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Honouring South Tyneside Armed Forces

The 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War will be celebrated in style later this year as part of South Tyneside's commitment to its armed forces community.

Plans are in the pipeline to host a series of celebration events in the Borough, ending with a spectacular fireworks display as they 100 years ago, to mark the end of the war.

Cabinet members will hear more about the commemorations at their meeting next Wednesday (24 January) as part of an update on the Council's work in supporting the Borough's Armed Forces community.

Councillor Ed Malcolm, Chair of South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum, said: "We recognise the sacrifices of our service men and women and are committed to helping them with the pressures they can face in adapting back to civilian life, such as finding a job, arranging a new school for children or dealing with disability or mental health issues.

"Our commitment is demonstrated through the wealth of work we have done which includes ensuring the needs of ex-servicemen and women are embedded into council policy and services. One of our key pledges is giving them priority for housing.

"Receiving the prestigious Silver Employer Recognition Award by the Ministry of Defence in 2016 was a welcome acknowledge of how we go above and beyond when it comes to supporting our Armed Forces."

The Council's commitment started with the signing of the Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2011 followed by the multi-agency Armed Forces Forum being set up. The Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between the civilian and local armed forces communities.

Since then, the Forum has driven forward armed forces awareness raising, a series of commemoration events, from Remembrance and Anzac day services to marking the WWI centenary and gallant efforts of local hero, John Simpson Kirkpatrick.

The Council has also implemented a new policy to support reservist employees, appointed a dedicated outreach worker for ex-service personnel and a new scheme to help military veterans back into employment.

Thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery, work to commemorate the end of WWI has already begun. A new South Tyneside Remembers website was recently launched to create a lasting memorial to all those local individuals who served during WWI. The Council is also working with North Tyneside Council on a community project to explore the challenges and changes faced by local families in the post-war period.

Councillor Malcolm added: "Since signing the Covenant, there has been a significant amount of work to raise the profile and support our armed forces community we will continue to show our currently servicing and ex-service personnel and their families, the respect they rightly deserve.

"It is extremely important that this year in particular we do what we can to honour our armed forces as we mark the centenary of one of the most significant events in the world's history."

Cabinet is meeting on Wednesday 24 January, at 4pm, in the Council Chamber of South Shields Town Hall.

For further information about the work to support the armed forces community in South Tyneside visit the Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/armedforces

 

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