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Armed Forces Veterans’ Hub Initiative Launched in Royal Berkshire

The Armed Forces Veterans’ Hub was launched in Royal Berkshire on Saturday, 7 November, following receipt of the Gold Award in the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme in 2020. This affirms the Fire Authority and Service’s ongoing commitment to the Armed Forces community.

The Armed Forces Veterans’ Hub launch event was hosted virtually by the Fire Authority, coordinated jointly between the Service and MP James Sunderland. It coincided with Remembrance Sunday, and has been designed to offer a place for veterans to come together, listen to high profile speakers and meet organisations who can provide them with advice or support them and meet each other.

Opening the event, Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Colin Dudley, said: “I am incredibly proud and honoured that our Service is hosting the first Armed Forces Veterans’ Hub in Royal Berkshire. We have seen how successful the Hub can be in places like Surrey and in solidarity with our commitment to the Armed Forces community, I am delighted that we are able to host this initiative in Berkshire on a momentous weekend that remembers the sacrifice and selflessness of those servicemen and women.”

During the event, guest speakers which included James Sunderland, MP of the Bracknell constituency and Rt Hon Col Bob Stewart MP, joined Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Angus Ross and Chief Fire Officer, Trevor Ferguson, alongside a number of charities and organisations that offer services to the Armed Forces community in marking this inaugural event.

James Sunderland MP, shared: “This is an incredibly important initiative that is close to my heart after serving in HM Armed Forces for 26 years. Joining forces with the Fire Authority to launch the Armed Forces Veterans’ Hub in Royal Berkshire is very exciting as I hope it can offer a place for our County’s veterans to come together and share experiences, as well as offer an environment for sharing crucial services that help our veterans and their families.”

Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Angus Ross, said: “We hope that this launch will pave the way for many more events like this to take place over the coming months. The intention is to offer an environment, hosted by the Service, where veterans can come together and share their experiences. We need to appreciate that ‘Veterans’ are not only the older members of our community, but all who have served in HM Forces. The receipt of the Armed Forces ‘Employer Recognition Scheme’ Gold Award highlights just one step in our ongoing commitment to supporting our armed forces community.”

As we move forward, the events and the way they are run will be kept under regular review in line with COVID-19 guidelines. They will be hosted at fire stations across the County, as soon as the COVID guidelines allow, placing them at the heart of the community.