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South Wales building and engineering company RD Group takes the lead in supporting Welsh veterans

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South Wales-based building services and engineering solutions providers, Raven Delta (RD) Group – an innovative, multi-faceted group of companies – has recently exhibited an industry-leading commitment to supporting, encouraging, and training ex-services personnel across the South Wales region.

The RD Group – which comprises EFT Consult, RDM Electrical & Mechanical Services and DRS Facilities Management – has signed the BuildForce Charter and become a partner of the BuildForce Alliance, where they will provide mentoring, work placements and job opportunities for ex-service personnel seeking careers in the construction industry and wider built environment.

The group has also announced its sponsorship and strategic partnership with Garrison Farm CIC, a Community Interest Company formed to support ex-services veterans through outdoor, holistic activities and subsidised routes into sustainable living.

RD Group will be providing its building services, engineering, and construction expertise to Garrison Farm CIC’s ecovillage project, whilst also offering training, mentorship and job opportunities during the scheme’s development. The aim is to open doors for veterans to gain skills and potentially seek ongoing career opportunities within the wider construction industry.

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Buildforce helps ex-servicemen move into the construction industry (Image: Pexels)

BuildForce

BuildForce is a nationwide initiative designed as a mutually beneficial collaboration between ex-military service personnel and organisations within the construction industry. The initiative promotes these sectors to service leavers and veterans connecting them to construction careers through a UK-wide Alliance of employers, industry bodies and charities, and is supported by UK Government.

The holistic scheme offers a variety of services focused on employment, education and mental health for service leavers and veterans. Its employment programme centres around a unique career programme led by industry via mentoring, work placements, site visits and job opportunities.

Its education programme is a partnership with The University College of Estate Management, providing bespoke industry modules, which also offer certification and a place on a degree course for onward learning. The programme includes mental health support, providing a suite of wellbeing and stress management training and additional 1-2-1 counselling to ex-service men and women.

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Garrison Farm

The other veterans’ initiative RD Group is providing sponsorship of is Swansea-based Garrison Farm CIC, which is currently building a team to set up an ecovillage in South Wales. Garrison Farm aims to use the ecovillage to deliver charity services and support for veterans in collaboration with established veterans’ charities and sustainable development organisations.

The ultimate aim of the CIC is to provide veterans with sustainable, eco-friendly homes and employment opportunities, eventually leading to financial independence by sustainably generating income from highly innovative controlled environment agriculture facilities at each of the sites.

RD group has a proven track record of providing design, engineering, installation and maintenance of the building services sector for national and international clients. It plans to use its strategic position and resources to help Garrison Farm fast track its ambitions for building a network of ecovillages and sustainable farming projects, along with helping veterans to gain skills and opportunities in the construction, engineering and building services sectors.

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Dave Kieft, CEO of RD Group and BuildForce Ambassador

Dave Kieft, CEO of RD Group and BuildForce Ambassador, said: “We are delighted to be involved with both of these initiatives to support Welsh ex-services personnel to access training and employment opportunities.

“The BuildForce Alliance is a mutually beneficial scheme which allows us to offer the opportunity to mentor and develop keen and talented people, opening the door for them to a successful future career in the construction industry.

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“The Garrison Farm CIC is an equally worthwhile endeavour, and it fits very well with RD Group’s interest in developing circular economy initiatives. Having successfully delivered sustainable development projects with similar organisations, we are optimistic we can assist Garrison Farm in successfully developing ecovillages with the latest innovative and industry leading technologies.

“Both initiatives will provide support not only to veterans personally but also provide a platform of support and career opportunity when they leave the armed forces. After protecting us and serving their country, this is our opportunity to show some appreciation and provide viable opportunities when veterans leave the support network they are used to. We are proud to be able to help.”

Caroline Logan, BuildForce programme director, said: “I am delighted RD Group has signed the BuildForce charter, a pledge of their support to BuildForce and our wider Armed Forces community. I look forward to working with EFT Consult, RDM Electrical & Mechanical Services and DRS Facilities Management, and more importantly providing further opportunities for our military personnel.  Welcome onboard!!”

Chris Carrée, founder of Garrison Farm, said: “Garrison Farm CIC are delighted to announce strategic support from EFT Consult, RDM Electrical & Mechanical Services and DRS Facilities Management to fast-track our plans to create ecovillages and sustainable farming projects to help veterans.”


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Armed Forces

Swansea dignitaries mark Armed Forces Day

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The Lord Mayor of Swansea Cllr Mike Day and other local dignitaries honoured those who’ve served their country in the armed forces at a special ceremony at Swansea’s Guildhall Rotunda this morning.

Cllr Day along with the council’s Armed Forces Champion Cllr Wendy Lewis, HM the Lord Lieutenant Louise Fleet JP and the High Sheriff of West Glamorgan Stephen Rogers paid tribute to those who have served.

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Dignitaries at the Armed Forces Day event at Swansea’s Guildhall (Image: Swansea Council)

The tributes took place on the Guildhall Rotunda at 11am and also present were representatives from the armed forces, reservists, veterans and local cadet units.

The Lord Mayor said: “Armed Forces Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate our armed forces and give thanks for our serving personnel and those who have served in World Wars and other conflicts and to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us to enjoy the freedom we have today.”

“Our Armed Forces deserve the respect and admiration of us all and we are immensely proud of them.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Armed Forces

Free swimming in Wales to continue for the Armed Forces

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On Armed Forces Day, the Welsh Government has announced the continuation of the Armed Forces Free Swimming scheme.

The scheme enables serving members of the Armed Forces and Veterans to swim for free at participating leisure centres and pools, using their Defence Privilege Card.

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The Armed Forces Free Swimming Scheme (AFFS) was first introduced in 2016 and represents the continued commitment to provide the Armed Forces community with access to services which meet their specific needs and recognise the service they have given to their country.

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said: “I’m very pleased that we are able to continue to support this scheme which is designed to ensure members of the Armed Forces past and present are able to benefit from the physical, and mental, health benefits swimming can offer.”

Deputy Minister for Social Partnerships, Hannah Blythyn, said: “We are committed to supporting our Armed Forces personnel and recognise how initiatives like this can boost their mental and physical wellbeing. I hope they can enjoy the benefits from this scheme over the next three years.”

Chris Llewelyn, WLGA Chief Executive said: “Local government is proud to deliver free swimming for our Armed Forces personnel and Veterans. We hope that even more people take part in the scheme in the coming year, taking advantage of the significant recuperative and social benefits physical activity offers. There are participating pools in each of Wales’ local authorities; to find out where your closet facility is, visit your local authority website.”

Throughout the 2021-22 financial year the scheme was taken up on average each quarter by 569 serving military personnel and veterans across Wales. The trend shows an increase in uptake as restrictions have been lifted, with the last quarter recording a peak of 879 people benefitting from 2641 visits to their local community swimming pools.

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To support the scheme, £45,000 to be issued every year over a three-year period; in 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25.

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Armed Forces

Free breakfast for Armed Forces as Tesco recognise Armed Forces Day

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cooked food

Members of the Armed Forces will be able to get a free hot breakfast at Tesco cafés across Wales to mark the Armed Forces Day celebration in June.

As a thank you for their service, on Sunday June 26, all serving Armed Forces personnel, around 159,000 regulars and 32,000 reservists, can present their MOD90 identification card at any Tesco café and get a free full cooked breakfast, vegan cooked breakfast, sausage bap or a bacon bap.

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All 295 Tesco cafés across England, Scotland and Wales will be offering the promotion – limited to one free breakfast per cardholder.

Ashwin Prasad, Chief Product Officer at Tesco and Director Sponsor of the Armed Forces Network said: “We’re proud to be able to support National Armed Forces Day which celebrates the tremendous contribution that the armed forces make to our country. It’s an exciting opportunity for store colleagues across the country to celebrate. Everyone loves a free breakfast and we thought it was a gesture that showed how much we value members of the Armed Forces.”

Rhys Little, Chair of the Armed Forces Network at Tesco, said: “We’ve got a long history of getting behind those who have been in the forces. We’ve received the Gold award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme twice now (in 2016 and 2020), and we were also the first retailer to sign the Armed Forces Covenant in 2014. We also do our best to give anyone leaving the army, navy, or RAF a chance to forge a new career.”

Over the weekend of June 25 and 26, local events will be taking place in towns, cities, and villages up and down the country, and Tesco stores will be holding a nationwide collection for Help for Heroes.

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