News

Follow our latest news stories and see our meeting minutes!

Meeting Minutes

View the latest meeting minutes from IGA North of England

Welfare Newsletter

Summer 2020

Commanding Officers Update

IMG_8583_HQ.jpg

Lt Col Rob Money - Commanding Officer

Dear families and friends of the Irish Guards,

Much has changed in the past few weeks: the Irish Guards have concluded an 11-week period of working from home during the COVID-19 national lockdown,the Battalion has been called into action as part of the national counter-COVID operation, and those who remained in Iraq, Kuwait and Cyprus on Op SHADER 10 have now handed over to the Coldstream Guards and have returned safelyto the UK.

First, my sincere thanks go to those who remained deployed through the full duration of the Irish Guards deployment on Op SHADER. While the challenges of this tour were numerous, varied and impossible for any of us to anticipate fully, the members of the Irish Guards Battle group who deployed, and in particular those who remained through to the end, have proved themselves as fantastic ambassadors both of the Regiment and the wider British Armed Forces in the region. It will have been tough for you to have endured the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic without their physical presence and I thank you for your patience. I hope you are enjoying some well-earned leave now that you are reunited.

For those who have persevered through an unsettling period of working from home and have then been called upon to assist with the COVID mobile testing units as part of Op RESCRIPT, I am also enormously grateful. Like past generations of those who have served with the Irish Guards, they have taken up the nation’s call with calm fortitude. I am aware that the lived reality of those participating in the Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) is hard graft; six days on at a time, travelling to various sites across the South East of England and testing up to 400 members of the public with suspected COVID symptoms is not easy.However, MTUs also present an opportunity for some much-needed camaraderie and humour and our people will no doubt enjoy seeing their friends when so much of the country remains locked down.

You will of course be fully aware of the frustrating impact that this commitment has caused on the block periods of leave over the summer that we have all planned for since last year. However, these are exceptional and unprecedented times which have caused upheaval across society and forced many people, not only those in the Armed Forces, to make significant sacrifices. While we, as the Irish Guards, remained aligned to Op SHADER until recent weeks, we could not simultaneously use our people for COVID mobile testing units; it is this that caused the extended period of time working from home. However, we have now confirmed a 4-week period of leave during August for those who served in South Sudan and a 4-week period of leave in September for those who returned from Iraq in March. While I appreciate that this won’t entirely make up for the frustration of altered plans, it will nonetheless provide a welcome respite to our people in the Irish Guards who have served with distinction around the world this year.

On a final note, we had originally hoped to host a great event in September to celebrate, along with family and friends, all those personnel deployed on recent operational tours as they receive their medals from the Colonel of the Regiment, His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge. Current circumstances unfortunately forced that to be postponed but I wish to reassure you that planning is underway to reschedule, provisionally for the 6th November. Thank you again for all your unwavering support during these turbulent times and I wish you a happy and prosperous July!

R P Money

Lieutenant Colonel

Commanding Officer

1st Battalion Irish Guards

The Welfare Team

IMG-20191022-WA0001.jpg

Capt Frankie Whelan-Mellor

Albert.jpg

Rev Maj Albert Jackson

Tommy.jpg

CSgt Tommy Laven

thumbnail_20191022_111330.jpg

LSgt Colin O'Connell

20200630_092149.jpg

LSgt Tom Quinlan

Sue.jpg

Mrs Sue Bazan

thumbnail_20191021_200141.jpg

Paddy McBear


AFF Update

72083498_10218299157781798_3108110249765109760_o.jpg (Moderate)

Army Families Federation (AFF) Facebook - CLICK HERE

Co-ordinators contact details. If you have any questions or issues concerning Army family life please do get in touch using the details above.

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 19.07.38.png (Moderate)

Following the Government’s commitment to childcare support for the Armed Forces, we ran a survey asking families to share their views about the unique child care issues they face as an Army family. We heard from spouses and partners, Service personnel and dual serving families.

Childcare can be a challenge for civilian families, but Army families face extra challenges due to the mobile nature of Army life.

Unique challenges

In total 84% of families told us that the most significant challenge they faced was the fact that the soldier was unable to regularly help with childcare.

One family told us, “Childcare is not at the forefront of the military mindset. I feel that the military believe that as the spouse, we should be the ones looking after the child, sacrificing our careers. There is no provision from the military for the working spouse.”

Lack of family support

A large proportion of families (82%) also faced childcare challenges because of a lack of family support locally. A large number (61%) who are not using unpaid childcare would like to but do not live close enough to those who can help.

Effect on spousal employment

The survey found that provision of childcare had a negative impact on the ability of spouses and partners to secure and maintain employment.

A family remarked: “Due to moving and lack of childcare support, I have had to remain junior in my profession while people I have trained are now more senior than me.”

Cost is a barrier

The survey found that cost is a significant barrier to childcare with 38% of families saying this was their top reason for not using paid childcare.

One parent said they “left the military due to childcare costs. We were both serving.”

What’s next?

We found that help with the cost would help Army families to access childcare.We also recommended that serving personnel have as much notice as possible of their posting location so that families have time to plan their childcare arrangements.

AFF is working with the chain of command and the MOD and our next job is to make sure those at the very highest levels of policy-making listen to your views and engage with families.

Take a look at our brief to Army command.

See the issue of Army&You magazine for more information.

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 19.33.16.png (Moderate)

A new report, Listening to Learn, the Voices of Service Children, outlines the findings of a year-long collaborative project, the Year of the Service Child Voice,to which AFF contributed.

The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance’s one-year project consisted of activities, briefings and research, highlighting Service children’s voices in education.

AFF ran a Listening to Our Service Children survey last year where we asked families to share their views on the impact of Service life on Army children and the results of the survey contributed to the project.

The Listening to Learn report outlines four principles of listening – be deliberate, open, child-centred and willing to change – and will be important reading for professionals and practitioners working with Service children.

The SCiP Alliance is led by the University of Winchester and supported by the MOD and is focused on improving the educational progression of children from UK Armed Forces and veterans’ families.

The report is available to read here.

AFF now has a new Education & Childcare Specialist, Anna Hutchinson, who is looking forward to helping families with enquiries. To contact her, email ec@aff.org.uk

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 19.19.01.png (Moderate)

If you’re a military family in need of temporary accommodation due to domestic abuse, or a parent seeking accommodation so that you can have contact with your children, the Services Cotswold Centre is still open.

However, due to COVID-19, some of the facilities are reduced to comply with Government guidelines. For more information, contact your welfare team or see our article from earlier in the year.

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 19.22.43.png (Moderate)

The Army has started planning the gradual return to routine assignments for individuals, while seeking to minimise disruption for Service personnel and their families.

There will be a phased return to routine assignments, with most Service personnel likely to move approximately three months later than originally planned.

Moves will take place with appropriate measures in place from 1 July, but only if permitted by Government guidance.

The moves will be completed in phases so that contracted services such as Amey, Mears and Agility are available for everyone.

All 1IG families that requested to complete SFA moves to Aldershot have been allocated their March Ins for Aug 20. Those personnel on regular assignment moves out of the unit will be contacted individually.

For more information, including FAQs, see ‘Return to routine assignments’ on this page. A further update is expected in the next few weeks.

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 19.29.35.png (Moderate)

All regular serving personnel who have completed 12 months’ service are now eligible to apply for the Forces Help to Buy scheme, which can help military families to buy their own home.

The scheme allows regular serving personnel to borrow an interest-free deposit of up to half their annual salary. The loan, which has to be repaid over 10 years,is capped at £25,000.

The eligibility criteria have now been changed so that soldiers can apply provided they have completed 12 months’ service from their date of enlistment and Phase 1 training.

For more information see the Military Allowances page.

A new report, Listening to Learn, the Voices of Service Children, outlines the findings of a year-long collaborative project, the Year of the Service Child Voice,to which AFF contributed.

The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance’s one-year project consisted of activities, briefings and research, highlighting Service children’s voices in education.

AFF ran a Listening to Our Service Children survey last year where we asked families to share their views on the impact of Service life on Army children and the results of the survey contributed to the project.

The Listening to Learn report outlines four principles of listening – be deliberate, open, child-centred and willing to change – and will be important reading for professionals and practitioners working with Service children.

The SCiP Alliance is led by the University of Winchester and supported by the MOD and is focused on improving the educational progression of children from UK Armed Forces and veterans’ families.

The report is available to read here.

AFF now has a new Education & Childcare Specialist, Anna Hutchinson, who is looking forward to helping families with enquiries. To contact her, email ec@aff.org.uk

Relocation information poster.jpg (Moderate)

HIVE Information Service www.army.mod.uk/hives

Aldershot Garrison HIVE

The Connaught Community Centre

Alanbrooke Road, North Camp,

Aldershot GU11 2NX

Tel Civ: 01252 347650

Mil: 94222 2650

Mob: 07792 827958

Email: aldershothive@armymail.mod.uk

Website: www.army.mod.uk/hives

Blog: www.aldershothive.blogspot.co.uk

The Aldershot Garrison HIVE Information Service is available to all members of the Service community – serving personnel both married and single, together with their families and dependants as well as civilians employed by the Services.

The HIVE offers an extensive range of information on relocation, travel, local and tourist information, unit facilities, schools and education for children,childcare and early years information, further education for adults, housing,healthcare facilities, employment opportunities, transition to civilian life and much much more.

Services available at the HIVE include a fax machine, free internet facilities,laminating and photocopying.

During operational deployment, the HIVE can provide families with an Operational Deployment Pack (ODP) which contains useful leaflets and literature to support families while loved ones are deployed overseas. This includes information on postal services, keeping in touch and useful contact numbers. Families can pick up blueys, weigh parcels and use the e-fax bluey facility.

The HIVE also has information on discounts available for many popular family attractions and theme parks in the area, please contact the HIVE for more details.

For all the latest information on events and activities that are taking place in Hampshire, Surrey and the surrounding areas visit the Aldershot Garrison HIVE Blog at www.aldershothive.blogspot.co.uk

HIVE Information Service (www.army.mod.uk/hives)

The HIVE Information Service can provide you with information on a whole range of children’s and young people’s services throughout the Rushmoor and Hart areas. This includes information on uniformed groups such as Scouts and Brownies, St John’s Ambulance Badgers, sports clubs and facilities, martial arts, drama, art, and dance clubs.You can also request information sheets on local leisure amenities in the area.

Army Welfare Service Update

Army+Welfare+Service.jpg (Moderate)

Am I eligible?

Welfare provision applies to all Army serving personnel including Reserves and Regular Reservists, their families and Army veterans where practicable and manageable.

What’s it for?

Your welfare is important to us. That’s why the Army provides a widely recognised and accessible personal and community support structure that secures and improves the well being of serving personnel and the Service community.

In so doing, the military capability and motivation of all Service men and women are optimised.

What do I get?

Accessible, confidential and professional welfare support provided through a layered approach:

  • Primary support – Provision of welfare support from within unit resources;given by Commanding Officers, their chain of command, unit admin and welfare staff, including pastoral and medical personnel.
  • Secondary support – Specialist welfare support is provided through the Army Welfare Service; the Army’s professional welfare provider.  Trained staff are able to deal with more complex personal and/or family issues that cannot be dealt with at unit level or require extensive ongoing support.

How do I claim?

Speak to your Welfare Officer.

Mental Health

Unknown.png


Am I eligible?

Support is available for all Service personnel and veterans and their families

What’s it for?

Looking after your mental health is important – and that’s especially true for Service people, veterans and families. That’s why, if you’re currently serving in or have served in the UK Armed Forces, you have free access to mental health services, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in addition to those provided by Defence Medical Services and the National Health Service.

What do I get?

Combat Stress

Combat Stress is a registered charity that’s supported veterans for a century.Services are available to veterans and their families for any mental health issue,whether it’s trouble sleeping, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, or simply the feeling that something isn’t quite right.

  • Veterans and their families can call 0800 138 1619.
  • Serving personnel and their families can call 0800 323 4444.

Both helplines are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Alternatively text 07537 404719 (standard charges may apply for texts, please check with your service provider) or email helpline@combatstress.org.uk.

Big White Wall

Get support from like-minded people and express what you’re really feeling at Big White Wall (BWW): an online community for people who are experiencing mental health problems. Members can choose to vent and express how they feel in a variety of ways, using various tools and techniques.

Members can express themselves using words through BWW ‘Talk about’ tool or with images by making ‘Bricks’. They can share issues with members of the community or trained professionals called ‘Wall Guides’ who are online at all times. Members can also have tests to help them understand common issues such as depression and anxiety and access lots of useful information.

BWW has professionally-led guided groups designed to help people deal with issues from work stress to getting a better night’s sleep. They also produce a free fortnightly email, with hints and tips for members of the Armed Forces community about topical, everyday issues that may affect them – for example,how to deal with stress, relationship problems, money issues or simply how to think about things differently to make positive change. There is no need to join BWW to receive this.

If you want to contact them then call 0203 405 6196 or email theteam@bigwhitewall.com

Samaritans

Samaritans provide a safe place to talk about anything that’s bothering you 24/7.  Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, for anyone who is struggling to cope.  You can talk to them at any time and in your own way about anything that’s getting to you.

Telephone: 116 123    The number is free to call and available 24 hours a day,365 days a year.

Or email: Jo@samaritans.org

SSAFA

SSAFA’s Forcesline is a free confidential helpline and email service providing advice and information for Regulars, Reserves, veterans and their families.  Asan independent charity, SSAFA is not part of the military chain of command.

Forcesline can be accessed from anywhere in the world.  They are open 0900-1700hrs Monday to Friday. The number to call is:

  • UK                              0800 731 4880
  • Cyprus                        800 91065
  • Falkland Islands           #6111
  • Rest of the World        +44 (0)207 463 9292
  • Operational Theatres   use Paradigm’s phone system and dial the appropriate access number then enter *201 at the PIN prompt.

Discover My Benefits

Discover My Benefits is a free, easy-to-use tool for Service people, their families, and anyone interested in joining the armed forces. You can use it to find out what support you could receive as a Service person.

Screen Shot 2020-07-01 at 19.23.16.png (Moderate)