Covenant will bring benefits to armed forces

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IT WAS my privilege on May 14 to represent SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, airmen and Families Association) at the signing of the Community Convenant between The East Sussex Strategic partnership (ESSP) and the Armed Forces Community in East Sussex.

The latter encompasses those serving, ex-service personnel and their families, including the reserve and cadet forces.

The organisations that make up the ESSP, which include the county council, the five district and borough councils in East Sussex, the police, fire and rescue service, local businesses, community groups and voluntary sector organisations, are committed to equality and diversity as providers of such services.

The covenant’s purpose is to ensure that serving and retired members of the Armed Forces should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in relation to the provision of public and commercial services.

The signing of the convenant also allows access to the community convenant grant fund, which has been set up nationally to financially support local projects that strengthen the ties or the mutual understanding between members of the Armed Forces community and the wider community in which they are based or live.

For the East Sussex councils, the community convenant presents an opportunity to bring their knowledge, experience and expertise to bear on the provision of help and advice to members of the Armed Forces Community.

It also represents an opportunity to build upon existing good work and relationships created through other initiatives.

It will be the intention of SSAFA to work closely with all parties to meet the terms of the convenant, bringing mutual benefit to those who currently serve from this area and those who have served and reside here, along with the local broader community.

BERNARD STONESTREET

Secretary SSAFA, Hasting and Rother Divison