Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Tougher Penalties for Using a Mobile Phone at the Wheel from 1 March 2017

It’s illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving, or riding a motorcycle.

The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

It’s also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider.

You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted. This includes if you’re using devices like your sat nav or car radio.

When you can use a phone in your vehicle:

If you’re the driver, you can only use your phone in a vehicle if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop, or if you are safely parked

Group Savings on Arriva 700 Bus from Chatham to Bluewater

* Offer valid on bus only until 13 March 2017, to adults on journeys between Chatham and Bluewater, after midday Monday to Friday and all day weekends. For further information CLICK HERE

To view the 700 Bus Route CLICK HERE

Monday, 27 February 2017

Reserves Mental Health Programme

The Reserves Mental Health Programme, run in partnership with the NHS, is open to all current or former members of the UK Volunteer and Regular Reserves who have been demobilised since 1 January 2003, following operational deployment overseas as a reservist and who believe that their deployment may have affected their mental health.     

For more information, please CLICK HERE   

RBLI - Free Lifeworks Courses for Veterans

NPower Hotel Offer

NPower are offering members a one night hotel stay for two people when they switch via the offer on the Defence Discount Service website www.defencediscountservice.co.uk

Spinnaker Tower Abseil for the Soldiers Charity

Soaring 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent, the Emirates Spinnaker Tower is taller than the London Eye, Blackpool Tower and Big Ben and has already established itself as a national icon for Britain. Minimum sponsorship £225, minimum age 18.

Date: Saturday 15th July 2017 or Saturday 2nd September 2017.

The Frontline Walk - Raise Money for the ABF - 4th October to 15th October 2017

Sign up to the Frontline Walk to follow in the footsteps of those who fought on the Western Front and walk along the major battle sites which played such a big part in shaping Britain and Europe as we know it today.

The Frontline Walk challenges you to walk 100km in three days across the Western Front of France and Belgium. Not a challenge for the faint-hearted it will push you physically and emotionally as you follow in the footsteps of those who fought 100 years ago. Starting at Lochnagar Crater and finishing at the Menin Gate with the Ceremony of the Last Post, this tough but poignant event will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV)

The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) provides a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation.

The service allows anyone to apply for an injunction within 24 hours of first contact (in most circumstances). We work in close partnership with the police, local firms of solicitors and other support agencies (Refuge, Women’s Aid etc) to help survivors obtain speedy protection.

For further information CLICK HERE

Combat Stress Magazine Online - Spring 2017

To read or download the online edition

Apply Online for a Passport

You can apply for, renew, replace or update your passport and pay for it online.

You’ll need a debit or credit card to use this service.

It should take 6 weeks to get your first adult passport once your form has been received. For all other application types, it should take 3 weeks.

It can take longer if more information is needed or your application hasn’t been filled out correctly.

You should use a different service if you need your passport urgently.

Don’t book travel until you have a valid passport - doing so is at your own risk.

To access the online service CLICK HERE

Raise Money for Blind Veterans UK - 100k in 24 Hours

For further info on this and other challenges CLICK HERE

New Vehicle Tax Rates From 1st April 2017

The way vehicle tax is calculated will change for cars and some motor homes that are first registered with DVLA from 1 April 2017.

CLICK HERE to read....


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Return to Study - Adult Evening Classes at Brompton Academy

Why not go along to one of Brompton Academy's Information Evenings to meet the tutors, speak to the students and find out more.

Monday 24th April, Monday 12th June or Monday 17th July, 6pm to 8pm.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is designed for adults and focuses on coursework rather than exams.  Taught in the evening at Brompton Academy, you can study a range of subjects including Psychology, Sociology, Creative Writing, English Literature, Art and Politics with Law.

Brompton Academy also offers English and Maths GSCE.

To book your place or for more information, please email community@kent.ac.uk or telephone Jane Gaffney on 01227 827118 or Mary Munson on 01634 583548..

Become a Special Constable for Kent Police

Special Constables are volunteer police officers, with full police powers, uniforms and equipment.

As a Special you'll support regular officers, undertake patrols, support calls for assistance from the public and investigate reports of crime.

Volunteering as a Special is a great way to give back to your local community, build new relationships and develop new skills.

Kent Police Specials work in a range of policing areas, so whatever your interests, you will be given a volunteer role that works well for you.

For further information and a list of Information Events taking place in the local area, please CLICK HERE

Become a Kent Police Support Volunteer

Kent Police are looking for local people to become Police Support Volunteers. Anyone aged 16 upwards can apply.

PSVs are citizen volunteers who give their time freely to perform tasks which complement the duties performed by police officers and staff. This helps free up officers and staff to perform key operational duties. Volunteer roles range from providing front counter services and administration to following up crime reports and incidents with members of the public. These volunteer roles provide significant benefits to the Police Service and to local communities.

Volunteering for the police provides opportunities for people to use their skills, experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to help the force reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. By working alongside a range of police professionals, you can also help reduce the fear of crime.

There are many benefits to volunteering;

- Make a positive contribution to help reduce crime, disorder and fear of crime in your community.

- Gain valuable skills, experience and knowledge in one of the UK's most innovative police forces.

- Engage and interact with people from different backgrounds.

- Work as part of a team in a professional working environment.

- Meet new people and make new friends.

No previous experience or formal qualifications needed - just enthusiasm.

Find out more:
Call 01622 653212

Service to Civvy - Are you Pension Ready?

MOD’s Veterans UK organisation, part of Defence Business Services (DBS), has launched a campaign to encourage Service Personnel, Veterans and their families to get ‘Pension Ready’.

The campaign aims to promote the Armed Forces Pension Schemes, which are administered by Veterans UK, and motivate the Armed Forces Community to start thinking about their Pension throughout their Service career and not just as they are reaching the end of it.

To read the complete News Release, please CLICK HERE

Monday, 20 February 2017

Scottish Veterans' Residences

Scottish Veterans Residences (SVR) is a Registered Scottish Charity (SC015260) established in 1910 in reaction to the sight of veterans sleeping rough on the streets of Edinburgh. SVR’s operational arm is Scottish Veterans Housing Association (SVHA) which provides high quality, supported accommodation for veterans who are homeless or in need. The charity can house ex-service men and women of all ages in residences in Edinburgh and Dundee and now in the new Bellrock Close development in Glasgow.

As well as accommodation, a housing support service is available, and at Bellrock Close a transitional support programme.

Road Safety Around School

Children in Medway are urging drivers to slow down near schools as part of a road safety campaign.

Medway Council works with schools throughout the year to remind motorists of their responsibility of driving carefully and to educate children on how to stay safe on and near the roads.

Recently pupils at local primary schools designed a poster aimed to encourage drivers to slow down near the school and to park safely.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

CarillionAmey Housing Portal Launches on Monday 6th March 2017

CarillionAmey (CA) will be launching their new Intranet based SFA application system for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in the UK at 08:30 on Monday 6th March 2017 as part of their new online ‘housing portal’.

What happens next?

· CA need to transfer existing SFA applications and occupancy records over to the new housing portal. While they transfer these, the e1132 system will be unavailable.

· The applications system will be unavailable from 17:00 on Wednesday 1 March 2017 - 08:30 on Monday 6th March 2017. During this time, the CA Occupancy Services phone line will also be closed.

· If you have an urgent query relating to an existing application for SFA, or your current SFA property, please contact the Occupancy Services team before lines close on 1st March at 15:00. Contact the Occupancy Services team on 0800 707 6000.

· The CarillionAmey 24-hour repairs and maintenance Helpdesk will remain open as usual throughout.

· The DIO SD Accommodation Loss of Entitlement (LOE) team phone line will also be suspended between 16:00 on Wednesday 1st March to 09:00 on Monday 6th March 2017.

Registering for the new portal

· Week commencing 20 February, all Service personnel with SFA applications already in progress will receive an email from CarillionAmey containing clear instructions about how to register for the new housing portal.

· To register, those with existing SFA applications will simply be asked to change their password. Their username will remain the same.

· In the near future, customers will also be able to use the new portal to log repair and maintenance jobs online. CA will release further information about how this will work in due course.

For further information about the housing portal, please email CA: occupancyservices@carillionamey.co.uk

The Armed Forces Covenant - Snapshot on Education

To learn more about accessing these services,

To read or download the whole document, which includes information on education in Scotland and Wales, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

SSAFA: Royal Parks Half Marathon, Sunday 8th October 2017 - Sign Up NOW

Take in all four Royal London parks during Autumn as you run for our Armed Forces family. This the only event of its kind in central London and the flat course is perfect for newcomers and for those looking for personal bests.

To take part SSAFA asks that you pay a registration fee of £35 and pledge to raise a minimum of £400.

Why not run as a team? Get your friends, family or colleagues to take on the race together.

For further information or to sign up CLICK HERE

RBLI: New Apartments for Wounded Veterans in Maidstone

RBLI is seeking veterans who suffer from a disability, illness or injury for their brand new specialised apartments which are due to be completed in spring 2017.

The apartments, situated on Hermitage Lane near Maidstone, just outside the Royal British Legion Village, will be individually adapted for ex-service personnel who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or have specific requirements due to health issues. As the construction nears completion, RBLI is looking to find Veterans who can make the apartments their home.

For further information CLICK HERE

Royal Navy to Open New Reserve Unit in Rochester

The Royal Navy has announced plans to build a brand new Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) training unit in the centre of the Medway town Rochester.

The new purpose-built building will be located at the Army Reserve Centre in Fort Clarence Barracks and will house Royal Navy reservists from the Medway Tender, a sub-unit of London-based HMS President, and who are currently lodging with the Royal Engineers in Brompton.

The new building will provide state-of-the art classrooms and training facilities for the Navy reservists and they will share accommodation and sporting facilities with their Army Reserve counterparts.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Child Benefit Information

You are entitled to Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training).

Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a child.

You must report any change of circumstances to the Child Benefit Office.

You may have to pay a tax charge if your or your partner’s individual income is over £50,000.

You can choose not to get Child Benefit payments, but you should still fill in the claim form because:
it will help you get National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension
it will ensure your child is registered to get a National Insurance number when they’re 16 years old
CLICK HERE for the full details and updates....

Armed Forces - Foreign & Commonwealth families CLICK HERE to check details of how to claim. Details can be found in the What benefits can I claim? section.

Manage Your Tax Credits

Use this service to tell the Tax Credit Office about changes to your circumstances, for example if you’ve moved house. You can also find out how much and when you’ll be paid.

New Discounts from the Defence Discount Service

Log into your account at https://www.defencediscountservice.co.uk/ to access these offers.

SLI365 Service Life Insurance

You can protect the future of your family from today until 2042 at a fixed price FOR THE WHOLE TERM. Perfect for safeguarding your mortgage and with a Government guarantee of payment for operational casualties.

Service Life Insurance 365 was designed and introduced by MOD in 2007 to provide a robust, trustworthy solution for enduring Military Life Cover – when purely commercial operators declined to provide cover for Service Personnel facing the threat from war, weapons of mass destruction or terrorism.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Combat Stress Magazine - Spring 17

To read or download the online edition

Combat Stress - Confidential Helpline for Veterans, Serving Personnel and their Families

Visit the Combat Stress website at http://www.combatstress.org.uk/
or e-mail the helpline at helpline@combatstress.org.uk

Forces Help to Buy Scheme Extended to 2018

With the news that the Forces Help to Buy scheme has been extended to 2018, comes the real promise of increased home ownership for members of our Armed Forces. This valuable scheme coupled with the Armed Forces Covenant has the potential to change lives for many families.

The Government backed Forces Help To Buy Scheme (FHTB) recognises the service given by the Armed Forces and is a practical demonstration of gratitude.

Civvy Street Magazine has published several useful articles to help you decide whether home ownership is right for you. For further information CLICK HERE

Friday, 10 February 2017

Applying for and allocation of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) e-1132 form

If you are entitled, you will need to complete and submit an application for SFA. For Service personnel with access to an MOD computer system that has access to the Defence Intranet, you are expected to complete your application online using the e-1132 form system.

The e-1132 form system allows you to:
- track the progress of your application
- view available properties that match your entitlement
- register your top 3 preferences
- book your 'Move In' (once an offer for a property has been made and accepted)
- where appropriate, book your 'Move Out' appointment
- electronically sign your Licence to Occupy
- complete and submit your application for SFA at the following link: e1132 form

If you experience any issues when completing or submittting your e-1132, please call the Occupancy Services Team on 0800 707 6000 Option 3.

What happens if there isn't any available SFA where you are moving to?

If this happens,the CarillionAmey Occupancy Services team issues you with a Non availability certificate (NAC) and you will be advised to contact the Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA) Helpdesk via the following contact details:

Telephone: 01480 52451 ext 8681

Military Network: 95371 8681

Email: dioopsaccn-hqsubaccom@mod.uk

Nationality Checking Services

List of local authorities in England that offer a checking service for UK nationality applications.

- provided by Local Authorities.
- will accept and forward your application to the Nationality Directorate.
- will ensure that your form is correctly completed, and will copy your documents and return them to you.
- will not give you nationality advice.

For more information and to find out where your nearest one is click here.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Raise Money for the RBL with an Overseas Charity Challenge

Looking for a memorable and rewarding experience? Why not take on an exciting challenge whilst raising money for The Royal British Legion?

Charity Challenge organise over 100 expeditions each year, including treks, bike rides, mountain climbs, rafting, sky diving, dog sledding, skiing and community challenges in over 30 countries worldwide.

Whether you want to lose weight, get fit, experience new cultures or achieve an impressive goal, check out the Charity Challenge website for more details. Sign up to take on one of their incredible challenges and raise vital funds for our Service people, veterans, and their families.

For further information CLICK HERE