Reflection on Remembrance
Rodger Cartwright, Director
Looking at these incredible pictures taken of Aldershot Military Cemetery on 11th November by our new team member, Isla Strathdee, my thoughts are drawn to a sermon preached this year at the Falklands 40th Anniversary Service, by the Rt Rev Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans and Bishop to the Armed Forces.
Now, I am not a big fan of sermons, finding that most only keep my attention for a few minutes until my mind wanders. This is probably the legacy of having a father who was a member of the clergy, and who was convinced that his sermons were amazing when, in fact, they tended to be incredibly boring. Bishop Hugh’s sermon really gripped me, and I found that his words helped me to look at Remembrance in a more positive and dynamic way.
He spoke about “remembering well", and that remembering should not just be a passive act. He explored how “memories are dangerous; because memories are partial, they can be distorted and manipulated and used to cause harm”. Our past, and how we remember it, informs our present and shapes our future - learning from our mistakes and our successes was his concept of remembering well.
I really liked this, because it is very easy for me to not remember well. Instead, I find myself getting caught up in the emotion of Remembrance, by thinking about the friends I have lost, buying poppies, dropping money into a collection tin, talking to old comrades and laying wreaths. This is not enough.
To honour the fallen, we must help to make sure that that loss due to wars and conflict leaves a positive legacy.
As Bishop Hugh said in his sermon, “We should commit to the honest search for the truth about the past - the good and the bad, the glories and the disasters. And that means both looking to our leaders and those who shape opinion and holding them to account to help us remember things reliably and truthfully and making the same commitment ourselves; to listening carefully, especially to those with different memories than us, and to earnestly seeking to remember the truth.”
If we do go to war again, we must learn the lessons of the past and ensure that our service personnel and their families are properly prepared, protected, and supported. This means not only whilst the bullets are flying and the bombs are dropping, but also for the decades that follow, when the war lives on in history books and nightmares.
Those nightlights on the headstones in Aldershot, the poppies we wear, and the wreaths that we lay should make us think of the fallen. They should also serve as a reminder to honour their sacrifices, by remembering honestly and truthfully - by “remembering well” - and of encouraging others to do the same.
Volunteer Regional Coordinators
Twelve wonderful members gave their time to attend initial training sessions this month to prepare them for their new roles as Volunteer Regional Coordinators, learning about engagement, boundaries, safeguarding and the overall culture and ethos here at TRP. These Coordinators will play a crucial role in keeping our groups welcoming and active, and in keeping members informed about all things TRP related.
The Coordinators will be sharing information about trusted organisations that can offer a service to our members, and supporting the staff team in keeping an over-arching eye on members' wellbeing. block. Click here to edit this text.
It was a pleasure to meet (or get to know you a little better) you on the training days, and it was brilliant to see so much dedication and enthusiasm. We are very excited and grateful to have you all on board. Welcome to the team - and thank you!
We regularly ask our members for feedback, to help us review our services and how we are delivering them.
We recently sent out our annual survey, and would like to thank our members for the great response we received. We're busy analysing the results at the moment, and the initial findings are encouraging - we'll be sharing the full outcomes with our members, stakeholders and funders shortly, so watch this space.
For members, we will also be hosting a series of five interactive feedback sessions in February 2023, to follow up on your feedback, and to ensure that we're providing the services that you want and need.
Dates, timings and registration information will be sent out to all members in early January, so keep an eye on your inbox!
With You for the Armed Forces Community
Thank you to With You
, for inviting us to speak at their Armed Forces networking conference, which took place on 17 November. It was fantastic to meet so many other organisations with the same goal of supporting families within the Armed Forces community, and was such a positive experience to find that many of these organisations were already aware of us and our work.
Click the button below to find out more about the free, confidential support offered by With You to members of the Armed Forces community who are experiencing issues with drugs and alcohol.
Our new partnership with Op COURAGE Midlands is well underway, and has seen an increase in referrals received by our dedicated Member Support Delivery Officers.
We're pleased to announce that Emma has joined the team this month.
Emma comes to us with lived experience of supporting an injured veteran, as well as a wealth of personal and professional experience of military life and family life, and we're delighted to welcome her on board.
As one of Emma's first networking opportunities, she met with Sarah Kerr, Armed Forces Outreach Support Coordinator for Shropshire. Sarah updated us on the projects she is currently overseeing for military personnel, veterans and their families, and was excited to update us on the progress of the state-of-the-art Veteran's Hub at the RYAH, Gobowen, which will provide specialist care for Armed Forces Veterans.
Our MSDOs have also been building other relationships within the wider community, by attending events such as the Armed Forces Operational Group.
We're very excited to be strengthening links with professionals in the Op COURAGE Midlands area, and are looking forward to making many new connections - if you're based locally and would like to chat to the team, please do get in touch.
Book Club registrations will be opening tomorrow morning (Thursday 1st December), from 8.30am.
Spaces are limited, and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
To secure a space - and the three free books from Reading Force - members must be able to committ to the three Book Club meetings (to be held virtually, via Zoom):
If you love reading, but Book Club isn’t your thing, you can still get involved in the fantastic resources from Reading Forces, available for adults and children from serving, veteran and separated families here.
Join us on Monday 5th November, for our monthly Members' Meet Up!
Join Emma on Zoom, for the chance to chat to other members about whatever's on your mind. As ever, there's no pressure to stay for the whole call - you can drop in any time between 8 - 9pm.
Following the success of our nutrition workshops with Vital Nutrition and DGS, we're pleased to offer our members another opportunity to spend time with Nutritional Therapist, Jane McClenaghan, at our festive cookalong.
Jane will be joining us on Tuesday 13th December, and showing us how to stay healthy and on budget this festive period.
All TRP Members are invited to join us for our Christmas Quiz (via Zoom) on 20th December, at 7.30pm.
You'll need access to a mobile device and the Kahoot website to take part, but don't worry - we'll be sending joining details out shortly, along with everything you need to know. We're looking forward to seeing you for some festive fun!
Celebrating Forces Families Awards
Nominations are OPEN for Celebrating Forces Families Awards
The team behind the awards did an incredible job this year, organising our community’s first ever event focusing solely on celebrating the support, resilience, achievements and successes of Forces families, and we’re so
excited to see what stops they pull out this time round.
Give them a follow on social media to make sure you don’t miss out on any updates, and get those nominations
* There are ten categories to choose from, and it's definitely just a very big coincidence that we accidentally chose this particular screenshot to share with you... 😇
The Ripple Pond is proud to be supported by the following funders:
It’s down to the generosity of these funders that we’re able to continue helping the military families who need us most.
Thank you for helping us to change lives.
The Ripple Pond
Registered Charity Number 1161224 | Scottish Charity Number SC046402
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