When the posting order says Northern Ireland you may be worried. Is it safe to go? Can I get a job? But as many Army families who live there will testify, there are lots of positives to residing across the water. AFF NI Co-ordinator Hazel Dobson tells us more…
FIRSTLY, if you do need extra support in your Army life, there are many people whose specific role is to help you, including AFF of course.
Generally, AFF receives numerous enquiries on housing issues, but there’s no shortage of SFA in NI and there’s often a choice of property type.
With less housing stock to look after, many families get to know the maintenance team and the CarillionAmey rep comes along to coffee mornings so issues can be looked into quickly.
The Families’ Employment Advisory Team, unique to NI, can help you ‘civilianise’ your CV, offer advice on suitable locations, interview techniques and completing application forms.
If you want to study locally or do volunteer work, it can help with that too – email RC-AWS-N-Lisburn-FEATmailbox@mod.uk
Local school places are usually easily obtained and the standard of education is generally high, with more than 60 grammar schools in the province.
There is a dedicated Children’s Education Support Officer (RC-AWS-N-Lisburn-CESO@mod.uk) who can help with all education issues and enquiries.
Getting out and about
It’s easy to travel, with country, seaside or city days out reachable from the three SFA locations.
If you can’t drive, it’s a great place to learn with quieter roads and a SSAFA scheme funding 50 per cent off ten lessons. Check the HIVE blog at nihives.blogspot.co.uk for more information.
While life can be very much normal and we are encouraged to get involved in the community, there are some security restrictions. To compensate, your soldier receives the NIRS – Northern Ireland Residents’ Supplement – which is a taxable allowance currently set at £7.58 per day. You also get three family warrants a year and extra leave to travel to and from GB.