A new Armed Forces Covenant has been signed by KCC, Medway Council, 11 Infantry Brigade and the Royal School of Mechanical Engineering at a meeting of the Civilian-Military Partnership Board.
It was signed by David Brazier, the Chairman of both KCC and the Kent and Medway Civilian-Military Partnership Board; Cllr Howard Doe, the Deputy Leader and Armed Forces Champion of Medway Council; and by Cllr Richard Long, KCC’s Armed Forces Champion, as well as by representatives from the service charities Royal British Legion and SSAFA, and the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Kent and Medway.
Mr Brazier said: “The Armed Forces Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between Kent County Council, Medway Council and its local armed forces community here in Kent at Chatham and Maidstone as well as with 11 Infantry Brigade headquartered in Aldershot.
“The Armed Forces Covenant presents an opportunity for us in our two councils to bring our knowledge, experience and expertise through our dedicated officer team to bear on the provision of help and advice to members of the armed forces community based in Kent.”
Cllr Doe said: “I was very pleased to sign the new Armed Forces Covenant on behalf of Medway Council. We have an excellent working relationship with the Royal School of Mechanical Engineering in Chatham and we’re pleased that representatives of the Royal Engineers will be attending Remembrance Services across Medway.
“We will continue to work closely with local military units to offer our support, as well as raise awareness of the challenges faced by the armed forces.”
Richard Long said: “The Armed Forces Covenant puts in place real and tangible support for the Armed Forces, Regulars, Reservists and their families as well ex-service personnel and veterans working and residing in Kent and Medway.
“Kent County Council will work to ensure that we not only honour the fallen, but ensure that those who have served or still serve, and their families, are in no way disadvantaged by their service when it comes to public services.”
Col Simon Browne, the Deputy Commander of 11 Infantry Brigade SE, said: “The Kent and Medway Armed Forces Covenant encourages the integration of service life into civilian life and encourages us as members of the armed forces community to help the local community here in Kent and beyond”.
Brigadier Matt Bazeley, Commandant of the Royal School of Military Engineering, said: “This scheme under the Armed Forces Covenant is clearly a two-way arrangement where we as the armed forces community are encouraged to do as much as we can to support our local community here in Kent, as well as promoting activity which integrates our service community, especially in Chatham, Folkestone and Maidstone into civilian life. It is very good news for all of us.”
Simon Sanderson, the Kent Chairman of SSAFA said: “This newly signed covenant makes it easier for service personnel, families and veterans to access the help and support from service charities such as SSAFA, the Royal British Legion and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity as well from the MoD, statutory providers and Forces Connect South East.”
Craig Spence, the South East Area Manager for the Royal British Legion, said: “The Royal British Legion is delighted to sign this covenant, which ensures no member of the armed forces community is disadvantaged by their service. We will continue to work with local authorities across Kent to ensure all members of our armed forces community, past and present are given the correct advice, information and support when needed.”
Kate Parkin, the Director of NHS Kent & Medway CCGs, said: “We were very pleased to be a signatory to this covenant. Quick, timely and appropriate access to health provision is important for the armed forces community and their families and through the covenant we can make it easier for them. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership across the system”.