Friday, 31 March 2017 - Tax Free Childcare Government Scheme starts April 2017

Tax-Free Childcare is a new scheme which gives eligible families up to £2,000 free per child towards childcare costs. Designed to eventually replace the Childcare Vouchers scheme, it starts April 2017 for the youngest children, and will be rolled out over the year for the rest. 

Here we explain what the new scheme is, how it works, and whether you should stick with the existing offer or opt for the new one. For more information visit:

The National Minimum and Living Wage - from 1st April 2017

The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice.

You must be at least:
  • school leaving age to get the National Minimum Wage
  • aged 25 to get the National Living Wage - the minimum wage will still apply for workers aged 24 and under

For the full details use this link: 

Friends of Stafford Need You !

SSE Wildcats Girls Football Club

New vehicle tax rates from 1 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.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Childcare Choices website

UK families will soon see bills cut as date announced for the launch of Tax-Free Childcare. Launch of new Childcare Choices website means parents now able to find available government support...
Click HERE for more information

Defence Discount Service - National Express Offer


For Defence Discount Service non serving members (such as Veterans and Civil Servants) save 30% on travel.

National Express are offering 30% off travel to over 900 towns, cities and airports across the UK

This offer is valid on all National Express services (excluding third party, events services, Eurolines and Ulster Bus), meaning you can relax on one of its comfortable coaches with leather seats, power sockets, air conditioning and ample leg room.

In order to book, follow the link and enter your destination and dates in the journey planner and the 30% off discount will automatically be applied.

Click HERE for more information

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Staffordshire Police Smart Alert - Off Road Bikers Reminded to be Lawful and Considerate

We are reminding vehicle owners to be mindful and lawful when riding off road vehicles.

As the weather improves and daylight hours increase, we receive calls from residents complaining about off road motor bikes, quad bikes and other illegal motor cycles.

Riding off road bikes is enjoyed by lots of people, but they can only be ridden on private land and with the land owner's permission.

Such bikes are noisy, and sometimes dangerous, and more often than not are likely to be uninsured. 
Riders are reminded to wear suitable protective clothing including helmets when riding these vehicles.

Officers are reminding parents to ensure they know where their children are and what they are doing, and to make them aware of the potential danger of riding these vehicles
If offenders are caught on public land, or land where they do not have the owner's permission, they face prosecution and, in some cases, parents will be held accountable for their child's actions.

Section 59 warning notices can also be issued to offending riders and their vehicles.  If the rider or vehicle is seen again, the police can seize and destroy the vehicle.

Anyone with information about persons responsible, including details of the vehicles involved, should contact us on 101 or anonymously via crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.

Friday, 17 March 2017

The New Defence Discount Directory

Pick up a FREE copy of the new Defence Discount Directory
from Stafford HIVE offices.
Contact 01785 258843

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Job Opportunities

Royal British Legion Break Centres.

Break Centres

The Legion offers much-needed breaks to ex-Service and serving personnel and their families. If you or a member of your family is recovering from an illness, bereavement or other life-affecting event, the Legion can provide a comfortable and enjoyable break.

About our break centres

We have four Break Centres located in prime locations around the country, and for our family breaks, we also have close ties with Parkdean and Haven Holiday Parks.
The Legion also provides Adventure Breaks, where young people of Service families can have a fun and activity-packed week.

Poppy Pod Project: Camping village for Armed Forces personnel and their families- Tile Barn Outdoor Centre-Brockenhurst

CLICK HERE  to find out what facilities they have and available activities

Hampshire County Council is proud to introduce The ‘Poppy Pod’ camping village for Armed Forces personnel and their families at Tile Barn Outdoor Centre in Brockenhurst, New Forest. The project is to become its lasting legacy to our Armed Service personnel to recognise and remember the sacrifices made and faced by the Armed Forces Community.

Twenty wooden pods have already been built as free holiday and respite facilities for service personnel, veterans and their families, thanks to £250,000 from the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant scheme.  A further £50,000 donation from the Brockenhurst Branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) will be used to build a communal hub building for visitors to meet, eat and share experiences with other families.

The 20 solar-powered, accessible pods and hub building will be available at a charge for schools, when bookings begin from spring 2016. However, priority will be given to members of the armed services and their families on weekends and during school holiday periods who can enjoy the facilities for free.  

Tile Barn has been a camping and outdoor centre since the early 1970s and has recently benefitted from a new, fully accessible shower and toilet block, which will support use of the ‘Poppy Pod’ village. The centre was set up to provide cost effective outdoor residential experiences to school children in Hampshire. It can cater for up to 350 young people in fully equipped campsites and a 37 bed bunkhouse facility.

Tile Barn was originally used to treat First World War troops from the Indian Army Corps at tented and galvanised units, nicknamed 'Tin Town' by local people. The site then became the New Zealand General Hospital No.1 where 21,000 casualties were treated.

The pods have been fitted with a seating area which easily converts into a bed for families to have a versatile space.

Quick video tour 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Drinkaware - Get the App

To get the app and to see further information, please click HERE

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Mobile Phones and Driving - Change to Penalties

Drivers are being warned not to use their mobile phones at the wheel ahead of a new law coming into force which will double the penalties for the offence.
From March 2017 the Fixed Penalty Notice for using a handheld mobile phone while driving will increase to £200 and 6 points

E-bluey Cessation Announcement

e-bluey Cessation Announcement:

The Ministry of Defence has announced that we are ending the e-bluey service on 31 March 2017.

Since the draw down from Afghanistan in 2014, the e-bluey service has become less popular as a way for service personnel to keep in touch. The number of downloads per month has dramatically decreased from 100,000 to less than 3,000 downloads per month.

With the ever-growing use of Wi-Fi and mobile data-based technology for keeping in touch, personnel are finding new ways to speak to their family and loved ones.

We want to make sure that we provide the best possible support to our personnel at the best possible value for money for the UK taxpayer. TheMOD is reinvesting the funds used for the e-bluey service into innovative and modern ways of communicating that will be more relevant to the needs and expectations of a larger number of service personnel.

Letter and parcel services for service personnel and their families will remain unaffected.

The MOD takes the welfare of our armed forces extremely seriously and we remain committed to ensuring that those deployed on operations are able to keep in touch with their families and friends. Loved ones will still be able to send hand-written letters free of charge via a Forces Free Air Letter (FFAL) if they are deployed on an operation.

BFPO provides a range of postal and courier services in support of the UK armed forces and their dependants wherever they are in the world and will continue to do so.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Staffordshire Police Smart Alert Advice: Keeping your Property Safe and Secure

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Staffordshire Police Latest Smart Alert

Please enable images or add us to your Contacts or Safe Senders.

Increase in thefts from vans

Your latest Smart Alert.

Recently there has been an increase in thefts of power tools from secured vehicles.  If you carry power tools, where ever possible, remove them from your vehicle when parked over night.  If this is not possible park your vehicle in a well lit area as close to your property as possible.

Thank you . 

Friday, 3 March 2017

SSAFA Additional Needs and Disability Guide

To view in full please click HERE

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Poppy Factory: Employment Charity for Veterans

         Who we are, what we do, and why

The Poppy Factory is the country’s leading employment charity for veterans with health conditions or impairments.
We work with businesses across the country to provide bespoke opportunities and ongoing employment support for hundreds of disabled veterans of all ages and from all Services, helping to restore their financial independence through sustainable and rewarding work.

General enquiries

The Administrator, 20 Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 6UR 
 020 8940 3305 
 020 8332 1205

Employment enquiries

Tel: 020 8939 1837
If you are looking for work we recommend that you register with us first

Visit us

Find out more about arranging your visit, including downloading our booking leaflet

SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity

SSAFA provides lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force.
We're ready to help you and your family, whenever and wherever you need us.
CURRENTLY SERVING: At SSAFA we understand that life in the Forces is unique, so occasionally you or your family might need a helping hand. So we're here to provide practical and emotional support to anyone who is currently serving in the Army, RAF and Royal Navy and their families when they most need it.

What we can do for youWe have a network of trained volunteers on Army, RAF and Naval bases in the UK and around the world who can give you local support.

Everyone faces different challenges so we’ve developed specialist services to meet the needs of today's serving community. Find out what we can do for you.

Families Activity Breaks (FAB)

What is FAB?

Families’ Activity Breaks (FAB) is a non-public funded, tri Service charitable initiative, providing fun and challenging activity camps around the UK for bereaved Military families.
Families’ Activity Breaks

If your child is aged up to 19 years old and has suffered the loss of a loved one who was serving in the Armed Forces, then you may be eligible for a FAB camp. The holidays offer an adventure for all the family and a welcome break to meet and socialise with others who have experienced a similar loss.

A loved one can mean a parent, a step parent, or a child’s legal guardian, carer or sibling.

Full details of 2017 FAB dates are at