Thursday, 27 April 2017

Ranstad Inhouse Services are now Recruiting in Stone

Mental Health - 10 Reasons to Exercise

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For further advice on Mental Health issues, please click HERE

Monday, 24 April 2017

Supporting the Unsung Hero - 2017/18 Course Dates

Click HERE for more information

Broadband Providers Drop Cancellation Fees For Armed Forces Personnel

Mark Lancaster, Minister for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel has announced that armed forces personnel will no longer have to face cancellation fees for their broadband and media packages when posted overseas or to another part of the UK not covered by their current provider. The commitment from the UK’s biggest broadband providers representing 95 per cent of Britain’s broadband market comes into force immediately, and will benefit tens of thousands of forces households in the UK and abroad. 
The change agreed to under the tenets of the Armed Forces Covenant includes BT, EE, Plusnet, Talk Talk and Virgin Media, who have all committed to treating military personnel fairly when cancelling their contracts. Up until now, members of the armed forces deployed overseas or to different part of the UK not covered by their provider could be forced to pay a cancellation fee. They will no longer have to face this cost and be disadvantaged due to the mobile nature of service life 
The Minister for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel said: “Our armed forces are sent all over the world and across the country to help keep our country safe and they should never be disadvantaged because of this. The removal of cancellation fees by leading broadband providers is yet another example of the Covenant in action, which is making sure our brave personnel are treated fairly. It’s a welcome move and we’re looking forward to seeing what more British businesses can do to support our military.” 
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or have previously served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly and not disadvantaged by their service. Delivery partners include businesses and trade bodies, charities and community organisations, local authorities and government departments.

DIO Information for Army Basing at Salisbury Plain 2019

Rusty Racquets Walton Tennis Club

New UK Speeding Laws

Speeding drivers will soon face stricter penalties and much higher fines based on what they earn.
From April 24 2017, new rules come into effect in the UK which will mean offenders could now be charged up to 175% of their weekly income. 

Currently in the UK the minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to your driving licence while the maximum fine is £1,000 or £2,500 for motorway offences.

But when the new guidelines are brought in next month, those caught driving at more than 101mph in a 70mph speed limit could be disqualified for up to 56 days and get a fine of between 125 and 175 per cent of their relevant weekly income.
Or if you are caught going between 31 and 40mph in a 30mph zone you will get three penalty points and a fine of between 25 and 75 per cent of your weekly income.
Currently many drivers get away without points and a fine by paying for a speed awareness course.
It follows tougher penalties being brought in this month for anyone using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
The previous penalty of three points and a £100 fine has been doubled to six points and £200.
The new speeding system is split into three bands which rate the severity of the offence based on the speed limit.
Band A refers to an offence that is between one and 10mph over the stated speed limit.
For example a band A speeding offence in a 20mph zone would be from 21mph to 31 mph.
A band B offence is 11mph to 21mph above the stated speed limit and a band C offence is 21 mph and above the stated speed limit.
The starting point for a Band A fine is 50% of your weekly wage.
Band B starting point = 100% of your weekly wage
Band C starting point = 150% of your weekly wage rising up to 175

Childcare Choices - Increase of Free Places

Tax-Free Childcare Tax-Free Childcare will be available to millions of working families across the UK, and over time it will replace childcare vouchers, which will close to new entrants from April 2018. Voucher schemes remain open to existing members.
Eligible parents with children under 12 (under 17 for disabled children) will be able to set up an online childcare account to pay their childcare providers directly. For every £8 parents pay in, the Government will add £2, up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 per child, per year (£4,000 per year for disabled children). 

To qualify, parents must be in work, this includes self-employment, and each expected to work a minimum of 16 hours per week and earn no more than £100,000 per year. Using the Childcare Checker, parents will be able to find out which providers have signed up in their area.
The scheme will gradually become available to different age groups from 28 April 2017 with all eligible parents being able to access the scheme by the end of 2017. Parents who have registered with the ‘keep me updated’ tool will be notified when they become eligible.

Childcare providers have a pivotal role in Tax-Free Childcare. They need to sign up so that parents can use Tax-Free Childcare to pay them; thousands have already done so. To find out more about the new and existing offers, including the introduction of 30 Hours free childcare from September 2017 for eligible working parents and how they can help you, go to the Childcare Choices website at where you will find the childcare calculator to help you compare the government’s childcare offers and check what works best for your family. 

MOD personnel based within the United Kingdom will have the same access to these new Childcare Choices as any other citizen, in line with the Armed Forces Covenant. Since 2013 the Ministry of Defence has been working closely with other government departments to ensure that these changes to childcare choices can be mirrored, so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, for entitled MOD personnel based outside the United Kingdom. Full details of the required changes or additions to MOD policies will be published shortly, once the changes have been published on the Government’s Childcare Choices webpage. Alternatively, email: for further information.

Friday, 7 April 2017

MOD Launches INtouch following the end of the e-bluey Service

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster has announced a new mailing system for friends and family to send letters to personnel around the world.
The new contract with Neopost will mean Britain’s armed forces will continue to receive hard copy, secure mail, including photos, from their loved ones, for free and with no break in service as the new imail INtouch system takes over from the e-bluey on 1 April 2017.
INtouch messages are alternatives to Forces Free Air Letters (FFALs), known as ‘blueys’, and are also free to send. They system will allow users to send up to 8 pages, including high definition photographs and official documents. The old e-bluey system that is being replaced only allowed single pages to be sent and did not support high definition photographs.
For further information on the INtouch service, including a quick start guide, please see HERE


Intouch repleaces E-Bluey - To view the Quick Start Guide please click HERE

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Home Office Immigration and Nationality Fees

Immigration and nationality fees for all applications made from outside and within the UK.
This document tells you how much it costs to apply for a UK visa from 6 April 2017 and includes previous fees. It shows fees for all visas including:

  • visitor
  • work
  • student
  • settlement
  • naturalisation

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Information for Service Leavers - Transition Information Sheet 10

To view or print the Information Sheet, click HERE 

DVLA - Check your vehicle Tax on-line

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You can do this by clicking HERE

Free Training and Job Placement Programme - Amazon Web Services

Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) - Introduction To Education In Scotland

Service families who are thinking of relocating or are relocating to Scotland from England, often ask  about the differences between the education systems.
The Directorate Children and Young People have produced an introductory guide to Education in Scotland which we hope you will find helpful, please click here. 

Who to See or Call When You're Not Well?

Will you be affected by the changes in Childcare Vouchers?

Are you prepared for the changes to Childcare Vouchers? In early 2017, the Government is planning to start rolling out Tax-Free Childcare, a new initiative for working parents which will soon replace the current Childcare Voucher Scheme.
If you sign up for Childcare Vouchers before April 2018 you can remain on the scheme, and will be able to choose which is more cost-effective for you and your family.
If you are not currently taking Childcare Vouchers, you should consider joining now to have the choice later when the changes occur.
Visit HERE for more information.

HIVE Information Service - Who Do We Support?

Your nearest HIVE:
Stafford 01785 258843
Email enquiries to 

For locations of other HIVEs go to

Accommodation Charges for Service Family Accommodation 2017 - 2018

Extract of the charges as at March 2017 for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and  Single Living Accommodation (SLA), furnished and unfurnished, taken from the tri-service Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) directed letter 2017/18.

For full information of the charges please Click Here 

Monday, 3 April 2017

Family Breaks That May Apply to You

SSAFA Breaks -
SSAFA have short activity breaks in the UK that are free to service families. They are for young people with an additional need/disability and their siblings. Additionally they offer a free break to young carers.

Familiy Activity Breaks (FAB) -
If you have a child up to the age of 19, who has suffered a bereavement of a serving loved one, then FAB breaks maybe for you. The breaks are for the family.

Holidays for Heroes
Holidays4Heroes provide short breaks for wounded personnel, their families and the bereaved. Holidays 4 Heroes is not a charity, we are a non profit community support group.

Calvert Trust
The Calvert Trust has three centres which offer activity holidays, they welcome applications from Armed Forces Families through 'Uniting Service Families with disabilities' bursary scheme.

Staffordshire Police Latest Smart Alert Advice: Secure your Vehicle

We are reminding people to be extra vigilant and to ensure their vehicles are left secure at all times.
Wherever possible, vehicles should be garaged or parked on private driveways and in well-lit areas. 
Owners are asked to ensure all valuables and tools are removed overnight and when unattended. 
Lets not make it easy for them!

Please be on your guard and report any suspicious activity to us on 101 or 999 if a crime is taking place.

For more information and advice about crime prevention or information about your local policing team visit the Force website at

Please encourage friends and neighbours to sign up to Staffordshire Smart Alert via  - together we can fight crime.