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

MOD - Duke Of York Royal Military School - Sixth Form Open Days December 2016 & January 2017

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.

HIVE - Linking in with Agencies to support the Military Community

Common questions about the HIVE BLOG and accessing the BLOG

Q.  What is the Blog?
A.           The Blog is an Internet based Information Platform on which information pertaining to service personnel and their families is publicised on a daily basis (Monday – Friday). 

The Blog provides information, Education, Accommodation, Transition to civilian life, Local and Tourist Information, Employment, Housing, What’s on in your local community and much more.

Q.I. Sometimes forget to check the HIVE Blog for updates, so probably miss out on what is going on and find out about events too late.
A.           Simply enter your email address in the ‘Follow by Email’ box, (on right hand panel) click ‘submit’, and follow the activation procedure to receive a notification email once a day on the day the blog has been updated.
By using this facility, you will never miss any posts that may be of interest and you’ll be informed when the latest information is available to view.
Q.There is a lot of information on the HIVE Blog, so I can’t find what I want very easily as it takes ages to scroll through the whole Blog.
A.        There are a number of ways to address this.  You can use the tabs and filters to view specific topics of information, or you can use the Labels facility on the right hand side.  Just click on the label and it will display all the information held under that label for example click on Accommodation (59)  and the Blog will display the 59 items under that label.  There is also the list of posts in the ‘Blog Archive’ on the bottom right hand side of the webpage.  
Alternatively, you can use the Blog Search box.  For example, if you wanted information on Service Accommodation, just type, Accommodation into the box and the relevant post will be displayed.

Q. I would like to put information on the Blog such as an event I am organising. I have a poster and would like to upload it for the local community to see.   
A.        Simply contact the HIVE by phone or email (details are on the right hand panel of the Blog home page) and they will upload your poster or information for you - free of charge. 

If you have any ...........
·                     contributions to the Blog 
·                     any event or activity you would like to see featured
·                     questions or queries regarding anything featured or 
·                     questions about what is on in the local area
·                     Local business advertising(can be advertised as long as there is a discount for military personnel and their families)

Please contact the HIVE by email at or call Abingdon HIVE  on 01235 543588 or Bicester HIVE on 01869 256158.

HIVE  Blogs are an MOD sponsored online presence, registered with and approved by MOD
(DMC).  In accordance with the MOD Online Engagement Guidelines.
HIVE  Blog content must be limited to unclassified information only which is relevant and useful to the local military community.

Joint Service Housing Advice Office - Housing Briefs 2017

Lifeworks Families - 2017

After a fantastic year and some exciting developments with our LifeWorks families programme over 2016, we are filling up our 2017 programme with courses and drop in clinics both in the UK and the rest of the world. The courses are FREE and designed specifically for military wives and partners they seek to offer employment support and help by enhancing and developing your employability skills. This is where we are at the moment with courses:
JAN: Dishforth 24-26th
FEB RAF Northolt 7-9th, Brunei 17-24th
MAR: Kinloss 7-9th Gutersloh 21-23
APR: Edinburgh 11-13th, Shrivenham 25-27th
MAY: Brompton 23-25
JUN: SHAPE (Belgium) 13-15th Poole 20-22nd
JUL: Paderborn 11-13th
We are looking at lots of other locations feel free to add your thoughts below as to where you’d like a course and if we get enough interest in an area, we’ll add it to the list of places we will look at.
Keep an eye on our website as we add more courses to our Programme.
REMEMBER if you can’t make a course or we aren’t in your area you can still get our help via our remote support programme and drop in clinics.
Phone: Freephone 0800 319 6844

Does your student child/children have an interest in engineering ?

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

New Arrivals And Relocation

Have you just arrived in Abingdon, Wantage, Grove, Didcot Southmoor or Bicester?

 Please call in to the HIVE to find out more about your new location, where to register for doctors/dentists, finding a nursery place, employment, children's activities, events in local area etc.

If you are not connected to the internet yet, there is a computer in the Community Centre with free wifi internet services. 

Abingdon HIVE is located in the Community Centre on Cholswell Road in Shippon and is open Tues,Wed & Thur 8am - 4:05pm. 
Tel: 01235 543588

Bicester HIVE is located within the Army Education Centre in Ambrosden (opposite the Costcutter shop) and is open Mon 8am - 4:05pm & Fri 8am - 2pm. 
(Outreach service from Abingdon HIVE)
Tel: 01869 256158

All email enquiries to

If you about to relocate to Abingdon or Bicester, please contact the HIVE to request a pre-arrival information pack and Garrison guide. 

The HIVE also has information on all Army,RAF and Navy locations within the UK and overseas should you require information regarding a future posting.

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.  

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Bicester Technology Studio - Open Evening Thursday 8th December 2016



Bicester Technology Studio

Open Evening Thursday 8th December 2016

Bicester Technology Studio (BTS) is a new school offering a high quality education, through active learning opportunities in partnership with local employers. The school opened in September 2016 to Year 10 and Year 12 students, specialising in business and engineering. Find out more about BTS on our website.
Our open events are a great opportunity to find out more about studying at BTS. You’ll have a tour of our brand new building and will meet students, staff and industry partners. We will also be able to talk you through the application process. Following the event, we will add your email address to our mailing list to get the latest updates from the school (you can unsubscribe at any time).
5.30pm - arrival, registration and tours around the school with current students
6.00pm - welcome talk from Principal Richard Brown and Vice Principal Dean Woodham
6.30pm - further tours around the school with current students
7.00pm - end

To register your interest please follow this link

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

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

CIVVY Street Magazine - November Edition available NOW!

Pop into the HIVE for a copy
Follow this link to read

Pathfinder November 2016

Pop into the HIVE for a copy


CLICK HERE to read........

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Scottish Veteans Residences

SVR is in a position to offer temp supported accommodation for 
ex-service personnel at the following locations:

Glasgow – Bellrock Close – 8 Vacancies
Edinburgh – Whitefoord House – 5 Vacancies
Dundee – Rosendael – 2 Vacancies

For more details please click on this link

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

Monday, 14 November 2016

Food Hygiene Courses

Food hygiene courses

Undertaking an accredited food hygiene course is a recommended way of ensuring that food handlers can demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of food hygiene.
We are a registered training centre with Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)  and are accredited to offer their Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering and their Level 2 Award in Healthier Food and Special Diets.
We also offer a comprehensive range of CIEH Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 online training courses covering Food Safety, Health and Safety, First Aid, Licensing and Allergens. Please contact us for further information

Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering course dates

Where South Northamptonshire Council Offices, The Forum, Moat Lane, Towcester NN12 6AD
 WhenTuesday 7 February 2017
The above session will be held over a full day from 9:00am until 5:30pm (approx)
Where Cherwell District Council Offices, Bodicote House, White Post Road, Bodicote, Banbury, OX15 4AA
  • Tuesday 6 December, 2016
  • Tuesday 7 March 2017
The above sessions will be held over a full day from 9:00am until 5:30pm (approx.) 

 Level 2 Award in Healthier Food and Special Diets course date

Where South Northamptonshire Council Offices, The Forum, Moat Lane, Towcester NN12 6AD
  • Tuesday 22 November 2016
This session will be held over a full day from 9:00am until 5:30pm (approx.) 

Please note - Once you have completed the form, please forward a cheque for £71 (or £40 for the unemployed, proof of unemployed status required). Please make cheques payable to Cherwell District Council with your details on the back. We regret we are no longer able to accept cash. Debit/credit cards accepted and can be paid by telephone using Please note there is a charge of 1.8% for processing credit cards.
More information on the courses
Level 2 Award in Healthier Food and Special Diets
This qualification has been designed to provide a good, basic understanding of nutrition and healthy eating.
Who would benefit from this qualification?
All employees in catering environments involved in the selection of menus, recipes and ingredients. It is also relevant for those in the health care and Education sectors. The course content includes:
  • The relationship between nutrition, diet and health
  • The nutritional requirements for different population groups
  • Current policy, legislation and voluntary guidelines
  • The effects of food processing on nutrient content
  • Nutrition labelling
Learning outcomes
  •  Good basic understanding of nutrition, diet and health
  •  Understanding of the requirements of a balanced diet and its positive effect on health
  •  Identify differing needs, allergies and food intolerances
  •  Knowledge of the requirements of the current legislation
  •  Understand the impact of food processing and manufacturing of the nutritional content of foods
  •  Appreciate the importance of accurate nutritional information being available
Please contact the Public Protection team on 01295 227990 or email  for more information.

Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering
This qualification will benefit anyone working in a situation where food is prepared, cooked and served.
The course comprises of six hours of teaching completed over two afternoons. There is a short multiple choice exam at the end of the second session.
Successful completion of the training programme and assessment will enable candidates to understand:
  • The terminology used in food safety
  • The laws that apply to food businesses and food  handlers
  • The concepts of food hazards and how the risk of food poisoning can be contained
  • How to take product and equipment temperatures
  • How a reduction in storage temperature will minimise bacterial multiplication
  • The importance of high temperatures in the supply of safe food
  • That food handlers can pose a risk to food safety
  • The importance of utilising appropriate storage conditions for different types of food
  • The importance of cleaning in food premises
  • The need for high standards for structure and equipment to promote good hygiene in food premises
On completion of the training delegates will complete a multiple-choice test, externally marked by the awarding body. Alternative arrangements for testing can be discussed with the course tutor should an individual delegate have problems with this type of assessment. Exam papers may be available in other languages - please contact us prior to the course to discuss any specific learning requirements.
Candidates must bring provide proof of identity to the course. This ID must include a photograph (such as a passport, driving licence, work ID card).
Please contact the Public Protection Team on 01295 227990 or email if you need further information or wish to discuss any aspect of the course.