LOCAL members of the armed forces have received a public promise of support from the area’s people.
The Mayor of Rotherham Coun Shaun Wright invited organisations to sign an Armed Forces Community Covenant on behalf of local people at Rotherham Town Hall.
The covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local armed forces community.
The two-way statement aims at encouraging support for members of the armed forces community living and working in the area, including ex-service personnel and their families.
It will provide an opportunity for the council and its partners to work together to make the transition easier for military personnel integrating back into civilian life.
Coun Mahroof Hussain, Rotherham Council’s cabinet member for community development, equalities and young people’s issues, said the signing demonstrates the determination of the authority and its partners to do all it can to help and support local members of the armed forces, both regular and reservists, past and present, as well as their families.
He added: “This is hugely relevant to Rotherham’s ‘One Town One Community’ initiative, which has a focus of equality and fair treatment for all Rotherham citizens.”
“I am very proud to be involved in this because members of our armed forces do an amazing job and they do sacrifice some freedoms, that as civilians we take for granted.”
“And of course, as part of their duties they sometimes face danger, suffer serious injury or even pay the ultimate sacrifice.”
“Families also play a vital role in supporting the operational effectiveness of our armed forces and so in return we all have a moral obligation to support this special group of people as well as their families.”
The covenant complements the Armed Forces Covenant published by the Government last June.
In order to assist this transition into civilian life, the Government’s Covenant Taskforce made a number of recommendations, including local authorities creating their own community covenant to ensure they meet the obligations to the local armed forces community.
A multi-agency working group was established by Rotherham Council geared to identifying and addressing issues relating to ex-service personnel and their families. The working group included representatives from all the relevant council services, as well as from the health service, the Department of Work and Pensions, and the local business and voluntary sectors.
Members of these organisations who attended the signing ceremony in addition to representatives of local armed forces organisations and the Army, local MPS and council representatives.
Now the covenant has been signed the authority can apply for funding from the Government for community projects geared to helping armed forces personnel and their families.