Monday, 25 June saw the Signing Ceremony for the Community Covenant between Test Valley Borough Council and the armed forces in the Borough at the Army Air Corps, Middle Wallop, Hampshire. The Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual agreement between all signatories. It signals their commitment to work together to honour, support and help the armed forces and their families, recognising the sacrifices they make and remembering that some pay the ultimate sacrifice. The signatories to the Community Covenant are Test Valley Borough Council, Andover Garrison, Corps of the Royal Engineers, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the Army Air Corps.
The covenant presents the opportunity for the council to focus its knowledge, expertise and experience to provide appropriate advice and services to members of the forces and their families. In turn the armed forces and their families will be better able to integrate service life into civilian life and to use their skills to help the local community. The covenant encompasses issues such as assisting service personnel with access to home ownership and supported accommodation, providing an opportunity to secure business grants for people leaving the forces and volunteering opportunities for service personnel to use their existing skills to help the community, while learning new ones. It also seeks to ensure that employers recognise the merits of employing reservists and understand the legislation which supports both employer and employee.
The signatories welcomed the agreement to work together for the benefit of service personnel, their families and the wider community.
Councillor Ian Carr said: “I am delighted to have signed this covenant and it is perhaps particularly appropriate with today seeing the start of Armed Forces Week. This covenant will strengthen the links the Borough Council has with the armed forces and I hope that it will encourage local communities to value the armed forces in their area and help nurture more public awareness and understanding of the issues affecting them.
With three locally based regiments already granted the Freedom of the Borough, the covenant provides the opportunity to cement this relationship with some practical actions”.
Brigadier Richard Dennis OBE, Regimental Colonel of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment said on behalf of the armed forces: As the Regimental Colonel of Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, one that has the pleasure and privilege of including Test Valley within its spiritual home, I am delighted to sign this covenant. This ceremony is a formal declaration of something we’ve enjoyed over many years; the warmth, gratitude and support of the people of Test Valley. On behalf of my Regiment, as Freeman, and all members of the Armed Forces who live and work within this Borough, I am honoured to be a signatory to this covenant.”
The Test Valley Covenant complements the Armed Forces Covenant between the Nation, the Government and Armed forces.
To view the Covenant click here.