Wednesday, 26 July 2017

FREE Family Learning Course at the Hughes Centre - Literacy (English)


V&A Museum, London - Pop Art in Print Exhibition at the Old Chester Library 28th July - 22nd October 2017

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Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Pop Art in Print Exhibition is at the old Chester Library from this Friday 28th July till Saturday 28th October 2017. More information is available here:https://www.chestervisualarts.com/

Armed Forces Covenant survey



The Armed Forces Covenant website has now been live for over a year and is being updated continually but to ensure the content meets the user's needs, we are currently hosting a customer survey - the feedback will help us improve the website's content. The survey will run until 31 July and can be accessed via the front page, 
https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk   

The Sandbag Times - The Online Magazine written by Veterans for Veterans



The Online Magazine written by Veterans for Veterans
The Sandbag Times brings you all the latest national and international Armed Forces and Veterans news. With insights each week into Veterans Charities, organisations, events and lots more.

To read the on-line edition, please click HERE

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Cheshire West & Chester - Regular Activities at Upton Library

upton library

Regular activities

  • Monday
  • Tablet and laptop tuition2.15pm - 3.15pm, weekly. One to one beginners sessions for those new to tablets or just getting started with a laptop. Booking is essential.
  • Tuesday
  • Under 5s Rhymetime2.15 - 2.45pm, term time only.
  • Happy hourBorrow two DVDs for the price of one every Tuesday and Friday 5.30 - 6.30pm.
  • Wednesday
  • Scrabble club10am - 12pm fortnightly
  • Thursday
  • Knit and natter group11.30am - 12.30pm.
  • Friday
  • Under 5s Storytime2.15 - 2.45pm term time only.
  • Happy hourBorrow two DVDs for the price of one every Tuesday and Friday 5.30 - 6.30pm.
  • Saturday
  • Children’s activities10am - 12pm alternate Saturdays board games club or craft session

Just For Families Incorporating The UK Forces Education Guide - Issue 6

Copies available in the HIVE
or
To read the on-line version, please click HERE

MOD Supporting Families with Childcare Costs



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Thursday, 20 July 2017

NHS veterans’ mental health services now available for armed forces personnel approaching discharge




Information for patients

Armed forces personnel approaching discharge can now get treatment and support at NHS veterans’ mental health services across England and thereafter into their civilian life, whether this is months or years later. 

If you are experiencing mental health difficulties, these services can provide a range of treatment and support in close liaison with Defence Medical Services (DMS).  This includes recognising the early signs of mental health problems and providing access to early treatment and support, as well as therapeutic treatment for complex mental health difficulties and psychological trauma.  Patients are also provided with help, where appropriate, with employment, reduction in alcohol consumption, housing and social support.

To access these services whilst you are still in the armed forces, you must meet the following criteria:

·         be a resident in England
·         have an identified or diagnosed mental health illness / disorder; AND
·         have a discharge date from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) or be found to be unfit for continued military service by their medical board; OR
·         have been identified by the Departments of Community Mental Health as requiring follow on psychiatric care on discharge from the MOD; OR
·         have had their pre-release medical and been identified by their DMS GP as requiring mental health transition support; OR
·         have had a pre-release medical before they self-refer.

If you wish to access these services once you are a veteran, you must meet the following criteria instead:


·         be a resident in England
·         have served in the UK armed forces for a full day
·         be registered with a GP practice in England or be willing to register with a GP
·         be able to provide your military service number or another form of acceptable proof of eligibility.

Extended Free Childcare Entitlement in Overseas Locations

EXTENDED FREE CHILDCARE ENTITLEMENT IN OVERSEAS LOCATIONS

BACKGROUND

1. In overseas locations the MOD provides services (or access to services) that, so far as is reasonably practicable, conform in type, scope and standard to that required by legislation in England (but paying due regard to the equivalent legislation in the Devolved Administrations).

2. The 2006 Childcare Act provided for 15 hours of childcare per week for 38 weeks of the year for 3 and 4 year olds free of charge. In overseas locations the MOD currently delivers this entitlement through places at MOD-provided settings or through access to the MOD Overseas Nursery Allowance.

3. The 2016 Childcare Act provides for an extension of the current entitlement and offers an additional 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year of free childcare for children that are eligible, with effect from 1 September 2017.

4. The additional 15 hours will be available to families where both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family) a minimum of 16 hours each per week. Parents each earning £100,000.00 or more do not qualify for the additional entitlement.

ENTITLEMENT

5. The additional entitlement will be introduced by government on 1 September 2017 across England and is mirrored in MOD locations overseas, using the same eligibility criteria defined under the 2016 Childcare Act above.

6. The additional entitlement has been trialled across England prior to the rollout on 1 September 2017. The MOD entitlement will not be backdated to include these periods.

7. In overseas locations where the MOD-provided settings have sufficient capacity, the additional entitlement will be provided through those settings, free of charge. Free childcare cannot be claimed when using childminders or nannies.

8. In overseas locations where there are no MOD-provided settings, or where MOD-provided settings lack sufficient capacity, the additional entitlement will be provided through the MOD Overseas Nursery Allowance.

9. The entitlement applies to eligible Service Personnel and entitled Civilians only. The latter means UK Based Civil Servants posted overseas or Specially Recruited for Overseas Service. Fee-paying contractors cannot apply.

NCT Lone Parent Support Group starting 24th July 2017 - The Wesley Centre

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Wesley Methodist Church Chester, St John Street, Chester, CH1 1DA.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Money Force - Car Buyer Calculator


Are you MoneyFit enough to own a car? Buying a car can be an expensive decision, but it’s not just the cost of buying it that you have to plan for.

Before you make any decisions look at MoneyForce's motoring pages with advice on buying a new carbuying a used car and information on car loans and finance.

You should also think about saving for the deposit or purchase price.

The CarBuyer calculator helps you think about the total monthly cost of running a car so you can make an informed decision. Use this in your budget planning to stay MoneyFit!

To access this useful tool: CLICK HERE

Monday, 17 July 2017

eMagazines - Free Reading for Library Members


Cheshire Libraries offer a wide range of eMagazines, which are free to library members. To access these, you must first register on the Magzter website and then create a library user account.
Further details can be found HERE

CarillionAmey - Rodents - Control/Treatment - All Year Round


If you suspect you have rodents in your property, read our advice on how to treat the problem and the steps you can take to prevent future infestations. It also advises how we treat different rodents and how long treatment normally takes. Click HERE to read more

Fraudsters are sending out messages claiming to be from WhatsApp in order to steal banking and personal information

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Fraudsters are claiming to be from WhatsApp in order to steal banking and personal information, also by text: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/why-these-fake-whatsapp-emails-and-texts-will-catch-people-out-jul17

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Just for Her Magazine - Issue 14

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Copies available at the HIVE

Cheshire Police - Warning Issued following Hoax HMRC Calls

Over the past 24 hours officers have received three separate reports from residents in the Northwich area who have received calls from a man purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

On each occasion the victim was told they were being investigated by HMRC for an outstanding tax balance and if they didn’t settle the balance then they would be arrested. The caller was then informed that if they paid the balance within two hours they will not be arrested, and then told that the balance could only be settled using iTunes vouchers.

The victims were then advised to visit a high street supermarket or electronics store to purchase the vouchers and then call back the hoax caller and provide them with the serial numbers from the vouchers to settle their debt.

Chief Inspector Simon Meegan said: “In each of these cases the victims have been told that they must purchase hundreds of pounds worth of vouchers or face the prospect of being arrested; which has caused anxiety and concern for all of the victims.

“Thankfully in all three cases the victims did not fall for the scam and no money changed hands. However, having been made aware of these incidents we are working closely with local supermarkets and electronics stores to help prevent vulnerable residents from purchasing large quantities of vouchers.

“I would also like to remind local residents that HMRC would never call you and ask you to settle a balance over the phone using vouchers. I advise anyone who believes that they may have been a victim to call us on 101.”

Anyone who believes they have been contacted fraudulently or have been a victim of fraud should call Cheshire Police on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Further details can be found HERE

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Parents urged to remind teenagers to get MenACWY vaccine

Parents are being reminded this summer to encourage their 18 year old children to get vaccinated against deadly meningitis and septicaemia. Those who are due to leave school this summer, or aged 17 to 18 and are not in school (born between 1 September 1998 and 31 August 1999) are now eligible.
The MenACWY jab protects against 4 strains of meningococcal disease which cause meningitis and septicaemia, known as strains A, C, W and Y. MenW is one of the most aggressive and life threatening forms and meningococcal disease can be fatal.
Further information can be found HERE

New online maps to help Britons experience their local greenspaces

Ordnance Survey has released a comprehensive map of greenspaces throughout Great Britain.

Further information can be found HERE

Nearly-new car buyers advised to check tax rates


DVLA is reminding those thinking of changing their car this summer to find out if new tax rates could affect them.
For further information, please click HERE

Join the Blacon Health Walk - Thursdays meeting at 10.15am at United Reformed Church, Blacon

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Visually Impaired Football - Saturdays 11-12 at Goals Soccer Centre, Bumpers Lane, Chester

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Veterans' Housing Advice


NHS Choices - Healthcare for the Armed Forces Community




Healthcare information and support for the UK's 10 million-strong armed forces community, including serving personnel, reservists, families and veterans.

Serving
Healthcare services and contacts for serving armed forces personnel. 

Transition 

Services and advice for service personnel returning to duty or leaving the forces after wounding, injury or sickness.

Veterans, families and reservists
Information and support services for veterans, families and reservists.

To visit the website CLICK HERE

Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme


Down's Syndrome Footy Sessions - from Tuesday 18th July 5-6pm at Goals Soccer Centre, Bumpers Lane, Chester

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Monday, 10 July 2017

Defence Discount Service - npower launches its most competitive tariff for ‘Everyday Heroes’


Today, npower launches ‘Everyday Heroes Fix’, a new tariff exclusively for employees of the emergency services, NHS and Armed Forces, who hold either Blue Light Card or Defence Discount Service memberships. The tariff is on average npower’s most competitive deal* and fixes energy prices until December 2018, offering these everyday heroes a great deal on their energy and protects them from price rises until the end of next year.

The tariff is exclusively available to Blue Light Card or Defence Discount Service members, regardless of whether they are a new or existing npower customer, pay by Direct Debit or on receipt of bill, as long as they manage their account online. The npower offer is available by logging on to bluelightcard.co.uk or defencediscountservice.co.uk.

AFF Secures Better Access to Student Loans for Army Spouses and Partners


AFF secures better access to student loans for Army spouses and partners

The Army Families Federation (AFF) is celebrating a change to Student Finance England's loan qualifying criteria, which will allow more Army families to access a loan when undertaking a UK based course.

As of 1 August 2017, families posted overseas who wish to undertake a qualifying UK based university or college course can now access a loan via Student Finance England even if they are not in the UK on the first day of their chosen course. This applies to both full and part time courses.

An AFF win
This AFF win was originally announced by the Universities Minister Jo Johnson back in 2016, after much lobbying by the charity and joint working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The change applies to new students starting a distance learning course in 2017/18 and also to those who have already started a distance learning course before and who are continuing that course in 2017/18.

Unfortunately, this does not apply to those from the devolved nations. To be eligible, you must qualify for the English student support package.

Friday, 7 July 2017


The Frontline ‘Women in War Issue’, is now available online. On the century formation of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps., this issue of Frontline follows both women currently serving in the Armed Forces and Veterans. This includes an interview with Lt Col Lucy Anderson MBE, veteran Charmaine Coleman as well as Olympian Major Heather Stanning OBE. Follow the link to read online:

https://issuu.com/soldierscharity/docs/frontline_july_17/2

NHS Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service

CarillionAmey - Black Garden Ants - Handy Guide


Black ants can be found in your garden. They can invade our homes for a variety of reasons and cause plenty of problems if you don’t know how to control them. CarillionAmey have written up a handy guide for you to advise of treatment and prevention should you find an ant infestation: HERE

Cheshire West and Chester - No Food Waste Stickers on Black Bins


When food gets disposed of in the black bins it increases greenhouse gas pollution which is bad for the environment, this is not great as bins are collected every two weeks in Cheshire West and Chester.
We have a great food waste recycling collection in the area where food waste is taken away every week via the brown food recycling bin. All the food waste we collect gets recycled to generate energy to power our homes and produce fertiliser to help our farmers grow crops.  
So it’s cleaner, greener and more efficient for everyone if we all recycle our food waste every week. 
To encourage and remind our residents to use the brown bin we are putting a  ‘No Food Waste’ sticker on  all black bins in Cheshire West and Chester. Look out for the sticker on your bin between Monday 26 June 2017 and Friday 7 July 2017. If for any reason your bin has not been stickered feel free to call us on 0300 123 7026 and we will send a sticker out to you.
To see the Food Waste Recycling Leaflet, please click HERE

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

ARK Sculpture Exhibition - Chester Cathedral - 7th July - 15th October 2017


The largest FREE TO ENTER contemporary and modern sculpture exhibition to be held in the north west of England.

ARK will feature 90 works of art by more than 50 celebrated sculptors,
including Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley, Lynn Chadwick, Barbara Hepworth,
Sarah Lucas, David Mach, Elisabeth Frink, Eduardo Paolozzi, Kenneth Armitage and Peter Randall-Page.


Further details can be found HERE

Predators Exhibition - Warrington Museun & Art Gallery

The world’s fiercest animals have been spotted on the prowl in Warrington!
Explore Dr Herringbone’s Predatorium in a new exhibition at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, featuring specially-selected artefacts, taxidermy and artwork from the museum’s collection.
This family-friendly display will give visitors a chance to discover interesting and unusual facts about nature’s top hunters in a new and refreshing way.  From the guts and gore of the hunt to the grossness of animal dung,
Further details can be found HERE

Domestic Abuse: Guidance & Support for The Armed Forces Community


Follow the gov.uk website HERE

AFF Achieves Housing Success on Behalf of Army Families

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AFF achieves housing success on behalf of Army families

The Army Families Federation (AFF) is celebrating a success for those living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) who have recently faced unfair increases to their accommodation charge.

Many families contacted AFF to say their rental charge or final charge had unexpectedly increased by an unreasonable amount without proper notice and without a chance to appeal.

Fighting for families
On behalf of these families, AFF approached housing organisations Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and CarillionAmey (CA) to push for a fair outcome in accordance with the original guidelines of the CAAS system. The original guidelines stated that rental increases would be implemented on a transitional basis and that any changes to the final charge as a result of a survey or data review would be able to be appealed within a contracted time scale.

AFF has now announced that DIO has agreed to investigate where properties have jumped by two or more rental bands - some families told the charity they had received a letter to say their rent would jump by three bands.

A new letter will now be sent to affected families advising of the planned increase and offering them 28 days to appeal the decision. Any subsequent increase will then only be enforced 93 days after the date of receipt of the letter, unless the appeal is successful.

Families' feedback vital
AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade said, "This has been a long and complicated issue, but we have fought on behalf of the families affected to achieve a fairer deal including protection from large jumps in rental charges, as promised to families when the new accommodation charge was first introduced. It is thanks to families' feedback that we've been able to approach DIO confidently and achieve a positive result."

To find out more about the housing support and advice AFF offers to Army families, visit their website www.aff.org.uk

Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation - Health Visiting Advice Line



Further Details can be found HERE

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

GCSEs are Changing

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This is a handy link to help understand the changes to GCSEs this summer and how these changes could affect you: https://newgcses.campaign.gov.uk/

Monday, 3 July 2017

Service Family Accommodation

​See information from DIO about Service Families Accommodation in these video links