Canterbury City Council’s support for those who are serving or have served in the Armed Forces has been recognised at a ceremony in Portsmouth.
The council’s Armed Forces Champion and Deputy Leader Cllr Pat Todd and Deputy Chief Executive Tricia Marshall collected the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award at the National Royal Navy Museum on Wednesday 5 September.
The award recognises the work the council does to help former military personnel and their family members among its staff who play a vital role in delivering its services. The skills and experience gleaned in the services makes their contribution invaluable.
It also celebrates the council’s links with serving soldiers, the 3 Prince of Wales’s Royal Regiment is still based in the city, and those who have gone back to life as a civilian such as the active Nepalese Gurkha community.
Cllr Todd said: “We are thrilled and honoured to receive this award in recognition of the hard work that has been done by the council and others.
“The whole process has been inspirational and we are determined to do even more and secure the Gold Award as soon as we can.
“It is crucial we continue to actively support, and encourage others to do the same, those who have made an enormous contribution to the nation’s defence and security.”
The council became the lead organisation for the Armed Forces Covenant in the district in 2014.
The Covenant is a pledge that together we acknowledge those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve or served with their lives.
In practical terms, the council hosts a representative from the Armed Forces charity SSAFA in reception every Friday to help former service personnel access the support they need, help them secure housing, apply for benefits and find out where they can get a discount for goods and services.
We train our frontline staff to understand the needs of former forces personnel so the council can deliver better services and our Armed Forces champion has personal links with the military.
The council also promotes commemoration and celebration events for serving and former military personnel as well as encouraging other organisations to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant.
Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said: “A Silver Award recognises the fantastic efforts of employers throughout the UK who have both elevated their commitments under the Armed Forces Covenant and provided actual benefit to the Armed Forces community.
“The winners should all be proud of the life-changing impact and fresh opportunities they are providing to our Reservists, veterans, wounded and sick and their families.”