The Royal British Legion, the event highlighted the importance of local communities getting behind the Armed Forces community in their own area and honouring the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant in practice on the ground.
Launched last year following a successful campaign by the Legion, the Community Covenant scheme is helping to transform the relationship between local communities and serving and reservist Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families, for the benefit of both communities.
The Legion is encouraging local authorities to sign a Community Covenant as their own unique commitment to develop mutual understanding, meet the needs of the Armed Forces community and identify opportunities for closer working in their area. More than 50 Community Covenants have been signed so far, and another 50 are in the pipeline.
Signing a Community Covenant is an excellent way for local authorities to demonstrate that they are doing their bit to support the Armed Forces Covenant locally. It also offers access to a £30M Government funding stream, the “Community Covenant Grant Scheme”, for local projects that strengthen ties or mutual understanding between the Armed Forces Community and the wider community.
The Legion campaigned successfully for the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant to be written into law. The principles recognise the unique nature of Service and state that no disadvantage should arise from it, such as in accessing public services, and that special treatment should be allowed where justified.
Community Covenants are a fantastic way for local authorities and the wider community to show their support for our Armed Forces and their families. These Covenants are about securing real improvements in the welfare of Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families in constituencies across the UK. I am pleased that so many local authorities are signing up. Now all of us need to ensure the commitments made really make a difference where it matters – on the ground.