Barking and Dagenham Council re-signs Armed Forces Covenant and vow to go 'above and beyond' for veterans
PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 September 2019
The council has again pledged to help members of the armed forces re-enter civilian life after it re-signed the Armed Forces Covenant.
First signed by Barking and Dagenham Council in October 2013, the covenant aims to make sure current and ex-service personnel, and their families, are treated fairly and get the support they need.
Leader of the council Darren Rodwell said: "In Barking and Dagenham, we have a long tradition with the armed forces, a tradition we are proud of.
"I never forget that we are here because of the sacrifice of our men and women for this great nation.
"It's a no-brainer in supporting this covenant and it's important to go above and beyond its promises.
"Everyone deserves a place after they've served our community and our country."
The RAF's Wing Commander Judith Hird signed the document on behalf of the armed forces.
She added: "We are looking to help all [service personnel] reach their full potential, both for them and the communities they return to after service.
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"We are absolutely delighted to see councils re-signing these covenants and recommitting to them."
The Ministry of Defence awards ranks to organisations which have committed to treating service personnel fairly. The council has the bronze award.
Pilot Officer Mark McPherson helps run the 1147 Barking Squadron Air Cadets. As an ex-serviceman, he was glad to see the covenant signed.
"I think the whole notion of it is a great idea," he said.
"It's the community giving back to the armed forces. Being an ex-serviceman, I know how important this is.
"It's difficult for ex-servicemen to come out and restart their lives.
"The more support we can give, the better. We should have a lot more things like this. It's also good to see there's support for the next generation."
Cadet Rao Khan is 19 and a member of the Air Cadets. He's hoping to become a lawyer for the RAF.
"It's really nice to see there's recognition for us and support for people who want to join the armed services," he said.
Around 4,000 organisations have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, including all of the local authorities in the UK, according to an MoD spokesman.