SOME 90 county business people were given an insight into the vital role of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) and the huge impact it makes on the Gloucestershire economy.
The ARRC base at Imjin Barracks, Innsworth played host recently to the latest Get Connected business networking event organised by the Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo.
ARRC is a NATO rapid deployment unit that can be swiftly deployed to the world’s trouble spots. There are more than 440 military personal based at Innsworth (of which almost 60 per cent are UK forces) and altogether the base supports 1,140 personnel from 16 nations.
It is estimated the base ploughs £30 million into the county economy, when other investments are taken into account the total figure is around £50 million.
In a question and answer session with Ian Mean, content director with Gloucestershire Media, the new commander at ARRC, Lt General Tim Evans, emphasised the importance of relations with the wider Gloucestershire community.
“We might be here for military duty but when we do deploy it is all our families who are back here in Gloucestershire,” said Lt General Evans. “If we were not enmeshed into the community, we would not get that support. “I think that is really important. We were surprised at how open and how welcoming people have been.”
Speaking about the cuts to defence forces, Lt General Evans said: “There is no doubt that if you looked at the fiscal state of Europe and the UK, what we had was not affordable. “We had to cut our cloth to suit what we require.”
While regular UK Army forces were coming down to 82, 000 reservists were coming up to 30,000 and were “still very credible and ready to deploy”.
Jon Penhale, of Stonehouse-based Omega Resource Group, which is supporting the Citizen and Echo’s Jobs for our Forces campaign, said it was important to make employers aware of the talents offered by former service personnel entering the workplace.
If your business is interested in joining out Jobs for Our Forces campaign, email email@example.com
Managing Director, Geoff Davis, said "This was an opportunity to meet with personnel deployed at ARRC Imjin Barracks and understand the positive impact this base has on the Gloucestershire economy. I was also able to learn a little more about the ‘Jobs for our Forces’ campaign and hear how this could benefit Helipebs Controls. The evening was rounded off by a demonstration of cooking by the ARRC chefs who provided some excellent food in a tented area which gave me the chance to network with other county business people".
Courtesy of the Gloucestershire Echo