Friday, 29 April 2016

Soldier On - Supporting Medically Discharged Service Leavers

Soldier On! is a national independent education charity which teaches members of the British armed forces who have been made redundant on medical grounds to plan and manage their careers. We work with both service leavers and veterans who have been wounded on operations, sustained injuries whilst serving or have been discharged through any other forms of ill health.

For more information click on the link below

"SEND" System for Special Educational Needs Support in Schools from 1 Sept

To download the Department of Education's SEND guide, 'Special educational needs and disability: A guide for parents and carers' please click HERE

Service families with queries about SEN can access support from the

Give Us Time: Matching donated holidays with service families

Give Us Time takes holidays donated by owners of holiday groups, hotels, holiday homes and timeshares, and matches them with military families in need of rest, rehabilitation and reconnection after tours of duty. The charity was founded in 2012 by Dr Liam Fox MP who, in his time as an Army medic and later as Secretary of State for Defence, became aware that homecomings were not always as easy as might be expected for service personnel or their families.

Often after months away from home, the family dynamic can change considerably and it can be stressful for both the service personnel and their families to readjust to a life together again, in a domestic situation that may be different to how it was before they left. Give Us Time helps service families reconnect to life after combat and provides them with the chance to spend time together and to reaffirm their family bond.
To Register and for further information click here

Friday, 22 April 2016

Cherwell District Council - Free Dog Registration Scheme

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You may have noticed the recent change in law with regards to microchipping but did you know it's still a legal requirement to ensure your dog wears an identity tag in public?

On 6 April 2016 new laws came into effect which made it a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped in an attempt to promote responsible ownership and reduce the number of stray dogs.

But despite the introduction of compulsory microchipping it is still a legal requirement for all dogs to wear an identity tag in public - or face a £25 statutory fine and expensive kenneling fees.
Currently Cherwell offers a free dog tag registration scheme to owners living within the district which has won two RSPCA Gold Footprint awards for animal welfare. By registering their pet online owners can include various contact details which are then cross-referenced against a unique reference number printed on the tag.

The new microchipping laws were introduced under The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2014 and came into effect on 6 April. Owners who fail to microchip their dog or keep their details up to date will be served notice and could face a £500 fine and criminal conviction.

Microchipping ranges from £10 - £30 and can be carried out by veterinary practices, although some animal welfare charities will chip dogs for free.
 Even with the introduction of compulsory microchipping, it will still remain a legal requirement for dogs to continuing wearing an identity tag.

To register for a free dog tag with Cherwell District Council visit
For details on the new microchipping law visit and search ‘dog microchipping’.

Cherwell District Council - Bulky Waste Collection Service

If you need to get rid of some furniture or white goods but can't get to the tip, CDC's bulky waste collection service could help.
For a set price of just £16 we will collect and remove up to three large items including furniture, white goods and mattresses.

Just contact the office, arrange a collection date and payment and leave the items accessible. And our team will do the rest!
For more information visit

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

New National Insurance Credits for Service spouses and civil partners to help protect your future State Pension

New National Insurance Credits for Service spouses and civil partners to help protect your future State Pension 

From 6 April 2016, spouses and civil partners of Service personnel will be able to apply for a new type of National Insurance (NI) credit to protect their State Pension.

The new Class 3 NI credits have been introduced  in recognition of the fact that accompanying on deployment overseas may have affected a Service spouse or civil partner’s ability to work and pay NI contributions. This could potentially result in a gap in their NI record and could affect the amount of State Pension they receive in retirement.

The new DWP credits have been taken forward under the Armed Forces Covenant, which states that members of the Armed Forces and their families should receive fair treatment from the nation which they serve. More information about the Armed Forces Covenant can be found at

It is estimated that this could benefit up to 20,000 individuals, ensuring that they do not miss out on their State Pension.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“We are making sure that military spouses and partners who spend time based overseas get the State Pension they deserve. This is the latest step under the Armed Forces Covenant to ensure that service personnel and their families are treated fairly.”
Am I eligible to apply for the new credits?
Service spouses and civil partners will be eligible to apply for the new Class 3 NI credits if they:
• Reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016, that means they were born on or after 6 April 1953 (if a woman) or 6 April 1951 (if a man); and
• Are or have been married to /in a civil partnership with a member of the Armed Forces; and
• Have accompanied their spouse or civil partner on a deployment outside the UK at any time since 6 April 1975; and
• At the time of the posting their spouse or civil partner must have paid, been treated as having paid or been credited with UK National Insurance
You can still apply if you are now widowed, divorced or have had your civil partnership dissolved, provided you were married or in a civil partnership at the time you accompanied your partner abroad.

Some Service spouses or civil partners who meet the above criteria will not have a gap in their NI records and so will not need to apply for the new credits. For example, you may not have a gap if you:

• were working in a job during the accompanied assignment where you paid UK NI contributions
• were self-employed and paying self-employed Class 2 NI contributions throughout the accompanied assignment
• received certain benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (previously called Incapacity Benefit or Invalidity Benefit) or Child Benefit for the whole of the accompanied assignment(s)outside the UK

To find out how much your State Pension is worth, and to check whether there are any gaps in your NI record for the periods you were overseas, you can use an online tool on called ‘Check your State Pension’(www). See related links.

How do I apply?
You can apply for the new Class 3 NI credits anytime from 6 April 2016. There is no time limit in applying for the credits, although if you apply after you reach State Pension age any increased State Pension might not be paid for periods before the date of your application.
For information about applying for the new Class 3 credit visit
The Class 1 NI Credit: A wider range of benefits for deployments since April 2010
The new Class 3 credits do not replace the existing Class 1 NI credit for those who have accompanied a partner on a posting since April 2010, and which contribute not only towards entitlement to new State Pension, but also towards Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Bereavement Benefits (to be replaced for new claimants by Bereavement Support Payments in April 2017).

More information
Further information about NI credits for Service spouses and civil partners is available online at
For more information about the New State Pension, visit