In Jan 2010 The Rifles Casualty Capability was launched as a response to the Regiment's ever increasing number of operational casualties. Initially funded by a charitable grant from the ABF-The Soldier's Charity the programme is led by Lt Col (Retd) Mike Smith, the Regimental Casualty Officer (RCO).
The RCO is responsible for ensuring enduring care for our wounded Riflemen, their families and the families of the fallen. He liaises with the Army Recover Capability to ensure that the Regiment is involved at every stage of a Rifleman’s recovery. This involves calling upon the Regiment’s nationwide network of serving and veteran Riflemen, its County Offices and its Regimental funds to provide advice, welfare and benevolence quickly to the point of need. The RCO also co-ordinates holiday offers, sporting and adventure training opportunities and other offers in kind all of which are advertised on the Care for Casualties web site.
Monitoring the Rehabilitation Pathway to Civilian Life and Employment
Those Riflemen with long term injuries will be assigned to the Army Recovery Capability and come under a Personnel Recovery Unit (PRU) of which there are 11 based throughout the UK. The PRU is responsible for creating an Individual Recovery Plan (IRP) for each Rifleman which will ensure that as well as addressing his clinical needs a pathway is designed with an defined outcome so that whatever his injuries he is able to realise his potential. IRPs will include work placements, educational and life skills courses, adventure training and residential periods at one of four Personnel Recovery Centres being constructed by H4H and The Royal British Legion. The RCO will alert for opportunities to upgrade these IRPs with practical and financial help from the Rifles’ Charities.
Contact Following Transition To Civilian Life. A critical point in the the rehabilitation process follows a soldier's discharge from The Army and return to civilian life. The Regimental Casualty Capability is designed to maintain enduring contact with these individuals, to support them at this critical time and for the rest of their lives.
Holidays. The Capability seeks and co-ordinates offers of holidays and weekend breaks to allow our casualties respite from the routine of rehabilitation. In the case of Next of Kin, a holiday can offer a break from caring for a badly wounded son or provide an opportunity for families of the fallen to start rebuilding their lives and gain inspiration.
Training and Education. Assistance includes helping with course fees and adapting accommodation to enable our wounded to acquire skills and knowledge to enable them to re-enter civilian life and maximise their potential to earn a living. Funds raised by the Care For Casualties appeal have already contributed towards Open University and specialised training courses.
Looking After the Next of Kin of Fallen and Wounded Rifleman. For example Rifles' Funds have paid for driving lessons for the girlfriend (now wife) of a blinded rifleman so she can drive him to work. Assistance has also been given to enable the child of a fallen Rifleman to continue with their chosen education pathway.
Sport and Adventure. Sport and Adventure Training play a vital role in the physical and mental rehabilitation of our Riflemen. Regimental Funds have been used to subsidise skiing and sailing opportunities for our wounded. Enabling wounded Riflemen, who wish to develop their disabled sporting prowess to the highest level, including competing at the Para Olympics, is another objective of the Capability.