What are Community Covenants?
Community Covenants are voluntary statements of mutual support between civilian and Armed Forces communities.
They are intended to complement, at a local level, the Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligations between the Nation, the Government and the Armed Forces.
Community Covenants aim to:
- encourage local communities to support the Armed Forces community in their areas;
- nurture public understanding and awareness of the issues affecting the Armed Forces community;
- recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces community;
- encourage activities which help to integrate the Armed Forces community into local life; and
- encourage the Armed Forces community to help and support the wider community, whether through participation in events and joint projects, or other forms of engagement.
What is the Legion doing?
In 2012, the Legion launched a best practice guide, a resource aimed at local authorities and local Councillors and endorsed by the Local Government Association.
As a reflection of the guide's success and the progress made in twelve months, our 'Best Practice Guide to Community Covenants' has been updated and can be downloaded here.
Many local authorities have had a Community Covenant in place for over two years. In addition, the Armed Forces landscape is shifting. With the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the rebasing of troops from Germany and the increased numbers of Reservists expected in society, local authorities will be facing new challenges. The guide contains case studies and examples from local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales and has been endorsed by the Local Government Association, the Welsh Local Government Association and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.
We have also put together a 'Community Covenant Checklist' aimed at local authorities which have signed a Community Covenant. The actions on the list can be implemented either as part of signing a Community Covenant or retrospectively. We hope that all local authorities that have signed a Community Covenant are implementing the five measures.
We also produced a leaflet on Community Covenants in Wales, available in English and in Welsh (see More information in the right hand column).
What is the Community Covenant Grant Scheme?
Local authorities (and local groups within those authorities) that sign up to the Community Covenant scheme can bid for grant funding from the MoD for projects that deliver tangible results and meet the overall aims of the scheme.
Projects funded under the scheme include:
- £38,222 for 'FACT', an online support service for the Armed Forces community in Liverpool
- £135,000 for a virtual employment agency for individuals with an Armed Forces connection in Hampshire
- £8,000 for outdoor play equipment to be used by Armed Forces and civilian children in Buckinghamshire
What are local authorities doing?
Reports from local authorities suggest that over 360 have signed up to the scheme and some are taking a very innovative approach to supporting their Armed Forces populations, for example:
- Rochdale Council has launched a guaranteed interview scheme for recent Service leavers looking for employment with the Council.
- Herefordshire Council are piloting a twice weekly help desk, staffed by charity representatives, at their Council information centre.
Tania Hill, the Legion's Local Government Campaigns Officer, can be contacted by email from this link or by writing to Tania Hill, The Royal British Legion, Haig House, 199 Borough High Street, London SE1 1AA.