Scottish Borders Council and partners have strengthened their support for the armed forces community.
Representatives from the armed forces, SBC, NHS Borders, Job Centre Plus, registered social landlords, the charitable and voluntary sector, and the business and commercial sector met in Newtown St Boswells last week to sign an Armed Forces Community Covenant.
This important new agreement will build on existing good relations between the armed forces and public sector organisations in the Borders. The aim of the Community Covenant is to encourage organisations across the region to support the armed forces community to access the assistance they might need.
SBC Convenor Councillor Alasdair Hutton hosted the ceremony and signed the document on behalf of the local authority.
He said: “Members of the Armed Forces deserve our respect, support and fair treatment. They should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services.
“For some, those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved, we should be ready to give our special consideration.”
Representing the armed forces at the signing ceremony, Lieutenant Colonel Sandy Fitzpatrick, Commanding Officer of 52nd Lowland, 6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (6 SCOTS), said: “The signing of the Armed Forces Community Covenant is a clear indication by these groups in the Borders of their commitment to increased integration between the community and the armed forces.
“It is excellent news for everyone serving in and associated with the military in the region. The military has always enjoyed a close working relationship with our local community and this is further evidence of its enduring support.”
As part of the Covenant members of the armed forces will be encouraged to do as much as they can to support the communities they live in and promote activities which help integrate the service community into civilian life.
The UK Government launched the Armed Forces Covenant in July and encouraged the introduction of community covenants between civilian communities and the armed forces based or living in their areas.
As part of that launch, the MOD set up a community covenant grant scheme.
The aim of the grant scheme is to put the community covenant into action and strengthen the ties and mutual understanding between the armed forces and local communities.