Wednesday, 28 September 2011

"MoD Budget now on a Firm Footing"

The Defence Secretary, Liam Fox has said that for the first time in a decade the MoD budget is in on a firm footing. He said, "We have brought the MoD's future plans and budget broadly into balance following tough decisions that had to be taken in the SDSR and a 1% increase in the equipment budget from 2015 to fill the MoD's multi-billion-pound black hole. This now allows £150bn to be invested in new equipment...More information »

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

LAST CALL for Teenagers

Some say they are the forgotten age group and that the RAF does very little for 11-19 year olds. This is the last week of our youth survey and it is hoped with the results the RAF Families Federation will be in a position to influence the HQ Air Command the RAF Benevolent fund and the MoDs programme for young people. BUT we need more votes if we are to do this! Please take a few minutes to answer the short questionnaire. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes and all the questions are multiple choice. To go to the questions click on the pale blue computer icon above and use the password b7max0ye (zero towards the end!) to access the questions...More information »

Future Accommodation -Your views go to MoD

Housing and accommodation issues dominate the Federation database. On the policy front, families are becoming more frustrated with current regulations and frequently implore the Federation to challenge the existing rules. Taking action - The Federation produces a number of evidence reports based on the concerns raised and this report to the Future Accommodation Project (FAP) team is a welcome opportunity to ensure the ‘light blue’ perspective on accommodation is represented at the highest levels. There may be differences in opinion between the Services but that is for the FAP team to take into account when coming up with an accommodation Strategy to suit the Armed Services of the future. As well as the report, read the comments made by those who completed the RAF FF Future Accommodation survey. They demonstrate the strength of feeling evoked by this subject...More information »

Monday, 26 September 2011

Typhoons Return

After 6 months and 1 day supporting the UK mission over Libya RAF Typhoons have returned home to Coningsby. Gp Capt Pete Squires said, "The skill, determination and professionalism of the pilots and engineers alike, combined with the potent capability of an aircraft which can switch from air to ground and air to air tasking in a moment’s notice has been exceptional and earned them a superb reputation within NATO...More information »

Autism - Is it part of your family life?

NICE is the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health. NICE are seeking service users, parents, carers or lay members, to join the group developing guidelines on the management of autism spectrum disorders in children and young people. Can you help...More information »

Mission in Libya extended for a Further 90 days

The North Atlantic Council decided yesterday to extend the current mandate of Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR for a further 90 days, while keeping the situation under regular review. Liam Fox said, "The UK has been at the forefront of the campaign since the outset and, as the Prime Minister has made clear throughout, the UK will maintain its commitment for as long as it is required...More information »

Something for the Kids - October Half-Term

Tales of wartime endeavour are being brought to life during October half-term at Duxford. Each day between 10.30am and 2.30pm, visitors have the opportunity to handle items from the First and Second World Wars, looking at the changing role of the soldier. By getting hands-on with military equipment, visitors can learn more about warfare as it was fought on the front line...More information »

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Photographs of Family Fun

The Victory Services Club are running a photographic competition. The Club are inviting military families to send in a picture of their family having a good time. The winning entry will receive 4 VIP tickets to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland plus a weekend break at the Club. Tickets include entrance to the Wonderland, unlimited access to the fair rides and skating on the largest outdoor rink in London! Closing date 15 Oct 11...See full details

For Professionals who work with Service Children

This new book 'Service Children. A Guide for Education and Welfare Professionals' is written by a Service wife and mother who uses her professional and personal experience to highlight the issues faced by Service children. Joy O'Neill says: "The book discusses Mobility, Parental Deployment, Continuity of Education and other significant issues professionals are likely to encounter working with Service Children...See full details

Our Stories in RAF News - IVF Lottery

Dear Families Federation, I am so frustrated with the NHS! My wife and I were referred for fertility treatment by the SMO. We underwent one course of IVF, which was funded by the local Primary Care Trust and my wife became pregnant. During that time I elected for a posting but, before accepting, made extensive enquiries to determine the impact any move might have on our treatment. The PCT advised that the move to the new location could impact as the PCT responsible for that area usually only funded one cycle rather than three. However, I was subsequently told that because I was in the military we were covered by a ‘reciprocal agreement’ between Trusts and that funding would continue if we required further treatment. I accepted the posting but unfortunately we then lost the baby we were expecting. As you can imagine we were both very distressed and it is only now that I have made enquiries into how we can commence a second course of treatment. This is where the problem begins as the new hospital has now said we are not eligible...See full details

Would you like to be on the Television?

A TV programme is putting together a feature on military family life and are looking for RAF family members to take part. The makers would like to film a short report of 3 minutes or so with a family in their own relaxed environment. The whole family does not need to be tale part but the Company would ideally like at least one adult and one child to be involved. The filming will only take an hour and will be pre-recorded...More information »

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Prince Charles gives his support to Bentley Priory Restoration

The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust have announced that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has agreed to become their Patron. A statement from the Prince of Wales' Office reads:‘The restoration of important buildings is both a time consuming and expensive business but their preservation adds greatly to the important heritage and fabric of our country. The Prince of Wales is hugely encouraged by the creative...More information »

Monday, 19 September 2011

The first Commander of Joint Forces Command is RAF

Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach is to promoted to Air Chief Marshal and become the first Commander Joint Forces Command. AM Peach said: "I am honoured and delighted. The creation of the JFC represents a tremendous opportunity for the UK Armed Forces to deliver effective capability for the challenges that lie ahead. I look forward to working to deliver, within my command, the very best from Her Majesty's Armed Forces...More information »

Thursday, 15 September 2011

What do the Troops want for Christmas?

-festive cheer from their family and friends. This is a call to generous members of the public who show support by sending parcels to Afghanistan. They are being urged to stop and think. Maj John Leeper at Camp Bastion, explained: personal mail from loved ones is very important. Unfortunately, the system can be overwhelmed by the public’s generous donations, which results in mail from family and friends being delayed...More information »

Red Arrow Line-up for 2012

The Red Arrow have selected their three new pilots for the 2012 Season and will begin training at Scampton in October. Joining the team this time around are: Flt Lt Martin Pert from Leeming, Flt Lt Michael Child from Coningsby and Flt Lt Jim McMillan from Cottesmore. Sqn Ldr Jim Turner returns to the Red Arrows to take over from Ben Murphy as team leader...More information »

Unpack your Troubles

A new support service has launched for Serving personnel and their families and veterans. Big White Wall offers free, anonymous online early intervention psychological support. Simon Burns, Health Minister said: "This initiative reinforces the Government’s commitment to support the health needs of those who have given so much for this country and the families who support them...More information »

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

We would like the views of 11-17yr olds

The Federation has launched a survey seeking the views of the younger members of the RAF community, namely the 11-17 year olds. The team received an encouraging response to the trial Youth workshops and is running this new survey during Sep and Oct 11. Once the analysis has been completed the results will help: inform work undertaken by HQ Air Command Community Support staffs as part of wider Community Needs; inform the work of the RAF Benevolent Fund AirPlay initiative; inform Commandant Air Cadets of particular themes arising; inform the work of the MoD Children's and Young People's Trust, which specifically asks organisations to consider how to give young people a voice on the policies that impact upon them. Please help us to promote this survey to RAF family members of this age group you know or, if you are in this age bracket and would like to complete the survey, please ring a member of the Federation team on 01780 781650 to obtain a password...More information »

Pregnancy in the RAF - Maintaining a work/life balance

The RAF has issued two booklets on Pregnancy. One for Servicewomen and one for Line Managers. The information sets out the general provisions and aims to make experience of a working pregnancy within the RAF as stress-free as possible. AMP said, "I am very clear about the importance of encouraging work/life balance and as such the Employment Policy team have been focusing on improvements to the provision...More information »

Perceptions of Service Morale

In the latest Continuous Attitude Survey, RAF Officers were found to hold 'significantly less positive attitudes than the other Services' Officers in areas of organisational engagement; feeling valued, perceptions of Service morale, likelihood of recommending others to join the Service, affiliation with the RAF, perceptions of senior officers, satisfaction with career management and Service discipline...More information »

Monday, 12 September 2011

Speak up NOW for better Pay, Allowances and Charges

Each year, the AFPRB recommends the remuneration package for the year ahead; they are currently gathering evidence to inform the SoS for Defence for Apr 12 onwards. For those currently affected by the 2-year pay freeze (all those earning more than £21k pa) you may feel such effort is nugatory, but the AFPRB also recommends accommodation and food charges as well as the level of certain allowances, many of which affect a large percentage of those serving. In any event, the AFPRB have expressed a strong desire to 'hear it like it is' during these particularly lean years and it is all the more important that we let them know how RAF families are affected by the economic climate and the on-going pressures of RAF life. The RAF Families Federation is invited to give formal evidence to the AFPRB, both in writing and during an oral evidence session, in Oct 11. To ensure we are representing accurately and independently the views of RAF family members, both serving and non-serving, please take a few minutes to complete the RAF FF online surveys...More information »

"Some Good Practise"

In the third Ofsted report on the effectiveness of welfare and duty of care for recruits and trainees in Armed Forces grades of 'satisfactory' or better with examples of good practise have been awarded. Andrew Robathan said: "There is clearly room for improvement. Resourcing and operational requirements continue to impact on the Armed Forces and the training environment is not exempt from these pressures...More information »

Amstrong and Miller launch new BFBS website

Award-winning comedians Armstrong and Miller have shown their support for BFBS and the armed forces by launching their new BFBS Radio website. The duo has reprised one of their most popular sketches, the World War II RAF pilots.The new website gives listeners the latest news from the three main radio services and the 11 local radio stations, including BFBS Afghanistan. Visitors to the site can listen live...More information »

Does your Child's School know about the £3 million?

The SoS for Defence has announced a £3M fund to assist schools, with children whose parents are in the Armed Forces to help mitigate the impact of increased mobility, unit moves or the effects of deployments. The Fund is separate and additional to the Pupil Premium. HQs, Units and Service parents are being urged to ensure that the schools in their area are aware of the fund and to make a bid if approriate...More information »

Redundancy - A Painful Road

Dawn McCafferty, Chairman of the RAF FF talks to Patrick Eade of BFBS Radio on the first phase of RAF redundancies. In her frank account Dawn suggest the first phase of redundancies is the beginning of a long and painful path. Dawn speaks of the concerns RAF family members have shared with the Federation and the need for the Service to take heed. She suggests there is an inextricable link between families and the operational effectiveness of the Serving person be that a wife, partner, the children, grandparents or siblings, calling them the bedrock of support who must not be ignored. Dawn also goes on to talk in-depth about the volunteers who were successful in their application to leave the RAF but also those who are going against their will, those who volunteered but have been told they cannot go and those who are not being signed on...More information »

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Before the Cold Weather Sets In...

Whether you are in SFA or your own home now is a good time to check your heating! For those in SFA DIO suggest, "Before the colder weather sets in it is a good idea to check your heating and report any problems to the relevant Helpdesk immediately. That way you’ll be giving the maintenance contractors plenty of time to resolve the problem before you need your heating...See full details

Redundancy and your SFA

Many who have been made redundant and are currently occupying SFA will have questions. DIO have put together questions and answers which may be of assistance. For example: Can I remain in my SFA, and for how long? What happens if I get a new assignment before redundancy? What assistance can Service personnel in SFA get from Local Authorities? and Where can I find out more......More information »

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Autumn 11 Issue of Envoy is now available. ONLINE

In this issue: RAF FF Chairman tells senior staffs and the minister that they 'Ignore Families at their Peril'; Important work of the Federation that has gone on this quarter; one family's experience of Autism; How one school's ethos of respect and discipline could affect others; On deployment with MERT and much, much more...ENVOY MAGAZINE

Monday, 5 September 2011

David Cameron: "Punching above our Weight"

David Cameron, paid tribute to Service personnel deployed at Gioia del Colle air base during a visit there on Fri. He said: "Out of 8,000 NATO sorties the RAF performed 1,600 of them. I think that is punching at our weight or even above our weight. I think we played a very important role not just in the number of strike sorties but also in the fact that we were there right from the beginning. I think Britain can be proud...More information »

Red Arrows Resume Display Work

The Red Arrows have recommenced public displays. Sqn Ldr Liz Parker, Team Manager said: "After a period of consolidation, the Red Arrows have now completed their first two public displays on Fri 2 Sep 11. Following Jon’s funeral, the next planned displays are in the Channel Islands this week and the Team hope to continue with the remainder of the public displays as scheduled...See full details

Latest News from the Federation "Ignore Families at your Peril"

So said Dawn McCafferty, Chairman of the RAF Families Federation, on the day that over 900 RAF redundancies were announced. Dawn was addressing the annual MoD Welfare Conference on behalf of all three Families Federations. She drew particular attention to the immeasurable but vital contribution that families make to operational effectiveness and highlighted the lack of funding available to support core welfare support services. The link between recruitment/retention and family support were emphasised and Dawn warned the senior staffs and minister present to look after the families or risk losing uniformed personnel who would no longer be prepared to put Service before self...More information »

Our Stories in RAF News - Going Solo

A Serviceman lost his wife a couple of years ago and realised he needed to plan care for his three young children during deployments.  His family could only give limited help. He could go for Preferential Treatment.  He also explored childcare options and even considered placing the children with foster carers, but struggled to imagine the impact of this on both himself and his children. He knew he could opt for compassionate discharge, but wondered if this was the only way forward. He wanted to bring the situation to the Federation's attention and could consider the policy implications of a widow/widower left with small children yet keen to meet all... Read more

Thursday, 1 September 2011

930 RAF made Redundant

This 1st phase of redundancies sees approximately 930 RAF personnel made redundant. A MoD spokesman said: "To retain the right balance of skills across the RAF, not all volunteers were accepted because some were considered to be too valuable to lose and of those who volunteered, 440 were successful. This means that 490 non-volunteers will be made redundant...More information »