Burnley Council reaffirms its commitment to supporting Armed Forces

(Left to right) Coun. Charlie Briggs, leader of the council, Wing Commander Chris Ashworth, regional employer engagement director for the Reserve Forces & Cadets Association, Coun. Cosima Towneley, Mayor of Burnley Coun. Anne Kelly and Lt Col. Jim Dowle from headquarters North-West.
(Left to right) Coun. Charlie Briggs, leader of the council, Wing Commander Chris Ashworth, regional employer engagement director for the Reserve Forces & Cadets Association, Coun. Cosima Towneley, Mayor of Burnley Coun. Anne Kelly and Lt Col. Jim Dowle from headquarters North-West.

Burnley Council has re-affirmed its commitment to working with Armed Forces’ veterans to help support them in their local communities.

Together with other agencies and local organisations, Burnley Council has re-signed a covenant that shows support between the civilian and the Armed Forces communities.

A signing ceremony took place in the council chamber at Burnley Town Hall during a meeting of the full council.

The pledge was signed by Coun. Cosima Towneley, the council’s Armed Forces champion, and by Lt Col. Jim Dowle on behalf of the Armed Forces.

The council was recently awarded national recognition for its work to support ex-service men and women.

It has attained the Bronze Award under the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme which encourages employers to support ex-forces employees and inspire other employers to do the same. The council is already working towards gaining the higher Silver Award.

Coun. Towneley, Executive member for community and environmental services, said: “Our servicemen and women play a vital role in the defence of our country and bring extraordinary talent and expertise when returning to civilian life. It’s absolutely right that we do our best to support them during this transition and that we recognise and nurture the talents they continue to use in civvy street.

“The council is committed to working with partners to provide help and support as our veterans adapt to live outside the military, with regard to housing and employment or by signposting them to places where they can find the support and advice they need.

“I’m proud to see Burnley Borough Council reaffirming its pledge to support our Armed Forces.”

Lt Col. Dowle said: “I am delighted to be part of the re-signing of the Burnley Armed Forces Covenant. The town of Burnley has been, and continues to be, a strong supporter of the Armed Forces and I and my service colleagues are extremely grateful for all you do for us.

“This re-signing highlights the excellent work that is ongoing and planned for the future and will be warmly welcomed by the Armed Forces community. I look forward to continuing to work with Burnley Council and partner organisations in developing the covenant.”

The voluntary agreement complements the national Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the support offered to in-service and ex-service personnel from the nation, the Government and the Armed Forces.

The local covenant allows the Burnley community to collectively use their knowledge, experience and expertise to help and advise members of the Armed Forces community. It also recognises and remembers the sacrifices made by members of this community, including their families and widows/widowers in Burnley.

The covenant involves:

- coordination between those providing welfare support for members of the Armed Forces community

- working with housing associations and the NHS to ensure fair access to accommodation and health services for service and ex-service personnel

- liaison with employers and employment agencies to take action to assist Armed Forces personnel to make the transition into civilian life.

The council is working with a wide range of partners, including ex-servicemen's associations, Burnley FC in the Community and local businesses to help support men and women who have come out of the Armed Forces and are settling into life in “Civvy Street”.

For example, council staff recently took part in a business meeting aimed at showing local firms the benefits of taking on ex-service personnel and highlighting the skills they can bring with them into the workplace.

For more information about the Armed Forces Community Covenant in Burnley, contact Catherine Swift: cswift@burnley.gov.uk