Monday, 14 May 2012

Richmond signs legal pact to support armed forces

Richmond Council is set to be one of the first London Boroughs to launch a community covenant for the armed forces, in a move designed to give greater assistance for servicemen and women and their families.

The Armed Forces Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of support between the civilian and local Armed Forces communities and is intended to complement the national Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the country, the Government and the Armed Forces, at the local level.

The local agreement between the Council, Richmond Council for Voluntary Service, NHS Richmond and the military means that new support, e.g. training, housing, school admissions, adult social care or medical needs, for service personnel and their families will be given.
The Council's housing allocation policy recognises the contribution of returning members of the armed forces. The recently approved Housing Allocations Policy has introduced a quota for local ex service personnel in housing need.  Richmond is also signed up to the pan London shared ownership scheme which prioritises ex-service personnel for low cost shared ownership. , their families and veterans than exists at the moment.

Whitton ward Councillor, Cllr Gareth Elliott, said:
"Our armed forces personnel are true heroes and it is only right and proper that they are treated as such both during and after their service. I applaud the Council's decision to be one of the first London Borough's to launch this covenant. With our own cherished connection with Kneller Hall in Whitton this is truly fitting."

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
 “With Kneller Hall, the Royal Military School of Music, right on our doorstep, we are proud of the borough’s connections with the armed forces.

“This agreement will encourage support for the armed forces in Richmond upon Thames and allow organisations and agencies to recognise the sacrifices made by members - particularly those who have given the most.

“As well as giving help to those who has been involved in the forces, the covenant will also ensure the families and loved ones of all ex-service men and women are supported too.
“I am delighted to be signing this agreement which will help to provide much needed support to our servicemen and women, and their families.
Deputy Commander of London District, Brigadier Matthew Lowe MBE, from the Armed Forces, added:

“We are delighted that the London Borough of Richmond plan to sign the Armed Forces Community Covenant which will help to cement the enduring relationship between members of the Armed Forces: Sailors, soldiers and airmen, and the communities of Richmond.  There is much benefit seen with this mutual support in place and we look forward to working together.”

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