Volunteer Reserves and Cadets choose to serve, giving their time and commitment to their community and our country. Royal Naval Reserve (and the Royal Marines Reserve), the Territorial Army and the RAF Reserves underpin the three Services.
They rely on and deserve the support of a dedicated organisation staffed by people familiar with their environment, who understand the context of their contribution and have their interests at heart. Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations (RFCAs) provide this point of contact around the UK through 13 autonomous Associations. These have some 8,000 volunteer members supported by a professional staff - a local Defence footprint.
Set up in 1908 - at the same time as the Territorial Army - RFCAs have built up a formidable amount of local knowledge and experience about:
- Communities that make up their regions
- Local government at all levels
- Schools and Colleges of Further and Higher Education
- The media that serve the area
- Charities and other organisations that are there to help and advise
- Volunteer Reserve units located within the Association areas - who they are and what they do
- The thousands of Cadets and their Instructors
- Recruitment of Reservists and Cadets
- Provision and maintenance of buildings for the Volunteer and Cadet estate
The RFCAs are not part of the military chain of command but are required to give advice and assistance to the Defence Council and the three Services on Volunteer Reserve and Cadet matters. RFCA members are experienced professional people interested in Defence and there is a full time staff of Crown Servants headed up by senior retired officers.
There have been changes to the structure and operational requirements of the Armed Forces since 2000 - particularly due to on-going operational commitments. The role of the RFCAs has evolved to reflect these needs.