Keith Brown, MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, recently hosted a Parliamentary Reception which highlighted the role of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations in Scotland in supporting the Reservists and Cadets as well as the wider Scottish community.
Following the opening address by Keith Brown MSP, Colonel Angus Taverner, Chairman of Highland RFCA spoke about the unique role that the RFCAs play in supporting the Reserve Forces and the Cadets across Scotland, and their overarching role of engaging with the communities from who these citizen volunteers and young people are drawn.
Colonel Taverner welcomed the RFCAs’ challenge of supporting the renewed emphasis being placed on reliance of the Reserve Forces to form an integral and vital part of the UK’s Armed Forces in the future. The RFCAs’ role in supporting both Reservists and their employers is a key element in delivering this force. Whilst the amount of time that Reservists commit will marginally increase, the expectation is that they will be better trained and more closely integrated with the Regular Force, with increased opportunities to train and serve on operations both at home and abroad.
Colonel Taverner also raised the profile of the Service Cadets that the RFCAs actively promote and support – these are youth movement whose members enjoy an experience that is both challenging and fun, but importantly develops their self-confidence, leadership, respect for others and imbues a sense of responsibility and citizenship amongst young people aged 13-18.
Keith Brown MSP said “It was my great pleasure to welcome representatives of both Highland and Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations to Parliament and to raise awareness of the work of the two RFCAs across the constituencies in Scotland to support the Reserve Forces and Cadets.
“We all acknowledge the contribution made by the Reserves towards the defence of the UK – not least in the recent conflicts of Afghanistan and Iraq. In terms of the Cadets, all of us have the opportunity to witness the valuable contribution to Scottish society by the voluntary Service Cadet organisations that thrive in communities large and small across Scotland.
“I was delighted to have the opportunity to find out more about the role of the RFCAs in Scotland in support of the Reserves and Cadets and to meet representatives across all three Services."
The aim of the Reception was to raise awareness of the role of the RFCAs and how they contribute towards supporting the wider Scottish community. It also provided an opportunity for cross-party MSPs to meet principle RFCA hosts (such as the Chairman of the RFCAs and the Chief Executives of both Highland and Lowland RFCAs) as well as Reservists and Cadets from their own constituencies.
Highland and Lowland RFCAs are two of 13 Associations that operate across the whole of the UK. The RFCAs are Tri-Service Central Government bodies with Crown Status.
The RFCAs sit outside the military Chains of Command but fully support the activities of the Defence Council and work closely with them to deliver a range of specific outputs, funded centrally by the MOD and the individual services.
Across Scotland there are in the region of 3,000 Reservists and 11,000 Cadets along with their Cadet Force Adult Volunteers. These are located in some 60 Reserve and 270 Cadet Centres across Scotland.
RFCA Core tasks include:
- Management and maintenance of the Reserve and Cadet estate
- Providing support to the employers of reservists, particularly those about to go on operations
- Giving support to the Chain of Command with recruiting;
- Giving assistance and support to the cadet forces and Defence youth engagement agenda
- Promoting the value of the Reserves and Cadets across Society
Rear Admiral Chris Hockley – Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland; Brigadier Paul Harkness – Commander 51 (Scottish) Brigade and Air Commodore Gerry Mayhew – Air Officer Scotland were on hand to talk about the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and the related ‘Reserves in the Future Force 2020’ White Paper which was published in July this year.