Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2015 - Key Facts

Copies of the Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report are available from the HIVE.

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?

Cherwell District Council - Bulky Waste Collection Service

Spring cleaning and planning on replacing your white goods or old furniture?
If so, why not make use of our bulky waste collection service to get rid of your old ones.
It costs £16 to remove up to 3 items. We can take a maximum of 6 items per collection. (6 items would cost £32)
Items are usually collected within ten working days on either a Thursday or Friday and must be ready for collection by 7am. They will be collected between 7am and 5pm.
Items must be placed for collection outside your house, on your property as close to the highway as possible or at your bin collection point.
For insurance purposes, we do not collect from inside your property.
Please note we cannot take builders rubble, liquids or corrosives, poisonous or medical wastes, any glass items, mirrors or mirrored doors. We can take old carpet but it must be cut into 4ft lengths before collection.
We only take items that are specified at time of booking.
For further information and a list of items that we can take go to our webpage

Sign Up For - Cherwell District Council's FREE Health and Fitness Newsletter

Are you looking to get fit but not sure where to start?
Maybe you fancy joining an exercise class but don't know which to pick? Or perhaps you are not aware of what is taking place and where?

If any of the above rings true then why not sign up for our FREE health and fitness newsletter.

On the first Monday of every month we will publish our latest edition letting you know what's coming up and when, what is ongoing and a full list of exercise classes currently being run by Cherwell across the district.
The newsletter is published online or is emailed direct to those who subscribe.
To view past and current editions visit or to subscribe email

Free Accountancy Qualification through the ACCA and Families' Federations

Gain new skills and a qualification in accountancy FREE through the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
or contact 

Closing date for registrations is 4th April 2016.

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

Veterans World Information


The new issue of Veterans World is now online, you can view the magazine as a standard PDF on GOV.UK or via ISSUU, a digital publishing platform that’s free to access.

Veterans World raises awareness of help, advice and support available to veterans and their families via organisations, government, the voluntary and charitable sectors, and is aimed at people who work in an advisory capacity with the public. Its distribution includes HM Prisons, NHS Primary Trusts, Local Authorities, Resettlement Officers, Mental Health care workers, Citizen Advice Bureaux and those who work with veterans organisations.
At Veterans UK we want to make sure that as many Serving Personnel, Veterans and their families are aware of the many kinds of support and advice available to them, when they need it, and that it is up to date.  With that in mind please pass this email on to anyone else in your organisation or who you work with that advises or who may advise veterans and their families.

If you previously received a paper copy, and we had your e-mail address on record, you will be sent a link to each new issue.  If  you would like to receive a link, please send an e-mail to telling us if you are a Veteran or an Advisor and any organisation you are linked with, and we will add you to our distribution list.

We are now accepting article submissions for issue 38, which will be published in April 2016. Contributions are most welcome. If you have an article or press release that is suitable for Veterans World, to raise awareness of an initiative, scheme or organisation that offers help, advice or support to veterans, contact the Editorial Team with details:
Please note these contacts are for Veterans World related enquiries only. Please direct any other questions to -
Veterans UK helpline
Veterans UK
Ministry of Defence
Thornton Cleveleys

Community message from Thames Valley Police


This is a community message from Thames Valley Police.
Neighbourhood updates for Vale of White Horse – March 2016
Please click on the relevant link below to view the latest neighbourhood update for your area.
The link will take you to your neighbourhood pages on the Thames Valley Police website, where you will be able to open and view the latest update for your area and obtain further information about your Neighbourhood Policing Teams.
Abingdon Town neighbourhood (Abbey, Barton, Caldecott, Ock Meadows, Peachcroft, Northcourt, Dunmore, Fitzharris)
Abingdon Outer neighbourhood (Drayton, Sutton Courtenay, South Hinksey, Kennington, Radley, Wootton, Marcham, Sunningwell, North Hinksey, Wytham, Cumnor, Appleton)
Faringdon neighbourhood (Faringdon, Buscot, Coleshill, Watchfield, Longcot, Shrivenham, Littleworth, Shellingford, Hanneys)
Wantage and Grove neighbourhood (Wantage East including Chilton, Blewbury, Upton, Hendreds, Lockinge, Ardington, Harwell, Steventon, Milton, Wantage West, Grove, Greendown, East Challow)

Moneyforce - For UK Service Personnel

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.....

Armed Forces' Pay Review Body - 2016


To read the document, click on the link below

Resettlement Magazine - Spring 2016 Edition

To view the latest edition online, please click on the link below:

Civvy Street - Resettlement Magazine March Edition

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.