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News Round-up

One-stop service

The MoD has announced that the Covenant Fund will work with The RBL and other charities to set up a one-stop service to better support the UK’s Armed Forces veterans community. 

The £2 million Veterans Gateway programme will help veterans find and access advice and support on a broad range of issues, including healthcare and housing

 The new service will provide a 24/7 phone number, with an empathetic and professional voice at the end of the line, a dedicated website and a mobile app to make it easier for former Service personnel to access support on a range of issues including housing, employability and health.

It will give veterans, regardless of age or location, a simple point of contact to turn to for advice and help in accessing an array of public, private and charitable services which are out there

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Simply Pull Up A Sandbag

Big-hearted - Phil Bennett is on a mission to help other former soldiers and serving military personnel with a social networking website called Pull Up A Sandbag, which aims to raise cash for Service charities through commercial advertisingFolks should not have to dig deep in their pockets or perform extreme feats of endurance to raise cash for Forces charities, reckons one-time soldier Phil Bennett.

That’s why he’s launched social networking website Pull Up A Sandbag, which aims to generate funds to support veterans purely through commerical advertising – so no one has to donate a penny.

The only hitch is, Phil needs current and former members of the Services to flock to his free website ( and register for it to work. The more people who join, the more advertisers he can attract, and the more cash can be raised.

He has been inspired by the phenomenal success of Facebook and intends to adopt the best elements of social networking to make a success of his “no gimmicks” venture.

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Down to a fine art

Hanging in London – Justine Simpson Worboys' painting of the Duchess of Cambridge hanging at the art exhibition in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster AbbeyBFG-based professional artist Justine Simpson Worboys has another feather in her cap now that two of her original paintings are on display at St Margaret’s Church at Westminster Abbey.

Justine, who lives in Mönchengladbach and is a member of the Army Arts Society, created the works, titled The Poppy and The Duchess of Cambridge, especially for the In the Public Eye exhibition in London.

She was delighted to be asked by Col Jason Rhodes, chairman of the society, to submit artwork for the event – which runs until November 27.  

Justine said: “I was thrilled that he was happy for me to submit something, especially considering he had not seen the artwork yet.”

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Now that's a homecoming!

More than £4 billion will be invested to create a better defence estate for the UK’s Armed Forces and their families, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced on  November 7.

This follows a pledge made last week by Mr Fallon to invest more than £1.1 billion in facilities in the south of England to support troops returning from Germany.

It means that, in total, more than £5 billion has been earmarked to defence infrastructure in the past two weeks. 

Some 130 new buildings will be completed on Salisbury Plain in a four-year construction programme (2016-2020). The additional infrastructure will enable the Army to withdraw from Germany and deliver the major part of the Army Basing Programme (ABP)

As part of Project Allenby Connaught (PAC) initiative, the 25-year contract has been awarded to Aspire Defence Limited.

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