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Thursday, 14 March 2019

Forest Pulse need Volunteers

Click on image to enlarge

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Volunteers Required

We are in desperate need of committee members for Little Scamps and volunteers for Beachley Youth Club (BYC).  Helping in either of these roles is extremely rewarding; it shows a true and strong community spirit and looks exceptionally good on your CV! 

Committee members for Little Scamps are required by law, Ofsted and the Charity Commission.  Without a full complement we would have to close the setting.  Your tasks would not take up too much of your time.  You would be required to attend a meeting every quarter, where you would be able to have an active voice in the setting and assist with running periodic fund-raising events.  It is ideally suited to a parent of a child attending Little Scamps.

BYC is not going to be supported by the Army Welfare Service any more, and if we want to continue with the club, every Wednesday, we must find the staff and volunteers.  Catherine (who is a civilian volunteer), a member of my team and two of the regular volunteers currently ensure we can open.  If one of our regulars cannot attend, we cannot open due to safety and ratios.  There is a genuine risk of closure if we do not get support.

There is a small admin charge for the Little Scamps DBS, but we will reimburse you, providing that you remain on the committee for a period of 6 months.  The Youth Club DBS is free of charge.

Please contact the Welfare Office if you are interested in volunteering.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The Cheddar Gorge & Caves Armed Forces Offer

  • Valid on Adult and Child Cheddar Explorer Tickets in one transaction only.
  • Valid for redemption at Cheddar Gorge on the opening dates and times as specified on the website.
  • It is the serving Armed Forces person, the dependant family members, veterans or bereaved family members, with official ID cards, who are entitled to these discounted rates and therefore must be present at Cheddar Gorge & Caves when redeeming this offer. Any other persons who purchase tickets through this hidden page but visits without an Armed Forces, veteran, dependant, or bereaved family ID card will be charged standard prices (DDS Cards accepted).
For full details of prices/bookings and offer T&Cs please click HERE

Royal Navy & Royal Marines Welfare - 'Building Stronger Families' Portal


The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Relate have launched a free relationship portal for Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their partners. The Building Stronger Families portal is a self-directed online learning programme supporting Naval Service couple and family relationships.
Access it here.

West Midlands Safari Park - Armed Forces Discount - 2019

All bookings must be made online in advance and payment is required from the purchaser at the time of booking. This scheme can be used up until Friday 8th November 2019.


Longleat Safari Adventure Park - Armed Forces One Day Ticket

Purchase Longleat day tickets online and receive a generous discount on standard prices. Available for members of the Army, Navy and RAF, including veterans
You must present a valid ID card or veteran’s card on arrival to validate this offer.

Click here for opening dates and times

Top Tips for the military Veteran - how to get the most from your GP

Transition Information Sheet 13 ‘Joining Forces CU - Credit Union Services for Armed Forces’


This particular sheet is at the bottom of the page, number 13

Defence Secretary extends housing offer to veterans

Service leavers and their families will be now be able to access military accommodation for up to a year after they hang up their uniform, giving them more time to look for permanent accommodation as they transition back to civilian life.
Current Service Family Accommodation (SFA) rules, which allow personnel who have left the Armed Forces to stay in military housing for six months, will be extended to 12 months where availability of accommodation allows.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“Having a place to call home is an important part of the return to civilian life, but there can sometimes be a lot to think about when hanging up your uniform for the last time.
“By extending the service family offer we hope to give families more time to make the transition that much easier. This is another example of how we continue to support the brave men and women who have served our country.”
The Government already offers a comprehensive package of housing support to both veterans and service personnel transitioning back into civilian life, including:
  • The Joint Service Housing Advice Office, which provides housing advice to all personnel and veterans. Veterans with concerns around housing are supported by MOD’s Veterans UK agency helpline and by the Veterans Welfare Service.
  • Under the Armed Forces Covenant, veterans have high priority access to social housing and a five year exemption from proving a local connection to quality for social housing.
  • The Forces Help to Buy Scheme allows Service personnel to borrow up to 50% of their gross annual salary (maximum of £25K) to buy their first home.
  • Under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, MOD has a “Duty to Refer” personnel leaving the services who are at risk of homelessness to a local housing authority in the UK.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:
“Behind every person who has served in the Armed Forces is a family, a unit that has been with them every step of the way.
“We must make sure that their needs are looked after which is why I am proud to support the new family accommodation extension, which will give families more time to make the transition back to civilian life.”
Today’s announcement builds on the huge package of cross-government employment, healthcare and education support available to ex-service personnel to help them and their families transition to civilian life.
The MOD also sub-lets some surplus vacant houses to the general public to generate income through short term lets on the private market. The properties are rented at market rates and are available at 60 sites.

HM Forces Railcard Information

The HM Forces Railcard costs £21 and it'll save you 1/3 on most rail fares throughout Great Britain for a whole year. That works out to under £2 a month for huge savings. You're eligible if you're a member of the Regular Forces or Volunteer Reserves or a spouse/civil partner of a member, for more details see eligibility.
There are plenty of ways you can use your Railcard, for both long and short trips. Better still you can use it anytime on weekends, Public Holidays and during the week. The only restriction is that if you travel before 10am Monday to Friday (except during July and August) a minimum fare will apply. For more details see minimum fares.
Your HM Forces Railcard will save you 1/3 on many tickets. As with most things in life, there are some exceptions, so take a look at the ticket types you can and can't make savings on with your HM Forces Railcard.
Please note that the railcard can only be used for non-duty (leisure) travel only. Commuting between home and place of duty, work or education is not available.
Please also see the full Terms and Conditions.

Veterans ID Card

MOD has been developing an ID card which will enable Veterans to provide instant verification of service to the public and charitable sector.

The ID card is being launched in two phases:

Phase 1: The Veterans ID Card will be provided to all Service leavers discharged from 18 February 2019 and retrospectively to those who left on and after 17 December 2018.

Phase 2: Applications will be made available to all Veterans before the end of 2019. Information on how to apply will be released closer to the launch date

Please find attached a brief that with more information regarding the ID card and an image of the prototype card.
Click HERE for full details

SSAFA, - Thinking of Adoption?

One of the many services that SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, provides is a national registered adoption agency, supporting members of the Armed Forces who wish to create a family through adoption and helping to ensure that they are not disadvantaged as a result of their service. SSAFA understand the military lifestyle and the needs of military adopters and this is the only service of its kind in the UK. SSAFA welcomes applications from all members of the serving community and those who have left the Armed Forces in the last three years. 

For more information, email the SSAFA adoption team, call on 020 7463 9326 or visit their website https://www.ssafa.org.uk/help-you/currently-serving/adoption-military-families

Credit Unions for the Armed Forces

The MOD works closely with three credit unions under the banner of Joining Forces and has facilitated direct salary sacrifice via JPA to encourage saving and to make loan repayment simpler. The Department also provides up to date information in respect of pay, pensions and allowances to MoneyForce – the Royal British Legion’s money advice service. Money Force is a joint venture between RBL, MOD and the Government’s The Money Advice Service.

Both Joining Forces and MoneyForce are proactively providing impartial financial advice through visits to units and bases across the country and most importantly strive to offer the most appropriate product to Service personnel. Credit Unions are not there to make a profit and have a proven track record of ethical lending and better in many instances levels of interest for savings.

Because credit unions are not-for-profit, the annual percentage rate (APR) is much lower than banks or payday loan lenders. Typical APR for a credit union is around 12 per cent, whereas for a payday loan it can be up to 1,500 per cent.
Service personnel who have taken out a payday loan or are considering doing so can seek advice from any of the Joining Forces credit unions, all of whom have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, or via Money Force.

GP Surgeries registering as Armed Forces/Military Veteran Aware

As part of the NHS commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, an increasing number of GP practices are registering as Armed Forces/Military Veteran Aware under a national scheme, backed by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs, to improve medical care and treatment for former members of the Armed Forces. The expansion follows a successful pilot in the West Midlands – initiated by the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Midlands faculty – where 90 GP practices have signed up so far.

To become accredited, GP practices need to:

* have a lead for Veterans’ issues within the surgery;
* identify and flag Veterans on their computer system;
* undertake dedicated training and attend armed forces healthcare meetings;
* increase understanding of the health needs of veterans amongst both clinical and administrative staff.

Dr Jonathan Leach, a GP who served in the Army for 25 years and now chairs the NHS England Armed Forces Clinical Reference Group, has been a leading exponent of this initiative. Dr Leach’s Davenal House Surgery in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, promotes the service on the Practice website: https://www.davenalhousesurgery.co.uk/practice_news/we-are-a-military-veteran-friendly-practice/

Allied to this, the Covenant team in the MOD are currently working with the Department of Health & Social Care to update the form that is completed when an individual registers at a GP practice, ensuring it captures the relevant information to best meet the needs of the Armed Forces community.