Colchester City Council has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community by signing the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Covenant is a voluntary pledge that organisations sign to demonstrate their support for the Armed Forces community and exists to ensure those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.
The council first signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2011 and has been a signatory to the Essex community Armed Forces Covenant since 2012. In 2019, the council received the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold award. The MoD bestows the Gold Award to businesses and organisations that go the extra mile to demonstrate their commitment to aiding and employing members of the military community.
The re-signing of the Covenant took place at an Employer Engagement event held at Colchester Garrison on 5 October. The council's Chief Executive, Pam Donnelly, signed the Covenant on behalf of the council.
“Reaffirming our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant is a proud moment for us,” Pam Donnelly said. “We are committed to treating all members of the Armed Forces community with the fairness and respect they deserve, and to helping them access the services they need. This is just the first step. We pledge to maintain and develop this commitment going forward, setting an example to other organisations in the process.
“We are proud to be a signatory to the Covenant, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Armed Forces community to build a stronger and more inclusive community for all.”
The council’s commitment to the Armed Forces community includes:
- Employment support to members of the Armed Forces Community, including offering work placements, mentoring schemes and a guaranteed interview scheme to Veterans seeking employment.
- Communications, engagement and outreach, including supporting and promoting Armed Forces events, such as Armed Forces Day/Week, Reserves Day, Merchant Navy Day, Armistice Day, and Remembrance activities.
- Commercial support, including offering discounts for members of the Armed Forces Community via the Defence Discount Service, reduced rate memberships at Leisure World Colchester, and a reduced rate entrance fee to Colchester Castle.
- Housing support, including waiving the local-connection requirement for eligibility for social housing for ex-Service personnel and their current or ex-spouses, and promoting awareness of housing and homelessness services among the Armed Forces Community.
- Civic responsibilities: including ensuring the upkeep of the main War Memorial on Colchester High Street
Councillor David King, Leader of Colchester City Council and Armed Forces Champion, said: “Colchester has a long and proud association with the Armed Forces, and we are committed to doing everything we can to support the Armed Forces community.
“The signing of the Covenant makes clear our wholehearted commitment to those who serve our nation. We encourage others to follow suit and to help to make Colchester a great place to live and work for our Armed Forces and their families, both in service and as veterans.”
Lieutenant Colonel Ed Rankin, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “The longstanding and deep relationship between Colchester and the British Army is the envy of garrisons across the country. I welcome the reaffirmation of Colchester City Council’s support for the Armed Forces through signing the Armed Forces Covenant, which is many ways is a formal expression of the mutually supportive partnership that we have maintained for many years.”
Pictured above: Pam Donnelly signs the Armed Forces Covenant watched by Lieutenant Colonel Ed Rankin. Photo credit: Cpl Stone, British Army
Page last reviewed: 5 October 2023