A Decade of Support for our Armed Forces

Posted by: Press team on 21 December 2021 13:49

December marks a decade since South Tyneside Council first signed the official Armed Forces Community Covenant - a voluntary statement of mutual support between the civilian and local armed forces communities.

The covenant has been instrumental in providing support for the Armed Services Community, enabling past and present military personnel, and their families, access to vital services across the Borough as well as helping to ease the transition from service to civilian life.

The multi-agency South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum was established to drive forward armed forces awareness raising, new policies and support projects as well as annual commemoration events, from Remembrance and Armistice to Anzac and Armed Forces Day.

Councillor Ed Malcolm, Chair of the Armed Forces Forum, said: "Since signing the Community Covenant in 2011, the work we have undertaken is having a really positive impact on the lives of those serving in and leaving the armed forces.

"We work all year round to support our local armed forces community and to make it as easy as possible for service personnel, their families and veterans, to get the help and support they need.

"We recognise however that there is always more that we can do and we continue to find ways of improving the support we provide for ex-servicemen and women in our community in recognition of the sacrifices they make."

South Tyneside Council, and its partners at South Tyneside Homes, proactively support its armed forces, reservists and veterans. Staff across both organisations have received awareness training on the needs of ex-service personnel and where to direct them for additional support.

The Council is also one of a small number of authorities to hold the coveted Gold Employer Recognition Award from the Ministry of Defence for its commitment to military personnel and their families. The national Employer Recognition Scheme encourages employers to support the armed forces community and inspires other organisations to follow their lead.

South Tyneside also has an Armed Forces accommodation scheme. This dedicated 'move-on' accommodation has been developed to support veterans making the transition back into civilian life and provides a modern and safe place to live as well as access to employment, education or training.

Ex-service personnel, reservists and their families also receive one-to-one support from a dedicated outreach worker, with issues such as housing, healthcare, welfare, employment and training, benefits, injury compensation, mental health and much more. Veterans are also given housing priority status by South Tyneside Homes.

The hugely successful South Tyneside NAAFI break, which was established in 2016, is run by veterans and civilian volunteers. The face-to-face drop-in service offers current and ex-Services personnel a place where they can meet, socialise, network and get advice and support on civilian life. Even during the pandemic the NAAFI break has continued to provide online sessions to ex services personnel.

Cllr Malcolm added: "Although services may be delivered differently during the Coronavirus pandemic, our teams are still here to help. The Armed Forces Community remains very much foremost in our minds and we will do all we can to help and support serving and ex-service men and women with whatever it is that they need."

For further information about the support for the Armed Forces community in South Tyneside visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/armedforces

Last modified: 12 January 2022 13:53