The Royal British Legion has praised Rochdale Borough Council as a model of best practice for its commitment to working with the Armed Forces communities within its borough.
Rochdale Borough Council Leader Colin Lambert said: “We are passionate about our work with the Armed Forces community in Rochdale because we recognise the work and sacrifices they make for us on a daily basis. In Rochdale we have a proud tradition of working with our Armed Forces community and since signing the Armed Forces Community Covenant we really have started to make a difference”
The council launched its Armed Forces Covenant last year and has been working to bring together public and private sector service providers to support armed forces personnel, ex-forces and their families. The Armed Forces Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces community.
- Rochdale Borough Council is the only local authority in the UK to guarantee interviews to any ex-forces personnel who apply for a role for which they meet the person specification. So if you left the forces in the last two years and have been looking for work for six months we encourage you to apply.
- It has launched a website specifically targeted at the needs of the Armed Forces offering support and signposting from anything from getting children into school, applying for jobs, applying for a council house and accessing health services. It also lists national and local Armed Forces events. The website has been praised by the Ministry of Defence and now the Royal British Legion having received over 18,000 page views in just five months. Many councils are now following suit.
- It offers the families of fallen service personnel, who have died on active duty, the chance to have a street named after their loved one.
The Council has appointed a Lead Member for the Armed Forces, Cllr Alan McCarthy and a team of
officers in their own time have been driving forward the important work programme, the council is seeking to appoint an Armed Forces key worker post and to introduce an Armed Forces contact number to improve the customer experience. Through its partner, Link 4 Life, members of the Armed Forces are offered free use of the borough’s leisure facilities. Since June this year there have been over 500 such visits.
Cllr Alan Mccarthy, the Councils appointed Lead member for the Armed Forces said:
“Since being appointed as the Lead member for the Armed Forces, I have worked very closely with the Councils Community Covenant team at the Council. We have built up a fantastic relationship with representatives from serving and ex servicing personnel and their families. We have listened to their needs and are shaping our services around supporting them. Special thanks to the Royal British
Legion, Lancashire Veterans Association and SAAFA and all for helping us achieve this in a short timeframe. We are also promoting the fantastic work that our Armed forces do. Our website is an excellent example of what you can do if you are passionate and want to make a difference and with 18,000 page views since we launched it 5 months ago, I am thrilled to see that other Councils are now following suit and that we are receiving national recognition”.
Richard Foster, Area Manager for the Royal British Legion in Greater Manchester, said:
“We are thrilled to see the great steps Rochdale Council has taken to support our Armed Forces
since signing the Community Covenant last year. The aim of the Covenant is remember the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces and encourage activities which help to integrate Service personnel, past and present, into local life. The council has made great progress in honouring the Covenant and we wish Cllr Alan McCarthy and his team the best of luck with their future plans to strengthen their support for the Armed Forces community in Rochdale.”
Rochdale is one of just 20 council’s highlighted in the Legion’s updated ‘Best Practice Guide to Community Covenants’ which will be launched this week.
Rochdale Council - A council which builds success and prosperity with our citizens and partners, whilst protecting our vulnerable people.