More help for forces personnel

COUNCIL leaders are preparing to back a national scheme to help increase support for the Armed Forces in the borough.

North Tyneside Council is already providing a number of initiatives for members and ex-members of the armed forces and their families including giving former armed forces personnel priority in seeking housing with North Tyneside Homes and other housing providers, and free access to a range of sport, leisure and library services.

Now the council’s cabinet will seek to set up a Community Services Partnership – as part of the national Armed Forces Covenant – and aim to access some of the £30m available nationally to improve support to serving personnel, their families and veterans, and particularly the injured or bereaved.

It would help the borough deliver projects to strengthen ties between members of the service personnel and the wider community in which they live, improve their health and wellbeing and get them into further employment.

Mayor Linda Arkley said: “The armed forces make an outstanding contribution to our country.

“I am pleased that we are beginning to establish more support networks for these exceptional servicemen and women and their families.

“By establishing a covenant in North Tyneside I hope we will see projects which benefit the armed forces community and the borough as a whole.”

The borough currently has an armed service community of around 422 people.

North Tyneside’s military civil integration link, Lieutenant Colonel David Garner, said: “There is no doubt in my mind that the North Tyneside community as a whole and the council in particular, are extremely supportive of the armed forces that live and work in the borough.

“Over the past year I have seen awareness, recognition and the relationship between North Tyneside and its armed forces community grow.

“The borough already provides tangible support to the Armed Forces community in numerous ways both formally through council initiatives and informally through support from the community itself.

“By being party to the covenant the armed forces community recognises their responsibility to take an active part in supporting the North Tyneside community, not as a separate party but truly integrated with it, and to abide by the military’s values and standards in the way that we conduct ourselves.

“I very much look forward to working together with the Council to make the intent generated by this Community Covenant a reality.”

For more information about the Covenant visit www.mod.uk