Council and Ministry of Defence sign Armed Forces Covenant

The council and Ministry of Defence have formally signed the Armed Forces Covenant at a special event held at Porters Civic House yesterday (Thursday 7 March).

Major Saroj Rai, Mayor of Southend Stephen Habermel and the Councils Chief Executive Colin Ansell all posing for a photograph holding the signed Armed Forces Covenant.

The signing means the council is committed to upholding the covenant, will support the armed forces community and recognises the contribution that service personnel make to the council, our community and the country. The covenant follows the introduction of the Armed Forces Act 2021 which ensures nationally that service personnel and veterans are not disadvantaged when accessing services like healthcare, education and housing.

Cllr Stephen Habermel, the Mayor of Southend-on-Sea welcomed guests to Porters and said: “The council has a long history of supporting and working with the Armed Forces Community. We also have strong links with the Royal Artillery at the Garrison in Shoebury and ongoing connections with 54 squadron RAF and the Royal Anglian Regiment both of whom have freedom of the City.

“I have always felt that Southend-on-Sea has a real and genuine connection with the armed forces and so I am very pleased we have signed the covenant and want to thank all those involved who have made this signing a possibility.”

Speaking at the event, Cllr John Lamb, cabinet member and chair of Armed Forces Working Party, said: “I am very proud to be chair of the working party and to be part of signing the covenant. The armed forces and veteran support is a subject very dear to my heart and something I have always actively supported in my role as a councillor and during my own time as Mayor.

“The working party that I chair is a cross party group of councillors ably supported by officers and was set up in 2022 to review our alignment with the Armed Forces Act 2021 and covenant.

“This act rightly requires public bodies to have regard to the Covenant to help prevent service personnel and veterans being disadvantaged when accessing services like healthcare, education, and housing.

“As a working party we have looked at key areas such as employment, housing and communication and are making good strides to achieve best practice to support our armed forces personnel and their families.”

The council is also signing up to the defence employer recognition scheme at bronze level. This shows the council's commitment to the Armed Forces Community by ensuring it follows best practice in regard to the recruitment and employment of both currently serving and ex-service personnel.

Information on armed forces and veteran support is available on the LiveWell Southend website.

Additional images from the signing are available on Flickr.

Published: 8th March 2024

Go to top