The Mayor of Havant Borough Council joined representatives of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force in renewing their commitment to service personnel by signing the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
The document was signed on Monday 1 February at a virtual, socially-distanced ceremony to comply with coronavirus regulations.
Signing the covenant also demonstrates that as an organisation, the council values and recognises the wide range of skills and experiences that veterans and reservists can bring to an organisation.
The Mayor of Havant Borough Council, Councillor Prad Bains, who signed the covenant on behalf of the council said: “This is an incredibly important and binding promise between our council and the Armed Forces and I am honoured to be able to renew this commitment for a further three years.
“Havant has always had a deep connection with the Armed Forces and we are privileged to have many serving personnel, veterans and their loved ones who form an integral part of our resilient community.
“The purpose of this covenant is to ensure that no member of our Armed Forces comes into any manner of disadvantage as a result of their service, and that as a council and a local employer, we will always treat those who are serving and have served in the Armed Forces with the utmost respect that they wholeheartedly deserve.
“As a council and as a community it is vital that we recognise in this way the unique and immense sacrifices that every member of the Armed Forces Community makes and ensure that at Havant, we do all we can to support personnel and their families.”
Cllr Julie Thain-Smith, who is Havant Borough Council’s Armed Forces Champion and also a Royal Navy veteran said: “It is vital that the Armed Forces Community has fair access to our services as a local authority and that we do all we can to ensure they are not disadvantaged because of the unique aspects of their service careers, particularly when they return to civilian life.
“We do this by working closely with the statutory services, healthcare providers, Hampshire County Council and the military charity sector to improve awareness and understanding.
“The renewal of this document makes a clear statement about our commitment to the Armed Forces and how we pledge to honour service personnel."
The Head of Engagement, South East Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association was also present.
Wing Commander Christine Miller, RAF, said: “The covenant means so much to the military community as it recognises the contribution our personnel make to defence of the UK, and its people, both at home and overseas.
“The nature of our work can mean we move regularly away from our support networks, and that can be tough for Service personnel and their families. By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, Havant Borough Council and its people have made a clear commitment to support us and include us in the wider fabric of their community.”
Executive Officer of HM Naval Base Portsmouth, Commander Mike Dreelan, said: “We are grateful for the commitment shown by Havant Borough Council to the whole Armed Forces community and I’m honoured to represent Portsmouth Naval Base for this re-signing today, reaffirming the close association between the Royal Navy and our neighbouring communities which are home to many of our personnel and their families.”
Commanding Officer of 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Lane MBE Royal Artillery, said: “I am very humbled to take part in this re-signing of the Havant Armed Forces Covenant. The Regiment is deployed overseas and across the UK so knowing that the local council, its communities and services are working to ensure our excellent soldiers and their families are not disadvantaged is a great relief to the Regiment. Your commitment today emboldens that relationship for years to come; aiding us to do our duty. On behalf of the soldiers and families on Thorney Island, thank you.”
If you would like to watch the full video version of the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant visit our Youtube channel here. A shorten version is also available to watch on Facebook/HavantBorough here.