THE Sovini Group has earned itself an award from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for its commitment to support Armed Forces personnel.
Sovini was presented with the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award by Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, at a presentation ceremony held in Lancaster House, London.
The Merseyside-based organisation was honoured alongside 50 other companies at the ceremony, which was led by defence secretary Gavin Williamson, earlier this month.
ERS Gold is the MoD’s highest honour for organisations, and recognises their outstanding support for reservists, those leaving the services, wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, the cadet organisations and service families.
The group was previously awarded Silver in 2017 and Bronze in 2016.
“It’s an honour to achieve the Gold Award. 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,” said Dr Roy Williams, Sovini Group’s chief executive.
The group has a long standing commitment to the Armed Forces community. The organisation works in close partnership with local organisations such as the Army Reserve unit 156 Regiment RLC, local veteran charities and Brunswick Youth and Community Centre.
Furthermore, the Sovini Group’s work with Liverpool Veterans HQ and Veterans in Sefton has led to over 30 local veterans being rehomed and in many cases saved from homelessness. As part of the rehoming process, the veterans are offered goods to help them furnish their new home and there is ongoing tenancy support for more vulnerable tenants.
The company also 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 employ a number of reservists and support them through company initiatives such as an additional 10 days leave for training and unlimited unpaid leave if they are mobilised.
Dave Smith, chief executive at Veterans in Sefton, said: “It’s been amazing for us as a veterans charity to work with an organisation like The Sovini Group, who’ve put so much into the Covenant and reached Gold Award standard and put Service Level Agreements together to help veterans. It’s very refreshing to work with an organisation with that high standard and commitment.”
Private Tracy Newman, one of the company’s customer empowerment officers, said: “The Sovini Group has been fantastic from the very beginning supporting me in my Army Reserve 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.”
Main Image: (L-R): HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, Dr Roy Williams (chief executive, The Sovini Group), Ann Owens (head of customer empowerment, The Sovini Group), Ian Fazarkerley (chief operating officer and Armed Forces Champion, The Sovini Group) and the Gavin Williamson CBE MP