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 - Day 5

Grenadier Walk of Oman: How do the Armed Forces support wider society?

The Armed Forces serve and protect our country; however, their support does not stop at the battlefield- Armed Forces personnel also play a vital role in supporting wider society.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the armed forces have shown their true commitment to supporting wider society, especially with their role in accelerating the UK’s vaccine programme. According to the Department of Health, military personnel are supporting the administration of vaccines, supplying planning support and supporting with largescale Covid-19 testing. According to the British Legion, approximately 2,700 serving medical personnel are currently working in the NHS.

More recently, members of the armed forces stepped up to help deliver fuel to petrol stations because of a lack of HGV drivers in the UK. Operation Escalin has required 200 military personnel to deliver petrol in London and the Southeast, where the problem is most pertinent.

Ex-military personnel are also able to support wider society, through Walking With The Wounded’s OP-REGEN programme. OP-REGEN is a volunteering project that offers a platform for those who have served to recognise their inherent skills and empowers them to demonstrate these skills to the wider community. For those that have landed on hard times, this project aims to support these individuals and their families to reintegrate back into society and to have a meaningful, positive impact on their local neighbourhoods.

Although focused on ex-military, more generally the project is supported by volunteers from all backgrounds including Corporate UK and encourages these individuals to work together, leading to a greater increase in community cohesion and safer neighbourhoods.

Using the skills they acquired in the military – planning, logistics, coordination, and communication – the veterans involved with the project work alongside local businesses, councils, schools, and individuals to regenerate their communities.

 "I have volunteered with Walking With The Wounded on many occasions, so I felt it was the natural thing for me to step up from being a regular volunteer to spearhead an event or two. Part of my degree is undertaking a work placement in my third year, and I felt that OP-REGEN would be best suited for this as gives me an insight into what the working day would entail, and I will gain the necessary soft skills which are paramount for a human-centred working environment."

- Bjorn, OP-REGEN Captain

If you are keen to follow the route of the Grenadier Walk of Oman and see how those involved are getting on with their challenge, see here. Or if you’d like to volunteer with OP-REGEN, please follow this link.