Thursday, 24 March 2016

SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity - Local Volunteers Needed !!

'Not only have we seen the needs of the local Armed Forces community increase significantly in many areas, but their welfare needs have become more complex. 

As a result we desperately need more local volunteers to help our local Armed Forces community.' 

Can you spare some time to help?

Veterans Scheme in NW Cumbria

If you are interested in applying please click HERE to download the application form.

The Veteran Services Managers can be contacted for more information:-;

Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA) Repairs

Mears Group Limited took over the management of SSFA and SSSA on 19 January 2016. The former supplier, HCR, will continue to manage their properties until they can be transferred to the new supplier.

For reporting faults to substitute properties, please telephone (or email) Mears - or HCR (if you live in a property taken on to the scheme before 31 December 2015) at the earliest opportunity.


During office hours (08:30 - 17:00 Mon to Fri - except Bank Holidays) contact the Mears Accommodation Team: Telephone: 0800 032 4547. email:
Emergency repairs outside office hours (17:00 - 08:30 Mon to Fri, weekends and Bank Holidays) Mears Emergency Contact Centre. Telephone: 0800 032 4547.


During office hours (Mon to Thurs 09:00 to 17:30, Fri 09:00 to 17:00) Contact HCR's Maintenance Advisors for both routine and emergency problems contact: Telephone: 01256 313764 HCR's general switchboard: 01256 812700. Email:
During out of office hours (Mon to Thurs 17:30 to 09:00, Fri from 17:00 to Mon 09:00). Contact ABLE Telephone: 0333 6664357

Poppy Pod Project: Camping village for Armed Forces personnel and their families- Tile Barn Outdoor Centre-Brockenhurst

Hampshire County Council is proud to introduce The ‘Poppy Pod’ camping village for Armed Forces personnel and their families at Tile Barn Outdoor Centre in Brockenhurst, New Forest. The project is to become its lasting legacy to our Armed Service personnel to recognise and remember the sacrifices made and faced by the Armed Forces Community.

Twenty wooden pods have already been built as free holiday and respite facilities for service personnel, veterans and their families, thanks to £250,000 from the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant scheme.  A further £50,000 donation from the Brockenhurst Branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) will be used to build a communal hub building for visitors to meet, eat and share experiences with other families.

The 20 solar-powered, accessible pods and hub building will be available at a charge for schools, when bookings begin from spring 2016. However, priority will be given to members of the armed services and their families on weekends and during school holiday periods who can enjoy the facilities for free.  

Tile Barn has been a camping and outdoor centre since the early 1970s and has recently benefitted from a new, fully accessible shower and toilet block, which will support use of the ‘Poppy Pod’ village. The centre was set up to provide cost effective outdoor residential experiences to school children in Hampshire. It can cater for up to 350 young people in fully equipped campsites and a 37 bed bunkhouse facility.

Tile Barn was originally used to treat First World War troops from the Indian Army Corps at tented and galvanised units, nicknamed 'Tin Town' by local people. The site then became the New Zealand General Hospital No.1 where 21,000 casualties were treated.

The pods have been fitted with a seating area which easily converts into a bed for families to have a versatile space.
The official opening is being planned for May 2016.

Councillor Andrew Joy, the County Council’s Armed Forces champion and Executive Member for Communities, Partnerships and External Affairs, added: “This is wonderful news and I’m sure many Armed Forces personnel, veterans and families will benefit from the much-deserved respite available at the ‘Poppy Pod’ village. There are over 30,000 military personnel based in Hampshire, the largest contingent in the country, and we place enormous value on our long and close relationship with the Forces. These new facilities at Tile Barn will help recognise and remember the sacrifices made and faced by the Armed Forces Community.”

Retired RN Captain Mike Matthews, Chairman of the Brockenhurst Branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “This project not only has links to the past, but will also offer a welcome respite for our serving armed forces men and women, veterans and their families, of all abilities, so they can take a well-deserved break as a family, in one of the most beautiful spots in the country. No.1 New Zealand General Hospital was located on Tile Barn Hill during the First World War and had an impressive rehabilitation record. Over 21,000 wounded evacuees from the Western Front were cared for with only 94 succumbing to their injuries. They are buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the adjacent St Nicholas Churchyard. 

“Hampshire County Council’s drive to provide free rehabilitative breaks for service personnel and their families, including those with disabilities, resonates historically and emotionally with the members of my Brockenhurst Branch of the RBL, and we felt it would also have found favour with the two generous ladies who left the Branch handsome legacies in their wills.”

JSHAO information leaflets for service personnel and their dependants regarding civilian housing options.

The JSHAO is the MOD’s tri-service focal point to provide service personnel and their dependants with civilian housing information for those wishing to move to civilian accommodation at any time in their career, and for those during resettlement to assist with the transition to civilian life.

JSHOA have produced a number of useful handouts.....CLICK HERE to see

Cotswold Centre - Service Families Short Term Accommodation

The secure 25 acre site has a community centre with internet connection, bar, games hall (with large screen TV), launderette and children's playground.

The 3 bedroom chalets and converted flatlets are all self catering. They are fully furnished and include colour TV with freesat, cooking utensils, fridge, freezer, cutlery, crockery, bedding and towels.

For those families who need to stay longer at the site, there is an excellent early years centre for children from 3-4 and the LocalAuthority Run Lypiatt Primary School for 5-11 year olds. Older children can attend Corsham Secondary School, which is nearby.

For further information please call the centre at the numbers below:
Civilian: 01225 810 358
Military: 94382 4524
Or email them at

Finally, there is a leaflet with more information at this link.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Forces Help To Buy Scheme - Buying Your Own Property

The Forces Help To Buy Scheme (FHTB) was launched on 1 April 2014 as a three year pilot scheme. FHTB enables Service personnel to borrow up to half their annual salary (up to a maximum of £25,000) and is intended to assist towards the balance of the purchase price (taking into account, for example, deposit, legal, surveyors, land registration and estate agent fees) when buying a property for which a mortgage lender is willing to advance a mortgage.

Whilst this handout is intended to provide an overview of the FHTB scheme and application process, any personnel looking to utilise FHTB should familiarise themselves fully with JSP 464 Part 1 Chapter 12 where full details of the eligibility and qualifying criteria can be found.

Read the full details Click Here.....

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Whether you are still serving in the military, you are going through the resettlement process, you are a veteran or you're a family member of someone who has served or is serving in the military, this event is for you.

This event provides you with a great opportunity to meet and network with, what could be, your future employer after the forces. 
 Helping you start your second career, and resettle into civilian life.

Pre-register your attendance now to keep up to date with who will be exhibiting, and some hints and tips on how to prepare. Visit the event page here ...

Friday, 4 March 2016

Did you know that your local council will collect used household Batteries?

You can now recycle your household batteries with your kerbside collections.

Our kerbside battery recycling scheme aims to increase the number of batteries recycled. Batteries contain mercury, lead or cadmium that can be recycled and made into new batteries. This reduces the need to source virgin materials and helps to protect the environment.

We will collect all AAA, AA, C and D size batteries as well as button, mobile phone, laptop and rechargeable batteries.

For the Cherwell District Council area (Bicester and surrounding villages)
How the collection works?
1. Fill a sandwich bag or carrier bag with your old batteries.
2. When it's full, leave it out for collection. There is no set collection day. It can be put out with either your recycling or green bin collections, just make sure the bag is on top of the bin or box.
3. The crews will collect the bag and place into a compartment on the side of the refuse vehicle.

4. If you need any extra bags simply use any other type of bag such as a sandwich bag.

For  the Vale of White Horse area (Abingdon, and surrounding villages)
Batteries can be recycled on your recycling collection day. Just pop them in a clear plastic bag (such as a sandwich bag or food bag) on top of your green recycling bin.

We can collect household batteries, such as 6v batteries, 9v batteries (transistor batteries), D, C AA, AAA and button batteries (watch batteries) as well as mobile phone batteries, laptop batteries and lithium batteries with tape across the terminals.

We cannot collect batteries with trailing wires, car batteries, or other industrial batteries but you may be able to take these to a Household Waste Recycling Centre.
For further information on battery recycling and disposal facilities, please see the Oxfordshire A-Z batteries section.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Carillion amey - Change in opening time for Complaints and Compliments call line

Change to existing service 
 From 1st March, CarillionAmey, are changing their opening times for their complaints and compliments call line, the 0800 707 6000 option 5 number, at the Helpdesk. 

On the Option 5 service, calls will now be answered between 0830hrs to 1700hrs.

  CarillionAmey want to make sure that families who have raised complaints receive clearer responses and in order to do this we need our complaints handlers to spend quality time looking into each complaint to provide more informed responses to each customer. 

This change is intended to improve our customer service to you, our customers.