Grateful council to promote reserve forces after flooding help

Salisbury Journal: The Ghurkas and service petrsonnel from HMS Collingwood help out with sandbags at flooded Stubbings Meadow in Ringwood The Ghurkas and service petrsonnel from HMS Collingwood help out with sandbags at flooded Stubbings Meadow in Ringwood

SUPPORT for military reservists is being drummed up in Hampshire after their tremendous relief work in flood-hit areas of the county – including a major operation to save mobile homes in Stubbings Meadow, Ringwood.

Reservists were the first among hundreds of army and navy personnel helping residents recover from flooding in Hampshire, caused by the highest January rainfall since records began.

Now Hampshire County Council has joined forces with the Local Government Association to encourage staff to sign up.

Reservists from 7th Battalion The Rifles and HMS King Alfred of the Royal Naval Reserve will be at the county council’s offices in Winchester today, to raise awareness of the opportunities and benefits of joining the reserve forces.

Leader Roy Perry said: “Whether it was helping us to fill and distribute sandbags, support residents who were being evacuated, or being embedded in the Strategic Command Group to respond to requests for assistance, the military has played a significant role alongside local authorities, the Environment Agency and emergency services, and we could not have managed without them.

“Many of those on hand were reservists, and that's why in Hampshire we have put in place a protocol to positively support staff who are reservists in their spare time.”

Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman of the Local Government Association, was recently in Winchester for talks on flooding with Councillor Perry.

Sir Merrick said: “Being a reservist is a unique opportunity, which is sure to be as rewarding as it is challenging.

“Councils have an important role to play in boosting numbers by encouraging staff and residents to join up. Supporting employees to sign up is a great way of encouraging civic pride and allowing people to make a valuable contribution to the defence of their country, and in return, councils benefit enormously from the decision making and leadership skills that reservists learn through the world class training they receive, which can be transferred back to their day-to-day council roles.”

There are opportunities in the infantry, the medical profession, port operators, military intelligence, royal artillery and mechanical and electrical engineering for people who sign up as reservists.

Anyone interested in becoming a reservist can find out more at www.army.mod.uk/join, www.serfca.org, www.raf.mod.uk/rafreserves and www.royalnavy.mod.uk

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