All 22 councils in Wales have now signed up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant.
The significant milestone was marked when Blaenau Gwent Council held a special ceremony in Ebbw Vale with more than 200 people in attendance.
The covenant is a statement of mutual support between civilian and local Armed forces communities.
With an estimated 250,000 members of the Armed Forces community in Wales, local authorities are pledging their support by pioneering a range of Community Covenant initiatives that will deliver tangible improvements for Service personnel, past and present, and their families.
Some of the initiatives so far include:
- Wrexham County Borough Council is running a free swimming scheme for veterans of the Armed Forces
- Ceredigion County Council has launched a dedicated telephone number for members of the Armed Forces community, where people can receive advice and information, from staff specially trained by the Legion
- Several local authorities are examining housing allocation policies to ensure ex-Service personnel are not disadvantaged if they have had to move locations multiple times while serving in the Armed Forces.
Despite the wet and blustery weather in Ebbw Vale, at the weekend, a big crowd watched on as 104 Regiment Royal Artillery (pictured top) fired a 105mm light gun to launch the event. Blaenau Gwent soldiers from Abertillery (211 battery) also completed a 16-mile charity march for Penycwm Special School and Welfare for the family of soldiers of 104 Rgt RA.
Significant and truly welcome milestone
Lieutenant Colonel Francis Whiting, Commanding Officer 104 Rgt RA, said: “The Armed Forces continue to serve around the world and the continued support we get from communities back home is humbling. [Today] is a significant event in providing support for individuals who still serve, for those who return home after their service finishes and their families. It is a pleasure to sign today on behalf of the Army.”
Councillor Mike Bartlett, the Armed Forces Community Champion in Blaenau Gwent, said: “My eldest brother was in the Navy, the next was in the RAF and the other was an officer in the Merchant Navy. I was in the Army and my grandson was the youngest Guardsman to take part in the Royal wedding.
“That’s why I’m involved in the organisation of this event. It is something I think is very important and this marks the beginning of a lot of hard work for us to continue the good work already done.”
Colonel Kevin Davies, Deputy Commander 160 (Wales) Brigade, added: “Those of us in Defence recognise this significant and truly welcome milestone. We congratulate our local authorities on reaching this and have been hugely impressed with the Community Covenant grant applications to date, which are evidence of a real desire to work collaboratively in supporting the Defence community in Wales.”
Original article written by and sourced from – army.mod.uk