Gloucestershire pledges support to Armed Forces
For photographs from the ceremony please visit https://picasaweb.google.com/117403090412618799184/MilitaryCovenantSigningGloucester27022012?authuser=0&feat=directlink.
Representatives from across Gloucestershire have pledged their support for the Armed Forces at a ceremony in Shire Hall.
More than 10 public sector organisations including Gloucestershire County Council, the six district councils, NHS and police as well as representatives from the voluntary sector signed the Local Armed Forces Community Covenant.
Members of the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and the Allied Rapid Response Corps also attended the event to sign the covenant.
The covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces Community.
Its aim is to:
- Encourage local communities to support the armed forces community in their areas, and vice versa
- Promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the armed forces community
- Recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the armed forces community
- Encourage activities which help to integrate the armed forces community into local life.
Signing the covenant also unlocks funding to help support Armed Forces families.
The Ministry of Defence has made £30 million of grant funding available to support local projects which aim to improve ties between the armed forces and the wider community.
Gloucestershire County Council will now be encouraging groups to come forward and bid for funding to support their work with forces communities, from projects encouraging integration, to education and activities that remember those who lost their lives.
You can find out how to apply by visiting www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/armedforces.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, who led the ceremony, said: “Gloucestershire is proud of its association with the Armed Forces and the signing ceremony has formalised our commitment and support going forward.
“The next step is to invite more organisations to join us and show the difference they are making to improve the quality of life for our service personnel.
“Our commitment is to push this forward, encouraging local people to get involved by celebrating our service personnel and ensuring that we maintain strong links between ourselves and the Armed Forces Community.”
Brigadier Piers Hankinson, Commander of 43 (Wessex) Brigade, said: “The community covenant represents a real step forward embedding Armed Forces personnel, past and present, and their families into communities we serve, that we are drawn from and to which many will return.
“I am extremely grateful to all of our partners for the proactive and positive response they have made in developing the covenant and the work they have done and are doing it to make it a reality.”
Cllr Carole Topple, Cotswold District Council Cabinet lead for Housing and Communities, said: “We have good links with the military on account of the 29 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps being on our doorstep, but this new covenant will, I am sure, strengthen those ties and encourage even greater community support for the military across the Cotswolds.”
Notes to Editors
National Armed Forces Covenant
The national Armed Forces Covenant, launched in 2011, outlines the moral obligation of the government and society to the Armed Forces Community. The Covenant states the Government’s aspiration that:
“Those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved.”
In support of the national covenant the government launched a Community Covenant scheme and grant in June 2011, with the aim to strengthen the ties between members of the Armed Forces Community, the wider community in which they live and local public agencies.
Gloucestershire’s Local Armed Forces Covenant is part of the national Community Covenant scheme.
Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 1PX
Telephone: 01285 623 169