Praise for armed forces champion as group strive for gold

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An armed forces champion has been praised for ‘bringing the role to life’ as council bosses said they will strive to achieve gold standard in its work with families affected.

Hartlepool Council received an update on the implementation of the Armed Forces Community Covenant during 2017/18, with much of the work done by council armed forces champion and current mayor Coun Allan Barclay.

This included hosting monthly surgeries, holding a second successful armed forces day, continuing links with the Royal British Legion and hosting events and parades across the town.

His work, along with the support of council scrutiny officer Joan Stevens, received widespread praise from the council.

Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, addressing Coun Barclay at the council meeting, said: “When the covenant was signed in 2012 I said we cannot let it become a document on a dusty shelf.

“Along with the workshops you’ve done a lot of work and brought this document to life.

“I’ve seen first hand the effort you have put into this, it’s not just about organising the scheme.

“I’ve witnessed you giving first hand support and guidance to the armed forces community, something a lot of people would not do in this role.

“You’ve brought a real, real credibility to this.

“It’s a fantastic effort made by the pair of you.”

The armed forces covenant was established in 2012 to help support those who have been involved in the armed forces.

In 2017 the council received its silver award from the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, which encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same.

Looking to the future Coun Barclay said one of the priorities for the armed forces scheme was to achieve the gold award.

He said: “A considerable amount of work has been done so far, however I recognise that there is still a long way to go in supporting our armed forces personnel and their families in the future.”

Coun Barclay also worked with the 83 children in Hartlepool over the past year who are from armed forces families

Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “You have done an absolutely incredible job and achieved so much for armed forces in Hartlepool.”

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service