Friday, 21 December 2012

Child Benefit in the Future

On the 7 Jan 13 the rules on Child Benefit are changing. HMRC are sending letters to those families affected. The changes are that if one member of a household earns more than £50,000pa and either they, or the person they live with, claims Child Benefit then they will have to pay a High Income Child Benefit charge. The alternative is to stop claiming Child Benefit to avoid the charge but seek advice as State Pension may be...More information »

A Concerned Archbishop

In an interview with BFBS News, The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu expressed his concerns at Defence cuts. He said those in Afghanistan are 'dong an amazing job'. When asked if he thought we had a moral obligation to be there he said: "The British Armed Forces are there under a UN mandate... That they are doing what they do on behalf of the World". He said the role of military padres is 'to be God's presence...More information »

The Prime Minister is in Afghanistan

The Prime Minister is out visiting troops in Afghanistan. playing football and singing carols with Service personnel. Mr Cameron also took the opportunity to speak of the coming withdrawal saying, "This is draw-down based on success not on failure. We're confident it can be done while making sure Afghanistan does not return to become a haven of terrorism. We have paid a very heavy price...but I think it was the right decision...More information »

NOT left Behind in Danger

Amongst coverage in the media about the Prime Minister's announcement that 3,800 British personnel are to be withdrawn from Afghanistan during 2013, the Daily Mirror runs a piece headlined 'Left in Danger'. In response the MoD has said: 'This article suggests that the 5,200 personnel remaining in Afghanistan will be left at greater risk because they 'may be left with the worst equipment'. This is categorically untrue...See full details

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

3,800 troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2013

The Prime Minister has told MPs today that 3,800 British Service personnel will be withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2013, moving towards the total withdrawal of NATO troops from the country by the end of 2014. A small number of UK personnel will remain in the country beyond that date to deal with the logistics of returning equipment...More information »

CDS - On-board pilots are not indispensable...

The Chief of the Defence Staff has presented his vision for the future of the Armed Forces. In his speech Gen Sir David Richards said: "Together with my fellow Chiefs I have been examining how we should best use what we have and what we need for the future. We have to be hard-nosed realists; accepting we have less than we would wish but that we are still required to protect this nation’s interests...More information »

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Defence Secretary welcomes Lord Levene's Review of Progress

The Defence Secretary has welcomed Lord Levene's review of progress towards implementing the recommendations of the Defence Reform Review published in Jun 11. In a letter to the Secretary of State, Lord Levene congratulated the Department on strong progress made against the 53 recommendations made and said he believes the programme is being run with genuine urgency...More information »

Christmas VIDEO Message from the Chief of the Air Staff

"As this year draws to a close I believe that we can look back at a remarkably successful year....The Royal Air Force would not have been able to achieve any of these roles, without the loyal support of our families, partners and friends. I know that we have asked a very great deal of our people this year, but I recognise that we have asked just as much of our families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your forbearance. TO WATCH CAS' VIDEO MESSAGE...More information »

Padre's Peace - Resisting the Rush

Padre Andy McMullon is the resident chaplain at RAF Waddington. Here he suggests resisting the headlong rush of manic activity and the 'growing sense of guilt and panic. He says: "Advent is meant to be a time of thoughtful reflection before the celebration of the coming of Jesus at Christmas – and with our busy, even frenetic, lives, this is needed more than ever...More information »

The Secretary of State "I am immensely Proud..."

The Secretary of State for Defence, The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, has written to Service personnel and their families, "As we approach Christmas, I am acutely aware that many Service men and women will remain on duty over the holiday season, rather than being at home with their families.... As I reflect on what has been a very busy and challenging year, I am immensely proud of how much the Armed Forces have achieved, so much of which is only possible with the support of our Service families...More information »

The Director talks on BFBS Radio

Director of the RAF Families Federation, Bill Mahon, has been speaking to Patrick Eade of BFBS Radio on the latest from the Federation. Bill speaks briefly about his meeting with the Minister, Mark Francois, and about the good news of the Armed Forces Covenant. Bill believes the Covenant is a good thing but that the government must realise RAF Families are still bruised and that it appears to personnel and families that the government is giving with one hand and taking away with the other. Bill urges all to have a look at the Covenant Annual Report, even if it is only to read the executive summary and the RAF Families Federation comments on page 11. He believes the Covenant is working in areas of Education, Health and Housing but that there is still much to be done...More information »

Friday, 14 December 2012

Flt Lt Jon Egging - The Coroner records a verdict of Accidental Death

The inquest at Bournemouth Coroner's Court into the death of Flt Lt Jon Egging at the Bournmouth air display in Aug 11 has recorded a verdict of accidental death. The court heard that he suffered 'almost loss of consciousness' and that there was little reaction from Flt Lt Egging when a fellow pilot shouted at him to check his height. Jon's wife Emma said, she was satisfied with the verdict...More information »

Problems with the new GOV.UK website

We have received the following message from DIO ops: "SFA website – Migration from MOD.UK to GOV.UK. The MoD website has now closed. Content from the Service Family Accommodation (SFA) section of the website has now been migrated to the new GOV.UK site. We have identified some early issues with the transition. Whilst redirects have been put in place, some of them are not working and some are directing customers to the wrong page...More information »

Medals for II(AC) Sqn

Personnel of II(AC) Sqn have been presented with the NATO non-Article 5 Op UNIFIED PROTECTOR medal in recognition for their contribution to Op ELLAMY over the skies of Libya. They were also presented with the Op HERRICK Medal in recognition of their recent deployment to Afghanistan in support of UK and Coalition forces. OC the Sqn, Wg Cdr Nick Tucker-Lowe said: "None of this would have been possible without our loved ones...More information »

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Reservists are not missing out financially...

The Times has reported that Reservists are missing out on pay because the MoD has shortened tour lengths to save money. In response the MoD said: "Shortened tour lengths have nothing to do with saving money. We are reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan by 500 by the end of 2012 and therefore some reservists will come home earlier than planned. All reservists are advised of the risk...More information »

Viagra and RAF Marham...

There are claims in the press that Viagra has been stolen from RAF Marham. They also claim other pieces of military equipment have also gone. In response the MoD said: "This is inaccurate as the medical supplies were not limited solely to Viagra. The article also does not reflect that Viagra has other medical uses, for example it is also often used to treat altitude sickness...More information »

Federation pressure changes aspects of SFA retention Policy

Following pressure from the Families Federations the MoD have revised their policy on retention of SFA for instances where spouses are on adult educational courses and where spouses are giving a notice period to employers. These changes are issued in DIN01-260 and will subsequently be written into the Joint Service Publication. The changes take immediate effect and are wins for the Service Families Federations...More information »

Its all Change on the MoD website

The new home of the MoD website is within the GOV.UK site. Four central government departments and several of their public bodies have become the latest central government organisations to move their corporate and policy content onto the new GOV.UK website. All web addresses have been redirected and we will ensure that the links from the RAF FF are maintained...More information »

Merry Christmas

Christmas Greetings from all of us at the RAF Families Federation...

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

URGENT - Your views on Service Children’s Education, please

The House of Commons Defence Committee is conducting an Inquiry into ‘Educating the Children of Service Personnel’. We have very little time but this is your opportunity to tell us your views. The Committee would particularly like to hear your experience and views on: The difficulties facing Service families in achieving the same standard of education for their children as they would if they were civilians; The provision of education for all Service children from pre-school to age 19; The transfer of information about pupils between schools, in particular pupils with Special Educational Needs; The effectiveness of the financial support schemes for all Service families; The adequacy of oversight and monitoring of Service Children’s education. Please let us know your thoughts before the 9 Jan 13. Completing our 'Contact form' is the easiest way to register your view...More information »

From Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans

"...I am very conscious of the crucial role that the whole family – spouses, partners, parents, brothers, sisters and beyond - play in supporting our RAF Servicemen and women in doing their jobs...I am looking forward to doing everything I practically can to improve the lot of our service personnel and their families...I am firmly of the view that your Federation has a crucial role to play in representing the views of RAF families. It has a powerful voice that is genuinely listened to...Without your input, Bill Mahon and his team cannot be as effective...More information »

'Alarm' over Drone Pilots is Misleading

The Times reports there is 'alarm' over the quality of Britain's 'drone' pilots. The MoD said: "This is somewhat misleading. The article is based on a Service Inquiry that refers only to Royal Artillery operation of the Hermes 450 Unmanned Aircraft is incorrect to link this incident to any other UK remotely-operated air system, such as the Reaper operated by the RAF... The RAF is now assisting the Royal Artillery...More information »

Christmas Message from the Chief of the Air Staff

"As this year draws to a close I believe that we can look back at a remarkably successful year....The Royal Air Force would not have been able to achieve any of these roles, without the loyal support of our families, partners and friends. I know that we have asked a very great deal of our people this year, but I recognise that we have asked just as much of our families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your forbearance...More information »

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Feeling out of the Loop...

The RAF FF survey on support to families is now available to view. This is the Federation's third major survey this year and will feed into the MoD-wide welfare study expected to run in early 13. It is also being used to inform Air Command Community Support staff and colleagues at SSAFA, the HIVE and other welfare organisations as to the quality of their service, as perceived by you, the customer. The report is full of comments received as well as the raw statistics so do take time to have a look.... “Unfortunately the RAF give no consideration to the fact that decisions they make always have an impact on dependents....“Airplay has been a life saver for our children... “Despite having POC I found myself very much alone... “I only feel like part of the RAF family because of my friendships with the other wives...More information »

Monday, 10 December 2012

Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2012 -Your questions answered

The first statutory Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2012 was published on Thu. Here the Covenant Team answer your questions on how it will effect RAF serving personnel and their families. Why is the Armed Forces Covenant important? Does the Covenant offer the Armed Forces Special Treatment? What Progress has been made on Education, Housing, Healthcare...More information »

Before they Break Up...

Service parents with children in State funded schools in England are encouraged to ensure that the Head Teacher of their Child(ren)'s school is made aware of their Service status for the Spring School Census which will be conducted on 17 Jan 13. This is the only way the school can then claim the Service Pupil Premium, worth £300 per child, to provide pastoral and/or other additional support for their Service children...More information »

Discipline our Children please...

Ex-service personnel will be employed to help instil teamwork, discipline and leadership skills through mentoring, assault courses and other activities and exercises if the Education Secretary Michael Gove has his way. Mr Gove said: "Every child can benefit from the values of a military ethos. Self-discipline and teamwork are at the heart of what makes our Armed Forces the best in the world - and are exactly what all young people need...More information »

The Millies and the Excellent work of the Armed Forces

The excellent work of the Armed Forces and the people who support them was recognised at the fifth annual Sun Military Awards. The awards ceremony, known as the 'Millies', took place at the Imperial War Museum and will be televised on Fri 14 Dec 12. Adm Sir Mark Stanhope said: "The Sun Military Awards has shone the spotlight on the courage, tenacity and professionalism of our armed forces...More information »

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Brand new Discount Card for the Armed Forces

A new discount card, exclusively for members of the Armed Forces, their families and veterans, will be rolled out next week in time for money off Christmas gifts and everyday items, Defence Minister Mark Francois confirmed. The Prime Minister said: "It is fitting that the cards are launched in the year that the military have done so much for our country, not just abroad but here in the UK, showing the very best of British...More information »

Growth of RAF Typhoon Force in Scotland

Armed Forces Minister Andrew Robathan has paid a visit to RAF Leuchars to witness first-hand the progress that the RAF has made in growing the Typhoon Force in Scotland. Andrew Robathan said: "It has been hugely reassuring and heartening for me to meet and talk to the men and women of RAF Leuchars who, every day of the year, maintain the highest levels of readiness in carrying out this vital role. They are professional and dedicated...More information »

MoD state their case following the Autumn Statement

There are several media reports on the reduction in the Defence Budget announced during the Chancellor's Autumn Statement yesterday. In response the MoD said: 'The budgetary changes mean that in 2013/14 and 2014/15 the MoD's resource budget will be reduced by approx £250m and £490m respectively...The budget for 2015/16 and beyond will be set in the next Spending Review. When the time comes, we will be vigorously be making the case...More information »

A Christmas present suggestion from Duxford

The Imperial War Museum, Duxford, are delighted to announce their air show season for 2013. Tickets for all air shows are now on sale, in good time to solve any Christmas present dilemmas! They also have an Early Bird offer running until Thu 28 Feb 13. If purchasing for Christmas, the recommendation is to buy before Tue 18 Dec 12 for UK delivery...More information »

Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report is published

This first statutory report shows that one year after the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant were enshrined in law, the process is starting to work. Here the Covenant Team highlight the measures it has taken to make a difference to your life as a Service person/Service family. Director of the RAF FF, Bill Mahon said: "We welcome the Report and acknowledge the intent and the good work done to date. But there remains much to do and sustaining that effort in the medium to long-term will be crucial... 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Launching UK4U Thanks! for Christmas 2012

TV Presenter and journalist Lorraine Kelly joined members of the Royal Marines on a zip wire from Wellington Arch in Central London, to launch the annual Christmas Box campaign for the Armed Forces, run by the charity uk4u Thanks! The campaign sees 22,500 boxes full of festive cheer sent to Service personnel around the world who are working away from their families, and to those recuperating in hospital this Christmas...More information »

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Winter Issue of Envoy is available to view online.

In this issue: The new Minister introduces himself to RAF families; There is a Christmas message to you from the Chief of the Air Staff; A report from RAF ladies who sing with the Military Wives Choir and a piece from the RAF FF Director on the absolute point of the Federation... and much more. Envoy, the quarterly magazine of the RAF Families Federation, is delivered to Stns/Units where there are RAF personnel and is always available from the HIVE. Click here

Monday, 3 December 2012

The RAFs 'Movember'

Personnel from RAF Coningsby and Waddington brought back moustaches for 'Movember', and raised funds for men's cancer. RAF personnel went back to the 1940s; a time when the moustache was considered part of the RAF uniform. The SWO WO Watson, commended the effort, judged the moustaches. He then reminded all that moustaches are not regulation and they must be clean-shaven by today!...More information »

In with the Minister

Together with his counterparts at the Navy and Army Federations, the Director RAF Families Federation, Bill Mahon, met with Mr Mark Francois, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, to discuss current and potential future issues and concerns held by Service personnel and their families. Spoken about were: Housing; that RAF personnel and their families are still hurting from all the recent upheaval and uncertainty; The Armed Forces Covenant; the New Employment Model (NEM) and that the RAF Families Federation have been asked to take an advisory role in NEM from the outset...More information »

Thetford HASC is CLOSED - Mon 3 Dec 12

We have received the following in message from DIO Ops Housing: Please note that the Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) at Thetford has been unable to open this morning following a serious road traffic accident which has closed the road outside Barnham Camp. The police are currently working to open the road. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause...More information »

Celebrating Diwali

Armed Forces personnel of different faiths have joined members of the Hindu community in Bradford to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Acharya Krishan Kant Attri, the HM Forces Hindu Chaplain said:"There were just 230 Hindu Service personnel when I took over the post seven years ago. Today, there are 1,800 Hindus serving. The Armed Forces is a large, multicultural organisation made up of many religions and beliefs...More information »

Christmas Post deadline is very Close

As the Christmas post deadline of 3 Dec 12 approaches for Armed Forces personnel serving overseas, personnel are urging members of the public not to send unsolicited gifts and packages to operational theatres. Cpl Danny Smith said, "In the last two days over 23 tonnes of mail has arrived at Brize Norton...It's a challenging but important... Having served in Afghanistan at Christmas last year, I understand how much value...More information »

Update on MoDs work with Jobcentre Plus

As part of the Armed Forces Covenant there are certain Department for Work and Pensions initiatives to assist current and former members of the Armed Forces and their families in accessing Jobcentre Plus services. These initiatives together with Employment and Benefits Initiatives are detailed. They include information on: How Jobcentre Plus can help spouses and partners; maternity allowance when overseas...More information »

Thursday, 29 November 2012

RAF awards for work at the Olympics

ACM Sir Stephen Dalton has presented 17 awards and personally thanked 100s of personnel for their work a the games. He said: "With the Olympics, Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and our round-the-clock operations, overseas and at home, I could not be more proud of the dedicated and professional young men and women of the RAF and of course the families and friends that support them – well done and thank you all...More information »

CDS Praises the role of RAF Personnel in Defending the UK

General Sir David Richards, has praised Air Cmd personnel for their role in defending the UK and supporting overseas ops. He said: “The breadth and importance of their work on behalf of Defence is truly impressive...Whether through the delivery of world-class training, keeping a round-the-clock vigil to protect UK airspace, or as a rapidly deployable HQ to deliver air power in support of our interests overseas, they can all be very proud of their invaluable contribution...More information »

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

RAF Leeming's Agile Eagle

A RAF Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) has been declared ready to support NATO following a series of grueling tests which culminated in Exercise Agile Eagle held at RAF Waddington. Gp Capt Tony Innes paid tribute to those who had made it happen: "During the exercise the EAW HQ performed superbly and the deployment allowed the station to test its ability to continue to support the plethora of operationally-focused...More information »

BFBS to host Radio 1's Greg James in Afghanistan

Greg’s drive-time show will come live from the BFBS studios in Camp Bastion every day from 10 -14 Dec 12. The programmes will be simulcast on BFBS in Afghanistan and on BBC Radio 1 in the UK, enabling Greg to link families, friends and the Radio 1 audience to troops in theatre. Greg said: “I’m really excited to be bringing Radio 1 out to the troops and show them how much we appreciate their hard work...More information »

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Telephone Problems at RAF Wyton - Tue 27 Nov 12

We have received the following message from the DIO Communications Team: "RAF Wyton – Telephone problem. Because of a technical problem with the telephone system, Ops Accommodation staff based in the Swales Pavilion at RAF Wyton are unable to receive or make phone calls. Military numbers also appear to be affected. When calling in or out a permanently engaged signal is being received. The matter...More information »

What will be in George Osborne's Autumn Statement?

The Chancellor, George Osborne is due to give his Autumn Statement next Wed, 5 Dec 12. Many commentators are expecting him to extend the Public Sector pay freeze or to cap it until 2017...More information »

Battle Back Adaptive Sports Centre Opens

A Battle Back adaptive sports and adventure training centre to enhance the recovery of injured and sick personnel from all three Services has opened at Lilleshall. Beth Tweddle, the Olympic gymnastic said: "The Battle Back Centre is a fantastic facility...It's wonderful that servicemen and women, who have given so much for our country, can use their experiences at the Centre to build their motivation and their self-belief...More information »

Monday, 26 November 2012

RAF Dependants Fund increase its Death Benefit

Following an Extraordinary Meeting of the Trustees of The Royal Air Force Dependants Fund it has been decided to increase the benefit payable on the death of a subscriber to the scheme from £10K to £15K. This increase was effective from 0001 hrs on Fri 26 Oct 12. The scheme is open to all members of the RAF & FTRS (RAF) on payment of a monthly subscription of 50p through salary. Members of the RAuxAF may subscribe...More information »

Looking for Volunteers to go to Lourdes at Easter

The RAF HCPT Pilgrimage Trust Group takes children aged 7-18 with disabilities and/or special needs on a weeks holiday to Lourdes every Easter. The group is made up of CRB-cleared RAF personnel including medical staff. If you know of a child from the RAF community who would like to join them for Easter 13 or you are able to volunteer (they are especially men at the moment!) for this rewarding cause please contact...More information »