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Taking our Veterans on a trip down memory lane.

Living history group
On Saturday we organised 18 of our Armed Forces Veterans, residents and staff from the Royal British Legion Village in Aylesford to Maidstone Museum for a regimental roadshow.

The residents, who are themselves Armed Forces veterans or their descendants, brought along military artefacts and medals to have their origins explained by Museum staff and the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group.

‘We are looking forward to developing a partnership with the RBLI which will offer their residents greater access to our shared local heritage’: Simon Lace AMA, Museums and Heritage Manager

Museum staff and The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group members, who attended in full uniform from various time periods and theatres of conflict, answered residents’ questions about the history of the local area, the artefacts on display and the Royal West Kent Regiment.

The event was rounded off with a visit to the Cenotaph War Memorial at Brenchley Gardens. Here the residents, having spent the morning learning and remembering about significant periods of history, were able to pay their respects in the tranquil setting of the Victorian gardens.

Community Health and Wellbeing Officer for RBLI, Nina Montoya said of the event, Maidstone Museum put on a fantastic morning for our veterans and residents. The residents greatly appreciated their expert knowledge and loved the enthusiasm and kindness shown by staff. Especially pleasing was that those residents who have limited mobility were very well looked after, as the museum is fully equipped to cater for their needs. ” 

‘I look forward to the continued partnership with the Museum and the local living history group throughout the next few years and am excited by the combined ideas from both parties for future events.’ Nina Montoya, Community Health and Wellbeing Officer

Simon Lace AMA, Museums and Heritage Manager, said of the collaboration, “We were delighted to welcome our visitors from RBLI and to have the opportunity to show them our fantastic new facilities and the full range of activities that we can now offer. We are looking forward to developing a partnership with the RBLI which will offer their residents greater access to our shared local heritage and allow the Museum, with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War in 2014 on the horizon, to strengthen links with Armed Forces Veterans.”

For more information about RBLI or our accommodation for Veterans and their families please call 01622 795900 or visit For more information about events at Maidstone Museum please call 01622 602 838 or visit

Warblings RBLI Newsletter Q2 2012 Now Online

To view the latest edition, please click here.

“Social Enterprises, such as RBLI, provide meaningful employment for people who may otherwise struggle to seek genuine work.” This statement made by Sir Paul Beresford, MP for Mole Valley, during his visit (page 6) reflects the continued public support for RBLI’s beneficiaries.

In this challenging time, RBLI continues to remain committed to increasing the valuable work provided for vulnerable people and the Armed Forces in our community. This mission, which is evident throughout this latests edition of Warblings, with its focus on Leatherhead’s employees, has been and continues to be at the core of everything RBLI do.

In this issue we also hear testimonials from organisations that have used RBLI’s services to support their valued employees and customers, by providing in-work support and employment training (page 14 & 20).

If you can’t see the document above, please email for a hard copy.

Launch of Victor Project


We are looking forward to the launch of the first Victor Project, based on a partnership initiative that RBLI has developed with Blue Sky.   The first of these projects goes live in Medway on 16th April.    Blue Sky is a well respected charity working with ex offenders to provide training and development through employment.   We’ve combined our expertise in the ex Service environment to launch Victor – providing training, development and work to ex offenders with an Armed Forces background.     This first project will be to provide grounds maintenance services to Medway Council, who hope that the project will help them meet their objective of reducing re-offending in Medway.

RBLI is delighted to be working in partnership with Blue Sky, an organisation which shares our objective of providing independence through sustained employment.   Blue Sky was selected as the Number 10 Downing Street Volunteer Partner for 2011, recognising their contribution to Big Society objectives and acknowledged at a recent reception hosted by Rt Hon David Cameron.

We hope this will be the first of many successful projects delivered in partnership with Blue Sky; we are already working on the next one which we hope to be able to detail soon.

National Apprenticeship Week:

RBLI starts National Apprenticeship Week by welcoming a further apprentice to our team and monitoring next steps for another.  Callum Orpin joins our Property Services Team this week.    One of the apprentices working in our Healthcare Team having recently completed her apprenticeship with RBLI  has just commenced full time nursing training as a result. 

For RBLI, having apprentices in our business continues to be a valuable and rewarding experience, providing a number of business benefits.   We are confident our apprentices gain a wide range of benefits in return. 

“The apprenticeship has proven to be extremely diverse, and I have been given the opportunity to undertake a variety of different roles and responsibilities each providing me with masses of knowledge, experience and skills that are invaluable.” Nicole Freiter, RBLI Marketing Apprentice.

Nicole Freiter, currently serving an apprenticeship with our Marketing Team, is testament to that and you can read her story at For more information about apprenticeships visit

Free Recruitment Service – KENT & SUSSEX

The Not So Good News

“Mass public sector redundancies and recent fears about a slide back into recession have pushed UK unemployment to its highest for 17 years.”

The total out of work rose to 2.57 million, whilst unemployment amongst under 25’s has hit a record high of 991,000.  There have been deep cuts in state spending, which have been keenly felt by us all at RBLI, which will lead to the loss of more than 300,000 public sector jobs, adding more pressure to the slowing economy.

For businesses operating in this contracting economy, the landscape is particularly challenging.  Slowing sales and rising costs make the environment a particularly difficult one to operate in.

Good News!

It is therefore important in this environment for businesses to have a clear approach to their recruitment needs and work with organisations that can support them with filling vacancies and sourcing well qualified, motivated candidates.  

This is where RBLI can help: We are able to work with businesses on a day to day basis and use our skills and expertise to analyse recruitment needs, source candidates, ensure that they have the requisite skills and experience, provide training and support them into the workplace.  We can even work with them once they are in work to ensure that they settle into the role and are a good match for the business.  And the greatest thing about this tailored service?  It’s entirely free to businesses.  Our specialist teams are currently working across Kent and Sussex, led by David Jessop, supporting local and national businesses with their recruitment needs. 

“I believe that this vital service will provide valuable support to businesses throughout the region and will ensure that we remain at the heart of the economic recovery. ” 

For more information on how we can support your business with your recruitment needs, contact Claire Bonthrone who will be delighted to help.

Training Courses

I have been most impressed by our newly updated portfolio of training courses.  Utilising RBLI’s expertise in employment solutions for both civilian and military customers, Emma, Sharon and the training team have designed, tested and piloted an extensive range of flexible training courses.  We are already using these courses for our own staff and the feedback is enormously positive.  I look forward to external feedback as our commercial customers begin to experience these new offerings.
The courses are all focused on improving outcomes for individuals and organisation and include:-
  • Chrysalis Motivational Workshop – Our specially designed personal development programme
  • Feeling Good Workshops – A series of workshop which help delegates understand how anxiety, stress, low mood can affect you at work and home, as well as how to manage physical health to cope at work
  • Coaching for Change – understand the stages of transitional change and how better to manage resulting feelings, thoughts and behaviours
  • Healthy Working Workshop – understand how some of the more common health and wellbeing topics can affect work
  • Managing Stress – Our workshop provides support and guidance to managers, ensuring that they are better equipped to identify early signs of stress and understand and manage staff with stress related illness
  • Disability Awareness – Workshop aimed at assisting participants to better understand what the terms disability means and its difference from ill-health
  • Managing DSE Assessments Bite sized training workshops, provided in house, designed to fully meet your employee DSE training obligations
  • Workplace Ergonomics Workshops designed to identify ergonomic support to individuals and teams in the workplace
Well done to the team for producing these exciting new courses to such high standards.  These are exciting times and developing our people to meet the employment challenges of today and tomorrow is at the heart of our training division.

Strategy Launch

The clock is ticking and we are all making those frantic last minute decisions in preparation for the RBLI Strategy launch on Wednesday 13th July.
We have invited over 400 people and have over 300 confirmed guests.  With an evening of live entertainment, a drinks reception and some interesting guest speakers we are all really excited about the evening.
Everyone involved has been working really hard on this and I am sure the evening will be a great success.

From the desk of Steve Sherry – November 2010

A week for reflection and thought about those who have given so much in the service of defending our country over many years. The Poppy is the iconic symbol of our remembrance of all those who have been affected by conflict. The poignant Field of Remembrance service at Westminster Abbey on Armistice Day, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month organised so well by The Poppy Factory set the tone for a weekend of sombre reflection. The annual Festival of Remembrance organised by TRBL at the Albert Hall and televised to millions on national television was an emotional rollercoaster for all those who watched it. The blend of old and young, yesterdays wars and today’s conflicts, the harsh reality of life for grieving relatives and friends of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, were an inspiration to those of us in a position to do more. It was also a reminder of the challenges faced by those injured and traumatised in conflicts.

The RBL Village Branch held its own Remembrance Service here in the Capel Morris Centre on Sunday with veterans from World War II and many subsequent conflicts since. Local Territorial Army soldiers about to deploy to Afghanistan were also amongst us.

Remembering is of course important. However, this period of reflection has inspired me, and I hope others, to do everything we can to help those within the Armed Forces Community who need our suppo