Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Upholding the pledge

The new ministerial committee will uphold pledges to the Armed Forces

 A new ministerial committee will ensure that the Government delivers promises made under the Armed Forces Covenant as part of a cross-Government effort to keep the interests of Service Personnel at the heart of the nation.

The committee, led by Oliver Letwin, Minister for Government Policy, will oversee the work and ensure that momentum is maintained.

The new committee will work closely with the Covenant Reference Group which is made up of charities and families federations to raise issues on behalf of Service personnel, their families and veterans.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The December Issue

The last issue of Veterans WORLD for 2011 is now online

In our December Issue you can: take a look at the new St Dunstan's Centre in Llandudno, find out how veterans may be entitled to help with small house repairs or learn about the National Arboretum's future plans in their tenth anniversary year.

From regional initiatives to national services, this issue covers a variety of topics to health care news, employment support to the Community Covenant Grants Scheme.  This is just a taster of what's in the magazine, so take a look today. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Our latest video now online

We've just released our latest 'Veterans Today' video.

In this, our sixth video, SPVA presenter Don Goldie looks at the history of the Veterans Welfare Service. Established nearly a century ago, the service continues to support the veterans community today.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Get Connected

If you're interested in resettlement support, then you may have read our earlier post on CTP.

CTP - The Career Transition Partnership , is a partnering agreement between the Ministry of Defence  and Right Management, who are global career development and outplacement specialists, with the Regular Forces Employment Agency and Officers Association providing employment support. The CTP provides resettlement and career transition services to all eligible Armed Forces Service leavers as part of their resettlement process, helping to make the transition from military to civilian life as smooth and successful as possible.

Connect is CTP's bi-annual publication and the second issue of ‘Connect’  ‘Informing Your Future -– An Update to Armed Forces Resettlement’ can be viewed online.

Complimenting and following on from the comprehensive overarching guidance contained in Issue 1, this issue includes detailed updates and features: from the support available to those on the Armed Forces redundancy programme, opportunities being developing for the Wounded, Injured and Sick (WIS), news of the government’s Talent Retention System aimed at helping employees across the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors,  the huge success of the CTP’s ongoing collaboration with BT Openreach to secure hundreds of Service leavers employment, and a guide to the new and much-improved CTP website

Connect should be on your reading list if you are planning to leave the Services or currently in the Resettlement process.

Maintaining the Roll of Honour

You may be aware that our website holds information and links for the Armed Forces Memorial (AFM) and it also houses the AFM Roll of Honour Facility

The Roll of Honour* details deaths in Service since January 1, 1948 and is normally updated monthly. Its search facility potentially allows you to search for a person who died while they were serving.

The Roll of Honour has just been updated and potentially records the details of  Service Personnel up to and including October 31, 2009.  Partial records are potential available for those who died from November 1, 2009 to October 31, 2010.

It potentially provides details about Service personnel who died over two years ago.  Partial records are normally reviewed two years after the date of death when more information may be available. 

The search facility is simple to use, requiring either the surname,forenames or initials and/or the Service number.  Once you've found the Service person you're looking for, there is an option to print an AFM certificate.

*Inclusion on the Armed Forces Memorial and the Roll of Honour is determined by the AFM Trustees Inclusion criteria.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Join the Hub

If you support veterans...listen to our podcast and get in on the Charity Hub

You may have seen our earlier blog post about the development of a new Charity Hub on our website. Our latest podcast features an interview with Karen Awere from the External Communications Team talking about the Hub.

Karen said:

"Our website has an average of 50,000 visitors per month so this should give you an idea of how many people could find out about your services and how you support veterans."

Clare Ellis interviews Karen Awere in the studio

It's not too late to get involved if you are a charity and think your details need to be on the Hub find further information here.

The podcast and other SPVA social media products are available to access on the SPVA Social Media Hub via the Veterans-UK website and on various social media sites such as iTunes and YouTube.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

New support package for the Welsh Armed Forces Community

A soldier of The Royal Welsh is welcomed home from operations in Afghanistan by his son (stock image)
[Picture: Sergeant Ian Forsyth, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

A package of support for the Armed Forces Community in Wales has been launched by the Welsh Government.
There are estimated to be at least a quarter of a million members of the Armed Forces Community in Wales including serving personnel, reservists, cadets and all their families as well as ex-Service personnel.
The package of support sets out commitments to the Armed Forces Community on devolved matters.  These include ongoing as well as new commitments and range from healthcare and housing to education and childcare.

Friday, 11 November 2011

A remembrance broadcast

Radio 4 are marking Remembrance with a special selection of programmes
On Remembrance Sunday at 14.45 hours, Radio 4 is scheduled to broadcast the burial that took place on 1 September at Sanders Keep Cemetery, France of an unidentified British World War 1 soldier , known to have died whilst serving with the Machine Gun Corps (MGC).

The  Coverage will include interviews with Captain Nick Stanley  and Wing Commander Graham August from the British Embassy in Paris, Graham Sacker from the MGC Association and Sue Raftree from the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre.

First Field of Remembrance in Scotland

Ian Murray with a volunteer planting the crosses in the Field of Remembrance

Hibernian FC captain Ian Murray took a break from training  and joined volunteers to help with the planting of thousands of crosses in Scotland’s first ever Field of Remembrance, which opened this week, as part of events to mark the 90th anniversary of the Scottish Poppy Appeal.

Following a large fundraising appeal mailing to homes across Scotland, Poppyscotland, the charity behind the Appeal, brought in volunteers to help with the planting of 11,000 remembrance crosses in the Field of Remembrance in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, which will be situated next to the traditional Garden of Remembrance.

Volunteers helped plant 11,000 remembrance crosses

Speaking of his support Hibernian captain Ian Murray said: 

“It is an honour to be able to represent Hibernian Football Club at the Field of Remembrance. Remembrance Sunday is a day that everyone should respect and it is an opportunity to pay tribute to everyone who has given their lives for this country. I will be wearing my poppy with pride again this year and I would encourage any Hibernian supporter to follow suit because it is such a worthy cause.”

Colin Flinn from Poppyscotland added:  

“We are very grateful to Hibernian FC for their support. It’s been a big undertaking to ensure that the thousands of crosses are included in the display so that members of the public can view the personal and heartfelt messages dedicated to individuals. All our volunteers have worked tremendously hard over the past few days and I give them my deepest thanks. We wanted to do something special to mark the 90th anniversary of the Scottish Poppy Appeal and we have been overwhelmed by the response from our supporters in building a unique display of collective remembrance.”

The Field of Remembrance will be open till Sunday 13th November for public to view. It will be situated adjacent to the traditional Garden of Remembrance on the other side of the Scott Monument. Visiting members of the public who wish to plant crosses can obtain them from the on-site kiosk.

Why heroes are making a return to former battlefields

To mark Remembrance Sunday, the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has produced a podcast featuring the stories of two World War Two veterans funded through its Heroes Return programme. To date, BIG has awarded over £25 million to more than 51,000 Second World War veterans, their spouses, widows and carers for commemorative journeys back to the places in which they served over 60 years ago.

The podcast includes firsthand accounts from Doug Mayman, who is travelling back to Normandy in April with his daughter to retrace his steps using personal wartime diaries, and Ted Hedges, who talks about his trip back to the Azores where he served with RAF Coastal Command.

Big Lottery Fund Chief Executive Peter Wanless also explains what the Heroes Return programme means to him and the Big Lottery Fund.

Are you a veteran of World War Two or do you know someone who is? 
The programme is still open for applications until 31 January 2012 for journeys up to 31 December 2012 by those who are yet to receive funding. More information is available via the Heroes Return 2 advice line: 0845 00 00 121 or by visiting the website.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Art for Heroes - check your TV planner

The BBC Two Culture Show will air a programme Art for Heroes this Friday at 7pm.

The hour-long programme looks at the role of art therapy in the rehabilitation of ex-Servicemen suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Presenter Tim Samuels meets veterans of recent British conflicts in the Falklands, the Persian Gulf and Northern Ireland, who reveal their personal battle with PTSD as a result of their military career.  They are now using an unlikely weapon to help fight the psychological wounds of war - art.
Visiting art therapy sessions, Samuels discovers how drawing, sculpting and painting are helping the veterans manage the symptoms of PTSD. Dr Lukas Konopka, a professor of neurology in Chicago, has investigated the effects of art therapy on the brain in the treatment of PTSD. The results provide strong evidence of art's potential to heal

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal

British veterans awarded the Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medal have been given permission by Her Majesty The Queen to wear it for the first time during Remembrance events next Sunday.

The Government of Malaysia introduced the medal in 2005 and awarded it to British and Commonwealth veterans who served in the conflict in Malaya in the late 1950s and 1960s.

Approval is not normally given for foreign medals to be accepted if British recognition for a campaign has already been presented. Previously, veterans had been able to accept but not wear the medal. It has now been agreed they can both accept and wear the PJM.

This was done to recognise the generous gesture by the King and Government of Malaysia, and their wish to award the PJM in recognition of service given by many veterans in the difficult years leading up to and following Malaysian independence.

Information on how to apply for the PJM medal can be found on our website.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Armed Forces Covenant recognised in law

The Military Court Centre at Bulford Camp. The Armed Forces Act provides the legal basis for the system of military law which exists in the UK [Picture: Gary Tyson, Crown Copyright/MOD 2006]

The principles of the Armed Forces Covenant have been enshrined in law for the first time after the Armed Forces Bill received Royal Assent yesterday

The new Armed Forces Act 2011 creates the requirement for an annual Armed Forces Covenant report to Parliament each year.

This will set out how the Government is supporting our Armed Forces, their families and veterans in key areas such as healthcare, housing and education.


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Still time to make a heroes return

Over 39,000 veterans have made a heroes return [image courtesy of BIG Lottery Fund]

To reflect the nation’s debt to the British Armed Forces veterans of the Second World War, the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has been awarding grants through its Heroes Return 2 programme. To date BIG has awarded over £25 million to more than 50,000 Second World War veterans, widows, spouses and carers across the UK. The closing date for applications is January 31, 2012 for journeys until December 31, 2012.

Launched to mark the historic 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004, BIG’s first Heroes Return scheme awarded £16.6 million to over 39,000 veterans, spouses, widows and carers to fund commemorative visits to Second World War battlefields, cemeteries and other significant places across the world.

Heroes Return was the centre-piece of the Veterans Reunited programme including Home Front Recall which awarded £19.2 million to support UK-based group events and activities to commemorate those who contributed to the war-effort on the home front, and Their Past Your Future with an ongoing £9.6 million scheme funding a UK-wide schools and education programme to give young people the opportunity to learn first-hand from veterans about their experience of war

Are you eligible?
Veterans who fought with or alongside British Forces in the Second World War and who are resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland are eligible. War widows and widowers of veterans are also eligible for funding and carers and spouses can receive funding to travel with veterans.

For more information and details of how to apply for a Heroes Return 2 grant call 0845 00 00 121 or go online.    

Friday, 28 October 2011

The 2011 Poppy Appeal

From left: Lance Corporal Ryan Idzi, Staff Sergeant Ritchie Maddocks, Gethin Jones and Sergeant Major Gary Chilton
[Picture: Peter Luckhurst, Crown Copyright 2011]

The 2011 Poppy Appeal was launched yesterday.

Members of  the Armed Forces  attended the launch of The Royal British Legion's 2011 Poppy Appeal, which aims to break previous years' fundraising totals.
The Poppy Appeal raises funds needed to support those currently serving in Afghanistan, veterans of past conflicts, and their families.

As the UK's leading Armed Forces charity, the RBL revealed today that it hopes to raise £40 million as it celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

New map to help services to veterans

If you provide or are planning to provide services to veterans in Scotland, then a new online resource is available for use.  A Map focusing on veterans aged between 26 and 65, where the greatest need for additional support lies, can now be found online, along with maps showing veterans in receipt of an AFPS occupational pension and those in receipt of a War Disability pension.

The Maps, which reveal where concentrations of veterans are to be found, are derived from a  Scottish Government study on the health of veterans and on data recently released by the MOD and were launched on 4 October 2011.

The maps will be made available to health boards, local authorities and charities to help them plan and deliver their services to veterans in the future.

Monday, 24 October 2011

A chance to say Thank You

Crackit Productions are looking for inspirational people who have dedicated a lot of time to helping others, who they will reward with a special treat on their new Channel 4 show. They are asking people to nominate a person who has touched their lives in some way and would like to say Thank You. The deserving people could be foster parents, carers, volunteers, charity workers, or even community heroes and they would like to talk to those whose lives have been touched by these people. It’s a fantastic opportunity to reward someone whose hard work may not previously have been recognised.

There may be many worthy nominees within the Armed Forces Community, so please help raise awareness of this appeal. If you can think of someone you would like to nominate, please get in touch and remember the treat for the person being nominated is a surprise, so they must not know they are being nominated!

 To put their name forward for this show either email  or call 0207 292 3581 / 07531 834 187.

Friday, 21 October 2011

New NHS Treatment Centres for military heroes

Dr Murrison MP lead a review into the prosthetic services currently offered to veterans by the NHS

Dr Murrison's NHS prosthetics services review recommendations have been supported by the Government.

Prime Minister David Cameron today announced that the Government is investing up to £15 million to support the recommendations to improve prosthetics services for military veterans who have lost a limb due to activities while serving their country.

StartHere . . . again!

StartHere provides online signposting for help and support

Our second podcast about the online information service is now available,

If you don't know where to go . . . then you should start here

In this second podcast, presenter Clare Ellis interviews Harvey Tilley, Assistant Director - Welfare Services from The Royal British Legion.

The Royal British Legion is one of the partner organisations working with StartHere

Harvey said:

“Helping our beneficiaries find and locate information to help them help themselves is key to our long term strategy. StartHere provides quality, trusted information that is not easily available anywhere else and it is very easy to use. The Royal British Legion has received extremely positive feedback on StartHere and we aim to build on this as part of our new strategy.”  

The podcast and other SPVA products are available to access on the SPVA Social Media Hub via our website and on various social media sites such as iTunes and YouTube.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Share your stories for remembrance

See Hear, the BBC’s programme for the Deaf and Hard of hearing and planning to broadcast a special Remembrance Day episode on 9 November and are keen to find personnel or incident-related stories relating to deafness in conflict or military service.

At the moment their remit is quite wide, so they can identify potential stories. So, you don’t need to have served in the Armed Forces, if you were a civilian in a back-up role such as Fire Watching, Munitions Production, Land Army, Nursing, driving or any of the other myriad roles that need filling during times of conflict, then consider sharing your story.

In fact anything to do with war or conflict, in either the Second World War or more recently in Northern Ireland, the Falklands Conflict, Iraq, Kuwait, the Balkans . . . would be of interest to See Hear, if it involves deafness or hearing loss. Ideally they are looking either for people who have suffered serious hearing loss due to military action or Service or people who were born deaf but have been able to serve in some way during one of the nation’s conflicts. Further details about the potential stories See Hear are looking for, can be found here.

To be considered for the programme, send a brief synopsis of your story via email to John Lakey BBC researcher or call 0121 567660. Then he may contact you to look into it in more detail. Please remember to include: your contact details, email, phone and address.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Do you support veterans?

Communications Team members working on the Charity Hub

If you work for a charity or organisation providing support and advice to veterans then you may be interested in a new page that's being developed on our website.

Some of my colleagues on the Communications Team are working on a new charity hub that will be housed on our website and is part of our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

The charity hub pages will hold a greater amount of detail, than before, and is designed to assist you, if either YOU need help or you're helping someone else.
This is where we need your help... If you work for an organisation, charity or service that can or does provide support to veterans, in either the community or voluntary sector, then please send us your details so we can add you to our hub.

Our website has on average 40,000 to 50,000 visitors per month. Just think of how many people could find out about your services and how you support the Armed Forces Community.

And it doesn't end here... if you, indeed, just know of a service that veterans could benefit from, then we also would like to hear from you, please just drop us an email and we will endeavour to contact the service provider for more details. We need the following details:
  • Logo
  • Title
  • Background
  • What kind of help and advice can I get?
  • Who can get the help and advice?
  • Contact us
  • Image (Optional)

We hope this new hub will allow services to reach more of the Armed Forces Community, so they know of the valuable and vast amount of help that is available to them.

If you don't know where to start...StartHere!

Our latest podcasts focus on this online information service.
StartHere is an online information service where you can search for information on help and support services that are available locally or on a national basis.

A number of organisations, including SPVA, have been working with the StartHere charity to provide specific guidance for the Armed Forces Community.

Spanning two podcasts; the first podcast is now available. It features presenter Joanne Lowe interviewing Jane Gammage, Community Partnerships Manager from StartHere, as she explains more about this innovative service.

Jane said:

"Providing access to reliable information about the services available to them is a crucial step to help people get the support to really make a difference to their lives. This is what StartHere is all about and we are really pleased to be able to make that difference to members of the Armed Forces Community. After listening to the podcast, take a look at StartHere".

The second podcast will be released next week and features presenter Clare Ellis speaking to Harvey Tilley, Assistant Director - Welfare Services for the Royal British Legion to find out about their involvement.

The podcast and other SPVA social media products are available to access on the SPVA Social Media Hub via the Veterans-UK website, and on various social media sites such as iTunes and YouTube.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Tell Us Once

The Tell Us Once service will help make notifiying bereavement easier

SPVA and Tell Us Once have joined forces to offer a birth and bereavement Service for Service personnel and veterans.

From the middle of October, our Agency will be joining the cross-government Tell Us Once Service.  Tell Us Once is a voluntary service rolling out nationally over the next few months.  It will make things significantly easier for people reporting a birth or bereavement. Tell Us Once removes the need for citizens to report the same birth or bereavement to government multiple times. 

Tell Us Once will be offered by local authorities and a simple postcode search on the Directgov website will tell you if Tell Us Once is available in your area.  Each local authority that offers Tell Us Once may have its own additional services designed around local needs.  Depending on the local council Tell Us Once will be offered as a short interview after the registration process, or by telephone.

Tell Us Once is already available in 44 local authorities and has been used by about 60,000 people. At present it informs 24 local and central government services such as tax credits, child benefits and blue badges. Information will also be passed on to us, so we can update our records and offer support more quickly to families who need it. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

A visit to the Poppy Factory

Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Andrew Robathan, in the Poppy Factory warehouse with the charity's Chief Executive, Melanie Waters
[Picture: Richard Watt, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Have you ever visited the MOD's website?  On a daily basis, there are new online stories highlighting news or features that will be of interest to the Armed Forces Community.

I spotted this article online.  The Minister for Defence, Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Andrew Robathan, visited the Poppy Factory charity. Now the charity has launched a five-year campaign to help 500 wounded, sick and injured ex-Service personnel into employment.

To get an idea of what the charity can do, then take a look at our latest issue of Veterans WORLD.  In this issue, we've published a double-page feature on the charity (pages 12 and 13) and their plans, with a case study on Ewan Stewart, a disabled veteran they've helped back into employment.

Take a look and find out more . . .

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

New online mental health forum launched

The Big White Wall has been designed so it's easy to use with plenty of tips on how to get the best out of the site.
Today an Armed Forces online mental health forum was launched,  So, when it comes to dealing with mental health issues, Service personnel, veterans and their families now have access to specialised online help and support.

The online well-being network Big White Wall is equipped to support the mental health needs of the Armed Forces Community.  The site is staffed by professional counsellors who can be contacted who can be contacted 24-hours. 

Among the services available is the opportunity for Big White Wall users to chat anonymously to others who may have gone through similar experiences. 

The Department of Health has also launched an e-learning package it has funded for GPs so they can better identify mental health problems and support veterans and their families.

The course was developed by the Royal College of General Practitioners as part of plans to improve veterans' mental health services.

It will raise awareness with GPs of the need to ensure that those seriously injured when discharged from the Armed Forces continue to receive the best possible care. It will also ensure that GPs are able to offer the right support to families of those currently serving or who are veterans.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The September Issue

The September issue of Veterans WORLD is now online.

In this issue, you might notice some further changes to the format.  With some tweaks to our News in brief section on pages four and five, we are hoping to make the articles here short soundbites on news affecting the Armed Forces Community.

We've got a great feature on Tedworth House, the newest Army Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centre based in Wiltshire.  There's also news on Skillforce, the Education charity that's utlising ex-Service Personnels' skills and knowledge to support children in schools.  We're also reporting on a new project that's aiming to protect war memorials across the UK.   That's just a taster of what in store for you . . . find out more by reading the issue.

And don't forget, we have two ways to view Veterans WORLD online - either download the standard PDF or choose the option to view the issue via ISSUU (a leading digital publishing platform that's free to access).  ISSUU provides you with a more interactive, digital version of Veterans WORLD.

Enjoy the issue and let me know what you think.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Planning for resettlement

The new CTP* website has been launched which provides support to Service Leavers at any stage of their resettlement.  Interactive resources will help them personalise their resettlement plan, so they can manage their own resettlement and career transition.

With the homepage integrated into a single page for all visitors, it's now a one-stop shop for easy access to all the help needed to resettle into civilian life.

 The website's been enhanced and has lot's of great new features that will help to plan for the future...

myPlan is an interactive resource  

myPlan - the new interactive resource that will give Service Leavers tools to use, that will help them to manage their own resettlement and career transition. 
The personalised area will be customised to Service Leaver as they complete their resettlement journey.
Career Assessment Tools - Online learning; five self-paced activities focus on uncovering values, recognizing past achievements and understanding how interests and skills combine to create key strengths.
Personal Resettlement Plan - Career Objective, Training Plan and Action Steps to log resettlement objectives and training activities. This online format facilitates easy updates and review with an assigned Career Consultant.
CV Builder -Includes guidance, templates and examples to assist  with creating a CV that is tailored to the vacancy that is being applied for.
Resettlement Tracker - Charts personal progress on the major milestones of a Service Leaver's resettlement.

This is just a taster of what the new site has to offer, whatever part of the resettlement journey you are on, take a visit today.

*CTP has been the official provider of Armed Forces resettlement since 1998. The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) is the Ministry of Defence working with Right Management.

Service leavers of all ranks from the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Marines can all benefit from resettlement support, career transition advice and training opportunities.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

One of Harry's heroes

Captain Martin Freeman pulling a pulk [copyright BBC]

If you had chance to watch the first episode of Harry's Arctic Heroes, then you may be interested in visiting the BBC blog to find out more information about the programme.

In the latest post, Captain Martin Hewitt writes about his experiences and what it meant to be part of the challenge, while recovering from his injuries.  Its a great way to learn more about the personal stories behind those who took part in the challenge - from training to facing the terrain of the North Pole. Be inspired.

"If I could achieve that in the most inhospitable environment on the planet, it would signify overcoming the additional challenges my disability have presented me." Captain Martin Hewitt

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

'Harry's Arctic Heroes' starts tonight

A new four part series begins tonight on BBC One, following the course of four wounded Afghanistan veterans on an trek to the arctic circle.

Joined by Prince Harry and a BBC crew - Harry's Arctic Heroes - charts their journey in the first unsupported attempt to reach the North Pole by wounded Servicemen. From training to their journey into the arctic circle, the series follows them on an expedition that would challenge an able-bodied explorer . . .

Friday, 5 August 2011

A sense of community

Have you ever visited the ‘Veterans Community’ area of our website?

Here you can find information on a variety of topics affecting veterans and their families.You can also keep up to date with the latest news on veterans issues, access discounts and special offers from lots of different organisations or find out about the social side of the veterans community with information on Armed Forces Day, veterans events across the UK, tracing comrades and even how to appear on TV. 

On a more poignant note, our ‘Remembrance’section host details on the important ways in which the country remembers those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. 

So, why not find out more and take a look today.

If you have some information you want to share with the veterans community then send it to us for consideration.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Latest updates to the Roll of Honour

The Armed Forces Memorial [picture by David Faul]

Our website holds information about the Armed Forces Memorial (AFM) and also houses the AFM Roll of Honour Facility

The Roll of Honour* details deaths in Service since January 1, 1948 and is normally updated monthly. Its search facility potentially allows you to search for a person who died while they were serving.

The Roll of Honour has just been updated and potentially records the details of  Service Personnel up to and including June 30, 2009.  Partial records are potential available for those who died from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

It potentially provides details about Service personnel who died over two years ago.  Partial records are normally reviewed two years after the date of death when more information may be available. 

The search facility is simple to use, requiring either the surname,forenames or initials and/or the Service number.  Once you've found the Service person you're looking for, there is an option to print an AFM certificate.

*Inclusion on the Armed Forces Memorial and the Roll of Honour is determined by the AFM Trustees Inclusion criteria.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Find out why you need to stay safe online

Think before you . . .  

How an MOD campaign is helping the Armed Forces Community stay safe online . . .

With Twitter users sending 200 million tweets per day and over 700 billion minutes per month spent on Facebook, Social Media tools have become the quickest way to share information across the world.  But who are you sharing information with?

If you use social media as a way to stay in touch, then the online guidance produced for the MOD’s Online Security Awareness Campaign – Think before you share . . . – may be useful for you to enjoy the benefits of sharing information while staying safe online.

In our  latest podcast, SPVA presenter Joanne Lowe interviews Pippa Norris from the Directorate Media and Communications to find out more about the campaign.

Pippa said:

“Our campaign is for all the Armed Forces Community. We want people to enjoy using social networks but we also want to ensure they have all the information to protect themself online.  The information would benefit any member of the Armed Forces Community, so please take a listen to the podcast today”

Laurie Manton, SPVA Spokesman said:

“As part of the MOD, we at SPVA have a responsibility to raise awareness of the guidance so that wider awareness can be spread among members of the Armed Forces Community.  Our own staff use social media as a way to raise awareness of our services, so we have found the guidance useful and it will help us stay safe online too.” 

The podcast and other SPVA social media products are available to access on the SPVA Social Media Hub via the Veterans-UK website, , and on various social media sites such as iTunes and YouTube.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

How personal do you want your profile to be?

The third video for the MOD Online Security Awareness Campaign is now online.

An MOD Civil Servant is using LinkedIn to share her personal information, but how personal does she want her profile to be?

What kind of YouTube hit do you want to be?

The fourth and final video for the MOD Online Security Awareness Campaign is now online.

A couple of solders are chatting about a video they've shared online, but what sort of YouTube hit do they want to be?

For more information, click here

Monday, 4 July 2011

Armed Forces Community Covenant signed in Catterick

Representatives for each service and local council members at the Catterick Garrison leisure centre
[Picture: Corporal Gary Kendall RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]
An Armed Forces Community Covenant, a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces community, was signed at Catterick Garrison on Friday.

The Community Covenant initiative was one of the key measures in the Armed Forces Covenant published in May 2011, which outlined the moral obligation between the Nation, the Government and the Armed Forces, and aims to improve support to the Armed Forces Community (which includes serving personnel, their families and veterans).

Community Covenants have already been launched in Oxfordshire, the Vale of Glamorgan and Hampshire, and one is due to be launched in Portsmouth soon.

The aims of the Community Covenant include:
  • to encourage local communities to support the Armed Forces Community in their areas, and vice versa;
  • to promote understanding and awareness amongst the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces Community;
  • to recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces Community; and
  • to encourage activities which help to integrate the Armed Forces Community into local life.

Friday, 1 July 2011

New rehabilitation centre prepares to open

From left: Rifleman Linden Woodford, aged 21 from 3rd Battalion The Rifles, Major Peter Norton, and Private Josh Campbell, aged 21 from 23 Pioneer Regiment, outside Tedworth House
[Picture: Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Tedworth House, the newest of the Army Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centre is getting ready to open its doors.The centre will provide comprehensive support to wounded, injured and sick personnel and their families for life. Key facilities including temporary residential accommodation, classrooms, catering facilities and a gymnasium are now up and running. This means that recovering personnel can now move in this month. The renovations work at Tedworth House is due to be completed in Spring next year and when open, the centre will be able to provide support and residential accommodation for up to 50 wounded, injured and sick personnel from all three Services in the south of England.

Tedworth House is one centre in a network of five Personnel Recovery Centres that form part of the Army Recovery Capability, a joint multi-million pound venture between the MOD, Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion. Construction work is currently underway on a centre based in Colchester.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

New Medal for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

The one-off medal is made of nickel silver and designed by Timothy Noad, a professional calligrapher and illuminator
Members of the Armed Forces will be presented with a medal to mark Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee in February 2012.

The commemorative medal designed to mark the Queen's 60 years on the throne will be awarded to members of the emergency services, Prison Service and the following Armed Forces personnel:
  • members of the Armed Forces (Regular and Reserves) who have completed five full calendar years of service on 6 February 2012;
  • living holders of the Victoria Cross and George Cross; and
  • members of the Royal Household.
 Full details of the qualifying criteria for the medal will be published later this summer.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Build up to Armed Forces Day continues . . .

Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, pictured with veterans of the Armed Forces who now work within the Palace of Westminster [Picture: Sergeant Andy Malthouse, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

More events are being celebrated in the lead up to Armed Forces Day this weekend.

An exhibition of photographs provided by veterans working in the House of Commons - 'Standing Next to You' - was opened yesterday by John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons.

The exhibition features past and present photographs of veterans alongside their remarkable stories. It was the idea of Madeleine Moon MP who wanted to highlight the fact that people who have served are all around us, and show support for Armed Forces Day.

Over twenty veterans volunteered for the exhibition from all departments and sides of the House and representing all three Services. They include Members of Parliament, Police Constables, doorkeepers and security officers. These individuals have retained the ethos they gained during their time in the Armed Forces, which remains relevant to the jobs they do today.

Many of the volunteers who contributed their stories and photographs for the exhibition attended the exhibition launch and Mr Bercow presented eight of them with Veterans Badges.

To promote recognition of veterans by the wider British public, the unique and unifying symbol of the HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge is available to all those who have served in HM Armed Forces.

The HM Armed Forces Veterans’ Lapel Badge was launched in May 2004 by the then Minister for Veterans, to raise the profile of veterans by assisting the wider public to recognise them. Our videocast provides more information on the badge.

Information on how to apply for a Veterans Badge can be found here.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

New Armed Forces Community Covenant Scheme Launched

The launch of a Community Covenant scheme is one of the key measures of the Armed Forces Covenant
The first Armed Forces Community Covenant scheme was launched yesterday in Oxfordshire. The covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces Community.  £30million of Government funding has been allocated over the next four years to support the scheme.

The aims of the Community Covenant include:
  • to encourage local communities to support the Armed Forces Community in their areas, and vice versa;
  • to promote understanding and awareness amongst the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces Community;
  • to recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces Community; and
  • to encourage activities which help to integrate the Armed Forces Community into local life.
The launch in Oxfordshire will be followed by launches in the Vale of Glamorgan, Hampshire and North Yorkshire in the next couple of weeks. A scheme will also be launched in Portsmouth at a later date. 

Picture: Harland Quarrington, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010

Fly the flag

An Armed Forces Day Flag flies over buildings in London
[Picture: Harland Quarrington, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Yesterday saw the start of the celebrations for Armed Forces Day, with many buildings across the UK flying the Armed Forces Day Flag.

Flying the flag has become part of the celebrations in the lead up to the main day.
The flags were hoisted to show support for members of the Armed Forces, veterans, cadets and their families.

Armed Forces Day is a chance for the British public to show their support for the men and women of the Armed Forces Community - from currently serving troops to Service families, and from veterans to cadets.

As well as raising the Armed Forces Day Flag, communities across the country are hosting hundreds of events to celebrate the Armed Forces, with the national, three-day celebration taking place in Edinburgh from 24-26 June 2011.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Countdown to Armed Forces Day continues

It's just over a week to go until Armed Forces Day 2011, so how are you planning to spend the day?

One of Britain's most successful Paralympians of all time, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, is encouraging people to go and support troops during Armed Forces Day.

It’s an opportunity to do two things. Firstly, to raise public awareness of the contribution made to our country by those who serve and have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, Secondly, it gives the nation an opportunity to Show Your Support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families and from veterans to cadets.

Armed Forces Day will be on Saturday, 25 June 2011.

With the National Event being held in Edinburgh and other events being organised across the UK, make sure you know what's being planned and how to get involved by visiting the official website.

Business as usual for SPVA

From 16 June, SPVA has ceased to be an executive Agency of the Minstry of Defence in a move, requested by the Agency, and agreed by Minister (DPWV).

There's no change to our name or the services we deliver.  The change in status will support the cross-government of public spending and reduced costs incurred by having Agency status. 

Our Deputy Chief Executive, Cdre Ross Albon explained: “This has not been an easy decision.  We looked long and hard but decided that in the current financial climate, we had to prioritise funds on maintaining and improving the services we deliver to our customers, rather than on ourselves. The important thing is that we will still be delivering our essential and high quality services to our customers. It is a case of ‘Business as Usual’ for SPVA."

"The important thing is that we will still be delivering our essential and high quality services to our customers."

Although no longer an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Defence, SPVA will keep its identity and logo which helps maintain its association with ex-Service charities and organisations. This will avoid the unnecessary expenditure associated with re-branding.

SPVA will remain a distinct business unit and continue to be known as the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency from a customer perspective and report, as before, to DCDS(Pers & Trg) in the MOD.

Cdre Albon said it was important to remember that:

• SPVA does really important work in support of serving Personnel and Veterans, maintains good business results and has a reputation for delivering against targets.

• All of its key functions – JPA system, Forces HR, Pensions, AFCS, JCCC, Medals Office and Veterans Welfare will remain within SPVA

• SPVA retains full responsibility for delivering the ‘Boyce’ Armed Forces Compensation Scheme changes.

• SPVA has achieved huge success in meeting its key targets and improving customer service. This puts its in a much better place to move forward.

• SPVA delivers many vital services for the Armed Forces and Veterans Communities – these still need to be delivered in the future

• The work we all do is valued – our customers say so in surveys and we have won several awards from respected institutions.

• SPVA has a culture of providing an ‘excellent customer service’ – that won’t change.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Armed Forces Day 2011 - plans for the big day

In our latest podcast release, our presenters asks the planners how they are planning to celebrate this year's Armed Forces Day.

We are just a matter of weeks away from the third national Armed Forces Day. This year, the National event is being hosted by Edinburgh.

Our podcast provides an update on the events planned across the UK to celebrate the day and we have interviewed Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, the MOD’s lead on the events and Edinburgh Council Leader Jenny Dawe on what the city is preparing for the national event.

The press release for the podcast can be found here.

SPVA will be supporting Armed Forces Day by providing display stands, posters and information leaflets at many events around the country. Veterans Welfare Service advisors will be on hand at the national event in Edinburgh as well as nine other events throughout the UK to offer one-to-one help and support.

To find out where we’ll be, take a look at our on-line events calendar.
The podcast and other SPVA social media products are available to access on the SPVA Social Media Hub.