Thursday, 23 December 2010

Spouses Give their Views

The Families Continuous Attitude Survey for 2010 was sent to married Service personnel who were asked to pass them on to their spouses for completion. For the first time, the survey was co-ordinated on a tri-Service basis. Some common questions were included but there were also single Service-specific questions. The data was collected at the beginning of the year. Here is what was said...

Monday, 20 December 2010

Do You Know about the Pupil Premium?

From Sep 11 schools will receive an additional sum of £200 for every Service child on their roll. This payment is in recognition of the unique challenges and stresses facing service children. The trigger for this payment to schools however, will be taken from the roll from the Annual School Census of January 2011. So please, ensure the school is aware of your child's Service connection...

Christmas Message from the Chief of the Air Staff

" thoughts are focused on those of you who will be spending Christmas on duty, but especially for those who will be on operations in or over Afghanistan, the Falkland Islands and the Arabian Gulf more widely and for your forbearing families who are waiting for you at home...The past year has demanded much from you...I know that we can, together, continue to be the high performance air force that this country needs and wants...

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Harrier Flies into the History Books

"Today has been a tribute to everybody involved with the Harrier family." Gp Capt Gary Waterfall's words as 16 Harriers took to the skies for their final flight of their 41 years service. The aircraft flew over seven RAF bases, Lincoln Cathedral and the towns of Stamford and Oakham. "The Harrier is a true icon and stands testament to the innovation and excellence of British design and engineering and the skill and courage of our airmen...More information »

The Rules Change for 'Boarding School Allowance'

Changes to the Continuity of Education Allowance (Board) (CEA) have been announced by Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey. The allowance is paid to ensure that the children of mobile service families receive a continuous education. Rates have not been cut but there are changes to the eligibility rules. Those in receipt of CEA will retain the support as long as they meet the new rules. The new rules come into effect on 1 Apr 11...More information »

Christmas Messages from the Secretary of State for Defence

"I would like to express my gratitude to all the Service personnel and their families..."This year has seen many changes; we have had to make some difficult decisions and more will have to be taken in the future. Whilst this is likely to mean that we will all face some tightening of belts I am committed to making sure that our Service personnel and families continue to be well looked after...Thank you all for your support for and commitment to our Servicemen and women and a particular thanks to those who will be separated from their loved ones over the holiday period. We are all very proud of our families...

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

RAF Say 'PR Nightmare' is Not the Reason

Many media reports cite avoidance of a 'PR Nightmare' as the reason why repatriation flights are being moved away from Lyneham. The MoD state 'The decision to close RAF Lyneham was announced in 2003. Its use as a base for the airbridge to and from Afghanistan was never a permanent arrangement'. The statement goes on to say, ' We continue to be grateful for the support Wootton Bassett shows in paying tribute...More information »

RAF Regiment Train Togan Warriors for Afghanistan

Following the decision between the King of Tonga and the UK Government, fifty-five Tonga service personnel have completed pre-deployment training with the RAF Regiment and are now ready for Afghanistan. Flt Lt Dave Martin said, "The Tongans have done exceptionally well. They are very good at working together and their discipline is beyond reproach. We have learned a lot from them...More information »

Guardian Report on Service Children

The Guardian has featured an article on Service Children with a parent away in Afghanistan over Christmas. Dawn McCafferty, Chairman of the RAF Families Federation, spoke to the reporter and is quoted, "It is a huge decision to send your child as young as eight to boarding school and one that is not made easily. Parents who decide to do this are trying to protect their children from the impact of mobility...More information »

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Federation Chairman Gets on Her Bike

Follow me on this cycling Challenge as I bike from Vietnam to Cambodia! This breathtaking bike ride will take me from Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Two fascinating countries - one awesome Challenge! Please follow my progress as I endeavor to raise money for Ambergate Sports College in Grantham and Grantham Autism Information Network. My target is to raise £2,000 and I will personally cover the costs of my flights and accommodation so those sponsoring me do not feel they are not funding a freebie holiday. If you can support my efforts with a donation then any sum would be gratefully received... More information »

"We Need to go the Extra Mile for our Armed Forces..."

The Prime Minister has welcomed the publication, today, of an independent report by Professor Strachan which looks at support that can be provided across Government and throughout society in support of the Armed Forces. He said, "Our Service personnel make an extraordinary contribution to British life. Those serving on the front line risk their lives for us on a daily basis. We need to go the extra mile for them....  More information »

Monday, 6 December 2010

Heating and Plumbing

The MHS contractor for heating and plumbing response repairs in the South East area has changed. From 1 December 10, all heating and plumbing repairs transfered from Kinetics to Carillion Planned Maintenance under a new contract arrangement. Customers should also expect to see a change of branded vans and uniforms across the area...

Friday, 3 December 2010

Heart on Your Sleeve

Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Stephen Dalton, is backing a RAF Benevolent Fund initiative to 'Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve' by encouraging people to buy a pair of heart roundel cufflinks this Christmas and allowing personnel to wear the cufflinks on duty. He said, "I am delighted to back this important initiative. The RAFBF provides tremendous support for serving RAF families...

Official RAF Review 2010 is Now Available

Royal Air Force 2011 magazine - The Official RAF Annual Review is a 132-page magazine that provides behind the scenes insight into the aircraft, equipment and people of one of the world's premier air forces. Serving personnel receive a £1 discount on the cover price of £4.99. In this issue: Mastering the Typhoon; The RAF in Afghanistan; the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight; The Career of the Tornado F3...

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Rewiring Faff

The RAF Families Federation office is to undergo total rewiring. This major electrical work will disrupt our normal working and we ask that you bear with us for the period. The work is likely to take up to three weeks to complete. From Monday 6th - Thursday 23rd December 10 we will do all we can to provide our normal service but it may not be possible. We will update on progress once the work starts. With thanks...

FPS Push PM for a Rethink on Pensions

The Forces Pension Society have hand delivered a letter to the Prime Minister calling on the government to reconsider the change in pension indexation from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index for the Armed Forces. General Sir Roger Wheeler, President of the FPS said, "The Armed Forces was not looking for special treatment but for fair treatment...  

Olympic Dream

"We now have less than two years to the Paralympics and I am sure that many of your servicemen would like to be involved in some format. I am a performance athletic coach and currently coach both able bodied and athletes with disability. I would like to help them achieve their ambitions and I am willing to help by coaching, talking to and offering my training facilities... 

This Weather...

The severe weather conditions around the country are adversely affecting some systems. The Housing Information offices, HICs, at Rosyth and York are closed and the Defence Estates computer system is down. The remaining HICs can assist over the phone but without the use of their computers they may be limited in their ability to respond to some questions...

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Our Stories in RAF News - 'Crass and Unforgivable' - A Broken Covenant?

A wife at RAF Kinloss considers it crass and unforgiveable that RAF serving personnel and their families should have found out about the closure of Kinloss, the lose their homes and jobs without warning, via an announcement in Parliament, broadcast live to the world....... For more information

Reserves Under Review

Work has begun on the review of the Reserve Forces commissioned by the Prime Minister as part of the SDSR. It will look at their role and structure to ensure the MoD makes the most efficient use of reservist skills, experience and capabilities. Organised into three phases it will announce its findings in Summer 11. Gen Sir Nicholas Houghton said, "I intend to approach the study as open-mindedly as possible... 

Women to Remain away from Ground Close Combat

The MoD has completed its latest eight year review into the policy that excludes female members of the Armed Forces from carrying out GROUND close-combat roles. It concludes that the policy should remain unchanged despite operations in Iraq and Afghanistan having generated considerably more evidence of women serving on the front line. Andrew Robathan said, Their capability is not in doubt...More information »

Monday, 29 November 2010

Urgent Call to Battle Back Swimmers

"Guys, just a few days now until Battle Back Swim champs at Aldershot Garrison Pool, Thur 2 Dec pm. I need swimmers in preparation for Gibraltar and Jersey in 2011. 50M and 100M Front crawl only. Please, please let me know if you can make it, any ability welcome and you can claim traveling, if you need time off work then I can speak to your bosses...More information »

The Best Way to Support those in Afghanistan

There is only five days left for families to send presents and cards to their loved ones in Afghanistan in time for Christmas. A strong plea has been issued by the MoD urging the public to keep the postal system clear and to give to charities which help instead. Sally Little of uk4u said, "We send 22,000 Christmas boxes to personnel. It means a great deal to them knowing the public are thinking of them...More information »

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Troops to Teachers Programme

Plans to encourage personnel leaving the Services to become teachers has been announced as part of the Schools White Paper released by the Department for Education. Michael Gove MP said, "Service leavers have a great deal to offer young people. I can't think of anything better than getting people who know all about self-discipline, teamwork and a sense of pride into our schools...

The Christmas Party Goes On...

'The Sun' claims the MoD is 'cancelling Christmas' for personnel. The MoD has hit back saying, "All crown servants are reminded every year that it is not appropriate to spend public funds on Christmas". Lt Col David Eastman, in Afghanistan said: "To suggest COs do not have the support they need to help their troops enjoy Christmas is wrong. Significant effort is put in to ensure troops enjoy the best possible Christmas...

More information »

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Heartfelt from Moray

Dear Families Federation. 'As part of the RAF family, I feel totally let down... We have gone from a family looking forward to life, to a family that has to put on a brave face for our children heading up to Christmas... This country is falling apart... My husband has been told that most of the aircrew should be looking for jobs outside the RAF... Tossed on the unemployment heap... What a perk the Armed Forces provides... I am sorry but that is how the Moray area feels at the moment... Thank you to listening to me... I know that I will be writing not just for myself but for other families in my position...  

CDS Talks of 'Decisions Made'

Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, has given a speech focusing his words on the SDSR and decisions made. "You must see the SDSR not as an end state but as a stage in the evolving role of our Armed Forces..." He also spoke of the decision to decommission the Harrier fleet and retain the Tornados. He said, "Our finances required us to remove a complete fast jet type...More information »

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

HIC Closing Times Over Christmas

Housing Information Centres HICs will retain normal opening hours until Thu 16 Dec 10 and close at 12 noon on Fri 17 Dec10. All HICs, excluding the Rosyth, will reopen at 8.30am on Tue 4 Jan 11. Rosyth HIC reopens at 8.30am on Wed 5 Jan 11. For duration of Christmas period the Repair and maintenance helpdesks will remain open.....More information »

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Help when Leaving the Services

A partnership of forces charities and mental health organisations has been given the green light to form a £35 million lottery-funded 'Forces in Mind' Trust to give long-term support to UK military personnel and their families as they move out of the Services. "Making the transition back into civilian life from the strong family community of the armed forces is a hugely significant life changing experience...  

UK Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Over the weekend, newspapers and broadcasters have focused on the discussions held at the Lisbon Summit on the timelines for withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan. The MoD have made the following comment: 'Many commentators picked up on the Prime Minister's change in sentiment of talking about withdrawal of troops being 'conditions-based' to a fixed date...  More information »

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Winter Issue of Envoy should be on units or through your letter box shortly.

In this issue: Getting Ready for Christmas, the RAF FF's view on the SDSR announcements so far, the man who gave up an island paradise to join the RAF and much more...
Envoy, the quarterly magazine of the RAF Families Federation is bulk delivered to Stns/Units where there are RAF personnel. On some units they are delivered to Sections and SFA otherwise they are available from the HIVE.

If you register for your own copy it will be delivered FREE of any charge - Why? Because we, and the RAF, would like you to read it!  

PAX Insurance Increase

PAX is an optional insurance scheme for Service personnel and their families. As part of the Budget in June this year the Chancellor announced a 1% increase in Insurance Premium Tax from 4 Jan 11. As a result there will be a 1% price increase to the PAX insurance scheme prices. This will take effect from 4 Jan 11 and will be reflected in PAX premiums for January onwards...

'NOW' Magazine would like to Hear from You...

NOW magazine is looking to put together a Feature Article on Christmas Reunions and would like to interview Service personnel who have recently returned from Afghanistan and their partner about their Christmas ‘reunion’. The magazine would particularly like to hear from a couple who have a newborn baby making their Christmas quite different from last year. If you would like to find out more...More information »

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Activity Update from Op Herrick

Each week an Update is disseminated on the Key Activity undertaken in each Combined Force Area of Operations. In this issue: 'Prince William pays a surprise visit to troops at Camp Bastion to lead the tributes on Remembrance Sunday. He laid the first wreath, with a personal written tribute from him, before spending time meeting British Forces who are currently serving in Afghanistan.....  More information »

Join the Choir

The Spitfires is a newly formed voluntary choir. The choir's inaugural concert is taking place at St Clement Danes at 7pm on Sat 27 Nov 10 and is free to Service Personnel and their families. The choir already has members with a rank range from Air Cdr to SAC but is on the lookout for new members (especially males!). To find out more about this special group contact Flt Lt Harriet Tadikonda....   More information »

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Telford HIC is Moving

Telford HIC is relocating and will be closed from 3pm on 23 Nov 10 until 8.30am on 30 Nov 10. During the period general enquiry calls will be handled by Rosyth or York HICs. Emails will be picked up and processed by Telford HIC staff as soon as the new office is open for business. Telford HIC staff will endeavour to clear as many SFA applications as possible before moving

Air Rank and Command Appointments

The latest Air Rank Appointments have been promulgated. All these selections have been formally approved and are are available to be discussed openly. These appointments may also be viewed on the RAF website and the Senior Appointments Team Site for those with access to DII.....  More information »

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Recognising the Armed Services

The Service Personnel Command Paper External Reference Group have published their 2nd Annual Report. Established to oversee progress against commitments in the Service Personnel Command Paper this 2010 Annual Report recognises good progress made in delivering improvements for the Armed Forces community. The Coalition Government believes it vital to reward what the Armed Forces do....  More information »

Wales are in Support

Personnel based in Wales or with their family domiciled there, may wish to note that the Welsh Assembly Group is taking the needs of the Armed Forces community very seriously. Spurred on by the ‘Nation’s Commitment’ Paper, they have established an Expert Group to do as much as possible to remove any disadvantage and recognise the particular demands of Service life...

More information »

Monday, 15 November 2010

We Stand by the SDSR Decisions

A letter written by the Chiefs of Staff has been published in the Times. In it they stand by the decisions of the SDSR. 'No-one would pretend that the SDSR has been painless...It has led to decisions that we would not have otherwise chosen to make...the decision to withdraw Harrier and to retain a Tornado force had to balance our needs in Afghanistan with the intent to rationalise our fast jet fleets....  More information »

Armed Forces Pensions "Will not be Protected"

The BBC are reporting that Armed Forces pensions will not be protected from the spending cuts. The Prime Minister's spokesman has said today that 'a policy decision had been taken'. The Forces Pension Society claim that Service widows and injured service personnel are likely to lose thousands of pounds if the inflation measure alters....  More information »

Armistice Day

Armistice Day has been marked by millions across the world. At the Cenotaph memorial, LCpl Matt Croucher, who was awarded the George Cross after throwing himself onto a bomb to smother the explosion in Afghanistan said: "It's great there is so much support, it means a lot. As long as that public support is there, people will continue to serve their country...More information »

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Hit by a Speed Boat

The MoD have confirmed that SAC Scott Hughes died of his injuries on Sunday morning after being hit by a speed boat while swimming on Friday. 'Scotty' along with the other members of 1 Sqn were taking part in a period of decompression in Cyprus after operations in Afghanistan. He was due to fly home the following day. Sqn Ldr Dave Crook said, His death is a tragedy, and words cannot express our sense of loss and shock..  More information »

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

RAF Regiment Lose a Member of 1 Squadron

The MoD have announced the death of an airman from 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment. He died in Cyprus on Sun 7 Nov 10. Wg Cdr James Hill said, "It is particularly tragic that he died while returning home from a tour of duty that was dedicated to protecting his comrades and Afghan civilians while part of the Force Protection Wing. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. He will be sorely missed.....  More information »

Emotional Distress

Doctors estimate that 1 in 4 of us suffer some kind of mental health problem. In Andrew Murrison's report into mental health in the UK Armed Forces he cited Big White Wall in one of his recommendations. A pioneering on-line service Big White Wall offers support to those suffering emotional distress. The site is anonymous and safe to access and is there for Service personnel and their families...  More information »

Monday, 8 November 2010

Programmes for Remembrance Week

Every morning from 9.15am to 10am this week BBC1's Rav Wilding remembers those that have given their lives for their country and hears the stories of those who march past the Cenotaph. Rav also travels to Afghanistan where he experiences life for our brave men and women, and tells stories of Forces on the front line.....  For more information click here

MHS Turn up the Heat

Up until now if the heating failed in your quarter MHS contractors would leave only two heaters per property. In an attempt to improve customer satisfaction, as of 1 Nov 10, contractors will now leave one heater for the main living room (unless there is an alternative/focal point fire) and one per occupied bedroom up to a maximum of .......Click here for more information

How Will You Fare if Redundancy Hits?

At this stage, no one knows which ranks and trades/branches will be targeted for redundancy and the uncertainty is unsettling. If you were to leave the Service prematurely where would you stand in terms of compensation payments? Some ground rules for these are already in place and are linked to the two pensions schemes in operation......   Click here for more information

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Register for your FREE RAF Families Federation Envoy magazine

Envoy is a magazine specifically written for currently serving RAF personnel and their families (that includes spouses, partners, parents, siblings and children).  We would ask you not to register if you do not fall into this category.  You are still able to read Envoy and all back copies online.

To register for Envoy click here

Jointery with France

A new programme of defence co-operation between the UK and France has been announced by the Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The measures build on commitments made in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to create stronger strategic defence relationships with the UK's main allies whose security interests and military capabilities are closest the UKs........More information »

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

For Maximum Tax Benefit, Join before April!

From April 2011 there will be changes to Employer Supported Childcare (Childcare Voucher Scheme) that will affect some employees. If you are a higher rate tax payer and intent to join the scheme, it is to your advantage to do so before April 11! After this date, irrespective of whether you are a higher or lower rate tax payer, the gain will only be at the basic rate tax payer level...More information »

Keep JCCC Details on the Fridge

Emergency contact cards issued by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre are now available in magnetic form. The JCCC is the first point of contact for Service families in the event of a family emergency or domestic crisis that requires the return of a Service person from deployments overseas. The magnets are designed attach to fridges or other metal surfaces so it is available to hand if needed...

More information »