26 Mar 2020

Published in: Other

The Defence Secretary has announced a COVID Support Force to assist public services with the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the British Chamber of Commerce, Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and Defence Relationship Management have recently launched Chamber Military Network (CMN) which provides all Chambers of Commerce across England & Wales with the tools, knowledge and understanding to effectively promote the value of the Armed Forces Covenant to business.

During this difficult time and in response to government policy the official launch event due to be held in June 2020 has been postponed until later in the year. However, the CMN team are committed and continue to make it their priority to provide support and information for the Armed Forces Community in business via the Chamber Network.

Chamber Military Network intends to share and provide relevant news stories and announcements in support of our Armed Forces Community. Please visit for more information and to submit news.

Shared Press Notice – West Midlands Reserve Forces’ and Cadets Association

Armed forces provide support to public services in coronavirus outbreak

The Defence Secretary has announced a COVID Support Force to assist public services with the response to the coronavirus outbreak. As of 23rd March, there are 250 personnel deployed to assist civil authorities with the response. They form part of 20,000 armed forces personnel currently stood at readiness to take part.

The armed forces have contributed dozens of specialist military planners to Local Resilience Forums who are providing support to public services, local authorities and emergency services in preparing their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Currently armed forces personnel have started training to drive oxygen tankers in support of the NHS. Around 150 members of personnel from all three services will be trained to drive supplies of oxygen to NHS facilities if required. Fifty members of armed forces personnel have begun assisting the NHS with the distribution and delivery of PPE. The number of personnel is likely to be increased when the programme is running at full capacity.

Military planners and engineers are working alongside the NHS to support their development of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital in London. It is expected to initially provide support for up to 500 patients with coronavirus, with capacity being scaled up over coming weeks.

The RAF are responding to medical evacuation requests for the transfer of patients, and Forces from Joint Helicopter Command are on standby to provide aviation capability in support to civil authorities. This will enable access to isolated communities that may not be able to obtain urgent medical care during the coronavirus crisis.

Repatriation flights have already allowed British citizens to return home safely and receive the medical treatment they needed. The Ministry of Defence is also providing logistics assistance to the Government of Gibraltar.

All of these service personnel form part of the wider armed forces community who you already recognise and support through your Armed Forces Covenant pledges. Now more than ever, Defence needs the continued commitment and support from your businesses and organisations to help us overcome these difficult times and keep our nation safe.

510 employers in the West Midlands region to date have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, proudly showing their support for our armed forces.

West Midland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association (West Midland RFCA) is one of thirteen Reserve Forces & Cadets Associations (RFCAs) across the UK, established by statute, who offer advice and support to the Defence Council on behalf of the reserve forces and cadet movement. Some of their responsibilities include maintenance and facilities management to over 30 reserve centres and 250 cadet buildings, and providing support to employers to deliver on Armed Forces Covenant pledges.

Chief Executive of West Midland RFCA, Colonel Richard Maybery commented: “During this most challenging of periods, our armed forces have a vital role to play in supporting the NHS, Local Authorities and many others.

“Our partner employers have already demonstrated their support and commitment to the armed forces through the pledges contained in the Armed Forces Covenant.

“Over the coming weeks, West Midland RFCA stands ready to support the Defence effort in whatever way it can. Equally, we are also geared up to deliver any employer support required in the event that their reservists are mobilised. Please do not hesitate to get in touch for any advice.”

If you have any queries regarding employer support, employing service leavers, or how to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, please contact our employer engagement team on wm-eeao@rfca.mod.ukor 0121 274 2226. More information can also be found on our website:

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce provides up to date guidance for business during COVID-19 visit for more information:

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