A Sefton-based housing group has won the Government’s highest honour in recognition of its support for the Armed Forces community.
The Sovini Group was awarded the Gold Award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS), the first housing group in the country to win the accolade since the scheme began in 2014. Last year it won and Silver Award and in 2016, it took the Bronze.
The ERS recognises employers who actively support reservists, service leavers, wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, the cadet organisations and service families, as well as inspire other organisations to follow their lead.
“The breadth and diversity of this year’s winners shows how business support for the armed forces continues to flourish,” said Tobias Ellwood, minister for defence people and veterans. “Their commitment is a testament to the fantastic contribution our serving personnel, veterans and their families can make to any organisation. We all have a role to play in ensuring that the Armed Forces community is not disadvantaged by service, and each of these employers is a setting an example as meaningful advocates for those protecting the nation.”
Sovini has long standing relationships with the armed forces community. It works in close partnership with army reserve unit 156 Regiment RLC and local organisations, Liverpool’s Veterans HQ and Veterans in Sefton, providing ex-service personnel with housing, training and employment opportunities.
A recent initiative between The Sovini Group with Veterans HQ has led to six local veteran families being rehomed and saved from homelessness since the start of 2018.
The company offers a volunteer placement programme, which supports veterans with their transition from the armed forces into employment within civilian life. Some of those who took part in the programme have gone on to get jobs within the group, such as at Sovini Trade Supplies in Aintree.
The Sovini Group also employs a number of reservists and provides tailored support including an additional 10 days leave for training and unlimited unpaid leave if they are mobilised.
“It’s an honour to be the first housing group to achieve the Gold Award,” said Dr Roy Williams, Sovini Group’s chief executive. “By adopting the Armed Forces Covenant we help to make sure the people who make huge sacrifices on our behalf receive the recognition and support they deserve in the workplace and the wider community.”
Private Tracy Newman, a customer empowerment officer with the group said: “The Sovini Group has been fantastic from the very beginning supporting me in my army reserves journey. The flexibility they have given me has been invaluable. When I talk to other Sovini staff during Armed Forces partnership events I see real interest from colleagues and going forward I hope to encourage more staff to get involved.”
The 2018 Employer Recognition Scheme Gold award winners are:
- Alexander Mann Solutions
- Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
- BNY Mellon
- C S Hodges
- Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
- City of London Corporation
- City of Wolverhampton Council
- Compass Group UK and Ireland
- Defence Medical Welfare Service
- Dumfries and Galloway Council
- Durham County Council
- East of England Ambulance Service
- Ernst & Young (EY)
- Forward Assist Veterans Charity
- Future Sales Factory
- Handy Heroes
- ITI Network Services Ltd
- James McVicar Printing Works
- Kent County Council
- Landmarc Support Services Ltd
- Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust
- Lloyd’s of London
- London Borough of Wandsworth (Wandsworth Council)
- London Southbank University
- MBDA UK
- Newcastle City Council
- Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- NHS Hastings and Rother CCG and NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG
- NHS Orkney
- Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Northumberland County Council
- Portsmouth City Council
- Raytheon Systems Limited
- The Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust
- South Tyneside Council
- Standard Life Aberdeen Plc
- Swansea Council
- University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
- University of Lincoln
- University of South Wales
Photo: The Sovini Group celebrates Remembrance Day 2017. Top row (L-R): Dr Roy Williams (CEO, The Sovini Group), WO2 Alan Day, Maj Roland Sutton, Capt Anthony Sandle and SSgt William Roberston. Bottom row (L-R): SSgt Nick Burroughs, John Shankland and PteTracy Newman (Customer Empowerment Officer, The Sovini Group)
Image courtesy of the Sovini Group