Historic covenant to give forces and their families fair support
MEMBERS of the Armed Forces in Swansea could soon be given help with everything from housing to education.
Swansea Council is considering proposals to give fair support to members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.
The local authority's cabinet is being asked to back the signing of an historic Armed Forces Community Covenant, which is only the third of its kind in Wales.
The council, its partners and the wider community in Swansea would offer recognition, consideration, help and support to the Armed Forces community, addressing issues such as housing, education, healthcare, child support and environmental challenges.
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Councillor June Burtonshaw, Cabinet Member for Place, has already been appointed Swansea Council's Armed Forces Community Champion (AFC).
She said: "I think this an important initiative which I believe the whole council and indeed the whole community will get behind.
"The Armed Forces are not looking for special treatment, just fair treatment, and I think there is a moral obligation to ensure they do.
"There are members of the Armed Forces in our city who are risking their lives for their country and veterans from past conflicts throughout the city, and their families who need our support and help, too.
"There's already lots of help out there both locally and nationally.
"We want to co-ordinate the information to make it easier to access.
Brigadier Philip Napier, Commander 160 (Wales) Brigade and head of the Army in Wales, said: "All across Wales we are now seeing real momentum with regards to local authorities signing up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant.
"The aim of the covenant is to ensure serving and former soldiers, sailors and airmen and their families get the necessary support networks to link into. Be they bereaved, the injured or sick — those members of the Armed Forces deserve to be looked after."
The covenant would include making the most of online services, the Council's Contact Centre and a telephone service to give Armed Forces specific information, access to support and sign posting them to services better targeted to their needs.
The military would continue to support communities through events, charity support and community projects.
The covenant, which will be discussed by Swansea Council's Cabinet next Thursday, would be a voluntary statement of mutual support.
The council would operate it with partners in voluntary organisations, military charities and public service providers alongside the National Armed Forces Covenant which outlines the moral obligation between the nation, the Government and the Armed Forces.
Swansea Council hopes to set up an Armed Forces Covenant by December.
Grant funding would then be available for projects delivering results and meeting the overall aims of the covenant.