Signing up in Support of North East Armed Forces
09 November 2012
A UK first will take place in the North East today (9 November) when the region's
commitment to the armed forces is marked at a special signing ceremony.
The event is a unique occasion, as for the first time in the country regional partners will come together to sign the North East Armed Forces Community Charter.
Hosted by the armed forces, the ceremony - which takes place in Sunderland, will bring together signatories including the Association of North East Councils (ANEC), the Armed Forces, the Royal British Legion and representatives from business, health, the voluntary and community sector, the police, probation and prison services.
The charter reflects the breadth of the good work already being done by partners in the North East and their commitment to continued action, whilst recognising the sacrifices made by our armed forces.
The five objectives of the charter provide a framework to build on current partnership working and to maintain a dialogue which will ensure better ways of understanding and meeting the needs of the armed forces community. The charter has its origins in work, which has gained national recognition, carried out by the North East's Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee which examined the health needs of our ex-service community.
Cllr Stuart Green, Vice-Chair, North East Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee will introduce the event. Brigadier Greville Bibby CBE, 15th (North East) Brigade, Cllr Jeff Reid, Vice chair, Association of North East Councils and Andrew Drake MBE, The Royal British Legion will speak in advance of the official signing, which will be followed by a military musical performance.
Cllr Jeff Reid, Vice Chair, Association of North East Councils, said: "As community representatives and community leaders the 12 North East councils, are proud to have the opportunity to become key signatories, through ANEC, and to take part in today's ceremony. The North East Armed Forces Charter represents the culmination of much hard work and collaboration by a wide range of partners. Signing the charter makes the North East the first UK region to have full coverage of the local community covenant.
"All North East local authorities have supported the development of the charter since the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee's initial proposal, and today's ceremony is a real achievement."
Andrew Drake MBE, The Royal British Legion, said: "The signing of the North East Armed Forces Community Charter is particularly welcomed as a positive statement of support to those who Serve in the Armed Forces and their families from within our region.
"This historic signing and commitment highlights the important work carried out by all the local authorities within the North East. It will have real meaning in everyday life for our Service men, women and their families, providing them with the support our Armed Forces community so deserves."
Brigadier Greville Bibby CBE, 15th (North East) Brigade, said: "The Armed Forces Covenant has been embraced by the North East in a way that has exceeded my expectations. It is humbling to think of the commitment our partners have demonstrated in meeting the needs of service personnel and their families.
"Put simply, what this means is that when servicemen and women or their families require extra support from the wider community, I have every confidence they will get it. Due to the nature of our job, we do sometimes require a little bit of extra help.
"This event is a demonstration of how important it is for all partners to work together and I am truly grateful to everyone involved."
Photo caption: Brigadier Greville K Bibby CBE, Commander 15th (North East) Brigade and Cllr Jeff Reid, Vice Chair of Association of North East Councils (front) following the signing of the Charter, with partners.
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