INTRODUCTION: – Colonel (Retd) Patrick Crowley MBE DL, Chief Executive, SERFCA
This has been a busy period for engagement; both with the community and employers, culminating with Armed Forces’ Week. Hundreds of Armed Forces’ Day Flags were raised across the region at the beginning of this week, Reserves’ Day was on Wednesday, and we have Armed Forces’ Day on Saturday. This period is an opportunity for the UK public to celebrate the incredible sacrifice made by our brave Service men and women.
Thursday 22nd June marked the last of our 5 Armed Forces Briefings 2023. Our theme this year has been ‘Twice a Citizen; the challenge of being a volunteer’ and we have successfully highlighted the amazing things that our Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers do, as they balance normal work, home-life and volunteering. We have had great key-stakeholder audiences from each of the 9 counties. We have been particularly grateful to the Tri-Service presenters, who have delivered very professional briefings on where the 3 services are deployed on operations around the world and at home; a unique engagement with the community. Concurrently, over the last few weeks, some of the Councils have run excellent Armed Forces’ Covenant conferences, helping to connect Defence with Society.
Meanwhile, the 2023 Silver Employer Recognition Scheme award winners have been announced. We are really pleased that the south east region has 39 new Silvers, a mix from the private and public sectors; they will be presented at His Majesty’s Naval Base on 6 September and there is a link to them in this update. There has also been a significant employer-engagement event hosted at RAF Brize Norton. The numbers of Armed Forces Covenant signings and Employer Recognition Scheme Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards continues to rise, which is outstanding.
The UK Armed Forces protect the UK and promote our interests around the world 24 hours a day, 365 days a year whether on land, at sea or in the air. On Armed Forces Day 2023, 7,300 sailors, marines, soldiers and aviators will be deployed around the world, serving on 33 operations in 28 countries