Community Covenants are local statements of mutual support between civilian and military communities, which are signed by local councils, military representatives, charities and other partner agencies.
The Community Covenant initiative calls on local communities to support the Armed Forces community in their area and promote public understanding and awareness. It was designed to complement the Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the nation’s commitment to the Armed Forces community. In practice, this means local councils and civilian groups are encouraged to work together to ensure that members of the Armed Forces community:
- Do not face disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services
- Are given special consideration in some cases, especially the injured and the bereaved.
We’re delighted that all local councils in Great Britain have now signed a Community Covenant and are starting to implement tangible measures that benefit the Armed Forces community. Across the country, councils have been reviewing their housing allocation policies, setting up new webpages for the Armed Forces community, and briefing GPs and health professionals about the needs of the Armed Forces community in their area. This focused, collaborative approach is helping to improve the everyday lives of the military community.
“I joined the RAF immediately after leaving school and served for 17 years before being made redundant and joining the MOD for ten years, when again I was made redundant. Once I left I fell into a downwards spiral, descending into alcoholism and rough sleeping. Services were available but they weren’t joined up or accessible. Luckily I have rebuilt my life now but it has taken time and support from Service charities like the Legion. I’m really happy that Community Covenants are being signed now and that my local council has signed and is making services more accessible and united. This will be of great help to Service leavers and to the Service community more widely.”Andy, veteran from Wales
Community Covenants are making a real difference on the ground in all local communities but there’s more that can be done.
We have come up with five practical steps that councils can take to support their local Armed Forces community through their Community Covenant. Write to your local Armed Forces Champion or council leader and ask if they have implemented the Legion’s recommendations.