Lowlands Reserve Forces & Cadets Associations – 26 November 2019

Immediate past-president Colin Vooght, in his capacity as Head of Engagement for the Lowland RFCA’s, gave an excellent presentation to the club last week. Colin, who was 42 years a soldier before joining the LRFCA, explained that the organisation exists to assist those who proudly protect our nation, and who do so with honour, courage, and commitment. The Armed Forces Covenant is the nation’s commitment to these men and woman and is a pledge to acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society which they serve with their lives.

Colin was full of praise for the willing and committed workforce which is the LRFCA and he outlined the leadership and training programmes which were, he said, second to none. He referred proudly to the “armed forces family” and to the standards and technical values attained by the apprentices on the many schemes which prepared them for lives in the working world outside the armed services. He illustrated his talk with short videos of cadets going through training in hostile environments such as the Arctic.

LRFCA supports the Reserve Forces of all three Services in varying ways, from the maintenance of their buildings to welfare, publicity and recruiting support. Part of its remit is to build on existing links with veteran’s welfare organisations and charities – and create new ones – to strengthen the relationship between ex-servicemen and women, Reservists, the Cadets and their local communities.

Colin then went on to explain the “Employer Recognition Scheme” recognises and rewards UK employers for their support and commitment towards the Defence community. There are three tiers of award – Gold, Silver and Bronze – for employers who pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to the Armed Forces Community in alignment with the Armed Forces Covenant.

After a lively Q&A session, Charles Douglas, in thanking Colin, recognised that the modern forces were much changed over his lifetime and that effective defence of the realm was no longer a case of getting as many “boots on the ground” as possible.