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24 June 2011, 14:21
Hampshire County Council is one of three authorities in England that has been selected to introduce the new Armed Forces Community Covenant.
The Community Covenant is a Government initiative that will roll out across the country and aims to improve the range and quality of services available to service personnel, their families, veterans and reservists.
The Government chose Hampshire as a front runner because of its track record and the work it already does with its military partners.
The Armed Forces Community Covenant for Hampshire was launched on 23 June during a visit by Andrew Robathan, the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, as part of the County’s celebrations for Armed Forces Week.
Approximately 22,000 serving personnel are stationed in Hampshire along with approximately 6,000 civilians directly employed by the Armed Forces in Hampshire (including Portsmouth).
The Community Covenant will see the County Council working closely with the three Armed Forces together with a range of private, public, voluntary and charitable organisations and the local community.
Andrew Robathan, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare, and Veterans, said:
“The launch of the Armed Forces Community Covenant is a significant step forward in encouraging the whole country to show that they back their Armed Forces. What is most important is that this is the local community supporting their local personnel, both past and present, and their families. This is about making Service life a central part of life in the community and improving the bond between the Armed Forces and the people they serve.”
Councillor Keith Mans, Executive Member for Communities and International Relations and the Council’s Lead Member for the Armed Forces said:
“It is important that we do all that we can to support the Armed Forces Community. To do this we will need to work closely with our partners, including service charities, to agree how we can improve our current arrangements and to introduce measures which will enable the Forces to function more effectively. Many of them have seen active service and we are well aware of the trauma they can experience. In particular we need to address their specific needs and those of their children and families which arise during their service and later for those who leave and settle in Hampshire.”
Signing the Covenant with representatives from the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, will be Councillor Ken Thornber, Leader of Hampshire County Council who said:
“We value our Armed Forces in Hampshire and are pleased to see the Coalition Government taking steps to rebuild the Military Covenant. The new Community Covenant will build on the strong foundation of work already carried out in Hampshire by charities and voluntary groups, and through the Welfare Pathway pilot, to support the Armed Forces and their families. We are proud to be one of the first signatories to it.”