Defence and armed forces – guidance

British forces overseas posting: UNFICYP (Nicosia), Cyprus

Accommodation, medical and recreational facilities, education and other amenities at the UN Force headquarters in Cyprus.

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Introduction

The headquarters of the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the headquarters British contingent are located within the United Nations Protected Area (UNPA) on the west side of the city of Nicosia, approximately 5 kilometres from the city centre.

The UNPA is located within the buffer zone in the area of the now disused Nicosia international airport. Mostly open scrubland, the area is dotted with small groups of used buildings as well as many disused structures, formerly part of the airport. The Kyrenia mountains can be seen to the north of the UNPA and the Troodos mountains to the south.

The UN controlled buffer zone separates Turkish controlled Cyprus from the Republic and the UN has maintained peace along the Green Line since 1964. It has patrolled and monitored the ceasefire line, which runs the length of the country, since 1974.

Accommodation

UNPA

The British married patch is located within the UNPA on the west side of the city of Nicosia, approximately 5 kilometres from the city centre. The UNPA is within the buffer zone. Due to its quiet location well away from main roads, the married patch is a very safe environment for children of all ages.

Married family quarters

MFQs in Cyprus are serviced by a housing office which is located on the edge of the patch. Houses are fully furnished, including carpets and curtains, but are not supplied with cutlery, crockery, glassware or bedding. It is possible to return items of MOD furnishings to the housing stores (as well as request additional pieces, if available).

Accommodation at UNPA – 6 month unaccompanied personnel

All 6-month unaccompanied personnel accommodation is based in Blue Beret Camp on the UNPA. A typical accommodation block consists of 8 single rooms, a communal living area and communal washrooms. There is a separate block with washing machines and tumble dryers.

Each single room consists of a bed with under drawers, a bedside cabinet, a table and chair and a metal locker. The communal living area has a television, microwave, fridge freezer, iron and board and kitchen area with sink.

Medical facilities

Medical care for serving personnel

All serving personnel are entitled to care and treatment at the De-Vergara Medical Centre at Blue Beret Camp, within UNPA. The medical centre is staffed by 1 doctor (supplied by the Argentinean contingent) and two British QARANC nurses, of which at least one is female.

The medical centre is staffed from 7.30am to 3.30pm and outside these hours the duty nurse can be reached by mobile - 99-428152. There is a daily sick parade from 8am to 9am for soldiers and 10am to 11.30am for senior ranks and officers.

In the event that the medical centre cannot provide the necessary treatment, referral will be made to one of the UN contracted hospitals in Nicosia or to one of the Sovereign Base Area medical centres in Dhekelia or Episkopi.

Medical care for military dependents

BRITCON families are also entitled to care and treatment at the De-Vergara Medical Centre. A civilian GP holds twice weekly clinics on Tuesdays and Fridays. The nurses deal with any queries and see dependents in the medical centre at other times.

A health visitor and midwives from the MRS in Dhekelia are available at the medical centre at regular intervals. The medical centre staff can advise dependents on accessing these additional care facilities.

In the event that the medical centre cannot provide the necessary treatment, referral will be made to one of the UN contracted hospitals in Nicosia or to one of the Sovereign Base Area medical centers in Dhekelia or Episkopi.

Emergency medical care for non-entitled personnel

Visiting family and friends are not entitled to routine treatment at the medical centre. In the event of an emergency, however, they will be seen by the nurses and transported free of charge to Nicosia general hospital if required. Arrangements can be made to see the locally employed GP. A small charge is made for this service.

Dental care

All BRITCON personnel and their families are entitled to dental treatment at the Dhekelia dental centre. A small charge is made for the treatment of dependents. In the case of an emergency referral may be made by the UN medical center to a local dentist in Nicosia.

Schools and education

Standards of private education in Nicosia are very high and pupils are strongly encouraged to achieve their maximum potential. This is due to a large proportion of Cypriot children in private ‘English’ schools in Cyprus wishing to go on to UK universities.

Nursery and kindergarten facilities

Funding is available for personnel serving overseas to cover the cost of children’s placement in a local nursery. Information regarding specific nurseries is available from the HIVE manager.

Primary school

Children of primary school age (up to year 6) attend one of the local primary schools in Nicosia. The school day usually runs from 8am to 1pm or 1.30pm.

The most popular schools for BRITCON children is the Junior School and Highgate School.

Secondary school

Children of secondary school age (year 7 to year 9) attend King Richard School in Dhekelia. It is approximately 45 minutes from Nicosia and transport is provided by the school. The school day usually starts at 7.30am and finishes at 1.30pm.

Adult education

54 AEC Dhekelia provides a varied programme of extra mural classes. Courses are advertised by means of the Lion Newspaper and the HIVE. Courses include computing skills, sign language and modern languages.

Intercollege

A further educational institute is located next to the UNPA. Subjects range from business studies, banking, law and computer science to graphics and design, psychology, hotel management and beauty therapy.

Tel: 00357 2284 1500 Fax: 00357 2235 7481

Amenities at UNFICYP

HIVE

Telephone/fax: 00 357 22-359316 Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 8.30am to 12.30pm

The HIVE is located on the British married patch, UNPA. Information packs from many agencies such as DSS, SSAFA and AFF are held as well as education information for both children and adults. There is a room dedicated to tourism and further information regarding a variety of restaurants and hotels in Nicosia and this island. There is also a loan store, hiring out equipment such as car seats, travel cots, toys, golf clubs, etc. Further information can be obtained from the HIVE manager.

Library

There is a very well stocked library on the British married patch. Membership is free and services include book loan, internet access and video loan. A small fee is payable for DVD hire, faxing, photocopying. It is for the use of all members of HQ UNFICYP and HQ BRITCON and their families and relies heavily on book, DVD and video donations to keep its stock current.

In the event that books are unavailable the head librarian will source them from the libraries in Dhekelia or Episkopi.

Unit Welfare Officer

There is a families’ officer who lives on the married patch who can be reached during office hours by phone: 00 357 22-614418.

Pastoral care

The BRITCON Padre offers advice and guidance on any matter, in complete confidence. He may be contacted on 00 357 22-359699.

The UN church, St Columba’s, has a service every Sunday at 10am.

Weddings and baptisms can be arranged with the Padre. He can also advise on other church activities such as Sunday school, bible study groups or local church services.

Recreation

Sports facilities

The following sports facilities are available on the UNPA:

  • Olympic-sized (50m) swimming pool
  • gymnasium
  • 2 squash courts
  • 2 tennis courts
  • 18 hole dirt golf course with club
  • outdoor sports pitches

Clubs

The following clubs are run by members of BRITCON:

  • art club
  • Home Team (organising events for families)
  • youth club