Venue: 256 City of London Field Hospital, Kingston, KT1 2QX
Contact: Sarah Goodman
Welcome, Introductions and Apologies
Peter Martin welcomed everyone and thanked Maj Neeraj from City of London Field Hospital for hosting the meeting. All attending introduced themselves and new members to the board were warmly welcomed.
Michael Cannon made the decision to step down from his work on the Board as the aims of the Community Integration Task Group had been achieved. Peter Martin presented Michael with a token of the Board’s appreciation and thanked him for all the work that he had done on behalf of the Board for the Armed Forces community in Surrey.
The minutes of the meeting of 13 March 2019 were agreed.
Thanks were given to everyone who had shared photos from Remembrance Day 2018. They were used in the SCMPB annual report, which had been very well received.
Service Children Attainment
Presentation and discussion around raising the attainment of Service children in Surrey led by the Director of School Improvement, Schools Alliance for Excellence (SAfE)
Ellen Mulvihill, Director of School Improvement, Schools Alliance for Excellence (SAfE) talked to the board about raising the attainment of Service children in Surrey.
Currently at Key Stage 1 and 2, children from service families are performing less well in Surrey schools. Data is not currently available for Key Stage 4 for 2019.
Historical suggestions for improvement have not got to the root of why Surrey children are performing less well.
Need to measure improvements. The arrival of new regiment to Surrey offers an opportunity for a baseline and measure the impact of any interventions.
Potential actions could include:
There is a strong organisational commitment to try and make a difference. Presentation was warmly received by the board who appreciated the fresh and genuine commitment to make positive changes. Questions and comments included:
Action – Lt Col Sandford to share details of the Battalion coming to Pirbright this year when details are made available, and raise the issue with the incoming CO. It was agreed that work with this intake could be developed as a case study.
Action –Chairman to consider contacting GOC Regional Command to raise the issue. Col Simon Browne to approach first.
Peter Martin thanked Ellen and requested a one page document for the next board meeting (spring 2020). Ellen invited to attend the following board meeting in October 2020 to review progress.
11 Infantry Brigade Update
· Task Force Commander Update and relationships with district and boroughs
· Latest Army moves and impact on public services including schools
Col Simon Browne updated the board:
· Since the last meeting the Brigade has doubled in size and now has six battalions, five of which are new.
· 1 Battalion Irish Guards are handing over in Afghanistan and will be going to Iraq in March 2020.
· Coldstream Guards are currently in Kenya.
· Resources are going to Brexit – Two out of the six engagement staff are involved full time in Brexit.
· Task Force Commander update – There are two Task Force Commanders for Surrey. Lt Col Rob Sandford is TFC for Woking and Guildford with Maj Andy Butcher from Irish Guards responsible for the rest of the county.
· 4PWRR – Lt Col Ben Baker is about to move on. He has achieved a lot and the Board would like to recognise this work.
Action: Peter Bruinvels to send Lt-Col Baker a letter thanking him for all he has achieved in Surrey.
Action: Tom Gracey and James Whiteman to feedback details from this meeting to Surrey Leaders and Chief Executives so they are aware of what is being done.
Briefing on Service Voter registration and discussion around steps that could be taken to increase numbers registering
Numbers on the electoral roll within the armed forces are low nationally. Figures are highest amongst officers, but reduces down the ranks. Currently working hard to find ways to improve these figures. The Electoral Registration Officer for Guildford has agreed to work with ATC (Pirbright) to run a six-month pilot to encourage and enable recruits to register as Service voters and make it possible to register online. Lt-Col Sandford thanked Guildford for this offer. Officers are also looking into locations for polling stations and increased access to family accommodation behind the wire, particularly Keogh.
Board agreed it would be good to make this work a case study and to also consider see whether it could be extended to both Catterick and Sandhurst.
· Recognise and Remember Task Group/VE Day 75
· Surrey Armed Forces Health Champions Network
· Unit Welfare Officer Meetings
· Armed Forces Covenant Conference – 5 Feb 2020
· Changes in Armed Forces Champions
Recognise and Remember
Meeting on 27 September 2019 was well attended. The meeting focused on Veterans and discussed an updated action plan for the group.
Armed Forces Champions were asked whether they could include a feature on veterans hubs within their council’s newsletter. Where hubs do not exist, there is a commitment to look at what facilities might be available.
VE day – All areas will share local events to the county diary. VE day is one of the events where the Army will receive direction about what they should do and where to provide support.
Armed Forces Health Network update
Tony Shipley from Surrey Heartlands chairs the Armed Forces Health Champions Group- the update was given by Canon Peter Bruinvels.
The Group meets four times a year – members are very committed and support is increasing. The new GMS1 form, which is completed when registering for GP, now has a section on armed forces, which will help with records. FCSE training has been promoted to all members and the group is also looking at GP Veteran Awareness Scheme and Veteran Hospital Awareness Scheme. Work is also ongoing with the Surrey Suicide strategy, which the Board would like a presentation on at the next meeting.
Unit Welfare Officers
This group meets twice a year with a broad section of both reserve and regular Unit Welfare Officers. Areas of discussion include Surrey Information Point, housing, welfare and finance, Gurkha community, gambling, mental health first aid, FCSE App, spousal employment and Covenant Fund applications.
Armed Forces Covenant Conference
It was decided to move the proposed date of conference to March to avoid conflict of diaries. The conference will include a focus on business and cadets. Lord Lieutenant kindly agreed to offer support from one of his cadets. Discussion was held around who would be a good keynote speaker and it was agreed to approach Johnny Mercer MP.
· Forces Connect South East
· Veterans Hubs
· Armed Forces Covenant Fund applications:
o Pirbright Village Primary School (£19,960)
o ATC Pirbright with Guildford Borough Council to create positive outcomes through play (outcome due Feb 2020)
Sarah Goodman confirmed she is very happy to provide support to those applying for funding.
· Pirbright Primary School have applied for funding to establish a ‘nurture farm’ at the school.
· ATC Pirbright and Guildford Borough Council have submitted a £74k bid seeking to address play needs of service children.
· Armed Forces Veterans Hub in Guildford Fire Station is going well – they are still trying to engage with homeless veterans. The station is also working with RHS Wisley to develop a wellbeing garden for both firefighters and veterans. The longer term aim is to engage with rough sleeping veterans. The concept will be developed over the next few months before being rolled out to other fire stations. It is anticipated that Woking Fire Station will be next.
· Imagine Project
Imagine project. SCC has secured funding to deliver social innovation project to help unemployed young people to work in horticulture. ATC (Pirbright) is one of the four sites in Surrey.
RHS Wisley have offered ‘mindfulness’ sessions to Surrey Fire and Rescue staff – looking to extend to veterans.
WW1 Silent Soldiers - some figures are beginning to look old. It was confirmed that as they are property of individuals it is up to them to agree when they should be taken down. Action: James Whiteman will raise at Surrey Chief Execs meeting.
· Poppy Appeal Awards, 11 March ATC Pirbright
· SERFCA - Armed Forces briefing being held 2 June 2020, Sandhurst Academy
· Lord Lieutenants Awards – 22 October 2020
Employer Recognition Awards:
CGI IT and KBR are new gold award winners in Surrey.
Date of next meeting
10am – 12pm on Wednesday 25 March 2020. Venue TBC
10am – 12pm – 22 April 2020, Venue TBC