Armed Forces Charities, Support Groups and the Warwickshire County Council are Standing Shoulder to Shoulder in support of Our Armed Forces in Warwickshire.
The Local Government Association and the Ministry of Defence recently held a joint awareness raising event in London for senior local authority leaders and officers, senior representatives of the armed forces, veteran's charities, service personnel and families associations, aimed at raising greater understanding of the issues faced by armed forces personnel and their families in our local communities and to encourage the strengthening of mutual support between the armed forces community, local authorities and public sector organisations.
The event also provided an opportunity to understand more about the Armed Forces Covenant published by the Secretary of State earlier this year, which is described as a moral obligation between the Nation, the Government and the Armed Forces and is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its own local armed forces community. Under the Community Covenant Grant Scheme, £30 million will be made available nationally over the next four years to local projects that strengthen ties and mutual understanding between members of the Armed Forces Community and the wider community in which they live.
Warwickshire County Council and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council were represented at the event in London and officers in Warwickshire have since met with representatives of the Veteran's Partnership in the county with a view to strengthening the ties and mutual understanding between members of the armed forces community in Warwickshire and their wider communities.
The Warwickshire Veterans Partnership now consists of an active forum which includes, The Royal British Legion, SSAFA – Forces Help, ABF – The Soldiers Charity, Warwickshire Police – Probation and Prisons who have residents in custody, Warwickshire County Council, DWP/Job Centre Plus, Combat Stress, NHS/PCT, WCC Drugs & Alcohol Support, Veterans UK – SPVA, Next Step (Adult Information Advice Services), and Veterans Contact Point in Nuneaton & Bedworth Town Hall.
Lord Lieutenant Martin Dunne is playing a key role in this Partnership to ensure that our service personnel in Warwickshire, their families and dependants are effectively supported across the whole of Warwickshire and Coventry.
Warwickshire County Council held an awareness raising event in December at the Old Shire Hall, Northgate Street, Warwick attended by all the organisations involved in some way in providing support to members of the Armed Forces community. A representative from Oxfordshire County Council, which has recently signed up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant, gave a presentation which helped to identify the wider benefits that could be achieved through an even greater mutual understanding between our own armed forces personnel and their families in Warwickshire. The event was also supported by representatives from the Veterans' Partnership and by the Army (143 ( West Midlands ) Brigade).
The next steps will include a report to the County Council's Cabinet seeking support for Warwickshire to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant along with its other public sector partners across the county, and for a widespread recognition of this mutual support partnership to be celebrated in Warwickshire at the national Armed Forces Day next year.
Flt Lt Paul Hincks OIC 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron Air Training Corps, who was attending the Warwickshire County Council event in Warwick as the official photographer said, "As part of the local forces community I believe that the cadet forces within Warwickshire are well placed to play a vital role in supporting this initiative. Many ex-servicemen and women who are re-settling within our local community are not just looking for jobs and a new home for their families, they're also looking for new interests and ways to use the skills they have acquired during their time in the forces and as such becoming an adult volunteer with the cadet forces may well be the next step for some former servicemen and women".
Standing shoulder to shoulder in support of Our Armed Forces in Warwickshire, Key note speakers who gave presentations at the Warwickshire County Council awareness raising event held at the Old Shire Hall, Warwick
Left rear : Major Andrew Mould (143 West Midlands Brigade), Len Hardy (Veterans Contact Point and Chairman of 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron Civilian Committee) Peter Stanworth (The Soldiers Charity), Alex Murray (Help for Heroes).
Front left : Felicity Walker (NHS CWPT- Veterans Project), Liz Stafford (CEO Warwickshire Probation Trust), Sebastion Hargreaves (Royal British Legion – Warwickshire), Greta Needham (WCC), Cllr Alan Farnell (Leader - WCC)
Kevin Bowman (SSAFA Forces Help – Warwickshire & Coventry )