Leeds City Council has renewed its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, a pledge that demonstrates its support for service members and their families. The council’s dedication to fostering understanding, recognizing sacrifices, promoting integration, and encouraging contributions to community life has been acknowledged with the ERS Gold Award, showcasing its commitment to creating a supportive environment for veterans and active personnel.
What is the significance of Leeds City Council renewing its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant?
Leeds City Council’s renewal of the Armed Forces Covenant signifies a strengthened community support for service members and their families. It focuses on fostering understanding, recognizing sacrifices, promoting integration, and encouraging contributions to community life. This reaffirmation, acknowledged by the ERS Gold Award, demonstrates Leeds’ respect for the armed forces and commitment to a supportive environment for veterans and active personnel.
Honoring Commitments: The Renewed Pledge
In an age where support for military personnel remains a keystone of national pride and civic responsibility, Leeds City Council has taken definitive steps to affirm its allegiance to the men and women who serve. The renewal of the city’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, a pledge first made in 2012, was marked with a solemn ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall. On the 24th of November, in the Ark Royal Room, the Lord Mayor underscored this commitment, a sentiment that resonates with the ethos of the city. The Covenant’s objectives are fundamental to building a supportive community for armed forces personnel and their families.
The Armed Forces Covenant encompasses various goals designed to foster a supportive atmosphere. These include:
- Encouraging local communities to support the Armed Forces community in their area.
- Nurturing public understanding and awareness of issues affecting the Armed Forces community.
- Recognizing and remembering the sacrifices of the Armed Forces community.
- Promoting activities that integrate the Armed Forces Community into local life.
- Encouraging the Armed Forces community to contribute to the wider community through events and engagement.
Implementing these noble aspirations has been a joint effort, seeing Leeds City Council work in tandem with public, private, and third-sector organizations to offer a unified front of support and recognition.
Recognition Amidst Adversity: The ERS Gold Award
Amid a backdrop of global challenges, Leeds has stood steadfast in its support for the Covenant. The city’s efforts have been acknowledged with the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award for 2023. This recognition comes at a particularly poignant time, as the armed forces have grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, rising international tensions, and a series of humanitarian crises following natural disasters. Throughout this period, Leeds City Council has not wavered in its dedication to the Covenant’s principles.
The tangible support provided by Leeds City Council has earned the city commendations far and wide. The ERS Gold Award stands as a testament to the council’s unwavering commitment. “As someone who grew up in a military family, I recognize many of the issues members of the armed forces, reservists, and veterans face,” commented the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Al Garthwaite. Understanding the complexities of military life and the transition back into civilian society is crucial to fostering support for those who have served.
Councillor James Lewis, the Leader of Leeds City Council, expressed pride in the city’s historic links with the armed forces. “We take a Team Leeds approach to fulfilling our commitments,” he said, underscoring the collaborative effort that spans across different sectors. This approach not only supports service members but also enriches the community as a whole.
Strengthening Support: The Role of the Armed Forces Champions
Integral to the city’s efforts are Leeds City Council’s Armed Forces Champions—Councillor Jane Dowson, Councillor Caroline Gruen, and Councillor Gohar Almass. These champions play a pivotal role in ensuring that the Covenant is more than a symbolic gesture. They focus on providing meaningful support for armed forces members contemplating their return to civilian life, and veterans who have already made the transition.
The Champions reflected on the importance of recommitting to the Covenant, highlighting the need to keep the promise of support current and responsive to the evolving needs of the armed forces community. “Veterans were instrumental in helping Leeds City Council introduce the Armed Forces Covenant in 2012,” they stated, revealing a legacy of involvement and dedication.
Maintaining this support network is a continuous process. Leeds City Council is proactive in reviewing and enhancing the services it provides. The re-signing of the Covenant marks not only a renewal of vows but also the introduction of improvements made over the past four years. This event was a gathering of distinguished individuals who share a common purpose, celebrating the collective resolve to serve those who have served the nation.
The assembly of guests included the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Stan Hardy; The High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, Zulfi Karim DL; Leeds City Council CEO, Tom Riordan; and other notable representatives from the military and veteran support organizations. Their presence was a vivid reminder of the broad spectrum of individuals and institutions that stand behind the Covenant.
Leeds City Council’s actions set a standard for civic support of the armed forces. By renewing its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, the council not only reaffirms its respect and gratitude for service members but also strengthens the fabric of the community, ensuring that Leeds remains a city proud of its military connections and supportive of its veterans and service personnel.
- Leeds City Council has renewed its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, demonstrating its support for service members and their families.
- The council has been awarded the ERS Gold Award for its dedication to creating a supportive environment for veterans and active personnel.
- The covenant’s objectives include fostering understanding, recognizing sacrifices, promoting integration, and encouraging contributions to community life.
- Leeds City Council has worked with public, private, and third-sector organizations to offer unified support for the armed forces community.
- The council’s commitment to the covenant comes at a time of global challenges, and its support has been commended and recognized.