Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Standing shoulder to shoulder with the RAF Family 365 days a year

It may seem fitting that today, on Blue Monday, known as the most depressing day of the year, we are launching new services to support the emotional wellbeing of the RAF Family.

But as we know, anxiety and poor mental health is something people can experience at any time of year and is not confined to a month, let alone one day.

The theory behind Blue Monday comes from a calculation based on factors such as the weather, debt and time since Christmas, which were all said to contribute to the dreariest day of the year.

The RAF Benevolent Fund is passionate that no member of the RAF Family should face adversity alone.  We know how much poor mental health can affect the quality of people’s lives.  So that is why, along with our partnerships primarily with Anxiety UK and Cruse Bereavement Care, we believe that people facing poor mental health, anxiety or depression should be able to access support 365 days a year and that no one should suffer in silence.
And we want to help.  That is why we have expanded our current welfare services for RAF veterans. This now includes free emotional support for people suffering with anxiety and depression, support for bereavement and a listening, counselling and wellbeing service.

According to recent research, one in five veterans is likely to be living with a common mental health illness but many do not seek the help they need.
The free services that we are providing are available to both younger and older RAF veterans as well as those dependent family members who are experiencing difficulties.
Together, we will tackle these issues head on. While there is still a stigma associated with mental health, the situation has improved drastically since my time in the RAF, when mental health was rarely mentioned.

This year the RAF will celebrate its 100th anniversary.  Having been formed one year later, as the RAF’s leading welfare charity, we are proud to have stood side by side with the RAF Family throughout our history and are determined to continue to evolve to meet current and future needs.

Find out about the services that we offer to members of the RAF Family who may be affected by anxiety or depression – or many other forms of adversity - by visiting our wellbeing page on our website

Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon is the Director of Welfare and Policy at the RAF Benevolent Fund, which provides support for former and serving RAF personnel and their families. He served in the Royal Air Force between 1983 and 2009.

RAF Benevolent Fund and Relate - Relationship Support for Serving and Former RAF

Click HERE for more information

British Forces Post Office - Valentine's 2018 - Latest Recommended Posting Dates

Click HERE for more information

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

South Staffordshire Network for Mental Health - Toolbox

So what is Toolbox?
  • Toolbox is an open access, self-empowering, emotional wellbeing signposting service 
  • It involves an hour’s Toolbox appointment with a SSNMH Toolbox worker and 2 follow up evaluations
  • It is to help an individual become more aware of their emotional wellbeing, identify their own support network throughout the 4 identifiable stages of mental health experiences, Wellness, Illness, Distress and Crisis and be signposted to emotional wellbeing tools and services that may be helpful for them.
  • Individuals may self-refer for a Toolbox appointment or be referred through organisations.

Defence Discount Service - 50% off first year's membership of The Staffordshire Wildlife Trusts

50% off your first year's membership
The charity’s work is supported by around 15,000 members.  Each member receives a membership pack containing a guide to the Trust’s nature reserves, information on the charitable work of the Trust, a what’s on guide with details of hundreds of wildlife themed events and a copy of Staffordshire Wildlife Magazine which is sent to members three times per year to keep you informed of how your membership is helping to support the Trust’s conservation work.

Individual Was £33 Now £16.50

Joint Was £39 Now £19.50 

Family Was £45 Now £22.50

Click HERE for more information 

Monday, 15 January 2018

Birmingham Airport Jobs Fair - 19 January

Click HERE for more information

Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline

The Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline offers support to people who are 18 or over and have concerns about their own mental health or that of someone they know.
The service operates evenings and weekends 365 days a year, when most other mainstream mental health services are closed. It is free to contact from landlines, call boxes and mobile networks. Customers can contact the helpline during opening hours by phone, text, email or instant messaging through Brighter Futures website: The service is essentially a listening service where people can talk through their concerns safely and confidentially, receiving emotional support and exploring the options available to them. The service can also offer guidance about where to find other locally based support services.
In addition, we operate a ‘Ring-Out’ service from Friday to Sunday inclusive (Professional referral required) for persons who would benefit from further or more long term support.

We now offer a Support Call service, essentially this is a short term (one week at a time) service offering a call each evening for up to a week for a person who is experiencing difficulties, stresses or worries at present (referral form required)

RAF Centenary Gala - 31 March 2018

Royal Gala to mark the Centenary of the Royal Air Force on this special Easter weekend.
The Royal Air Force was formed on 1st April 1918 and on the eve of this historic event, our special and unique evening at the Royal Albert Hall will feature a star-studded programme to celebrate and commemorate the iconic and poignant occasions in its heroic 100 years and inspire the next 100 through our young people.
It will be a night of outstanding music, comedy, ceremonial drill, screen footage and personal recollections by those who have served – and continue to serve – in the defence of our country. Alongside some of our best known and treasured artists, you will see the Bands of the Royal Air Force, the Royal Air Force Squadronaires and Salon Orchestra alongside the Queen’s Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force Air Cadets .
Don’t miss this one in a Century occasion to show your support for the Royal Air Force as it marks its 100 years of outstanding service to the United Kingdom and be part of this unique tribute on 31st March.

Update on Carillion: Defence services to continue uninterrupted

Today's announcement about the financial situation of Carillion has no direct impact on services provided directly to those working for Defence, their families and the continuing work of the department.
Housing will continue to be serviced, catering facilities run, and buildings and offices cleaned, as well as other services the company is involved in providing.
There are extensive contingency plans for dealing with issues such as this to make sure that services to personnel and their families continue to be provided to a high standard. This remains a top priority for the department.
The facilities management contracts that provide catering, cleaning and maintenance services to Defence are all joint ventures involving partners in addition to Carillion. Contractually, these partners are required to continue to deliver services if one of the other partners fails. The department remains committed to these joint ventures, and has been working with relevant partners to ensure a smooth continuation of the provision of these services.
The MOD is confident in the robustness of these arrangements and the strength of the supporting suppliers.
Where Carillion is the sole provider of services, for example for construction projects, alternative arrangements are being put into place that will not affect Service personnel.
All Service personnel should continue to use pre-existing processes to report problems, including the use of the 24/7 helpdesk telephone numbers.”

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Jobs for military spouses: help AFF discover what more needs to be done

Can you help AFF to delve deeper into the reasons military spouses and partners choose to, or not to, work, and the associated challenges you face?
We are working with the Warwick Institute for Employment Research to discover how we compare to our civilian counterparts when it comes to accessing and remaining in employment. To help with our research, we are seeking military spouses or partners to take part in interviews and share their employment experiences.
Volunteer to help us with this important piece of work and receive a £15 Amazon voucher for taking part.
Click here to find out more.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Step into Health Information Days 2018

Places can be booked via  


Due to the appointment of a full-time Community Support Development Worker (AWS CSDW) in Lichfield, all community support activities (coffee mornings, youth clubs etc) have been under review to ensure that they best support the community and to establish that they are operating in accordance with Army Welfare and MOD policy. 

Although we appreciate the disappointment of having to postpone the commencement of the coffee mornings after the Christmas break, it is paramount that these groups are run correctly. 

Emily Arnold (CSDW) is working to ensure that these coffee mornings will be up and running as soon as possible. We will keep you informed of any further information and a relaunch date via Caroline at the HIVE.

If you have any further questions, please contact Emily at:

RAF Museum - 100 open cockpits and cabs - 25% off tickets for Serving Personnel and families

To obtain discount code please contact the HIVE on 01543 434362 or
Discount subject to availability

To book and/or for more information please click HERE

RBL - Social Isolation Project - Survey Closes 19th January 2018

The Royal British Legion is conducting research into loneliness and social isolation within the Armed Forces community.

The Legion wants to explore people’s awareness of loneliness and social isolation, how these issues are talked about and experienced within this community and ways in which we might be able to help.

If you have a connection to the Armed Forces, we would be very grateful if you would take approximately 10 minutes to complete this survey and share the link with any friends and family who also have a connection to the Armed Forces.

Please complete the survey:

There is a closing date of 19th January 2018 for the completion of the survey.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

HSBC Insight Events. Edinburgh, Birmingham & London during January.

HSBC UK Military Recruitment Scheme offers talented military leavers and Veterans a six-month paid role from May 2018 within established teams across their global businesses and functions in the UK. During your time with them, you’ll receive training, mentorship and networking, after which you may have the opportunity to redeploy within HSBC for another role.
HSBC Bank plc is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC’s international network comprises around 7,500 offices in over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.
The Scheme is open to all military leavers and Veterans, who have completed the initial military engagement period, and have the right to work in the UK.
If you want to find out more, book your place for HSBC’s Insight Event on Wednesday 10th January in Edinburgh, Monday 22nd January in Birmingham, or Friday 26th January in London.
To register your interest for this event, contact the CTP Central Bookings Team on 0203 162 4410 or email You will then receive a confirmation email informing you if you have secured a place with joining instructions for the event.

The January Issue Of Pathfinder Magazine Is Available Now

The latest issue of Pathfinder International Magazine is now avaialble online.
Our first issue of 2018 is packed with resettlement news, informative features and practical advice on a range of topics incuding:
  • What did the last budget mean for your Forces pension
  • Understanding the ‘Why’ behind opting for a career change
  • Job opportunities in the UK nuclear industry
  • Why 2018 will see more workers saying no to relocation
  • Part 2 of our look at a new career in the energy and utilities sector
  • An insight into the hospitality sector
  • A look at franchising in 2018
  • Advice on how to get on the property ladder with Forces Right To Buy (before it’s too late)
  • Practical tips on how to land ace the interview to your dream job
There’s plenty more with our regular feature from the Officers’ Assocation and Left Right Left magazine,
You can read Pathfinder International while online or you can download it to your phone, tablet or desktop so it’s available to read offline. Download the 3D Issue app via the links below and you will automatically receive each new issue as soon as it is published.


2018 Offers at the Union Jack Club

Click HERE for all the information on the above offers

The Annington Challenge in conjunction with The Outward Bound Trust - Summer 2018

Click HERE for more information
Do you know of a young person aged 11-19 who would relish the opportunity to experience a once-in-a-lifetime Outward Bound adventure this summer?
The Annington Challenge, run in conjunction with The Outward Bound Trust, gives young people from military families the chance to tackle their very own outward bound adventure and is now open to applications for summer 2018.
Challengers will camp out for two nights or more in some of the most beautiful and breath-taking parts of the UK and get the chance to tackle anything from abseiling, canoeing and gorge-walking to sailing, kayaking and climbing. They tackle these activities in small groups and are helped, instructed and inspired by one of the Outward Bound’s highly qualified and hugely motivating instructors.
The Annington Challenge, like all of the Outward Bound courses, aims to change how young people think and feel about themselves and their lives, by building their personal, social and emotional skills and giving them the ability to thrive at school, in further education, employment and in life. Participants learn a deep appreciation of the balance between risk, reward and responsibility and leave with transferrable, essential life skills, including:
  • Setting and achieving goals
  • Listening and communicating effectively
  • Facing a challenge with determination
  • Cooperation and collaboration
  • Maintaining a positive outlook, even when things get tough
  • Effective leadership skills
There are two courses available on The Annington Challenge – the Skills for Life Award and the Serious Adventure Award.

DMS(W) Jack and the Beanstalk - 31 Jan to 3 Feb

Friday, 5 January 2018


Click HERE for more information

Armed Forces Annual Report 2017

​The 2017 Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report was laid before Parliament yesterday:


In parallel, O2 became the 2000th signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant: 

Also available are an Annual Report summary document:

and a Covenant on a Page infographic:

The MOD’s official Twitter account, @DefenceHQ carried some excellent tweets, including coverage of the O2 signing.  

CarillionAmey - Guide to Living in Service Family Accommodation - updated

To view and/or download this latest Guide, please click HERE


Click HERE for more information

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Air Cadet Recuitment - Lichfield 2018

Contact us as soon as possible at to find out how you can join the largest Youth Organisation that offers Gliding, Target Shooting, Sports activities, Stem and Engineering camps, RAF base visits, Cyber courses and Duke of Edinburgh Awards! You can also leave with BTEC qualifications including those in Management and Leadership! 

We offer so many opportunities and all you have to do is take them, wear your uniform with pride (We provide this) and enjoy the experience! 

At 1206(Mercian)Squadron you not only make memories you also make lifelong friends! 


Mondays - 1830-2000 ages 10+

Thursdays - 1700-1830 5-9 year olds

£1.50 subs per child to help towards materials, snacks and drinks.

Youth Club will reopen week commencing Monday 8 January.

Emily Arnold
AWS Community Support Development Worker