I hoped for 2022 that we could put Coronavirus and Brexit headlines behind us and enjoy a positive year, but the invasion of Ukraine, the world energy crisis, global inflation, a multitude of strikes and of course the very sad news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II means that 2022 can, sadly, not be described as vintage.
However, as always our Armed Forces have stepped up to the mark – Reservists have been involved with training Ukrainian Forces in the UK, whilst some have been deployed to eastern Europe to protect that flank and many others have been actively involved in contingency plans for strike cover and UK national resilience operations.
Similarly, it was great to see hundreds of our military cadets once again enjoying real field training at their respective versions of annual camps. I salute all those adults involved, be they the professional staff who provide logistic and administrative support or the amazing adult volunteers who give up precious time to enable young Londoners to enjoy and benefit from the cadet experience. Pleasingly, numbers are returning to pre COVID levels, and in some cases exceeding them, whilst CCF numbers for London schools continue to rise under the Government’s Expansion Scheme and are above target.
It is reassuring to see our efforts to encourage London employers to support the Armed Forces community resulting in record numbers signing the Armed Forces Covenant and climbing the MOD’s Employer Recognition Scheme ladder. These employers recognise the skill sets of ex service personnel and are employing them in greater numbers and they support Reservists and CFAVs by offering additional special leave for military training. More than 9,500 organisations have now signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant nationwide and nearly a thousand are London based.
I hope the photographs and articles in this magazine give you a flavour of the amazing activities and events that Reservists, Cadets and adult volunteers from all three services have been involved with and I can say with certainty that the staff at GL RFCA are proud to continue to support them.