Throughout history, military units have been based in the County of Royal Berkshire and Armed Forces personnel are respected members of the Community. In light of this, Berkshire’s six unitary authorities, 11th Security Force Assistance Brigade & HQ South East and other military representatives, the South East Reserve Forces’ and Cadets Association and the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) have teamed up to launch the Royal County of Berkshire Civilian-Military Partnership Board (RBCMPB).
The purpose of the Board is to ensure appropriate support for the military community (serving personnel, regular and reservists, cadets, their families, and veterans, including from the Commonwealth) serving, living and working in Berkshire.
Amongst other things, the Board will prioritise health and wellbeing, housing, education, employment and equality, and will aim to create a joint understanding of each other’s concerns and ways of working. Importantly, the RBCMPB will work to ensure that the military community is not disadvantaged by their service and is given appropriate recognition and status within the County.
The main functions of the Board will be to:
·Maintain and improve the existing ‘military friendly’ position in Berkshire through sharing of good practice.
· Champion the armed forces in Berkshire through developing greater shared awareness of the needs of the military community, as well as recognising and honouring the commitment given by them through Armed Forces Week, Reserves Day, remembrance events and other shared occasions.
· Address countywide issues pertaining to the Armed Forces Covenant in Berkshire, giving strategic direction and advice to further strengthen links between civilian communities and the military.
· Promote awareness of the support services available to the military communities throughout Berkshire.
The Chair of the Board, Councillor Paul Bettison OBE from Bracknell Forest Council, said: “I am greatly honoured and proud to be part of the launch of the Royal County of Berkshire Civilian-Military Partnership Board. The launch of the RBCMPB publicly demonstrates our joint pledge to support the military communities in Berkshire. It also provides another avenue in which we can continue to develop and improve our relationship with this community, with the intention to deepen our understanding of how we can best support these communities.”
Major General Duncan Capps CBE, Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and a representative for the Board added: “I am thankful for the level of commitment shown by organisations across Royal Berkshire to support military communities. As such, I am looking forward to working closely with all of the agencies involved in the Board.”