Wednesday, 11 April 2018

WASPS Armed Forces Day - Free Tickets for Sat 14 April

Click HERE to register for your FREE tickets
Closing Date for registration is 11 April

Thursday, 22 March 2018



-          MONDAY 1830-2000 FOR 10+ YEAR OLDS
-          THURSDAY 1700-1830 FOR 5-9 YEAR OLDS




AFF celebrates visa success on behalf of F&C Army families

The Army Families Federation (AFF) is delighted that after five years of lobbying on their behalf, Foreign & Commonwealth (F&C) Army families should now find the process of applying for a visa to enter the UK much easier and fairer, thanks to the addition of an 'Armed Forces' option on the form.

Change needed
Since 2013, when the new Armed Forces immigration rules came into effect, all non-EEA family members of soldiers wishing to apply for a visa to enter the UK have had to use an online form.

Unfortunately, the form didn't have an option to apply as the spouse of a soldier, which created a number of problems.

Tackling unfair disadvantage
AFF has fought tirelessly for this to be changed and is pleased to learn that the form has now been updated to include an Armed Forces option.

AFF's Foreign & Commonwealth Specialist Katherine Houlston, who deals with Army families' visa related queries and concerns, said:

"This is a positive change for families and a great success for AFF. This should now mean less confusion over what type of visa applicants should select, which will lead to fewer rejected applications. Families should now find that completing the form is a much simpler process."

The charity, who last year dealt with over 2,000 F&C enquiries, 67 per cent of those relating to visas, says that the vital difference to families is that they will no longer have to pay the immigration health surcharge upfront and then wait months for a refund.

Find out more
All new visa applicants should now submit their applications via

To find more about AFF's work in support of F&C families, visit their brand new website,

Family fun at Birmingham Museums this easter

It wouldn’t be an Easter school holiday without a jam-packed schedule of delights and surprises at Birmingham Museums. With a range of spring-themed arts and crafts to get creativity blooming, and sprinkling of fairy magic at Aston Hall, let little ones’ imaginations run wild this Easter!

Click HERE for more information

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Lichfield - Easter Holiday Fun

There are lots of fun activities for children and young people over the school holidays.
Click HERE for more information

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The Coffee Box - Messy Play Wednesday 21 March

Tomorrow on Messy Play Wednesday we will be playing with salt dough. We will then bake your creations, ready to paint and decorate the following week. 

Emily Arnold

Army Medial Services Open Evening - 22 March

A specialist recruitment team will host an insight evening into life in the Army Medical Services as a nurse, doctor, dentist or even a vet.
There are many medical officer and soldier roles on offer with bursaries or paid training available.
Guidance will be given on specialist roles with both the Army Reserves (part time) and Regulars (full time).
Please get in touch to secure a place. Slots are available at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm. You will need to bring a driving licence or similar form of identification.
Call the Armed Forces Careers Office on 0121 633 6450 or email for more information or if you have any questions.

100 Years of the RAF Festival - 1/2 April

CarillionAmey: Online Furniture Request/Removal Form Now Available

Customers wishing to make a request for additional furniture or removal of Service furniture whilst they are living in their SFA can now download and complete a form online. 

For further details please visit

AFF Understanding Overseas 2018

Click HERE to take part in the survey

Monday, 19 March 2018

Defence Discount Service TalkTalk Offer Fixed Low Priced Broadband & Fibre
Fast broadband at £18.95 on a 12m contract

Faster Fibre at £22.50 on a 12m contract

Both have free setup
T&C's apply  Click HERE for more information

Friday, 16 March 2018

TV Licence increase as at 1st April 2018

The cost of a TV Licence will change on 1 April 2018. A colour licence will cost £150.50, an increase of £3.50 on the current fee. A black and white licence will cost £50.50, an increase of £1.

There will be no change to the free TV Licence for people over 75.

If you are blind (severely sight impaired), you will still be able to apply for a 50% concession. This means a colour licence costs £75.25, an increase of £1.75.

For Further Information CLICK HERE

Childcare Vouchers Scheme extended for a further six months

The government has agreed to delay the closure of the workplace childcare voucher system for six months.

Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education and member of Parliament (MP) for East Hampshire, confirmed at the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday 13 March 2018) that the April deadline for the abolition of employer-supported childcare vouchers would be extended for a further six months.

The removal of workplace childcare vouchers is to make way for the government’s tax-free childcare scheme, which was introduced from April 2017. The tax-free childcare policy will provide parents with children under the age of 12 up to £2,000 a year per child to help cover childcare costs.

An Introduction to Pensions for Serving Personnel

See the Army Transition Information Sheet on PENSIONS at this link

Defence Discount Service - Papa John's Online offer

Click HERE for more details

Defence Discount Services - Alton Towers Resort - Save up to 49%

Save up to 49% off tickets at Alton Towers resort.
T&C apply
Click HERE for more details

Alton Towers park reopens on the 17th March 2018

Defence Discount Service - Starbucks Offer

Receive 10% off the whole bill at Starbucks.  Defence Privilege Card members can then enjoy their 10% discount with friends and family at all Starbucks stores across the UK and Ireland, by simply showing their card at the till point.

Click HERE to sign up to Defence Discount Service

SSAFA and Haven Holidays Offer

SSAFA have joined partnership with Haven to provide discounted holidays (5% during school holidays and 10% at other times) for Armed Forces personnel and their families. You can save up to an additional 5% when you travel over the school over and bank holidays, and up to 10% across all other dates in 2018.
T&C's apply

Your chance to Dance in Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Handover

Culture Central are looking for 2,022 young people aged 16 - 25 to take part in a mass performance as part of the Flag Handover Ceremony ready for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

2,022 young people will come together in a secret city-centre location for a performance choreographed by Rosie Kay that will be broadcast live to one billion people and celebrate Birmingham's status as one of the youngest and most diverse cities in the UK, showing off what the city has to offer ready for the games in four years time.

The official ceremony will take place on 15th April 2018 and will see young people and artists from across Birmingham come together as part of the Closing Ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.Applications are open to anyone from 16-25, from trained dancer to total beginner. It truly is a once in a life opportunity to get involved in one of the biggest events in Birmingham's history!

Find out more here.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Self-Employment Discovery Workshop Birmingham 18 June

Croucher Room Victoria Square House 81 New Street Birmingham B2 4BA
Whether you’ve already started working on your business idea, or are just considering self-employment, come along to our business workshop and meet like-minded people.
This practical workshop will take you through the pros and cons of self-employment. Working both as a group and individually, you will gain an awareness of what starting up a business means; to you, your family, and your finances.
By the end of this one-day workshop you will have a better idea of what starting a business entails, and have a clear understanding of what support is on offer, so you can plan your next steps. X-Forces will provide ongoing support to those who choose to pursue self-employment, providing expert guidance as you plan and launch your business.
Click HERE for full details

Beacon Park Lichfield - Poppy seed sowing 18 March

Sing for Pleasure - Vocal Workshop for Female Voices - 7 April

Urgent call for blood donors

There is an urgent call for blood donors.  To give blood call 0300 1232323 or visit  

Reserves Experience London 2018.

If you want to do something uniquely different and potentially life changing, then you should attend the Reserves Experience on 28 Mar 18, Victoria Street Conference Centre, London.  You will be able to explore the learning and development opportunities available within the Reserve Forces.  Click HERE to register

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

DMS (Whittington) Families Day - Save the Date

The DMS(W) Families Day is planned for Saturday 23 Jun 18 1200 to 1600 hrs.  All DMS(W) military and civilian personnel and their families are invited. 

To make the day a success we need willing volunteers to join us.  As a volunteer you can either make a commitment to set-up and run a stall or simply help out on the day for 1-2 hours.

To volunteer please email the Welfare Team SG HDT-DMSW-0Welfare (MULTIUSER)

Service Family Hot Topics

See the Mar 18 edition of the Service Families Hot Topics newsletter at this link

Click on this link: Service Families Newsletter Oct 17 to view latest issue of Service Family Hot Topics


St Giles Hospice will be inviting local families to remember their loved ones and celebrate their lives with an orange gerbera at their special memorial gardens in Whittington and Lichfield this spring.
For a donation relatives and friends are being invited to dedicate a unique gerbera sign, which is personalized with the name of their loved one. The colourful sign will then be placed in the special Celebrate Lives Lived garden at the hospice in Fisherwick Road, Whittington throughout May. There will also be a special garden in Lichfield's Beacon Park later in the month.
Abi Mills, In Memoriam Giving Manager said: "The creation of our annual Celebrate Lives Lived garden is always a special time for everybody at St Giles as we mark the arrival of spring with a bright and uplifting display of celebration and remembrance.
"This year St Giles has chosen the orange gerbera flower, which is a symbol of joy, happiness and warmth, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the hospice."
Families can choose to have their personalised gerbera in the gardens at any one of the hospice centres in Whittington, Sutton Coldfield, Uttoxeter and Walsall throughout the month of May. New for 2018 and in partnership with Lichfield District Council, St Giles will also have a Celebrate Lives Lived garden in Beacon Park, Lichfield, for ten days from Monday, 21st to Thursday, 31st May 2018, which will be open between 12pm - 4pm.
To dedicate your gerbera, visit or call the St Giles Hospice Supporter Development Team on 01543 432538. 
The closing date for Celebrate Lives Lived dedications is Friday, 20th April, 2018.
There is no specified minimum donation for this service.

Celebrate Lives Lived is supported this year by Tamworth-based business

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Royal Humane Society - Nominate

Do you know someone who has put his or her life at risk to save, or attempt to save, another person, or someone who has carried out a successful resuscitation?
Do you know someone who has saved a life by timely first aid, such as stopping arterial bleeding?
If so, you should be aware of The Royal Humane Society - a charity that grants awards for acts of bravery in the saving of human life and also for the restoration of life by resuscitation.
Awards may be granted to those who have put their own lives at risk to save or attempt to save someone else. The awards granted for these acts of bravery include bronze, silver and gold
medals and testimonials on vellum or parchment.
Anyone can make a nomination to them and they would like to hear from you (further details can be found at

The 2018 International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes takes place 17-22 May.

The 2018 International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes takes place 17-22 May.

After World War II, French soldiers and their chaplains invited German soldiers and their chaplains to gather and pray together. This initiative sought to heal memories, reconcile the past by recognising their common identity as Christians in need of peace. Since 1958 the pilgrimage has expanded to include other countries of Europe, the Americas and other states.

All are Welcome. 
        More information and booking forms from Fr Smith ext 4212 or contact the HIVE for Father Smith's contact details.

Veterans' Gateway Newsletter

​See the Veterans Gateway Newsletter 2018 at this link.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Carters Steam Fair - Beacon Park Lichfield - 21/22 July

Admission free. Opening times: Saturday 12 noon - 10.30pm; Sunday 12 noon - 8pm
Dogs welcome but please keep them on the lead. FREE fireworks after 9pm Saturday night.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018 Military Life Insurance - Buy now and Get a £50 Amazon Voucher*

To obtain a quote or for full policy details, please click HERE

Inter Services Football - 14 March

New Military Mental Health Helpline 0800 323 4444

The Ministry of Defence has launched the 24/7 Military Mental Health Helpline.  The new number - 0800 323 4444 - is open now and targeted at serving personnel and their families, allowing them to access the help, advice and support they need anywhere, anytime.

LittleTroopers Summer Camp - 6-8 July

 Summer Camp is a much loved event in the Little Troopers calendar and we are really pleased it will be making a return in 2018.

Open to all regular or reserve British Armed Forces families, join us for a weekend of activities, camping, making new friends and memories while celebrating your Little Troopers.

6th, 7th & 8th July 2018 hosted at Pirbright Barracks.

All the details and ticket booking is HERE

Service Family Accommodation - Problems with your boiler or heating?

Click HERE for more details
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Monday, 5 March 2018

Staffordshire Smart Alert

Want to know what's going on in your area? Download the Staffordshire Smart Alert app or register online HERE and start receiving free, localised crime alerts, information and advice from your local officer 

Friday, 2 March 2018

Adopt with SSAFA

please click on image to enlarge

For more information please click HERE

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Army Families Federation Army & You Magazine

Army&You is the only magazine of its kind. With essential information, news, features and exclusive real-life stories from Army families. It’s for everyone with a soldier in their life.

Under new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into force in May, families in mainland UK will now need to opt-in to receive Army&You magazine through their door. 

AFF has launched a ‘Count Me In’ campaign alongside the spring edition – out today. Army families can subscribe for FREE via  

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Friday, 23 February 2018

Defence Discount Service - Prezzo Offer

JSHAO Housing Briefs

The MoD provides civilian housing information to members of the Armed Forces via the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO).  JSHAO is the MOD’s tri-service focal point providing Service personnel and their family members with pertinent information for those considering civilian accommodation at any time in their career, and for those during resettlement to assist with the transition to civilian life.  The bulk of this information is via a 2-2½ hr presentation with 1-1 consults available.

An Independent Financial Mortgage Adviser who is a member of SIIAP (Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel) which is recognised by the MOD as supporting the Armed Forces (refer 2013DIN01-218), accompanies JSHAO at the briefings.

Each JSHAO briefing is notified on all HIVE blogs regardless of location to ensure maximum coverage to the Service community. 

Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Army Parents’ Network

The Army Parents' Network was launched on 28 Sep as part of national inclusion week. The aim of the Network is to support Serving Army Parents and the Chain of Command by providing access to information, advice and peer support.  The page will promote information on relevant topics (including policy updates and useful articles) and will also act as a forum for individuals to ask questions for other members to provide advice – all questions asked can be posted anonymously.  This Facebook group is a closed group with access limited to Serving Army personnel only. If you would like to join please answer the two questions when you apply and your application will be authorised.