Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is marking Reserves Day today (Wednesday, June 22) by launching its first coffee morning for all its Reservist employees and local veterans.
The social event took place at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, Pontypridd, on the same day at the Council welcomed The Welsh Guards motorbike team to the Park around noon, as part of their Falklands 40th Anniversary Ride of Respect around the UK.
The Welsh Guards Ride of Respect
Reserves Day is held around the country each year to celebrate the dual work of Reservists in their civilian and military lives. Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their day-to-day working lives with a military career.
Councillor Maureen Webber, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Deputy Leader and Armed Forces Champion, said: “The Council is proud of the dual work of Karen Spencer, the Council’s Reservists’ Champion, and all our Reservist employees. We mark Reserves Day to say thank you to these people, for all that they do.
“Karen is always on hand to offer advice and support to our Armed Forces team and her inside knowledge of what it is like to be a Reservist in Rhondda Cynon Taf helps us target support to our military and ex-military staff. She is a true champion for Reservists in Rhondda Cynon Taf.”
The Reserve Forces make up approximately one-sixth of the UK’s Armed Forces personnel, and as such are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas, particularly providing capability in specialist areas such as medical and cyber.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has a strong network of Reservist employees, led by its Reservists’ Champion Karen Spencer, who is shortlisted in the Reservist of the Yearcategory at this year’s Welsh Veterans Awards.
The Welsh Veterans Awards 2022
Karen Spencer, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Business, Training, Quality Assurance and Risk Management Officer, is also a Reservist with 157 (Welsh) Regiment RLC. She actively promotes the vital role of Reservists and many of the skills she has developed over time are utilised both in her daily workplace and in military life.
Karen has been an Armed Forces Reservist for more than 10 years and is the Council’s advocate and champion for Reservists and has provided excellent support and guidance to the Council’s Armed Forces team over the years, including supporting and promoting Reserves Day, taking part in ‘Wear Your Uniform To Work Day,’ representing her department on the Council’s Armed Forces staff network and assisting with the organisation of Council’s first-ever Staff Reservists and Veterans Coffee Morning.
Karen Spencer said: “I am proud to be a Reservist with our UK Armed Forces as well as working for the local authority. Both careers are very rewarding.
“As a Reservist, even though we do skills and drills on a regular basis, no two situations are ever the same. So, we are always preparing for the unknown - every day is a learning day. Being a Reservist, no matter how much experience you have, there is always something different thrown at you.
“My work ethos is to keep my head down and get on with it and always do my best. I am constantly growing as a person and am always looking for the next challenge and development opportunity.”
The Council is also shortlisted at the Welsh Veterans Awards 2022 in the Employer of the Year category for its continued support and work with its Armed Forces community, Past and Present, and their families.
One of the first local authorities in Wales to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant in 2012, the Council has a proud record of valuing its armed services, past and present, and its commitment to the Covenant significantly progresses the Council’s objectives to support its Armed Forces community.
Despite having no previous military experience when she signed up to join the British Army in 2011, Karen has thrived and now holds the rank of Sergeant as a Combat Medical Technician with the Royal Army Medical Corps, tending to medical emergencies.
She has previously spent six months delivering essential supplies on Operation Herrick 18 in Afghanistan as a driver for 249 HQ Squadron of 157 (Welsh) Regiment Royal Logistic Corps. It was a very different workplace from her ‘day job’ with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.
Karen has travelled the world with her military role and has also gained many qualifications, including a HGV driving license, Class One Combat Medical Technician and the UK Military Command, Leadership, and Management Course.
Posted on 22/06/2022