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Armed forces covenant

Overview

Community Covenant

Signing the Community Covenant

South Tyneside Council has signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant, showing its active support for serving personnel, veterans and their families. 

The Armed Forces Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local armed forces community.  It commits the borough to key principles, which are that service personnel, veterans and their families should:

  • not be at a disadvantage when they try to access public services such as education, employment, housing, or health care
  • be given special consideration where appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most, such as the injured and the bereaved

The South Tyneside Armed Forces Community Covenant was signed on 1 December 2011, and the Council has remained committed to the principles. Councillor Ed Malcolm is our Armed forces champion (Tel: 0191 456 2019).

South Tyneside Armed Forces Community Covenant97.36KB

Watch the video

Cllr Ed Malcom, Chair of South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum, talks about the work we've undertaken since signing the Covenant and the positive impact this is having on the lives of our Armed Forces community in South Tyneside (February 2021).

Video transcript

Hello I'm Councillor Ed Malcolm, Chair of South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum and I want to tell you about how we are supporting our Armed Forces community here in South Tyneside.

The South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum was set up in 2011 to make it easier for ex-service men and women, serving officers and their families to access help and support.  

It's been 10 years since South Tyneside Council first signed up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant. The covenant is a promise that the Council, our partners and the wider community will recognise and support our armed forces community.  This includes support in housing, health care, welfare employment and education.

The covenant has been at the heart of our support to the Armed Forces community, allowing them to access vital services in South Tyneside, as well as supporting the transition from service life to civilian life. The work we've undertaken since signing the covenant in 2011 is having a really positive effect on the lives of both serving and ex-service men and women.

South Tyneside Council was one of the first UK councils to hold the Gold award in the Ministry of Defence's Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme.  This demonstrates just how dedicated we are in supporting our Armed Forces community and aligning our values with the Armed Forces Covenant.  As Chair of South Tyneside Homes, I was delighted that the company also secured Gold status for its work in the community and for supporting staff who are part of the armed forces community.

The South Tyneside NAAFI Break, which is run by veterans, is a core element of our approach.  Supported by the Council, it provides a community base for Armed Forces personnel where they can meet like-minded people and receive the advice and support they need and absolutely deserve.

As Chair of the Armed Forces Forum, I would like to remind the residents of South Tyneside that our teams are still here during the Coronavirus pandemic and that the Armed Forces Community remains very much foremost in our minds. Support is available for any serving members, reservists or veterans and their dependants via the Council's Covid support hub.   

The NAAFI Break team are located and available within the community - and have a social media presence to connect to people, whatever the government restrictions in place. NAAFI Break holds a weekly ZOOM catch-up chat and briefing sessions for both veterans and family dependents, as well as a daily veterans chat on Facebook Messenger to help ease the hardship of isolation. A NAAFI Break Community Officer is also available to help with shopping and deliveries if a member of our armed forces community is isolating and in need.

The Council's proactive work to support its armed forces, reservists and veterans aims to strengthen connections between key agencies, so that we can work together to make a lasting difference.

Both Council and South Tyneside Homes staff have received awareness training on the needs of ex-service personnel and where to direct them for help. The council and our partners have also developed a number of projects with a clear focus on improving the health and well-being of the Armed Forces Community. We are working with local businesses to encourage them to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant and with the NHS to ensure that GP practices are aware of the needs of their patients from the Armed Forces Community.

South Tyneside also has a dedicated Armed Forces accommodation scheme called 'move-on' which has been developed by the Council and South Tyneside Homes. Our specialist accommodation provides veterans, who need support, both a place to live and help to progress into a more independent life including help with employment, education or training. Veterans are given housing priority status by South Tyneside Homes.  No veteran in South Tyneside will ever be left without an offer of a home.

We know that settling back into civilian life after being in the forces can be a huge adjustment and we want to provide our servicemen and women with whatever it is they need. Having a place to call home, in a supported environment, can help veterans find their feet again and manage the transition into an independent life. Veterans are signed to a tenancy with a view to moving into longer term accommodation within a year, and during that time they will be offered support, advice and assistance.

We have also recently been successful in a funding bid to support veterans who are struggling with isolation and feelings of loneliness. We will use this funding to engage veterans to get involved in different community activities and develop peer support amongst veterans in the community.

South Tyneside Council is committed to giving fair support to members of the armed forces, veterans and their families, whilst recognising and remembering the sacrifices they have made.

To date, our covenant work has made a real positive impact on the lives of our armed forces community, but we certainly aren't complacent. We recognise that there is always more that we can do. We are constantly challenging ourselves to see if we, and our partners, can make even more of a positive impact on the lives of those who sacrifice so much to serve our country. 

If you know of a veteran, a serving member, or an armed forces family, who would like support or advice, please direct them to South Tyneside Council and we will do all we can to support them with the help they need and deserve.  Thank you.

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  • Armed forces support
  • South Tyneside Council
    Town Hall
    Westoe Road
    South Shields
    United Kingdom
    NE33 2RL

  • 0191 424 6022

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