Royal recognition for council’s support for armed services personnel

Councillor Allan Barclay, Hartlepool Councils Armed Forces Champion, receives the Silver Award from HRH Prince Michael of Kent.
Councillor Allan Barclay, Hartlepool Councils Armed Forces Champion, receives the Silver Award from HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

A council’s dedication to help people who have served in the armed forces has won Royal recognition.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s on-going commitment to support armed forces personnel has been recognised at a ceremony attended by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

Councillor Allan Barclay, the council’s Armed Forces Champion, received the Silver Award of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) from the Prince at a dinner in Newcastle.

The ERS recognises organisations that pledge and demonstrate support for the country’s defence and the armed forces, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

The council signed up to the covenant in 2012 and has also put its name to a national Armed Forces Housing Pledge of seven core principles of providing fair access to housing for ex-servicemen and women and their families.

Holders of the ERS Silver Award actively demonstrate support for service personnel and employ at least one member of the armed forces community.

They also show flexibility towards annual training commitments and the mobilisation of reservist employees and support the employment of cadet instructors, armed forces veterans (including the wounded, injured and sick) and military spouses/partners.

The Silver Award comes just a few months after the authority received a Bronze Award, and it is now aiming for a Gold Award.

Councillor Barclay who holds monthly surgeries to offer advice and support to serving and former service personnel, said he is delighted by the Royal recognition and the authority is still aiming to improve even further.

He said: “We are delighted to have been granted a Silver Award so soon after receiving a Bronze Award.

“Our aim now is to meet the criteria for the top-level Gold Award.

“As a council, we pride ourselves on supporting the armed forces community and we think it is vitally important that advice and support is readily available to servicemen and women, both past and present, when they most need it.”

Councillor Barclay, who served in the Royal Engineers from 1969-1994, holds his monthly surgeries on the first Tuesday of every month at Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Appointments must be booked in advance by calling (01429) 284142.