MEMBERS of the Armed Forces past and present have receive a public promise of support from the people of Northumberland.
The county council has signed The Armed Forces Community Covenant, pledging to work with local charities, businesses and public sector bodies to support current and ex service personnel around the county.
The covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support and is intended to complement the Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the nation, the Government and Armed Forces at the local level.
The community covenant initiative was one of the key measures in the Armed Forces Covenant published in May 2011.
Its aims include to encourage local communities to support the Armed Forces community in their areas, and vice versa; to promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces community; to recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces community; and to encourage activities which help to integrate the Armed Forces community into local life.
Deputy leader of the county council Coun Roger Styring is the Armed Forces Community Champion who works to ensure that members of the Armed Forces community continue to receive the recognition and consideration they deserve. He is also joint chairman of the local Armed Forces Forum.
He said: “Northumberland has had a close relationship with the military for many years and has a long tradition of serving in the Armed Forces.
“We felt that it was important to recognise this relationship and take it further.
“There needs to be an understanding of the role that the military has in our society and more importantly the role that people have when they leave service and reintegrate into civilian life. This recognition extends not just to those in the Services but also their families and veterans, the injured and the bereaved.”
Lt Col Hugh Campbell-Smith, Commanding Officer of the Queen’s Own Yeomanry who received the covenant on behalf of the Armed Forces community, said: “The Northumberland Armed Forces Community Covenant is a fantastic initiative which I’m very proud to be involved with. Northumberland has always been a very service-friendly county with close ties to the Armed Forces Community.
“This covenant will help cement that support at a local level, and ensure that our Armed Forces, veterans and their families, continue to be treated with dignity and receive the support that they need.”