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Armed Forces

Cawdor Barracks extension welcomed

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Pembrokeshire County Council Leader Cllr David Simpson has welcomed the announcement that the planned closure of Cawdor Barracks, Brawdy, will be delayed until 2028.

The Barracks, home to 14 Signal Regiment, had originally been due to close in 2024.

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The extension announcement was made by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Thursday, November 25.

Cllr Simpson said: “Pembrokeshire and Pembrokeshire County Council is rightly proud of its long and close working relationship with the Armed Forces and especially proud to be home to 14 Signal Regiment at Cawdor Barracks.

“The soldiers of 14 Signal Regiment are very much part of the local community – many soldiers’ families have made Pembrokeshire their home – and the Barracks has an important role in the local economy.

“It is good news that Cawdor Barracks will remain open until at least 2028 and we remain hopeful that the Barracks could still continue beyond that date, further extending the close ties between 14 Signal Regiment, Pembrokeshire and this Authority.”

The news was also welcomed by local MP, Stephen Crabb who said the extension provided clarity for the soldiers and their families based in Pembrokeshire, as well as being good news for the local community.

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Mr Crabb said: “There is no question that Cawdor Barracks is an important strategic asset for the MOD and to the Pembrokeshire economy.

“A deep bond of affection and respect has developed between our community and the 14 Signal Regiment during the time they have been based at Brawdy.

“Local people will welcome the fact that the soldiers and their families will continue to be a valued part of Pembrokeshire life for some years to come.

“Following my parliamentary debate on the future of Cawdor Barracks in February 2020, I was pleased to welcome the Defence Minister, Jeremey Quinn MP, to Pembrokeshire to see the base for himself and to meet with local soldiers.

“This is very positive news today, but I will continue to make the case for the Barracks to remain in Pembrokeshire permanently and will be seeking longer-term clarity from the MOD about its future.”

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(Lead image: MOD)

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Armed Forces

Armed Forces to support vaccination programme in Wales

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98 personnel have been made available to support the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme in Wales.

Armed Forces will be working to support the Department of Health and Welsh Government to accelerate the vaccine rollout amid a wave of Omicron infections.

The personnel will make up 14 teams of vaccinators who will provide surge support to increase capacity.

Those deploying are a mixture of health care professionals and general duties personnel who will be working in support of NHS Wales staff and volunteers, administering vaccines and providing planning expertise.

Personnel will deploy to all seven Health Boards in Wales, with two teams assigned to each board.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We are now supporting this national priority Covid-19 vaccination programme in Wales, Scotland and England.

“Our Armed Forces are supporting our world class health services to accelerate the vaccine rollout and provide essential protection for people and communities. I urge anyone eligible to take up the offer of a vaccine.

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Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “It is critical that as many people as possible receive the vaccine in our fight against Covid-19 and I’m hugely grateful to the UK’s Armed Forces for supporting this effort in Wales as well as continuing to support the work of the Welsh Ambulance Service.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the military has stepped up to support health services across Wales with the distribution of PPE, construction of a temporary hospital in Cardiff and assisting community testing in the South Wales valleys, demonstrating the UK Government’s commitment to meet the needs of the whole of the United Kingdom.”

Personnel on task come from units across the three services – Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force. Some personnel have been active on other tasks in Wales since the pandemic began including community testing and PPE delivery.

There are now 227 personnel available to support on Operation Rescript tasks in Wales, the operational name given to Defence’s work to support the pandemic response across the UK.

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Business

Cross Hands print company celebrates 5th anniversary with investment and charitable donation

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The business, based in Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire, has invested in new, state-of-the-art, specialist Tajima embroidery machinery as it gears up to manage a spike in demand in the past 12 months driven by a mixture of its core markets and a number of new contracts servicing the armed forces.

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The company, formed in 2016 by serial entrepreneur Angela Windsor, has also increased its workforce by 50% on the back of this demand and is seeking two new employees as it eyes further expansion and new business opportunities. It is already working with clients across the UK and Europe and wants to expand this footprint further.

Windsor has also been recognised for her efforts in going the extra mile for the armed forces by being awarded the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Silver Award for 2021.

Print Inc. is a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, a commitment by a business to honour and support the armed forces, while Windsor has completed a number of charity fundraising efforts for the armed forces – including climbing Snowdon blindfolded.

She ascended the Rhydd Ddu route of Snowdon supporting Captain (retired) Colin Jones MBE in memory of Captain Stephen Healy and to raise money for Blind Veterans UK. The team eventually raised more than £4,000 for the charity, a remarkable achievement.

The prestigious Defence Silver ERS Award recognises employers who have actively demonstrated their support for the Armed Forces community through implementing practical policies in the workplace.

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To achieve Silver, organisations must proactively demonstrate that the Armed Forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged as part of their recruitment policies. They must also actively ensure their workforce is aware of their positive policies towards Defence people issues for Reservists, Veterans, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, and spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.

Windsor has a long track record in printing and embroidery. She was previously the owner and manager of the award-winning AVA Dancewear, a company that pioneered improvements in the service and quality of the products offered to customers in that industry.

Angela Windsor, Founder and Director of Print Inc., said: “As we moved into our fifth year of trading, we were seeing some very positive growth. I needed to make an investment in the business but wanted to complement that by also enhancing and enriching our already established commitment to helping the armed forces.

“The investment marks the start of a new chapter for the business as we move to add new products and skillsets to our already very successful offering. In the past 12 months, we have widened our range of services to include workwear, PPE, signs & paper print, branding and clothing embroidery & print. This has led to more demand; this new machinery will allow us to keep pace with customer demand while always guaranteeing the quality matches our reputation and high standards.

“But I am a big believer that successful businesses should also give back. As a company and employer, we have proactively demonstrated our commitment and forces-friendly approach and credentials as part of our recruitment and daily activity. I am very proud of this and our efforts raising money for some very special charities.”

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Lead image: Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Awards at Cardiff City Stadium (Image: Nick Treharne)

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Armed Forces

Little Troopers at School: Swansea military children take part in charity workshop 

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Military children from four primary schools in and around Swansea took part in a free virtual workshop run by the charity Little Troopers.

The children, who all have parents currently serving in the British Armed Forces, logged in to the Little Troopers at School workshop with 260 other children from across Wales. 

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Using storytelling, imaginative play, drawing, movement and drama, the children got to explore some of the unique challenges that forces life can bring, such as having a parent deployed overseas and regularly having to move home and school.

The schools that took part from Swansea included Ysgol Tan Y Lan, YGG Gellionnen, Penllergaer Primary School and Rhydyfro Primary School. 

The workshop was funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust and delivered as part of Supporting Service Children in Education (SSCE) Cymru, which is run by the Welsh Local Government Association and aims to provide the best possible educational support for Service children in Wales. There are estimated to be more than 2,500 military children in schools across the country. 

Kevin Davies, a teacher from YGG Gellionnen said: “The children thoroughly enjoyed the activities and were beaming at the end of the session.” 

Louise Fetigan, founder and operations manager at Little Troopers, comments: “We were delighted to be asked by the Welsh Government Association to deliver some of our Little Troopers at School resources to children in Wales through this virtual workshop. Our charity is committed to ensuring that all schools have a good understanding of the unique challenges that military life can bring and that all military children can access support at school if they need it. We hope that the children have had lots of fun today and enjoyed coming together to celebrate what it really means to be a ‘Little Trooper’.” 

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The workshop is part of a wider nationwide partnership between Little Troopers and SSCE Cymru which has also seen 400 primary schools in Wales receive bilingual versions of Little Troopers storybooks for their school libraries and 100 schools given bilingual copies of the Little Troopers Primary Wellbeing Course template; a six-week course focusing on the themes of belonging, identity, mindfulness, managing change and coping with separation. 

Millie Taylor, SSCE Cymru Programme Manager, adds: “It’s really important that all schools have a welcoming Armed Forces friendly environment and that service children feel acknowledged and supported. Our partnership with Little Troopers has really helped us to achieve this by providing fundamental resources, that are specifically catered towards supporting service children, to all schools in Wales. This week’s workshop has been a real celebration of service children and their experiences and we hope to build on the success of SSCE Cymru in 2022; continuing to provide all service children in Wales with the support they deserve.” 

For more information visit www.littletroopers.net and www.SSCECymru.co.uk

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