual acts as an intermediary for the purposes of introducing its customers to Tenet Mortgage Solutions Limited, part of Tenet.

Call Us: 0151 363 5290 For Mortgage Advice call: Tenet Mortgage Solutions on 0333 222 4486

PMGI Limited, trading as Forces Mutual, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Financial Services Register No. 114942. Registered in England & Wales No. 1073408. Registered office: 55 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0RL. Calls to 03 numbers usually cost no more than to geographic numbers (01 or 02) and are usually included in call packages, please check with your phone company to see if they are included in your package. For your security, all calls are recorded and may be monitored.

Talk to us

Sometimes the smallest actions can make the biggest difference. During uncertain times, it may be difficult to ask for help. Forcesline is a free and confidential helpline to support you, no matter the problem. Make that first step for long lasting help - don’t keep quiet, talk to us.

0800 260 6767

Free and confidential. Open weekdays, 09:00 to 17:30 Or get in touch online at

Regulars, Reserves, Veterans, Families Registered as a charity in England and Wales Number 210760 in Scotland Number SC038056 and in Republic of Ireland Number 20202001. Established 1885.

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Army&You - Autumn 2021  

Army&You - Autumn 2021  

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