Friday, 15 December 2017

Service Pupil Premium 2018 - This message is for the attention of Regular Forces Service parents based in England

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 (DfE) to enable schools to offer additional, mainly pastoral support during challenging times; this 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 18 January 2018 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.  (Pupils with a parent who is on full commitment as part of the full time Reserve Service should be classed as Service children) 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.   

Lifeworks at Tern Hill 16th - 18th January 2018

Stay & Play in the Dixon Community Centre Tuesday 19th December 09.30 to 11.30

MOD Stafford Youth Club Monday and Thursdays


The Youth Club is open Monday's
from 18.00 to 19.30hrs and Thursday's from 17.30 to 19.00hrs.

The Youth Club is situated in the old Rascals Nursery building behind the HIVE. Subs will be £1.00 per session a tuck shop is also available.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Combat Stress releases top tips to help former servicemen and women cope with pressure of Christmas

Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health, is sharing its tops tips to help former servicemen and women cope with the Christmas and New Year period.
Christmas is a time for celebration, yet it can be difficult for veterans with mental health problems. Some may feel isolated, lonely or depressed, while others can feel overwhelmed by large gatherings of family and friends, or feel they don’t have time for themselves.
Combat Stress has put together 10 steps veterans can take to enjoy Christmas and the New Year. In fact, it’s advice most people can use if they feel overwhelmed or anxious during the festivities. The tips are:
  • Take time out for yourself
  • Go outdoors for a walk or activity
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Relax with a bath, hot chocolate or play music
  • Remember to take your medication
  • Help out by volunteering for local projects or charities
  • Watch a film
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Eat the right ‘good’ food
  • Get support – call the Combat Stress Helpline
The tips include advice to practice meditation, which is especially good to do if you become stressed when surrounded by lots of people on a busy high street or when celebrating Christmas with loved ones. Take yourself off to a quiet place – a coffee shop or another room – and then return when you feel less anxious.
Going outside for a walk or outdoor activities is a good way to distract yourself from things that are causing you stress or anxiety. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine three hours before bedtime will improve your chances of having a good night’s sleep, while getting your five a day of fruit and vegetables will not only help feed a healthier body but also a healthier mind.
Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat Stress, said: “We know many veterans with mental health conditions can find the Christmas period particularly challenging. We hope our tips, put together by our specialist clinical team, will help.
“It’s important veterans talk to a friend or family member about how they’re feeling so they can receive support. The Combat Stress 24-hour Helpline is available throughout Christmas and the New Year. We strongly encourage veterans and their loved ones to call us for help and support on 0800 138 1619, text us on 07537 404 719 or email”
Combat Stress’ Christmas tips will be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from 14 December through to Christmas Eve.

Advice on keeping your Cat safe over Christmas

With Christmas coming upon us fast, it's an exciting time but it's a time of year that can be a little stressful for pets and especially cats. A lot of cats get wary when strangers appear in their homes and the added noise of the festivities can stress them out too. Obviously not all cats will run away and hide, but many do sneak off to quieter areas of the house when lots of people show up at Christmas time.
Below are a few tips on how to make sure your moggy stays safe and happy over the Christmas period.

The Christmas Tree & The Decorations

Cats just cannot help themselves when it comes to playing with Christmas tree decorations, very often knocking it over or pulling the tree down. There's no real way of stopping your pet from doing this apart from setting up the tree in a room where pussy cat does not go in – as it's usually the front room, this is not really an option. The best way to keep the tree as safe as you can is to anchor it down strongly so if puss does decide to climb it, there is less chance of it coming down.
The real danger to cats are the pine needles which are toxic to felines. If the tree has roots, make sure it is well watered all over Christmas to prevent the needles from dropping too much. The other option is to buy a tree that doesn't shed its needles or to put up a fake tree – some of which are pretty realistic looking these days. Another good idea is to place the tree away from any furniture which your cat could use as launching pads to get on the tree!
Tinsel is another thing to watch out for if you have a cat in the home. Should they play with this, chew on it and swallow it, the tinsel can cause all sorts of intestinal problems including blockages which have to be considered as very serious and would need immediate surgery. It's a good idea to place the tinsel as high on the tree as possible so puss can't get hold of it.
You could also spray some cat repellent around the tree and on the Christmas tree light wires to prevent pussy cat from chewing on them. If they did it could end up giving them a fatal electric shock. Other things to avoid putting on your Christmas tree or in/on other areas of your home include the following:
  • Artificial snow – this is very toxic to cats
  • Candles – your cat might knock them over and start a fire

Christmas Plants Are Dangerous to Cats

Everyone loves to decorate their homes at Christmas time with traditional festive plants like mistletoe, holly and poinsettias. They add to the Christmas spirit in a really nice way. However, all of these plants are toxic to cats so it could be an idea to invest in fake mistletoe, holly and poinsettias so pussy cat stays safe. The good news is that fake plants look very realistic these days and you get to use them again and again!

Sweets, Chocolate & Christmas Food

Lots of owners like to give their cats a “human” treat from time to time which is great as long as it is only occasionally. But when there are lots of people around, you need to make sure everyone is aware of the fact that certain foods are highly toxic to cats!
Cats should never be given any cooked turkey bones because they could end up splintering and getting lodged in your cat's throat. They can also puncture your cats' stomach or intestines – causing lots of distress and pain to your pet which would need veterinary attention.
Everyone knows that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but it is also toxic to cats and the darker the chocolate happens to be, the more toxic it is. If you think your cat has ingested any, you would need to get them to the vet as soon as possible – signs to watch out for are vomiting and restlessness.
You should make sure all leftovers are disposed of safely. If you have chickens they will love a few scraps (not turkey or chicken though). However, cats are very likely to scavenge in the bins and if there is food with foil on it, this could cause a real problem for your cat. Make sure all turkey bones are well disposed of where your cat (or dog) can't get at them.

Christmas Present Wrappings

It's great when everyone opens their presents on Christmas morning – it's all very exciting especially for younger children (and adults!). However, the paper and ribbons used to wrap them can be quite dangerous to cats if they chew on them and then swallow them. They can cause intestinal blockages which have to be treated immediately, so it's really important to dispose of all wrapping paper, ribbons, tape and anything really safely so your cat can't play with them.

When Visitors Arrive

In general cats are social creatures but when lots of visitors and strangers show up in their houses, it can prove just a little too much for them to cope with. Christmas can be a stressful time for a cat with people coming and going all the time, so it's really important they have somewhere quiet, where they feel safe and where they can escape to if they feel the need to run away and hide. This is especially true if lots of young children are around over the Christmas period.

What To Do If You're Not At Home on Christmas Day

If you are planning to spend Christmas day away from home with family and friends or will be spending a few days away, you have to make arrangements for your cat. If it's just the day you are away, make sure your cat is nice and safe at home, with plenty of food and fresh clean water and a clean litter tray. However, if you are going to be away for a couple of days or more, you would need to either find a cattery or organise a pet sitter to look after your cat for the time you're not around. It is really important to choose a reputable cattery so you have the peace of mind your pet is being well looked after.


Making sure your cat is happy and safe over the Christmas period takes a bit of planning and organisation. The last thing you would want is for them to get hurt or sick over the festive season. Remember even though Christmas is exciting, it is also often a pretty chaotic time – so keeping your pets safe is really important. One thing you must never do is think that offering a kitten as a present to someone for Christmas would make a great gift – this is a real “no no” because taking on a pet of any kind is a massive responsibility thatneeds careful thought.

The Tuesday Mixer Club - The White Eagle Club Stafford

Monday, 11 December 2017

Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee (VAPC)

Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee (VAPC) – New Members
Veterans UK is part of the Ministry of Defence with responsibility for the administration of Compensation and Pension Schemes and for the provision of Welfare services to veterans. It also acts as the Sponsor Department for the Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee (VAPC), a Non-Departmental Public Body whose Chairmen and Members are appointed by the Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans. 
The roles of the VAPC include raising awareness of the War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Schemes, the Veterans UK Welfare Service and the availability of cross government support to Veterans and their families assisting veterans in accessing local services as envisaged under the Armed Forces Covenant. The VAPC also provide support to Veterans UK by monitoring its welfare service and assisting individuals with any problems or complaints they have regarding the war pensions or AFCS claims process and much more besides.
The VAPC is looking for new members for 12 of its 13 regional committees and 2 Chairmen, one to lead the Wales committee and another to lead the South East committee. The positions are voluntary, unpaid roles but travel, subsistence and loss of earnings may be payable.
For full details please see these links

Christmas Savings from Defence Discount Service

Many more offers available on the website.
T&C apply
Visit the website to find out more: 

Quest Resettlement Magazine December 2017

Civvy Street Magazine December 2017

Finney's Cleaning for your March out

Click on Images to Enlarge

St John's Academy Newsletter

Quest Resettlement Magazine - December Issue online now

To read or download this issueCLICK HERE

Closed for Christmas - Toddle Tots in the Dixon Community Centre Back Monday 8th January 2018

Closed for Christmas - Cheeky Monkeys Tots Group Monday's In the Beacon tree Centre MOD Stafford

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre Presents Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood 7th Dec to 7th Jan 2018

Royal British Legion Weekend Warmup Every Thursday

Dance Classes for Children at St John the Baptist Church Hall Stafford Every Thursday

Wriggle Bugs and Boogie Bugs

Contact details

Helen Yeomans
07747 036422

Creative dance and movement classes for boys and girls aged 6mths to 4 years old. They are a chance to spin, jump, stretch and learn in a friendly relaxed setting. The classes involve singing, action games, creating dance stories and learning steps whilst being a fun way to improve co-ordination, balance, and confidence by drawing on your child's imagination and natural movement ability.

If you would like more information and to book your child a space then please give me a call or send me and email.
Runs on: Thursdays

Other Information

Classes take place on :
Thursday mornings St John the Baptist Church Hall, Bedford Avenue, Stafford ST16
Boogie Bugs for 2&3 year olds 9.45am-10.30am
Wriggle Bugs for 6mths to 2 years old 10.45am-11.15am

Places must be booked in advance and are paid for as a term. Your child can come and try a Taster class (£4.50 for Boogie Bugs or £3.50 for Wriggle Bugs) before committing for the rest of the term.
You can now follow us on Facebook

Stafford Lancers Marching Bands

We are a marching band and are looking for new young people to join our ranks and anyone that is interested in Marching Music.

We have an open night this Thursday at Sir Graham Balfour High School 7pm till 9pm and possibly the Thursday after.

It is open to anyone 10 years or above no experience necessary we provide all instruments and training and lots of fun.

Stafford Sports and Performance Academy Choir Thursday Nights

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Monday, 4 December 2017

AFF - Does the Army Families' 'Offer' meet the needs of the modern Army family? Take the Survey

Does the Army Families' 'Offer' meet the needs of the modern Army family?

The Army Families Federation (AFF) is appealing to all Army families to take their latest survey and say whether they feel the package offered to them eases the impact that Service life can have. 

How much do families know?

The charity is exploring various elements of the current package, or 'Offer' available to families, and how they translate to Army family life. This includes how aware families are of policies such as subsidised military housing, educational allowances, and healthcare policies such as support with assisted conception.

It also seeks to discover what more families feel needs to be done to improve life as a modern Army family.

Families' feedback vital

AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade explains: "Families' views have always been integral to our work and what we hope to achieve year on year. We want as many families as possible to get involved with our latest survey, whether married or unmarried, whether or not you live in military housing. Different elements of your soldier's 'offer' will affect you to varying degrees, but AFF is here for you all, so share your experience with us and help provide us with evidence we can present to decision makers to push for improvements where needed."

Pushing for positive change

Known as the voice of the Army community, AFF is keen for families to be open and candid in their views and opinions when providing feedback. They have a strong track record of using families' evidence to push for change, and believe the more families that take part in their surveys, the more influence they will have when approaching MOD, government and other policy makers.

Armed Forces Accommodation Allowance - Income Tax Exemption

For Information please click on link below:

Do you receive an Armed Forces Pension?

Have HM Revenue & Customs used the correct primary source of income to calculate your Tax Code?

For more information use the link below:

Carillionamey - Non-Urgent Housing Repair Requests

You can now log a new non-urgent Housing repair request, quickly and easily, via an online form available on our website without calling our Customer Service Centre. All New Requests will be responded to within 1 working day: follow the link:

The 12 Steps of Christmas Crime Prevention

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Latest Vacancy Bulletin for South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS

On-line Dating Fraud - From Staffordshire Police

Male fraudsters are setting up profiles of women on dating sites to attract and manipulate vulnerable victims.

The majority of accounts on dating websites are genuine people looking for romance, but fraudsters are also using these sites to contact victims. They create fake profiles, make contact with others on the site and build what feels like a loving relationship.

Once a fraudster using a fake dating profile is confident that they've won your trust, they will tell you about a problem they are experiencing and ask you to help out by sending money. Once you send them money, the fraudsters will keep coming back and invent new reasons for you to send them more and more money.

Advice to prevent falling victim:
  • Never give money to people you meet online, no matter what emotional story the person uses.
  • Avoid giving away too many personal details when dating online. Revealing your full name, date of birth and home address may lead to your identity being stolen.
  • Never send or receive money or give away your bank details to someone you've only met online, no matter how much you trust them or believe their story.
  • Pick a reputable dating website and use the site's messaging service. Fraudsters tend to want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there's no evidence of them asking you for money.
If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or

Employment Fraud Alert Latest From Staffordshire Police

Your latest Smart Alert.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has identified a number of reports where job seekers are being targeted by fraudsters trying to obtain personal and banking details from them, or requesting money to secure accommodation.

Individuals registering with job seeking websites or searching for jobs on The Student Room website are being contacted by bogus recruitment companies/businesses asking them to complete application and interview forms which request personal details and banking details, as well as copies of identity documents.

In some instances the applicant is invited along for interview, either in person or over the phone, to make the process look as legitimate as possible. This is impacting on students and graduates looking for work both in the UK and overseas. Some job seekers, as well as divulging personal details, have paid money to the fraudsters in order to secure a bogus rental property alongside the job offer.
How to protect yourself:
  • Check emails and documents from the recruiter for poor spelling and grammar - this is often a sign that fraudsters are at work.
  • If visa fees are mentioned, ask the embassy representing the country where you believe you will be working how to obtain a visa and how much it costs. Check that the answers the potential employer or recruiter gave you are the same - if they're not, it may be a sign of fraud.
  • Carry out thorough research to confirm that the organisation offering you the job actually exists. If it does exist, contact the organisation directly using contact details obtained through your own research or their website to confirm the job offer is genuine.
If you you're a victim of this fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via
Stop all contact with the 'agency' but keep a note of their details.  Warn the operators of the job website that their site is being used by fraudsters.