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Armed Forces Day

In the run up to Armed Forces Day, RBLI has undertaken a range of activities from open events to tea parties.   We’re proud to support this event to heighten awareness of Armed Forces communities, both those who are serving and those who have served, whether recently or some time ago.

The transition into civilian life for many Armed Forces families can be tough enough and RBLI will continue to do all that it can to ease the path.

When RBLI launched its new strategy last year our objective of placing beneficiaries at the heart of our activities remained at the forefront of our delivery plans.   RBLI’s core beneficiary group has always been disabled ex Service personnel and ensuring this group remains our priority was never more important than it is today.  In order to effectively deliver our objective we’ve integrated our approach to service delivery.  This ensures that each individual can access whichever elements of our support services they may need to achieve sustainable independence.    LifeWorks, our assessment and employability support programme, continues to go from strength to strength with 67% of those who undertake the course and are in a position to work, moving into employment.   We’ve also developed LifeWorks+, which offers assessment and support to spouses and partners of Armed Forces personnel who find themselves seeking work.

RBLI’s week will culminate with the signing of a Community Covenant with Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, committing to work in partnership to ensure those with an Armed Forces background do not find themselves disadvantaged within the community.  The transition into civilian life for many Armed Forces families can be tough enough and RBLI will continue to do all that it can to ease the path.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Throughout the country, people are counting down the days to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and extended weekend. Marking 60 years of The Queen’s reign; we’ve taken the opportunity to look back into our archives to follow the links with our monarch over 90 years of RBLI history.

Queen goes shopping (Pathe Footage)

Her Majesty was first made aware of RBLI and its activities in 1954 when she visited an exhibition at Lord Roberts Workshops which included a display of toys made by RBLI employees who had been injured in World War 2.    Following this, to mark our own 50th anniversary, she was treated to a tour of the Royal British Legion Village in Aylesford when she visited in December 1975.

During her 90 minute visit, Her Majesty received a tour of the poppy factory, the fancy goods warehouse, our nursing homes and the signs department, giving her the opportunity to see first hand the work undertaken on the Village.

She was joined by the Legion’s national Chairman, Mr Charles Busby CBE, former Chairman Lieutenant, Colonel Sir Gordon Larking of Loose, Admiral Sir Henry Moore of Wateringbury, the MP of  Tonbridge and Malling, Kent’s High Sheriff and the Council’s Chief Executive.

The Queen took time to chat to employees working on the village; taking a keen interest in all activities, many of which continue today. She was also given the opportunity to visit the Duchess of Kent Court flats where she met Mrs Taylor, a resident, who at that time had been living on the village for nearly 50 years.

Image courtesy of RBLV website

At the end of the visit Her Majesty the Queen unveiled a plague commemorating the village’s 50th Anniversary; which stands today as a reminder of the historic occasion.   Many of our activities continue to this day and our core vision to ‘provide quality care and support to members of the Armed Forces community and their dependents and to help disadvantaged men and women find meaningful and sustained employment’ remains as strong now as it was then.

In conjunction in with the Jubilee celebrations, RBLI have been raising funds to facilitate the furnishing of accommodation for LifeWorks course delegates via a Jubilee cake sale. To see photos of the spectacular Union Jack themed cakes, lovingly created by staff at RBLI, visit our Facebook photo album by clicking here.

ABF Chief Executive shown how LifeWorks funding is making a real difference

We were delighted to welcome Major General Martin Rutledge, Chief Executive of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity to our head office in Aylesford.  ABF has supported our LifeWorks course from the very start by funding delegate places for serving and ex-service personnel requiring extra support for the transition to civilian life.  With LifeWorks celebrating its first year this was a great opportunity to show Martin how ABF’s funding had made a real difference.

Martin also met with Yuvaraj an ex-Gurkha who served in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, in Afghanistan.  During his time serving in HM Forces, Yuvaraj developed vision and hearing problems, which were eventually diagnosed as a brain tumour and has subsequently been discharged and has now transitioned into civilian life.  ABF was one of a number of charities who funded essential household items and official documentation required to enable Yuvaraj to live independently with the support of family and friends.

We would like to thank ABF for their continued support and look forward to assisting the increasing number of wounded, injured and sick service and ex-service personnel gain independence via support and employment.

LifeWorks Journey Week 2012 Update

Thank you to our friends who have supported the LifeWorks Journey Week 2012 and shared our features, in particular: ABF the Soldier’s Charity (@Soldierscharity), SSAFA Forces Help (@SSAFAForcesHelp), The Army Families Federation (@the_AFF), St Dunstan’s (@Stdunstansnews), Honour Our Forces (@Honourourforces), Support Our Forces (@SupportUKForces), The British Forces Foundation (@BFFtweets), Shipwrecked Mariners (@ShipwreckedSoc) and I’m Getting Out (@imgettingout) to name but a few.

To mark the end of this feature we would like to finish with RBLI coach Shaun Maloney.  With a 24-year Army career behind him, alongside his success in the training industry, Shaun has the experience and knowledge to guide veterans and service-leavers to meet their employment potential for success on Civvy Street.

For more information on RBLI’s LifeWorks courses;
call the LifeWorks specialist team free on 0800 319 6844
or view the interactive LifeWorks Brochure

LifeWorks Journey Week 2012

Lifeworks, supported by ABF the soldiers’ charity, is an innovative employment guidance service for the Armed Forces Community, enabling them to build on their existing skills beyond the Armed Forces and achieve sustainable work.

This week (13-17th Feb) is RBLI’s LifeWorks Journey Week 2012, each day we have been releasing former LifeWorks delegates’ video journeys to:

To round off LifeWorks Journey Week 2012 we are releasing a new interactive LifeWorks Update Brochure which will explain how LifeWorks can help, when it will be provided and how the course has developed.

2011 in numbers…

When reviewing RBLI’s achievements in 2011 my eye was quickly drawn towards a series of numbers:

  • We have enabled 350 people to find employment through the Work Programme and have started assisting 4700 individuals who are long term unemployed.
  • We have given 5224 members of the Armed Forces community, employment and training information, advice and guidance through the Civvy Street programme.

  • LifeWorks, our new vocational assessment service, has worked with 45 wounded, injured and sick ex Service personnel.
  •  65 members of the Armed Forces have attended the Army Recovery Courses (ARC) on our site in Aylesford, Kent.

  • We have supported 3 young ex-Gurkhas, one of whom has recently started employment in our Signs Department, by providing accommodation in our village.
  •  We are proud to have a workforce consisting of 88 employees with disabilities.
  • 300,000 pieces K’NEX (construction toy), have been assembled by our specialist team for a range of global displays (see our monster truck).

  • 237,000 new pallets have been built by our Pallet Department. 510,000 other pallets have been inspected, maintained and returned to the system.
  • Our village hosts 50 people in our high dependency care home, 38 in our assisted living home and a further 137 in our houses.
  • 3 new apprentices have joined our team. We hope that this number will grow in 2012.
  •  With a combined age of 153, 3 members of our Senior Management Team, successfully completed the Maidstone Half Marathon and the hope is that the number of RBLI runners will increase in 2012 thereby reducing the average age of participants!

  •  54 local children with special needs and their carers attended a Christmas Party as part of our own charitable contribution to our community.
  •  504 people ‘follow’ @RBLI on Twitter.
  •  RBLI videos have been watched 1,047 time on YouTube.

A total of 300 RBLI staff made all of the above numbers happen. Of course, the numbers merely give some idea of scale of effort. What is less easy to describe is the dedication, passion and commitment that is required to deliver such high quality services that I see as I visit all of our activities. I do hope that our blog and social medias will, through articles and photographs, better illustrate the work of RBLI and all our staff.

From all at RBLI, I wish you a very happy 2012.

A Festive Update

In the run up to the festive season, I’m pleased to report that we remain very much on track with delivery of the Strategy we launched earlier this year. There have been a number of successes which demonstrate this. We have continued to support the work of the Army Recovery Capability, having just hosted a further assessment and training course. Our training team has delivered a number of LifeWorks courses and we are proud to report that delegates from these courses are now moving into employment and further vocational training.

Our training team has delivered a number of LifeWorks courses and we are proud to report that delegates from these courses are now moving into employment and further vocational training.

Social Enterprise has recently secured a contract to provide services to the MOD as well as adding a number of new customers for signs, mail house, printing and fulfilment services to its portfolio. The number of customers supported into work through Work Programme continues to grow and we have successfully implemented two Access to Work contracts for the delivery of workplace assessments across the South of England, London and the Home Counties.

Our Property Services team have been invited to tender to provide grounds maintenance work around Kent and a new and exciting project which will provide employment for ex Service, ex offenders that we will deliver in partnership with Blue Sky will now go live in Spring 2012. The Welfare and Healthcare Team continue to support an increasing number of beneficiaries with high quality care, accommodation, advice and guidance.

The latest K’nex ‘Big Build’ project, which has generated much interest and intrigue over the last few weeks will be unveiled early in the New Year when it finally reaches its destination in Houston, Texas. We look forward to providing more detail on this project in January, including information and video footage relating to the build process.

We look forward to providing more detail on this project in January, including information and video footage relating to the build process.

I’d like to wish all our customers, partners and friends a very Happy Christmas and New Year. Thank you for your ongoing support; I look forward to working with all of you to continue our Strategy delivery in 2012.

Christmas Baubles Image by Petr Kratochvil