A commemorative bench has been unveiled in St David’s Park, Carmarthen during Armed Forces Week in recognition of the value serving personnel, cadet adult volunteers, reservists, veterans and military families bring to Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB).
The theme this year is Salute Our Forces, with 2022 marking the 40th anniversary of the Falkland Islands liberation, and visitors to Bronglais and Glangwili hospitals will also see the Armed Forces flag flying throughout the week.
The health board has a long-standing commitment to being an armed forces-friendly organisation having signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2016 and gaining the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold award in July 2021.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Delyth Raynsford, Independent Member for Hywel Dda UHB, said:
“It is wonderful to see many of our staff here today who have served or continue to serve in our armed forces.
“We recognise the knowledge, transferable skills and the constructive and positive approach serving personnel, cadet adult volunteers, reservists, veterans and military families contribute to our health service.
“In turn, as an organisation, we continually work to improve our workforce policies to attract and support the recruitment and retention of workforce from the Armed Forces community.
“This includes ten extra paid days leave for reservists, promoting our commitment to the Guaranteed Interview Scheme for veterans and advocating the benefits in supporting armed forces community members by encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme.”
Following 30 years of service in the British Army, Lisa Tasker joined Hywel Dda UHB in 2020 as the personal assistant to the deputy director and assistant director of finance.
Speaking at the ceremony, Lisa said:
“This is my first job after the military and the armed forces staff network is a good way to connect with colleagues across the health board with same experiences.
“Coming from a military background has been a learning curve for my colleagues as well as myself but everyone has been very welcoming. It is lovely to have this bench to recognise the value and contribution we make to the NHS.”
The bench has been funded by charitable donations to Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of the Health Board.
Nicola Llewelyn, Head of the charity, said:
“We are delighted to have been able to fund the bench which represents how valued the Armed Forces community is by the Health Board.
“We hope that it will provide a focus for future reflection and commemoration.”
Should anyone who is currently serving or who has served in the armed forces, and their families, like further information on support available from Hywel Dda UHB, including access to Veterans NHS Wales, a specialised, priority service for individuals who are experiencing mental health difficulties related specifically to their military service, can visit hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/armed-forces-covenant.
The Armed Forces Staff Network is also open to any member of the armed forces community working in Hywel Dda and if any staff would like further information about the network, they can contact [email protected]
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