Friday, 8 December 2017

Advice on keeping your cat safe over Christmas

With Christmas coming upon us fast, it's an exciting time but it's a time of year that can be a little stressful for pets and especially cats. A lot of cats get wary when strangers appear in their homes and the added noise of the festivities can stress them out too. Obviously not all cats will run away and hide, but many do sneak off to quieter areas of the house when lots of people show up at Christmas time.
Below are a few tips on how to make sure your moggy stays safe and happy over the Christmas period.

Kennel Club's advice on harmful items for dogs over the Christmas period

From your dog's perspective, Christmas is a time of the year when lots of unusual and exciting things are brought into your home, making it a very tempting time for them to get up to all sorts of mischief.  Interesting foods, unusual plants and trees, attractive decorations and Christmas presents will all be of great interest to your dog, but some of these things may be harmful if eaten. 


The list below may appear like a long list of things for your dog to avoid, but it is important to remember that they are not human, and that some human foods can be very dangerous to dogs.  If you wish to give your dog a treat this Christmas, please ensure that it is something dog-friendly and avoid giving them the foods listed below.

The Twelve Frauds of Christmas by City of London Police

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Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee (VAPC)

Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee (VAPC) – New Members
Veterans UK is part of the Ministry of Defence with responsibility for the administration of Compensation and Pension Schemes and for the provision of Welfare services to veterans. It also acts as the Sponsor Department for the Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee (VAPC), a Non-Departmental Public Body whose Chairmen and Members are appointed by the Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans. 
The roles of the VAPC include raising awareness of the War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Schemes, the Veterans UK Welfare Service and the availability of cross government support to Veterans and their families assisting veterans in accessing local services as envisaged under the Armed Forces Covenant. The VAPC also provide support to Veterans UK by monitoring its welfare service and assisting individuals with any problems or complaints they have regarding the war pensions or AFCS claims process and much more besides.
The VAPC is looking for new members for 12 of its 13 regional committees and 2 Chairmen, one to lead the Wales committee and another to lead the South East committee. The positions are voluntary, unpaid roles but travel, subsistence and loss of earnings may be payable.
For full details please see these links

RHL's Tombola Raffle

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Rushmoor's Best Christmas Shop Window Display competition

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Defence Discount Service

Defence Discount Service provides discounts both online and on the high street for members of the Armed Forces, Veterans and Armed Forces Community.

Defence Discount Service is home of the Defence Privilege Card, the vetted discount card that can be used in stores, restaurants and venues to obtain armed forces discounts. This discount card allows Veterans and the Armed Forces Community to have a card that can allow them to receive military discounts.

Who qualifies?

  • Serving Armed Forces
  • Reserve Forces
  • Spouses/Partners of serving personnel
  • HM Armed Forces Veterans (ex serving)
  • MoD Civil Servants
  • Bereaved Family Members
  • War/Service Widow(er)s
  • Cadet Forces (over 16)
  • NATO Personnel in the UK
For more information, please visit:

Thursday, 7 December 2017

In my area - address search

In my area
If you want to know what day your bin will be emptied or who your local councillor is, our In my area tool can help.

Type your house number and street or postcode into the form through clicking on   to access useful information including contact details for your local councillor, planning applications in your area and the location of your nearest doctors, pharmacy or recycling point.

You can also download a handy bin collection calendar.

Combat Stress releases top tips to help former servicemen and women cope with pressure of Christmas

Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health, is sharing its tops tips to help former servicemen and women cope with the Christmas and New Year period.
Christmas is a time for celebration, yet it can be difficult for veterans with mental health problems. Some may feel isolated, lonely or depressed, while others can feel overwhelmed by large gatherings of family and friends, or feel they don’t have time for themselves.
Combat Stress has put together 10 steps veterans can take to enjoy Christmas and the New Year. In fact, it’s advice most people can use if they feel overwhelmed or anxious during the festivities. The tips are:

Vacancy for a Wellesley Development Apprentice

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Hampshire Alerts - bicycles security

This year there will be hundreds of Bicycles bought in the Rushmoor area as Christmas presents, but many owners forget the most important thing for an expensive new bicycle…. A GOOD GOLD STANDARD BICYCLE LOCK.
The Rushmoor Neighbourhood Policing Team currently have a stock of fifty Master Lock Gold Standard Bicycle locks for sale for only £20 each.
Please see the poster below for details of the locks and how you can purchase one at well below retail price. Click on the image below to enlarge.


Hampshire Alerts - Festive season safety

Christmas is a time to relax and have fun but it can also be very busy and stressful. You may be out and about more than usual – for that essential Christmas shopping and to festive parties and other social events – and the last thing you need is to become a victim of crime. To help avoid this, consider some of the following advice:

Christmas Parties

· Most of us like a drink or two but remember that alcohol will affect your judgment – don’t let it endanger your personal safety.

· Remember, the most common date rape drug is alcohol, with victims being given drinks with a far higher alcohol content than they think.

· Watch your drinks and food to ensure that nothing is added to them.

· Never leave your drink unattended, even if you are going to dance or to the toilet.

· If your drink has been left unattended, don't drink any more of it.

· If something tastes or looks odd, don't eat/drink any more of it. Be aware, though, that some date rape drugs are colourless and tasteless.

· If someone you don't know or trust offers to buy you a drink either decline or accompany them to the bar and watch that nothing is added.

· Know your own limit.

· If you meet someone new at a party, avoid going home with them or inviting them back to your home/accepting a lift from them. It's far safer to arrange a second date in a public place to get to know the person better. If you do find yourself alone with someone you don't know well, make sure that someone knows where you are and who you're with.

· Pay attention to your instincts. If you feel uneasy about someone, there may be a reason.

· Carry your keys, mobile phone and some money in your pocket on the way home, so you can give up your handbag or wallet and escape quickly if necessary.

Christmas Shopping

· Don’t get loaded down with too many bags. Try to keep one hand free.

· Try and avoid taking young children into busy shopping areas. If it is unavoidable make sure they know what to do if they lose you, e.g. tell the nearest counter assistant that they are lost and NEVER leave a shop without you.

· Agree a meeting point with older children in case you get separated.

· Be careful where you park your car, especially if you will be returning to it after dark.

· If parking in a multi-storey car park, choose a well-lit space as close to the exit as possible and away from pillars. Reverse into position.

· Keep car doors locked whilst driving in built-up areas, especially if you’ve got bags of presents in the car.

· Don’t leave presents on show in a parked car, as they could tempt thieves.

· Keep alert and aware of your surroundings, especially in busy shops and crowded streets where thieves and pickpockets may well be operating.

· Keep a close watch on your valuables and try not to keep them all in one place.


· The party’s over and you need to get home. You are likely to be tired and slightly the worse for wear so you need to be careful.

· The ideal plan is to book your cab or taxi in advance or call a licensed cab company from the party and arrange for them to pick you up right outside the venue.

· Never accept a lift from a minicab touting for trade on the street. They are illegal and can be very dangerous.

· Always sit in the back of a cab/taxi and if you get chatting to the driver, do not give away personal details. If you feel uneasy with the driver, ask him to stop at a busy familiar place and get out.

· If using public transport, have your ticket, pass or change ready in your hand so that your wallet or purse is out of sight.

· Always wait for the bus or train in a well-lit place near other people if possible and try and arrange for someone to meet you at the bus stop or station.

· Take note of where the emergency alarms are and try to sit near them.

· If a bus is empty or it is after dark, you may feel safer on the lower deck as near as possible to the driver.

· On trains, avoid empty compartments or compartments that have no access to corridors or other parts of the train. If you feel threatened on any public transport press the alarm and/or make as much noise as possible to attract attention of your fellow passengers or the driver or guard.

Wellbeing Day Friday 19th January

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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

SSAFA Jingle Comms - festive messages for our Forces

This festive season there will be up to 10,000 British troops deployed away from home. SSAFA has teamed up with resettlement magazine, Pathfinder International, to launch a festive campaign to send them messages from their loved ones.

These messages will then be published inside the magazine both in print and digital, in time for their loved ones to read over the Christmas break.

SSAFA has been supporting the Armed Forces community and their families for over 130 years. Our experience has shown that being apart from our loved ones on special occasions, such as Christmas can be incredibly hard for our brave service men and women.  Receiving a message of love, friendship or goodwill will mean the world to those unable to spend Christmas with their families.

For anyone wishing to submit their personal festive messages, please fill out the form  through

Any photos will also be considered, but cannot be guaranteed to be included due to demand. Left Right Left is distributed inside Pathfinder International to over 25,000 personnel across the globe and is also available to read for free online at the Pathfinder website.

Letters to Santa by Royal Mail

Follow its journey by clicking on:

Remember to post your letters by 8th December 2017

Christmas in Guildford Village

Join in the festive fun and activities from Thursday 16 November until Sunday 24 December as we celebrate this magical time of the year in style with:
  • Christmas market
  • seasonal retailers
  • scrumptious street food
  • live entertainment on the Andertons stage under the newly installed stretch tent with patio heaters and seating
  • Free Santa's grotto - Come and visit Santa this Saturday from 11am to 3pm.
  • For further information visit

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Winchester Christmas Market 2017

Open from Monday 20 November – Friday 22 December 2017
Open from 10am – 6pm Sunday – Wednesday and 10am – 7.30pm Thursday – Saturday

Recognised as one of the best in Europe with its unique location, high quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere. Wonderful Christmas gifts, decorations and festive foods can be found in abundance.

A taste of the 2016 Christmas Market

About the Christmas Market

Our Christmas Market is inspired by traditional German Christmas markets and attracts close to half a million visitors each year. The pretty wooden chalets are situated in the Cathedral’s historic Close surrounding an open-air real ice rink. All our exhibitors have been hand-picked for their interesting, high quality and unique products many of which can’t be bought on the high street.
Many of our exhibitors will be attending for the full duration but some will only be here for the first half with new exhibitors filling the chalets for the second half.

Food and drink

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to food and drink at the Christmas Market. You’ll find chalets selling festive favourites such as, mulled wine, bratwurst, mince pies and stollen. Alternatively, our Cathedral Refectory and Ice Rink CafĂ© Bar & Kitchen provide a warm and comfortable setting with plenty of seating and great menus.

British crafts

We invite many British craftspeople to take part in the Christmas Market. If you’re looking for that special something make sure you visit the jewellers, painters, glass makers and textile artists selling unique gifts and decorations.

Nativity Scene

At the far end of the British Crafts Village you will find an enchanting nativity scene – providing an ideal opportunity to share the Christmas story amongst your party and take a fun photograph for Christmas.

Groups Welcome

We welcome coach parties and groups from all over the UK and overseas. Although there is no charge to enter the Christmas Market we do ask that all groups contact us in advance to help us ensure the best possible experience for all visitors. We offer a meet and greet service for coaches and provide information about coach parking, catering and visiting the Cathedral.
To make the most of your visit, we encourage you to take time to see inside the Cathedral. Recognising that time is of the essence we have developed a ‘highlights’ tour that takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Group admission rates apply.
For all group bookings please contact our Visitor Services Team on 01962 857 225 or email

Access and facilities

Crowds weekends are extremely busy and queues at entry points to the Christmas Market should be expected. If you can visit during the week from Monday – Friday you will experience a more leisurely visit and better opportunities to browse the 100 plus chalets.

Wheelchair users the Christmas Market is situated in the Cathedral Inner and Outer Close. Although we have worked hard to provide wheelchair access throughout the site some of our chalets remain inaccessible to wheelchair users. We have a team of stewards on duty at all times who are happy to provide assistance if requested. Please be aware that at weekends the Christmas Market is very busy and although level access and ramps are in place the crowds can make these hard to identify and utilise. Please take great care when visiting the site as there are areas of uneven ground and pavements which can be hazardous.

Toilets toilets and disabled toilets and baby changing facilities are available in the Cathedral Visitors’ Centre. There are no toilets in the main area of the Christmas Market.

Dogsdogs are allowed within the Christmas Market but must be on a lead or carried at all times. We do not recommend you bring dogs to the Christmas Market at weekends as the site is very busy.

Wellesley Community Street Nativity - Christmas Eve

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Operation Holly

A month-long campaign begins today (December 1) to target drivers who cause destruction and distress to others by driving under the influence of either drink or drugs, as part of Operation Holly.
Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary are working together as part of the two forces’ Joint Operations Unit (JOU) to deter and detect behaviour behind the wheel that puts lives in danger on our roads.
Members of the public are encouraged to report drink or drug drivers by calling 999 if the person is an immediate risk there and then, otherwise please call 101 with the details of the last seen location of the vehicle, make, colour and registration, if known. Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or text 80999.
Drug driving and drink is recognised by independent research as one of the ‘fatal four’ factors that results in collisions that cause people to be killed or seriously injured.
Officers from both forces will be conducting operations throughout December across the areas of Thames Valley, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. If officers suspect someone may be impaired by drugs they are authorised to carry out a roadside drug test which will detect any trace of an illegal drug.

What to recyle with Rushmoor Borough Council

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Future Accommodation model (FAM) update

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See also latest news at this video:

Monday, 4 December 2017

An Introduction to Tax Free Childcare - replacing Child Care Vouchers

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Family Lives - Coping with festive holidays when you are divorced or separated

shutterstock_143229178.jpgSeasonal and festive holidays like Christmas can be really hard for parents not living with their children. When non-resident parents call our helpline around the Christmas period, they often feel jealous, lonely, sad, angry and resentful. Separated families may feel as though everyone else is enjoying the perfect family festivities, while they feel more isolated and alone than during the rest of the year.
This situation can be distressing and tense and it can really help to talk to someone about how you feel. Some non-resident parents who call us are sad that they can’t watch their children open their presents at Christmas. From a legal point of view, it can be very frustrating for non-resident parents if the resident parent doesn’t grant access over Christmas, but it may be possible to come to an informal arrangement.
It's usually best to start the conversation with your children’s other parent as early as possible, to give yourself plenty of time to come to arrangement about times and days to see the children. If, for example, the resident parent has the children on Christmas Day, you may want to arrange a time on Christmas Day when you can give the children their presents.
You could suggest an arrangement of alternating the years, so that you get to spend Christmas Day with the children every other year. In the other years, you could even arrange a 'fake Christmas', when you get to do all the traditional festive things you like to do with your family, just on a different day. That way, everybody gets to have a full festive experience, and the children get to celebrate twice.

Christmas Safety - UK Fire Safety

Christmas is a special time for celebration and should not end in tragedy because of the extra hazards that are present at this time of year.

The following advice should be used in conjunction with other sections of the site, such as the candle fire safety page, due to the fact that candles are also used more and more at this time of year.

Fairy LightsCheck the fuses are the right type (see the box for the maximum size of fuse you should use)

  • If bulbs blow, replace them
  • Don’t leave fairy lights on when you go out or when you go to sleep
  • Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper
  • Don’t overload sockets.


  • Decorations made of light tissue paper or cardboard burn easily
  • Don’t attach them to lights or heaters
  • Don’t put them immediately above or around the fireplace
  • Keep them away from candles.


Many people ask what is the best method of extinguishing a Christmas Tree fire should they be unfortunate to experience one. The simply answer is that the UltraFire Water Mist extinguisher.

Christmas Trees

Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases. Furthermore the best way to tackle a Christmas Tree fire is by the use of a Water Mist Extinguisher.

Selecting a Tree for Christmas

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling centre or having it taken away by a community pickup service.


British Forces In Germany - The Lived Experience

Don't take it from us, tell the world the experiences that you had serving and living in Germany

The BFG Legacy Project is beginning - and you can be a part of it. 

By the time the last units in 20 Armoured Brigade leave Sennelager in 2019, British Forces will have been stationed in Germany for nearly 80 years. 

To mark this lengthy period of overseas deployment, HQ BFG is producing a book: 
British Forces in Germany - The Lived Experience.

This is a call for you to share your lived experiences with us. 

Please visit : to share your experiences​

MOD supporting families with childcare costs

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Christmas Temp Work

Forces Health BUPA Scheme

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Christmas Smiles for Little Troopers

Once again this Christmas many British Armed Forces children will have a parent serving away from home, we can't bring every parent home but we can hopefully spread lots of love this festive season and we are delighted our Christmas Smiles initiative is back for 2017!

READING - Peter Pan - Any date between 9th Dec - 7th Jan
If you are serving British Armed Forces and your Little Troopers are experiencing separation (longer than 3 weeks) from a serving parent then please do apply for tickets as below;

Email us ALL the below information by 7th December 2017 1800hrs here >

  • Your Name
  • Serving persons name and base/ship/regiment
  • Your postal address
  • How many tickets required (immediate dependent family only)
  • Names of all applicants and ages of children
  • Confirmation you are available and can travel to Hexagon Theatre, Reading at your own expense
  • Details of Separation