Derek has attended an event at Westminster to promote the creation of Community Covenants across the UK. Organised by The Royal British Legion, the event highlighted the importance of local communities getting behind the Armed Forces community in their own area and honouring the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant in practice on the ground.
Launched by the Government last year following a successful campaign by the Legion, the Community Covenant scheme is helping to transform the relationship between local communities and serving and reservist Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families, for the benefit of both communities. The Legion is encouraging local authorities to sign a Community Covenant as their own unique commitment to develop mutual understanding, meet the needs of the Armed Forces community and identify opportunities for closer working in their area.
More than 50 Community Covenants have been signed so far, and another 50 are in the pipeline. Derek has welcomed Halton Council signing up to the Covenant at a recent ceremony at Peninsula Barracks in Warrington attended by the Mayor of Halton, Cllr Tom McInerney.
Signing a Community Covenant is an excellent way for local authorities to demonstrate that they are doing their bit to support the Armed Forces Covenant locally. It also offers access to a £30 million Government funding stream, the 'Community Covenant Grant Scheme', for local projects that strengthen ties or mutual understanding between the Armed Forces and the wider community.
"I was pleased to show my support for The Royal British Legion and to back its call for local communities to strengthen ties with the Armed Forces community in their own area. Community Covenants are a fantastic way for local authorities and the wider community to show their support for our Armed Forces and their families. These Covenants are about securing real improvements in the welfare of Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families in constituencies across the UK.
I am pleased that so many local authorities are signing up. Now all of us need to ensure that the commitments made really make a difference where it matters - on the ground. I am pleased that Halton Council has set an example to other local authorities by signing up a Community Covenant.
Chris Simpkins, the Legion's Director General, said:
"Community Covenants provide an excellent opportunity to honour the Armed Forces Covenant and really bring its principles to life at a local level.
We're delighted that a growing number of local authorities from across the political spectrum are engaging with their local Armed Forces communities, and charities such as the Legion, to show their support for our brave Service men and women and their families. We ask every local authority to 'sign up'.
We are very grateful to Derek Twigg MP for attending the Legion's event and backing stronger local support for the Armed Forces community in Halton."