The Officers’ Association (OA) is currently conducting a research project on the employment barriers and challenges to older Service leavers for which we are running group discussions. We are looking for ex-Service Personnel (other ranks, different from officer) who made their transition into civilian work at the age of 50+.
We would like to invite you to take part in one of our group discussions, taking place on the 6th of November at the Officers’ Association Headquarters, SW1 9RB.
The session will start at 09.00 am and last for approximately 1 hour, plus 30 minutes for a complimentary breakfast. We will also cover reasonable travel expenses (please email email@example.com for details). All attendees will also have the chance to participate in a draw for a “thank you” gift.
These group discussions are being run by the Officers’ Association, in partnership with Forces in Mind Trust (FIMT) and The Centre for Research into the Older Workforce (CROW).
To reserve your place and to learn more about the project, please click here.
For the group discussion to be a success we need between 6 and 10 people to take part.
We very much hope you can attend and look forward to hearing your story.
This week 15 more service leavers and veterans will embark on a free, full-time one-year Higher National Certificate (HNC) Creative Media Production Course, provided by the Forces Media Academy. After a hugely successful first year with a 100% pass rate, and over 70% of the course achieving at least a Merit or Distinction, 80% of leavers went on to media roles as reporters, digital producers and independent filmmakers.
The Forces Media Academy has been designed to offer 15 ex-servicemen and women with the training, experience and qualifications they need to forge successful careers in videography, digital, TV, radio or Marketing and PR. It is the only course of its kind in the UK and is designed to give veterans the opportunity to find rewarding careers in creative industries in which they have historically been under represented. The Academy is supported by its principal charity partner, The Royal British Legion, which provides each student with a bursary of up to £18,000 to help with living costs.
The course is taught at SSVC’s (a military charity) headquarters in Buckinghamshire, and as it is the parent company of the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) and Forces TV, the students have the opportunity to work in a live media environment, with award-winning media teams alongside the programme of lectures.
Work experience and practical skills feature heavily in the course, which includes modules such as: Camera and Lighting Skills, Film and Video Editing, Promo Video Production, Contextual Studies, Research Techniques, Practical Skills for Moving Image Production and Marketing and PR. In the last academic year, all students were offered two work experience placements within media organisations such as Sky Sports, Scottish Television and ITV.
Derek Derenalagi, originally from Fiji who now lives in Watford, joined the British Army in 1999 and is one of the 15 selected for this year’s course. In July 2007 he was on a tour of duty in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED). On the return to Camp Bastion he was actually pronounced dead, but back at the hospital medical staff found that he still had a pulse.
As a result of the injuries he sustained, both of his legs were amputated above the knee. While he was in a coma, Derek was flown back to the UK where, nine days later, he woke up in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham.
Derek went on to pursue athletics as a professional Paralympic discus thrower and in 2012 was selected to represent Great Britain at the Summer Paralympics as part of a 49-member squad for athletics. He competed in the men’s F57–58 discus event.
I am so pleased to be accepted on this course, because I’m keen to learn how I can use the media to tell the untold extraordinary stories of injured servicemen women and disabled people in the UK and around the world.
I think that making the transition from the military to the media industry is quite exciting and challenging because media is totally a new area for me.
Forces Media Academy Director, Alistair Halliday, said:
After the success of last year’s Forces Media Academy, I am delighted to be welcoming this year’s intake of service leavers and veterans. This course is a perfect fit for those with an interest in, and aptitude for, the media. It will equip them with skills for a range of roles such as a producer, multimedia journalist, and content creator.
The Forces Media Academy is part of the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC), which has a proven history of media production with long-established and close links with the media, digital, and broadcast industries. Last year the Academy was able to successfully harness these to set up high quality work experience with media organisations such as Sky Outside Broadcast, Tonic Productions MoD, BBH and service charities – ultimately enhancing the ability of the students to get a good job afterwards.
We are most grateful for the support of charities and companies, in particular The Royal British Legion, which has most generously provided the bursary.
The Royal British Legion’s Head of Grants and Social Policy, Steven Baynes, said:
The Academy’s work is innovative and practical, building on the existing and highly transferable skills of those who serve in HM Armed Forces. We’re eager to follow the first cohort’s progress, and proud to provide bursary funding to make the course accessible to as many future media professionals as possible.
For more information and to apply for the course starting in September 2019, visit www.forcesacademy.com (deadline for applications is 31st January 2019).
LETTER FROM TERRY WHITTLES, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN AND CHARLES BYRNE, DIRECTOR GENERAL
Attached you will ﬁnd the new pack of information that we have put together to support the forthcoming process of nomination and election for key roles on the Board of Trustees. This replaces the traditional Circulars which have been sent out each year.We hope this provides all of the information and supporting documents that Voting Branches will need to submit nominations for all the elections which are due to takeplace prior to Annual Conference 2019.It also gives a lot more background about the responsibilities and requirements of these positions. The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for governing The Royal British Legion and ensuring that it is effectively run. All Trustees are equally responsible in law for the Board’s actions and decisions.Trustees are therefore key leadership roles and the forthcoming elections are for the following:National ChairmanThe person elected will serve a three year term of ofﬁce. Previous holders of this ofﬁce may not bere-elected to any position on the Board of Trustees.National Vice-ChairmanThe person elected will serve a three year term of ofﬁce. Previous holders of this ofﬁce may not be re-electedto the ofﬁce of National Vice-Chairman or as a Trustee but may stand for election as National Chairman.Trustees (3 positions)Those elected will serve a three year term. Elected Trustees may serve no more than three full and onepartial term. Those who have previously been elected as Trustees may stand for election as NationalChairman or National Vice-Chairman For the complete details follow this link.
Please note:- If any members of St James’s Branch are interested in standing for any of the positions they should submit their application no later than 31 Oct 18 in order that a vote of all the branch members can be conducted in time for the AGM.
All applications should be sent to the Branch Secretary at StJames.Secretary@RBL.Community and that all applications will be acknowledged.
A series of new schemes and initiatives, designed to support serving personnel and their families throughout their military careers and beyond, has been announced by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson today. The new package will help the Armed Forces throughout their careers by offering a renewed focus on personal development and creating a support network for those living with significant illness, caring for others. The package will also ramp up support for those leaving the services, including a new transition programme and ID cards for all military leavers so their service to their country can be recognised easily.
A new fund will be dedicated to supporting the careers of the spouses and civil partners of those who serve, in recognition of the vital role of families within the military community. This fund follows the success of the MOD’s Spouse Employment Support trial and will facilitate access to vocational training and development opportunities, helping them enter new sectors or self-employment.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
The bravery and dedication of our people is second to none. Whether they are in service, have served, or support the service of a loved one, we owe them a great debt of gratitude for their work in keeping this country safe.
It is only right that we give our Armed Forces every opportunity to develop their skills to reach their potential, while ensuring that their spouses and civil partners are just as valued for the part they play.
By the end of 2020, all serving personnel will have access to their own Professional and Personal Development Plan – a new scheme that will enable them to hone the skills they need to succeed throughout their service, and equip them for the next stage in their careers. Providing an extra layer of care for those preparing to leave the military, the new Defence Transition Service will deliver specialist support for serving personnel who are most likely to face challenges as they adjust to civilian life. These individuals will be offered unique solutions to the challenges they face, including help with housing or employment.
To further support the transition to civilian life, the Defence Secretary also announced that new ID cards will be available to military service leavers shortly. The ID cards will initially be given to everyone leaving the Armed Forces and will give them instant recognition for their service to the country. Those who have already made the transition to civilian life will be able to apply for an ID card in 2019. The cards will allow easy access to the range of support available from the public and charitable sectors, including registering with their local authority for priority healthcare and housing.
The Defence Secretary added:
The vast majority of those who have served in our Armed Forces go on to lead successful and rewarding lives, but it’s important we recognise that the transition is not always smooth. We are dedicated to upholding the support they receive while in uniform as they take this next step, and I’m delighted to be adding an extra helping hand to those most in need.
The challenges that service leavers can face are unique, and I want to make sure that they are fully equipped with the tools to thrive independently, whatever issues they face.
If you are in the armed forces do people think of you as a hero? Well, apparently, Americans, Germans and Britons feel very differently. A new survey by YouGov asked which members of the armed forces, if any, should be considered heroes. In the US, where half of responders said that everyone serving in the armed forces is a hero, regardless of their role or experience. In Germany, the most common response (30%) was that no members of the armed forces should be described as heroes.
Britons are split. One third (32%) consider all Armed Forces personnel to be heroes, while another third (31%) believe that only those who have performed particularly brave acts should be described as heroes. The generational difference was also considered. While in Britain and Germany younger people are the most likely to consider all personnel heroes, in the US it is the over 40s. In the UK, 39% of 18-29 year-olds gave this answer – a figure which fell with ever age group down to 27% of 60+ year-olds.
Older British people were more likely to answer that only those troops who had performed brave acts should be described as heroes (37%). There were also some differences based on gender. Women in the US are substantially more likely than men to consider all the troops heroes, with a 15 percentage point gap between the genders (57% of women vs 42% of men). Both British and American women were more likely than men to consider all military personnel heroes.
100 years ago, 11-11-1918, the First World War ended, and a new world began. The example and experience of those who lived through it shaped the world we live in today. In 2018 The Royal British Legion is leading the nation in saying Thank You to all who served, sacrificed and changed our world. The Royal British Legion Care Home, Galanos House, community; including veterans, residents, staff, relatives and supporters have come up with a unique way to say “Thank You”.
At the end of October, Friday 26th – Sunday 28th, they will be aiming to complete a distance of 270 miles; equivalent to riding from Southam to the Armistice Glade, Compeigne, France, where the Armistice was signed nearly 100 years ago. Using state-of-the art static recumbent bikes, (Donated by RBL St James’s Branch), Galanos House will be a hive of pedal power to cover the distance.
“The Galanos House Armistice Ride” will raise funds for the care home’s Amenities Fund, which provides the residents with opportunities (trips, entertainment, personal care support) to further enhance their lives at this multi-award winning RBL Care Home. For further details on how you can support/sponsor or take part in this exciting event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Galanos House directly on 01926 812185 Event Information page
A Didcot park has been designated a ‘Centenary Field’ to remember those killed during the First World War. The Smallbone Recreation Ground, next to the civic hall, will be protected by the designation and always remain as a living memorial to those who gave their lives during the conflict.
Didcot Town Council and the Royal British Legion held a ceremony yesterday afternoon, joined by veterans and local schoolchildren, to officially mark the designation. It comes as part of a nationwide initiative led by charity Fields in Trust to dedicate parks and green spaces in memory of the millions who died. Nick Hards, a member of the town’s First World War working group, said: “Dedicating this land as a Field in Trust will give Didcot residents a permanent memorial to our ancestors who sacrificed their lives for all of us.” Smallbone already hosts the town’s Remembrance Sunday service and parade and is the site of its war memorial.
The Didcot branch of the Royal British Legion approached the council about designating the field as part of the national commemorations, planned for November, when the country will mark the centenary of the Armistice ending the Great War. Didcot Mayor Bill Service has also organised for a stained glass window to be installed at the civic hall as a further memorial. Secretary of the Royal British Legion in Didcot Julia Underwood said: “The dedication of this area will protect Didcot’s war memorial and the recreation ground in perpetuity for future generations, as the nation remembers the millions who lost lives in the First World War. “The Legion is committed to helping young people understand about remembrance, conflict and the importance of peace.”
During the dedication service, pupils from schools in Didcot laid a remembrance cross in honour of each of the First World War names on the war memorial and others connected with Didcot who lost their lives. Ms Underwood added: “The Legion is extremely grateful to the schools for their participation in helping the Legion, the town council and the community of Didcot, especially being an Army town, to come together to pay our respects and honour those who gave so much for our freedom and our future.” At the same ceremony, a plaque was unveiled in memory of all the animals who were killed during the war. This has been jointly funded by the town council and local veterinary practices Larkmead and Abivale.
At St. James’s Branch we would be delighted if you are interested in volunteering, whether you’re a member or not.
- Fundraise – we participate in the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and the more helpers we can attract, the more money we can raise!
- Participate in sponsored events – run a marathon, swim a mile, bake a cake, ride a bike – organise your own sponsored event and raise money for the British Legion. Find out more on the Royal British Legion website.
- Anything else – if you have an idea or a particular skill, or just want to lend a hand, please get in touch to discuss it.
St James’s Branch Members can:-
- Take part in all of the above.
In addition, join the St James’s Branch Management Committee, where you will have the opportunity to:-
- Shape the future of The Royal British Legion’s largest branch (circa 20k members) and influence the decision makers leading the UK’s largest Armed Forces Charity.
- Enhance your CV; employers appreciate the dedication and drive it takes to be a volunteer.
- Develop your interpersonal skills; debating, resolution and listening to all arguments/opinions have a major impact on your ability to understand new or different concepts.
- Be heard; new successes, initiatives and perspectives are the lifeblood of a successful team, your ideas will help.
- Learn; from veterans, business owners and charity workers, an appreciation of learning from history, taking the best ideas forward and finding new opportunities.
- Enjoy new friendships; our current team are a diverse bunch of characters, who, whilst taking their roles very seriously, never, take themselves too seriously!
We look forward to hearing from you, we particularly encourage applications from those of you who were born after 1987 (though not exclusively!)
Do contact us now to find out more about supporting the British Legion.
Read more about fundraising for the British Legion on the National website – click here.
Greene King is set to brew a special edition beer in partnership with The Royal British Legion to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The beer, called Flanders Fields, has been developed by Greene King brewer Ross O’Hara with the help of former servicemen and women, using popular flavours from wartime.
Matt Starbuck, Greene King’s managing director, said: “Like so many other long-standing businesses, Greene King and its employees were impacted hugely by World War One. “The Royal British Legion provides invaluable support to servicemen and women today and we are proud to be able to support with this limited edition beer.” The fruity ale will be on sale from October, with 20 pence from each pint donated to the Royal British Legion’s Thank You campaign, which aims to thank those who served or lost their lives in the war.
Chance for Thanks
Claire Rowcliffe, director of fund-raising at the Royal British Legion, said: “Thanks to Greene King’s generosity, this special edition beer will raise much needed funds for today’s Armed Forces community, ensuring their service is never forgotten. “The end of the centenary is the chance for us all to thank not only the British Armed Forces who fought and gave their lives, but the thousands who fought alongside them from countries from across today’s Commonwealth, and the countless men, women and children who played their part on the home front.”
Greene King, which lost 21 employees during the war, will also be partnering with The Royal British Legion to share stories from its archives, including employees’ memories and board minutes.
The guide, jointly launched by Samaritans and the Ministry of Defence, gives advice on how to identify signs that someone may be having difficulties, suggests ways of offering support and gives information on where help can be found.
All military personnel and reserves, some 200,000 people, will have access to either a hard copy or digital version of the booklet. The guide builds on the range of support already available to service personnel who are struggling with their mental health, including access to specialist mental health medical care, training and education on good mental fitness and the Combat Stress 24-hour Mental Health Helpline.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
Mental health issues can affect anyone and I want to ensure no one in our military suffers in silence. It is vital that service personnel know where to turn to in times of crisis, and this guide will raise awareness of the support available.
By helping our people to spot the early signs that someone may be struggling, we give them the best chance of a full recovery.
Specifically designed to promote peer support amongst those serving, the guide champions “looking after your mates”, and covers:
- Identifying someone struggling to cope with mental health issues
- Understanding the complexity of suicide
- Knowing when to intervene, support and report
- Where to get further support, including the Samaritans service, whose volunteers are available any time, via phone and email or in person at the charity’s 201 branches, and the recently launched Combat Stress 24/7 Military Mental Health Helpline
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:
While military mental health continues to be slightly better than the general population, we’re committed to ensuring that those who need help are able to get the support they need.
This guide, alongside our extra investment in mental health care and the 24-hour Mental Health Helpline, will be invaluable in helping our people to help each other.
Samaritans and the MOD have announced several joint initiatives to offer training and support to serving personnel, veterans and their families who are struggling with mental health issues. The Samaritans programme has been funded by £3.5m from LIBOR, and the guide is the latest part of this programme. A separate booklet is set to be launched for veterans, and the wider military community. The next stage of the project will include the launch of other peer support tools, specially designed training courses for military personnel and a confidential webchat service. Training for Samaritans volunteers on how address mental health in a military environment will also be introduced.
Samaritans CEO, Ruth Sutherland, said:
Samaritans is committed to bringing the expertise we have gained in training people to provide peer support to the military, in order to prevent suicides. This is the first step in a journey to provide a variety of support for serving personnel, veterans, reservists and their families.
The booklet will also help personnel spot signs that colleagues may be having suicidal thoughts and provides information on how such a situation should be approached, and where support is available.
The number of military personnel who take their lives continues to be below rates for the general population, with the military rate of suicide being 8 per 100,000, in 2017, compared to 18 per 100,000 in the general population in 2016. The Ministry of Defence is now spending £220 million over the next decade to improve mental health services for serving personnel. In February of this year, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson also announced the establishment of a 24-Hour Mental Health Helpline for serving personnel and their families, funded by the MOD and run by the charity Combat Stress. The MOD’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy is designed to encourage all members of the armed forces to recognise the importance of mental fitness and encourages individuals to seek support if they are struggling with their mental health.