Hampshire County Council’s commitment to the Armed Forces as a local authority and employer has been recognised with a Gold Award within the MOD Employer Recognition Scheme.
The County Council was one of the first local authorities to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and establish a strategic Civilian Military Partnership to ensure those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.
The local authority employs a number of ex service personnel and reservists from the Royal Navy, the Army and Royal Air Force, and has been proudly supporting the Armed Forces communities in the county for many years, which is among the largest in the country with over 60,000 veterans, 20,000 serving personnel, 1,200 reservists and 4,000 civilians employed by the MOD.
Councillor Roy Perry, the Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “We are very proud of our Armed Forces communities, and I had the pleasure of meeting many of them last week, when the Duchess of Cornwall officially opened the Poppy Pods at the County Council’s Tile Barn Outdoor Centre. The 20 wooden camping pods are free for military families, offering respite in the heart of the New Forest, as part of our legacy in thanking our Forces community for their service and sacrifices. It was humbling to speak to veterans and serving personnel to truly appreciate the positive impact that the Poppy Pods have had, and to give something back to those who have already given so much for this country.”
Councillor Andrew Joy, the County Council’s Armed Forces Champion and Executive Member for Communities, Partnerships and External Affairs, said: “We are honoured to receive this award which highlights our ongoing commitment to the Armed Forces communities and employees linked to the Armed Forces. This is particularly true of reservists at the County Council who are entitled to two weeks additional paid leave for training and other duties. We enjoy a close working relationship with our Army colleagues of 11 Brigade and with RAF Odiham. We have established an excellent and rewarding partnership with HMS King Alfred in Portsmouth, helping one of the largest naval reserve training centres in the country to exceed its recruitment targets and revitalise the Naval Reserve Forces. We’ll continue to do as much as we can to support all of them.”
Councillors and officers have championed a number of other military supporting projects and policies including promotion of civil events such as Armed Forces Day, and free or discounted entry for serving or ex service members to the Council’s attractions. In November, the County Council will also host an event for service leavers and their partners/spouses to make them aware of career opportunities at the local authority.
For more details on the County Council’s strong links with the Armed Forces visit www.hants.gov.uk/armed-forces