Last Thursday the sad news of Dame Vera Lynn’s passing made the headlines. Images of her entertaining the troops and generally boosting the nation’s morale during World War II prompted us to reminisce on how the country pulled together in true British fashion in those dark times. Only six weeks ago, when the UK was just getting used to lockdown and also celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Dame Vera spoke about the simple acts of bravery and sacrifice that still define our nation today.
Twice the Citizen
Indeed, just a few weeks before this the Government placed an additional 10,000 military personnel, including reservists, on a higher state of readiness to provide the COVID Support Force, the MOD’s contribution to the coronavirus response. Since then reservists have been mobilised to work alongside their regular counterparts to assist in the areas of health and science, as well as helping local authorities respond to the pandemic. Reservists from my former Royal Naval Reserve unit, HMS President in London, played their part in supporting communities in the capital and further afield. Some of their efforts can be read about here. These reservists truly embody Winston Churchill’s ‘Twice the Citizen’ epithet.
Armed Forces Week
It is very fitting in today’s difficult times that in the UK we are now celebrating Armed Forces Week to show our thanks to the entire Armed Forces community, including regular service personnel, reservists, veterans, cadets and their families. We thank them all for their extraordinary contribution to society.
This is the UK’s twelfth annual Armed Forces Week. Under normal circumstances a series of events would now be taking place to showcase the best our Armed Forces have to offer, culminating in Armed Forces Day itself on Saturday 27 June. But, unlike in previous years, Armed Forces Week is being held virtually with celebrations taking place online and at a distance. Yet the importance of these events is in no way diminished, and our gratitude to our serving personnel is as deep as ever. This is especially the case as we pay special thanks to the first batch of reservists who demobilised only last week following their work in the COVID Support Force.
The Armed Forces Covenant
As a former naval reservist myself for twelve years, and as the wife of a serving reservist, I certainly don’t take our Armed Forces for granted. Last year Scott Communications, the PR and digital transformation company my husband and I founded in 2018, marked Armed Forces Week by signing the Armed Forces Covenant. I was proud to sign the Covenant, with my husband alongside me in his naval uniform, at an event hosted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Tom Tugendhat, our local MP for Tonbridge and Malling, and himself a former Army Reserve officer, spoke at the event about his military experience serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was followed by X-Forces CEO Ren Kapur who described the support available to veterans and reservists starting their own businesses.
Reservists in the Workplace
The Covenant signing event informed local businesses about steps they might take to support the Armed Forces community. One year on, Scott Communications is seeking to extend its support to the military community by joining other employers in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. This will enable us as company directors to share best practice and ideas with other employers and our clients on how to make the most of the skills and experience reservists and veterans have to offer in the workplace, while also advocating support to Defence and the Armed Forces community in general.
What You Can Do to Show Your Support
Armed Forces Week is an opportunity for the whole nation to celebrate the military community and to recognise the work it does to protect the country and its interests at home and overseas. In the absence of the national Armed Forces Day event that was scheduled to take place in Scarborough on Saturday, you can join Scott Communications in supporting the Armed Forces online. This includes following activities on Facebook and Twitter. You can also show how important our Armed Forces are to you by using the hashtag #SaluteOurForces in your social media posts. This is a simple way for anyone to pay tribute to the British Armed Forces community for its hard work, dedication and efforts to keep us safe in the UK and across the globe.
It is with special thanks this year that we acknowledge not only those who fought to protect our country in the past but also those who have been working to keep us safe during today’s troubled times. To show your thanks, simply post a photo or video of yourself or your friends and colleagues saluting. You can submit your images here.
This post is also published at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/scott-communications-salutes-our-forces-debbie-scott.
Banner image: On 4th June 1942 forces Sweetheart Vera Lynn, acting on behalf of the Variety Artistes Ladies’ Guild, presented a mobile canteen to the mayor of Westminster who accepted it on behalf of the YMCA. Here she serves the first cups of tea to servicemen from the canteen, which is stationed in Trafalgar Square. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
In support of Armed Forces Week 2019, Scott Communications joined the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and X-Forces Enterprise in Tunbridge Wells on 21 June to host an insight day for organisations wanting to learn about the benefits of hiring service leavers and reservists.
The event was well attended by local businesses and charities, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Barclays Bank, local councillors and keynote speaker, Tom Tugendhat MP. Tom spoke of his experience as a serving reservist in both Iraq and Afghanistan and how he recognises the invaluable talent former service personnel bring to the workplace.
Debbie and Tony Scott, co-founders and directors of Scott Communications, formalised their support for the Armed Forces by signing their business up to the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a commitment to treat all past and present members of the military fairly.
Scott Communications is keen to demonstrate to other organisations, both large and small, that it is possible to go the extra mile in supporting the military, even when you’re effectively a small business start-up.
Debbie Scott, organiser of the event, and co-founder and director of Scott Communications, said:
‘As a former Royal Naval Reservist, my passion for supporting the Armed Forces is engrained in me. Also, my previous work in the corporate sector, especially while working for Atkins where I led the setting up of the Alumni Group in 2015 for businesses wanting to give something back to Defence, has instilled in me an appreciation for all that ex-forces personnel have to offer in the workplace. Having a strategy to hire veterans and reservists is so obvious if you want to tackle the skills gaps that most employers find themselves facing.’
Tom Tugendhat added:
‘I was delighted to support the event in Tunbridge Wells. I know from personal experience the transition from military life to civilian life can be tricky. Any support we can give our service leavers, in particular when they continue to contribute to society and the economy through business and self-employment, is a good thing.’
The day closed with other local businesses keen to work with the Barclays VETS programme that helps place veterans into civilian work and guides businesses in finding the right people to hire from this untapped talent pool. Businesses were also keen to follow up with the MoD to learn more about how they can sign the Armed Forces Covenant.
Over 3,000 businesses have now signed the Armed Forces Covenant, each committing to acknowledge and understand that those who serve, or have served, in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, society and economy they serve with their lives. Find out more about how your organisation can sign the Armed Forces Covenant here.
Scott Communications offers a bespoke service in guiding organisations through the journey of building up internal support for the Armed Forces, taking the first step by signing the Armed Forces Covenant and nominating for an Employer Recognition Service Award. Debbie has worked with companies of all sizes including Hewlett-Packard, Atkins and X-Forces to help them achieve the highest level of recognition for their support for the Defence community.
If your company is interested in showing its support for our forces then please contact Scott Communications to find out more.