The county of North Yorkshire has one of the greatest concentrations of military bases anywhere in England … and today(30 June) the special relationship between the armed forces and the civil organisations of the county is recognised in a wide-ranging covenant of support.
North Yorkshire County Council is one of a number of public authorities signing up on Thursday to the Armed Forces Community Covenant, which aims to support the military communities and to recognise and remember the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces – particularly those who have given the most.
Behind the Covenant is the objective of making it easier for service personnel, families and veterans to access help and support, both from the Ministry of Defence and from the civil community.
North Yorkshire has been chosen as one of the first places in the UK to sign up to a Community Covenant, in recognition of the work which already takes place to support service personnel.
“The military presence in North Yorkshire is hugely significant and beneficial for the county – both socially and economically,” said County Councillor Carl Les, Executive Member for Corporate Services.
“Catterick has one of the biggest Army garrisons anywhere in Europe, and of course we are also home to a number of important Royal Air Force stations. As David Cameron has rightly said, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the men and women who are prepared to put their lives on the line in defence of our country, and it is totally right that we should give them all the support they need … and more.”
All the signatories to the Covenant have pledged to meet at least once a year to review the support and services they provide under the terms of the Covenant, and to upgrade and improve them wherever necessary.
Andrew Robathan, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare, and Veterans, said: “The launch of the Armed Forces Community Covenant is a significant step forward in encouraging the whole country to show that they back their Armed Forces.
“What is most important is that this is the local community supporting their local personnel, both past and present, and their families. This is about making Service life a central part of life in the community and improving the bond between the Armed Forces and the people they serve.”
Signing the Covenant on behalf of North Yorkshire was Councillor John Fort, the chairman of the County Council. Other organisations to pledge their support include the district councils, the NHS, and the Royal British Legion.