Lambeth council has marked its commitment to supporting soldiers, sailors, airmen and their families who live in the borough by signing the Armed Forces Community Covenant on Wednesday (November 6).
The Covenant is designed to reflect the bond between a local community and the armed forces. It complements the national Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the obligation that exists between the UK, the Government and the Armed Forces.
The Community Covenant is intended to encourage local people to support military personnel in their area and build awareness of the issues which affect those in the Forces and their families. It is also recognition of the sacrifices and challenges faced by those who join up.
One of the challenges in communities can be integrating service families into the community, and the Community Covenant pledges support and encouragement for events that will benefit the whole area and those who live in it.
By signing the covenant, groups and organisations in Lambeth will have access to government grants of between £100 and £250,000 to fund projects to help strengthen ties between the armed forces and the wider community.
Cllr Mark Bennett, Mayor of Lambeth, said: “It is right that Lambeth Council has made these public pledges to those who serve and defend our country and our freedoms, and to their families.
“This Covenant recognises common problems that people leaving the armed forces face – from finding work and a place to live, to getting the best education for children who may have been moved around a lot. Having led this initiative myself, I have taken time to ensure all commitments are deliverable.”
The Covenant was signed by Cllr Bennett, Cllr Lib Peck, Lambeth Council leader, Lambeth Chief Executive Derrick Anderson CBE, Commodore Martin Atherton, Colonel Mike Kelly, Deputy Lieutenant for Lambeth Rosi Prescott, Colonel Hugh Purcell, Squadron leader Stephen Duddy and Ryan Allain, Royal British Legion London area manager.
Colonel Mike Kelly said: “We are tremendously grateful for the support now being given to our Armed Forces. Military life can put a lot of strain on our soldiers and families – support from local communities is really important.
“But this is very much a two way process in which we want to contribute and be part of these communities. We very much hope that the residents of Lambeth will benefit from this as well – we’re proud to be part of your community.”