South West Reservist and Cadet News - February 2016
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A new look for the Armed Forces Covenant

On the 14 January 2016 the MOD launched a new Armed Forces Covenant brand.

The new branding encompasses the Armed Forces Covenant, Armed Forces Community Covenant and Armed Forces Corporate Covenant, into a single Armed Forces Covenant brand.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation, ensuring that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. Read more.

Reserve Forces & FR20 Programme Update – Winter 2015/16

Foreword by Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Reserves & Cadets), Major General John Crackett

As 2016 dawns, the Future Reserves 2020 (FR20) programme nears completion, with 39 of the 40 deliverables outlined by the White Paper either delivered or on track.

We have turned the corner on recruitment and, with a total Reserve strength of 33,680 (including 26,290 trained), we are on track to meet our target of 35,000 trained Reservists by April 2019. The improvement made by the Army Reserve on recruitment and retention has been particularly impressive, as they have seen their strength grow by nearly 4,000 in the last 12 months. However, we cannot afford to be complacent as our trained strength targets become increasingly challenging over the next three years.

The Reserve Forces and FR20 remain priorities for this Government. The recent Strategic Defence and Security Review emphasised the vital contribution that the Reserves make to the Armed Forces, pledged to increase their use in Defence engagement and reiterated the commitment to deliver 35,000 Reservists.

There are currently more than 300 Reservists called out for permanent service, including on operations in Cyprus, Northern Iraq and the Falkland Islands, as well as providing support to the train, advise and assist mission in Afghanistan and maritime operations dealing with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Read the full update.

Somerset Armed Forces Covenant looks ahead to another successful year

SOMERSET County Council welcomed executives from the Somerset Armed Forces Covenant (SAFC) to a meeting to discuss future funding projects and upcoming events on Thursday.

More local projects have made bids for backing from the national Armed Forces Covenant Fund which has invested nearly £400,000 in the county.  SAFC brings together charities, local authorities, other public sector organisations, businesses, communities and the military in a pledge of support between local residents and the armed forces community in Somerset.  Read more.

South West Army Reserve medics team up with US Navy on exercise in California

Highly-trained Army Reserve medics located around the South West with 243 (Wessex) Field Hospital are gearing up for another busy year honing their individual and teamworking skills and learning new ones.

Key events in 2016 include a ‘Medical Stretch’ exercise for employer representatives on Dartmoor in early June and an annual camp at York.

At the end of 2015, more than 100 members of the unit and its detachments spent two weeks with their American counterparts on Exercise INTEGRATED SERPENT at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.  Read more.

Writhlington's new cadets will find themselves all at sea

Writhlington's new cadets will find themselves all at sea following the start up of a Royal Navy section as part of its Combined Cadet Force.

The move, in partnership with Frome Community College, comes 13 years after the cadets were first established at the school.

Major John Price, Contingent Commander of Writhlington School CCF, began the unit at Writhlington in 2002 with keen hopes of expanding the force.  Read more.

100 Armed Forces Covenants signed in the South West

Over 100 businesses and charities in the South West have now signed up to the recently rebranded Armed Forces Covenant (was the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant).

The 100th South West organisation to pledge their support to the Armed Forces community was Dartington Hall in Devon.

Karen Jonas, Sales and Marketing Manager, said; “Dartington Hall is delighted to be supporting the Wessex Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association and the Armed Forces. Dartington Hall is a Social

Enterprise generating revenue to support the charitable work of The Dartington Hall Trust. We deliver the fundamentals of hospitality whilst demonstrating the ethos of The Trust to help develop a more sustainable, just and enriching world.  Read more.

Prime Minister thanks employers supporting the Armed Forces

Last month the Defence Secretary recognised employers who have made an outstanding commitment to support the Armed Forces, presenting gold awards to the winners of the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). 

These organisations later met the Prime Minister during an evening of Armed Forces Covenant events at No.10 Downing Street.

The ERS was launched by the Prime Minister David Cameron in 2014 to recognise businesses that are exemplary supporters of the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise from the nation that those that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.  Read more.

Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall's cadets aiming high

Lord Lieutenant’s Cadets are chosen to reflect the very best of a county’s young people, and the trio chosen to assist Colonel Edward Bolitho OBE on official engagements in Cornwall certainly meet that requirement.

Their career ambitions also mirror the kind of opportunities that many Cornish youngsters might aspire to: restaurant management, marine engineering and the RAF.

All three are studying at Sixth Form Colleges at Redruth and Truro but also find time to embrace a host of other activities in their local communities.  Read more.

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About Wessex RFCA

The Wessex Reserve Forces' & Cadets' Association is an independent, non-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting the 3000 tri-service Reservists and 14,000 Cadets across the South West of England.

The RFCA is also required to assist the Defence Council and all three services at any level. To find out more about the RFCA
click here.


Reservists come from all backgrounds, regions and jobs and get paid to train in their spare time. The Reserves cover all three services - The Royal Naval Reserve, Army Reserve, The Royal Marines Reserve and the Royal Air Force Reserve. Find out more.


The aim of the UK cadet forces are to contribute to the development of young people. Cadets have the chance develop new skills and qualities needed to ensure they become the next generation of responsible citizens. Find out more.

Alternative Venues

Alternative Venues Wessex has a range of interesting buildings available to rent across the South West - from fully equipped Cadet and Territorial Army Centres to beautiful listed buildings dating back hundreds of years. Find out more.

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