Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Concessionary travel on TFL for Veterans

This is an excerpt from the TFL website: If you receive payments under the War Pensions Scheme, or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Schemes, you may be eligible for concessionary travel.

With a Veterans Oyster photocard you can travel free on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London.

You may be eligible for a Veterans Oyster photocard if you're:

  • Receiving ongoing payments - in your name - under the War Pensions Scheme: this includes widows, widowers and dependants
  • Receiving Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme - in your name: this includes widows, widowers and dependants

Ongoing payments are awarded to service personnel who have sustained a certain level of physical or psychological injury in the line of duty. If you received a one-off gratuity payment instead of ongoing payments, then you're not eligible for a Veterans Oyster photocard

Read the full article on the TFL website

Find out how to apply for a Veterans Oyster photocard

Thanks to Peter Bradley for making aware of this on our Facebook page - if you have any savings or advice that you'd like to share with other veterans, please do get in touch.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Chancellor of Exchequer removes right to transfer from Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has implemented his plan to remove your right to transfer out of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme as of 5th April 2015.

If you have any questions relating to your Armed Forces Pension, please call the Veterans UK Helpline free on 0808 191 4218 

Alternatively find your local contact centre online.  

Please remember that it is your responsibility to claim your Armed Forces Pension on reaching 60 or 65 depending on what scheme you are part of.  

Don’t be one of the thousands who have lost out over the years.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Prince Harry opens Speke House in Liverpool

We were delighted to welcome Prince Harry to open Speke House in Liverpool on Wednesday 25th February 2015.

Read more about his visit at AF&V, or on the Chronicle Live website

Watch Prince Harry meet with Veterans at Speke House, Liverpool on the BBC

Find out more about AF&V Launchpad's Speke House

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Avondale House – One Year On

Launched in August 2013, Avondale House is an initiative by the AF&V Launchpad charity, offering subsidised rental accommodation exclusively for service veterans and their partners making the transition to civilian life.

Avondale House has proved to be more than simply a place for veterans and their partners to live while looking for civilian jobs; it’s a community of friends living on the Byker Estate with a common purpose: to look after themselves, seek employment and establish their own businesses, contributing to the wider community in Newcastle.

Residents helped clean Killingworth WWII memorial prior to ceremony to remember fallen soldiers
Launchpad’s latest figures show that even after only a year, Avondale House is already reaching its goals in regard to alleviating homelessness and increasing employment opportunities:
  • Previously homeless residents: 51
  • Previously unemployed residents now self-employed: 1
  • Residents participating in employability-improving education or training: 35
  • Previously unemployed residents now in employment: 20

In addition, Avondale House residents are genuinely engaging with the initiative and their community – and demonstrating significantly improved life-skills:
  • Residents taking responsibility for and mentoring other veterans: 14
  • Residents participating in community-based projects: 17
  • Residents showing and improved ability to manage personal finances and avoid debt: 8
Residents of Avondale House maintain the Forces’ mantra of "healthy body, healthy mind" with free fitness and wellbeing classes, open days and community events
Avondale House residents are making the most of – and contributing towards – the community, which is helping them to demonstrate improved self-confidence, self-reliance and resilience and allowing them to actively engage in planning their own futures on Civvy Street.

Find out more about Launchpad

Thanks to the partner organisations that assist us:

Newcastle City CouncilABF The Soldiers' Charity

Big Lottery FundJob Centre Plus

Monday, 4 August 2014

100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One

The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One is to be marked in events across the World.

Britain declared war with Germany at 23:00 BST on 4 August, 1914.

Commemorations are being led by key figures across the globe taking part in services of remembrance.

People are encouraged to switch their lights out between 22:00 and 23:00 BST, with candlelit vigils being planned.

The Lights Out project was inspired by the words of wartime foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey.

On the eve of war, he said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

We will remember them.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Pensions deadline looms for Armed Forces veterans

This week the government announced the legislative changes to the pensions system outlined in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget in March – and the consequences for veterans of Britain’s Armed Forces.

Under the new rules, members of private sector and funded public sector defined benefit (DB) pension schemes will be able to transfer to defined contribution (DC) schemes – such as a Personal Pension or SIPP – which allow much more freedom, including the option for those aged from 55-57 to access up to 100% of their pensions as a lump sum, or to leave 100% to loved ones.

However, members of unfunded public sector schemes such as the Armed Forces will not be able to transfer their pensions after April 2015.

The reason behind this apparent disparity is because unfunded schemes are supported by general taxation rather than relying on the reserves and assets set aside by funded schemes – which means that approved transfers could have a major impact on the Exchequer’s coffers.

If you served in the UK Armed Forces for more than 2 years and would like to find out about your options regarding your pension benefits, then get in touch with us now for a free no-obligation review.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

AFV-Launchpad receives £171k grant from the Big Lottery Fund

It is with great pleasure that the AF&V charity, AFV Launchpad, took receipt of a cheque for £ 171,288 from the Big Lottery Fund today. AFV Launchpad helps those vulnerable armed forces veterans returning to civilian live in Newcastle.

While in uniform, support for servicemen and women includes planning for accommodation and job search, however, all support ceases once they have left the Forces. Those who leave early may have only had a month or two with the Forces after leaving school and so are unprepared to find employment, accommodation. Older veterans have become dependent on the Forces providing them with meals, accommodation, clothing and financial budgeting. Many are slow to plan for leaving and don’t take full advantage of the support while it is offered when they are still in uniform.

AF&V Launchpad supports such veterans. The charity offers accommodation at Avondale House on the Byker Estate reserved solely for veterans and their partners where they are offered training, work placements and job search skills. They are also offered skills in cooking, welfare, benefits, GP and dentist registration, financial management and developing social networks through sport and volunteering.

David Shaw, Chairman of AF&V Launchpad, said: “The Big Lottery Fund grant that Armed Forces' & Veterans' Launchpad has just been given is hugely important - it enables the charity to pay for the manager of Avondale House in Newcastle for the next five years as well as provide some much-needed training facilities.  Through close partnership with the Byker Community Trust, Launchpad has provided 34 refurbished flats to veterans of the armed forces and their partners in Newcastle, in Avondale House, on the Byker Estate.

“The new manager will run the house, developing good connections with partner organisations, ensuring the house is full of residents, helping the residents with financial and social matters, as well as ensuring the infrastructure is well maintained.  Working with other organisations in the public, private and third sectors, the new manager will assist the veterans in finding permanent jobs and accommodation. Veterans will also receive training to ensure they stand as good a chance of finding jobs as they can.

“Since opening in August 2013, over 40 veterans have used, or are using, the facilities and assistance provide by Launchpad through Avondale House. Given that about 10 per cent of members of the armed forces come from the North East and then return home there, and given the number of applicants Launchpad has already experienced, there is no doubt that many veterans will benefit from this project in the future.  As a consequence of the creation of Launchpad and thanks to Big Lottery funding, fewer veterans in the North East will suffer homelessness, unemployment and social exclusion.”

For more information visit the AFV Launchpad website