Outside body

Wessex Reserve Forces and Cadet Association



Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations


RFCAs are regional civilian bodies comprising voluntary members and a small full-time Secretariat.  They are established by statute to offer advice and support to the Defence Council on behalf of the Reserve Forces and Cadet Movement.


In particular they are responsible for:


  • The provision of maintenance of accommodation for the Territorial Army and the Army Cadet Force, and for the other Reserve Forces and Cadets as required.
  • Regional and local recruit marketing, especially for the TA and the ACF.
  • Liaison with local authorities and employers.
  • The management of the ACF.




v  Local Knowledge    Reserves and Cadets are based in the local community in the way that the regular forces are not.  They need the support of an organisation and people who are familiar with and prominent in their area.  RFCA members provide this recognised point of contact throughout the community – a local Defence footprint.


v  Continuity                Reserves and Cadets do not move around like their regular counterparts.  It is important that relationships within the community are established and maintained over a period of time.  RFCA members are long term community representatives.


v  Independence                      RFCAs are not part of the chain of command but are required to give advice and assistance to the Defence Council and the military of all three Services at any level.  RFCA members are experienced professional people interested in Defence matters.


v  Cadets                       The Cadet Movement (Army Cadet Force, Air Training Corps, Sea Cadet Corps and Combined Cadet Force) is a national voluntary youth movement, based on a military ethos, though not part of the Armed Forces.  RFCAs in conjunction with the Cadet Associations and Services HQs provide essential local support.




Ø  Organisation            13 autonomous RFCAs exist nationwide consisting of a total of over 1,800 civilian volunteer members, with a wide cross section of expertise in financial and legal affairs, estate management, recruit marketing, employer support, youth matters and local government.  All are advocates of Defence and represent their local communities.  They provide a civilian network of support across the nation.


Ø  Action                       Each RFCA is allocated a budget to resource support to Reserves and Cadets.  Priorities are agreed with the respective Service Headquarters and managed expeditiously by the RFCA concerned.  Through the expertise of their members RFCAs are able to bring added value to the Defence effort.


Ø  Staff.                         Each RFCA employs a small Secretariat of full time Crown Servants to serve its members and maintain the link between the civilian community and the Services.





ü  The interests of Reserve Forces (Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve, Territorial Army and Royal Auxiliary Air Force) and the Cadet Movement are served by an organisation dedicated to their support and well-being.


ü  The RFCAs provide a key link between the Services and the communities, work places and institutions from which the Reserve Forces and the Cadet Movement volunteer.


ü  Through the RFCAs the goodwill, understanding and support of the population – all essential to the military volunteer concept – can be nurtured and Defence promoted in general.


ü  RFCAs, by harnessing civilian expertise and skills, reinforce the support and administration of Reserves and Cadets.


YOUR Local RFCA is:


Wessex Reserve Forces and Cadets Association

Mount House

Mount Street



Telephone:   01823 254571

Facsimile: 01823 259935

E-mail: so@wessex-rfca.mod.uk

Web: www.wessex-rfca.org.uk



About the Wessex RFCA




Wessex Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (Wessex RFCA) is one of thirteen Associations (RFCAs) covering the United Kingdom whose collective role is to provide advice to the Defence Council on matters relating to the Volunteer Reserve Forces (Territorial Army, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve, Royal Auxiliary Air Force) and the Cadet Forces (Army Cadet Force, Air Training Corps, Sea Cadet Corps, and Combined Cadet Force).  In addition, RFCAs have a number of specific assigned responsibilities, such as financial management, property management, and support for recruiting, employer liaison, and administration of the Army Cadet Force.  Business is conducted through an Association Executive Committee (Board) served by Sub-committees covering each of our responsibilities. Each Association has a full-time Secretariat headed up by a Chief Executive.


Wessex RFCA comprises the seven Lieutenancies of the South West (Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire).  Each Lieutenancy has a County Membership of up to 40 members, with a mixture of ex-military, Council and Local Authorities, civilian (business and community) and ex-officio military members of all three Armed Forces.  Members should reside within the County or have a strong association with it.  There is no membership fee or annual subscription.  Membership is entirely voluntary.  Duties of Members are not onerous; they are essentially to be prepared to represent the RFCA in the community, and help us in the conduct of our role and tasks with advice as and when we might ask for it.  We in turn will endeavour to keep members well informed.  A Community Engagement Event is held normally once annually in each County for which all members are kept informed.  Each year the Wessex RFCA Annual General Meeting takes place normally in late March/early April.    


New Members are elected at this meeting and after some essential business we have a guest speaker.  The meeting ends with lunch.  It is a good occasion and usually well attended.  In summary the Wessex RFCA is an Association of voluntary members whose role is to provide advice to the Defence Council on our business in support of the Reserve Forces and Cadet Forces in the South West.  In this respect we are able to influence a great deal and bring pressure to bear when the situation dictates.  The quality of our work is dependent upon the valuable input provided by our members.

Contact information

Alan Cooper
Association Staff Officer

Our representatives