Wednesday, 30 November 2016

MOD Veterans UK - Changes to Helpline Opening Hours

Changes to our helpline opening hours took effect on Monday 31 October 2016.

The opening hours for the Veterans UK helpline service will change to 8.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday.

Analysis has shown that there are relatively few calls received in the early morning and evening and so the service has been re-organised to make more advisers available during our busiest times.

Callers phoning outside of these hours will still be offered an option to speak to our partners in the charities Combat Stress or The Samaritans where urgent assistance is needed.

Freephone (UK only): 0808 1914 2 18
Telephone (overseas): +44 1253 866 043

Respite & Welfare Breaks at Victory Services Club

We are very proud of the Respite and Welfare initiative that we offer, which provides a stay in the Capital for nominated personnel of all ranks. These breaks are intended to offer welcome respite for personnel wounded or injured on Operational Service, or for individuals who have encountered a significant welfare issue.

Further information is available at this link
and the Respite and Welfare initiative brochure is available 
by following this link

Military Personnel: Thinking of Doing a Course?

“use it or lose it” 

Standard Learning Credit (SLC) Service personnel may make SLC claims each financial year for 80% of any course fees; up to a maximum of £175 per year for approved vocational and academic courses.  This is a “use it or lose it” allowance, as the funding does not roll-over into the next financial year. Before starting any course, individuals must obtain prior approval.  Further details can be found in JSP 898 Pt 4 Chapt 4 or by contacting your local Education Centre Staff for further information/guidance. 

Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) The ELC allowance provides funding support to Service personnel who want to enhance their educational or vocational achievements for long-term personal development.  It may only be used to gain National Qualification Level 3 or higher qualifications. (i.e. A Level & some NVQ Level 4 or 5, 1st Degree, Post Graduate studies and Doctorate)  Candidates must have registered while serving and strict criteria apply when making a claim. Depending on a number of factors, this can amount to up to as much as £2000 per year, over a 3 year course. Again, individuals must both have registered and made their claim prior to starting any course.  Also, provided you registered whilst still serving , you may also claim for up to 10 years after leaving the service. See JSP 898 Pt 4 Chapt 3 for details or visit  or contact your local Education Centre Staff for further information/guidance.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Service Families Benefit from CMI Membership

Service Families Benefit from CMI Membership

The Chartered Management Institute has pledged to support Service spouses and partners in gaining the leadership qualifications to help them further their career.

Ensuring that Service spouses and partners are not disadvantaged in finding and staying in employment due to service life is a key part of the Armed Force Covenant, which states that: 
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has sought to uphold this promise by signing the Armed Forces Covenant. In their pledges, the CMI support Service spouses and civil partners through their MOD Family Membership Scheme, which provides access to Leadership, Mentoring and Coaching qualifications, helping Service spouses to gain the key skills and professional recognition which can help Service family members to find employment. The Scheme is also available free to children of Service personnel (aged 16-18) and allows them to become a Campus CMI Affiliate  with access to all the benefits of online resources, including study support.

CMI’s pledge offers a discount on their qualifications and membership for family members of Service personnel who are CMI members, and a commitment to support Service spouses or Reservists who they employ with flexible working arrangements, where possible.

Chief of Defence People, Lieutenant General Richard Nugee is a CMI companion and participated in the signing of the Covenant at an event on 14 November. He said:
“The families of our Service personnel are an important part of the Covenant. We value and are grateful to them – the unsung heroes who support our Armed Forces. Knowing that the nation, and organisations like the Chartered Management Institute recognises this is extremely important and fundamental in making the Armed Forces Covenant work.”

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute said:
“We’re proud to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, and helping families of the heroic men and women who serve our country get the support they need to develop their careers. Thousands of members of the Armed Forces who’ve gained CMI-accredited qualifications have benefited from improved performance in their roles, as well as from building confidence and gaining qualifications to help them resettle into civilian life at the end of their military career. Now, their families also have the chance to develop their own skills and qualifications.”

Full details on what membership can offer military families can be found on the CMI website at

Monday, 28 November 2016

Service Pupil Premium 2017


This message is for the attention of Regular Forces Service parents based in England.  If your child attends a state school, Academy or Free school in England and has been registered with the school as a Service pupil, the school will be granted a Service Pupil Premium of £300. 

The Service Pupil Premium (SPP) is provided by the Department for Education to enable schools to offer additional, mainly pastoral, support during challenging times, which could include anything from a Service parent being away, being injured on active service to bereavement.  Funds are paid directly to schools; with Head Teachers and school Governors deciding how the funds are used.

Schools with Service children in Reception to Year 11 classes are eligible to receive SPP, but only if your child’s name appears on the school roll as being a Service child.  The annual census takes place on 19 January 2017 and children must be registered with the school before this date.  You are encouraged to contact the school and make them aware your child is from a Service family.  This information is not shared with other organisations and is protected on the National Pupil database.

For more information on eligibility, please see the links below:


For any other queries regarding Service children contact the Directorate Children and Young People’s educational advisory arm, Children's Education Advisory Service (CEAS) via email: or telephone: 01980 618244.  

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

SSAFA - Forcesline - Need to talk?

Ambrosden Surgery - New Opening Times

Ambrosden Surgery - new opening times

We have had a change to our opening days at Ambrosden Surgery.
We are now open on the following days:
Mondays 11.00 - 13.00
Wednesdays 10.00 - 12.00

Telephone number to use for all patients

Please ring this number and you should be able to get through to us.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Reduce your junk mail

You may already be effectively recycling your waste paper through your local councils recycling service, but what if you’d like to cut down the amount of paper you get through?
In the run-up to Christmas, lots of us get more advertising collateral through our letterboxes than we’d like.
Now is a great time to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive by registering with the Mailing Preference Service.
They can arrange for your details to be taken off the mailing lists of companies sending unsolicited mail.
To register for this service call 020 7291 3310, visit the Mailing Preference Service website or

Friday, 18 November 2016

Calculate your Armed Forces Pension

You may be eligible for an Armed Forces Pension if you’ve served in the armed forces.
Use this calculator to work out how much armed forces pension you may get.
Start now on the MOD service

Other ways to apply

You can also apply by post.
Download and fill in the pension forecast request (form 12) - the address is on the form.
The form covers the following pension schemes:
  • AFPS 75
  • AFPS 05
  • AFPS 15

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Maggies Cancer Centres- Talking Heads

Covenant funding helps AFF support F&C victims of Domestic Abuse

Covenant funding helps AFF support
F&C victims of Domestic Abuse
SupportAFF has received a grant through the Covenant Grants Fund to provide much-needed practical support to Foreign & Commonwealth (F&C) Army families dealing with Domestic Abuse (DA).
Supporting the F&C community
This new support will allow us to help spouses directly with their application form to remain in the UK during a very stressful time and is available to any F&C spouse of a serving person in any location in the UK or overseas.
Support is limited by available funding and is not a self-referral scheme - families must be referred to us by a relevant welfare contact or organisation.
Building support
We also hope to be able to work closer with support organisations to develop best practice working methods when dealing with an F&C case and to inform others about the unique problems that many F&C families can face.  
If you are currently supporting an F&C spouse who is a victim of DA and who needs immigration advice, then please contact AFF at   
To find out more about our F&C service, visit our website.

afc and aff logos

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Language Classes at Shrivenham Station

Language Centre at Shrivenham Station

The Language Centre offers English as a Foreign Language to the families of International officers attending courses at the Defence Academy, and also provides tuition in other languages to families across the entire Shrivenham Station Site.
Both group and private tutorials are available at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level, and the Centre is open both during the day and in the evening.Students can elect to sit Diploma examinations on completion of their courses from the Cambridge Examination Board. Staff are able to provide information on suitable examinations and also run examination preparation classes.
For registration information and enquiries about courses at the Language Centre, contact the Language Centre Manager, on 01793 784881 or Email:


English as a Second Language
We offer a range of classes at the Language Centre and staff will give you all the guidance and support you need to improve your English language skills. Both group and private lessons are available to suit all abilities, from beginner through to advanced.Students will learn a full range of English language skills, including speaking, listening, reading, writing, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Students are taught in small groups and get lots of help and support; there are always plenty of opportunities to participate in class.
Staff at the Language Centre aim to make English classes fun and interesting for students. A range of additional activities take place throughout the year, such as visits to the Houses of Parliament and to local places of interest. There is also an annual trip to Ascot Races where students can see HRH Queen Elizabeth II as well as the horse racing!
Staff and students also host a series of exciting workshops throughout the year where students can learn about other cultures, such as cupcake decorating class, sushi making, pasta making classes and many more exciting events.English classes provide a great opportunity to make lots of new friends during time spent in this country.
French, Spanish, German and Italian
The Language Centre offers a wide range of evening classes to suit all abilities - from complete beginner to advanced conversationalist. Most courses take place in the evening, although some may be available during the day. Classes are normally two hours per week over 12 weeks, and the majority are designed to develop all four language skills - speaking, understanding, reading and writing - with an emphasis on speaking and understanding in the class sessions.Evening courses are open to adults and are designed to give greater confidence in speaking a foreign language, whether for travel, work or just for fun.