LEEDS City Council has emphasised its continuing support of Armed Forces personnel and veterans by re-signing its community covenant.
The council originally introduced its Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2012, to offer a range of tailored assistance, advice and help. This covered both existing and former members of the military wishing to access key services provided by the council and its partners.
This month, civic leaders and military representatives, along with key partners, gathered at Leeds Civic Hall to re-sign the covenant (main picture).
The council says it has continued to “refresh and strengthen” its procedures to help ensure that the “best possible system is in place” across all services to support any enquiries received from the Armed Forces community. Re-signing the covenant reflects the changes and updates which have been made.
“We are extremely proud of the strong and historic links that Leeds has with our Armed Forces,” said Councillor Jane Dowson, one of the council’s Armed Forces champions. “Ensuring therefore that there is a package of meaningful support and help to members of the Armed Forces who may be thinking of returning to civilian life and also veterans remains very much a priority, and was the pivotal reason why we introduced the council’s Armed Forces Covenant in 2012.
“With the Armed Forces Community Covenant in place for many years now, we’ve continued to review how it works regularly to ensure that it is offering the best possible service. The re-signing of the Community Covenant reflects the updates made and underlines our commitment as a city and council to ensuring that members of the Armed Forces community have access to support, advice and practical help that they need regarding any council service.”
Dowson’s fellow Armed Forces champions are Councillors Caroline Gruen and Mohammed Iqbal.
Joining them to re-sign the council’s Armed Forces Community Covenant included Colonel Andrew Hadfield from the British Army; Commander Stephen Hoyle from the Royal Navy; leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake; the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Graham Latty; Leeds City Council chief executive, Tom Riordan; and Dr Gordon Sinclair, NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group.
The Armed Forces Community Covenant includes:
- Giving additional preference to Armed Forces leavers and former Armed Forces personnel who are in urgent housing need
- Working with partners including Armed Forces charity RBLI (Royal British Legion Industries) to open up training and job opportunities
- Providing veterans and their families in Leeds support through the Mental Health Day Opportunities Service
- Offering designated contacts in the council’s children’s services team to enquiries from members of the Armed Forces and providing guidance on a wide range of issues including school admissions