Armed Forces Covenant
The Armed Forces Covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the state and the armed forces and it establishes how they should expect to be treated. We re-signed the Covenant on 23 June 2018.
What is the Covenant about?
The Covenant is about removing disadvantages so armed service personnel, past and present, get the same treatment and access to services as the civilian community. It is based on four themes:
- encouraging local communities to support their local armed forces community and vice versa
- promoting public understanding and awareness of issues that affect the armed forces community
- recognising the sacrifices made by the armed forces community
- encouraging activities which help integrate the armed forces community into local life.
We pledged our support in 2013 with a particular focus on respect and remembrance. You can find out more about the Covenant using the quick link above.
Supporting the armed forces community in Leicester
We work closely with partners locally to recognise the sacrifices made by the armed forces community. This includes leading events and city-wide participation in Armed Forces Day and the annual Remembrance Day service. Recent examples include events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the Battle of the Somme.
We also work closely with local units including the Royal Lancers Regiment and Royal Anglian Regiment who both have freedom of the city of Leicester.
The armed forces community we support includes current and former service personnel; families and dependents, reservists and veterans.
Below is a brief summary of the main areas of support offered through our council services:
Customer services staff are aware of our commitments under the Covenant so please indicate if you are a member of the armed forces community when you make contact with us.
Priority is given to armed forces personnel within our Housing Allocations Policy (Part 4.34) and persons leaving the armed forces will be considered under this priority, if they make an application for housing within 5 years of their discharge from the service and do not have a home to return to.
The Admissions Code to which we follow gives additional rights in relation to allocation of places to children of UK service personnel, and exceptions can be made to class sizes in infant education in exceptional circumstances.
The needs of veterans are acknowledged and taken account of in the Joint Specific Needs Assessment for Mental Health Services prepared with the Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group.
Hate crime and domestic violence
We have commissioned domestic and sexual violence support specifically for veterans, and are committed to combating hate crime in all its forms and always tailor our response to meet individual need.
Defence Discount scheme
The Defence Discount Service is the official Ministry of Defence discount service for serving armed forces, reserve forces, veterans, Ministry of Defence civil servants, cadet forces (over 16), spouses/partners (of currently serving personnel) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) personnel serving in the UK. We've encouraged businesses to sign up to the Defence Discount scheme. Local businesses can sign up to the scheme by contacting Rewards for Forces on 01604 647770.
What is the Covenant Fund?
The Covenant Fund is a grant scheme backed by Government for projects that will benefit the armed forces and the community. The funding priorities for April 2018 to March 2019 include:
- Armed Forces Covenant: local grants and digital development
- Armistice and Armed Forces Communities: supporting local communities to consider the Armed Forces Covenant and its relevance today in the context of the World War 1 commemorations
Further priorities will be announced in the following months. Further information about the Covenant Fund is available at GOV.UK - Covenant Fund.
Approved veterans question in 2021 Census
We support the approved veterans’ question by the government that took place in the 2021 census. Former Armed Forces personnel were able to identify themselves as veterans for the first time. The legislation passed on Monday the 13 July 2020.
The approved question will allow central and local government to better understand the needs of the Ex-Armed Forces community. With better data and understanding it will aid with more targeted support, efficient support and improved services.
The inclusion of the question in the census ties in with the council's Armed Forces Covenant’s objectives. With improved information and support from the government, the Armed Forces Covenant will be able to focus and tailor their services to support the Ex-Armed Forces community.
You can find more information on the past census at GOV.UK - Census information.
Useful websites and local groups
There are also a range of other local and national services who may be able to help members of the armed forces community.
- Veterans Gateway is a national website which puts veterans and their families in touch with the organizations best placed to help with the information, advice and support they need – from healthcare and housing to employability, finances, personal relationships and more.
- Career Transition Partnership helps service leavers find new careers through a resettlement support programme. In this programme, service leavers who complete between 4 and 6 years’ service are entitled to the employment support programme (ESP). The ESP programme directly supports job finding activity such as financial and career support.
- NHS Choices website has a special section on healthcare for veterans and their families.
- SSAFA provides information and support for those needing assistance with housing support for military families. The guidance they offer includes homelessness, housing benefits, accessing social housing and tenants’ rights.
- Ministry of Defense Enhanced Credit Scheme (ELC) promotes lifelong learning amongst members of the Armed Forces. This scheme provides financial support for service leavers who are in pursuit of higher level education.
- The University of Leicester is an approved provider for the ELC and has made their distance learning courses available under this scheme.
- Royal British Legion provides care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces and their families. The legion offers career advice, financial aid in an urgent crisis and housing support.
- Soldiers Charity provides support to soldiers and veterans from the British Army, and their immediate families, when they are in need.
- Children Education Advisory Service (CEAS) are a national service that provides expert and impartial advice about the education of service children. They are experienced in advising service parents on a wide range of issues regarding the education of service children in the UK and overseas.
- Combat Stress is a leading charity for veteran’s mental health. They help former servicemen and women deal with issues like trauma, anxiety, depression and postdramatic stress disorder. They provide support on the phone or at their treatment centres.
- Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds Service provide free and confidential mental health support for Veterans and military families living with challenges such as excessive worry, depression, stress and alcohol problems.
- Phoenix Heroes is a veteran non-profit Community Interest Company (CIC). They support veterans, families and carers who are dealing with PTSD.
- Veterans Breakfast Clubs are places which facilitate veterans and servicing personnel meeting face to face in a relaxed safe social environment.
- Citizens Advice provides housing support for people leaving the Armed Forces, veterans and their families. This includes information to find out about the help available to you, depending on your situation.
- Age UK offers tailored support for older veterans to help with their independent living. For more information contact: email@example.com
- City of Leicester College provides funding support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to ensure they benefit from the same opportunities as students from less deprived families. Students whose parent/parents are currently serving in the armed forces or are in receipt of a pension from the MoD are entitled to £300.
- Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison (TIL) Service is a free NHS mental health service for all ex-serving members of the UK Armed Forces and service personnel who are making the transition to civilian life including reservists.
For any enquiries about the Covenant please email us at AFCovenant@leicester.gov.uk.