Buckinghamshire County Council has joined 80 other local authorities by signing up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant.
Published by the Government in 2011, the Armed Forces Covenant is a statement of the moral obligation which exists between the Nation, the Government and the Armed Forces.
At the council offices in Aylesbury, RAF Halton representatives joined those from several other local military units, and the Chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council, Marion Clayton, to sign up to the Covenant. Councillor Clayton said:
It’s important that we seek ways in which we can improve mutual support and work together to the benefit of the whole community. This Community Covenant is a local statement of that mutual support between the civilian community and its local Armed Forces community.
It’s designed to complement the national Armed Forces Covenant, recognising the unique pressures under which forces personnel work, and the particular needs of their families.
By pledging their support to the Armed Forces units and veterans that call Buckinghamshire home, Buckinghamshire County Council will be able to make a real difference to Service personnel and their families. Some of the initiatives underway across the country include fun days out for Service families and Service children, play parks, mentors for Service leavers and veterans, and support services for those dealing with long periods of separation.
The scheme also works reciprocally, with servicemen and women pledging to aid the community in a variety of ways.
RAF Halton is particularly active within the local community and undertakes charity and community projects as a matter of course. In addition, RAF Halton runs a number of community initiatives, such as the military co-responders scheme, and maintains close links with the local police force.
Both of these initiatives were on display at the Covenant signing event.
The RAF is the largest military presence in Buckinghamshire, with some 2,500 members stationed in the county.
The Station Commander of RAF Halton, Group Captain Chris Elliot, said:
We at RAF Halton hold a unique place within the community of Buckinghamshire, and we work hard to maintain and improve that relationship through all that we do.
The Armed Forces Community Covenant serves to highlight the moral obligation between the community and the Armed Forces so that we can ensure that we support the communities in which we live and work, but importantly ensure that servicemen, servicewomen, families and veterans receive the support that they need from the county councils where they live and work.
To be one of the many military units signing the Covenant in Buckinghamshire is an honour, and I hope that we can all continue to work together for the greater good.
Brigadier Neil Baverstock, Officer Commanding 145 (South) Brigade, who spoke on behalf of the Armed Forces in Buckinghamshire, said:
What we are signing today is only part of a wider relationship that we have with society, and it is that wider relationship that we are seeking to develop alongside the Covenant.
I’ve been incredibly encouraged by the support that I’ve found in the county as we’ve gone about setting up the Community Covenant. Today is a testament to the degree of support that we are feeling in the Armed Forces from the communities in Buckinghamshire. We, as a Defence community, are extremely grateful.
He finished by saying:
The Armed Forces are as much a part of Buckinghamshire as Buckinghamshire is part of the Armed Forces.
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