Colchester Borough Homes (CBH) has pledged its commitment to support the military community, by proudly signing the Armed Forces Covenant.
The covenant, a voluntary pledge that organisations sign to demonstrate their support for the Armed Forces community, exists to redress the disadvantages military personnel and veterans may experience in society compared to other citizens.
Becoming a signatory commits CBH to support the Armed Forces community by recognising the value serving personnel, veterans and their families contribute both to the organisation and the nation.
Becoming a forces-friendly employer also commits CBH to achieve the Bronze Defence Employer Recognition Scheme award – paving the way to attain the Silver and Gold awards.
Pledges binding CBH to the covenant include:
- guaranteeing to interview Armed Forces veterans applying for roles at CBH, who meet the minimum requirements set out in the Job Accountability Statement
- supporting the employment of veterans, working with the Career Transition Partnership, to establish a tailored employment pathway for Armed Forces leavers
- identifying staff who are reservists or veterans and asking them to mentor new employees from the Armed Forces
- seeking to support employees who are reservists, including by accommodating their training and deployment where possible
- Offering flexibility in leave for service spouses and partners before, during and after deployment
- supporting employees who are volunteer leaders in military cadet organisations, granting special leave to attend annual training camps and courses, and actively encouraging members of staff to become volunteer leaders in cadet organisations
- offering a staff and board member volunteering day to be used to support Armed Forces charities
Colchester Borough Homes Chief Executive, Philip Sullivan, said: “Signing the Armed Forces Covenant is a proud moment for CBH – as we make a public commitment as an organisation to treat all members of the military community with the fairness and respect they deserve and help them access the services they need.
“This is just the first step. We pledge to maintain and develop this commitment going forward – setting an example in the process – as we work to achieve the Bronze Defence Employer Recognition Scheme award.”
Chair of the Board, Dirk Paterson, added: “Too often serving military personnel and veterans face discrimination and disadvantage. CBH is responsive to the needs of the military community and committed, as a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant. We want to do more to improve awareness and understanding and help remove the barriers for those with an Armed Forces background, who need our support.
“Colchester has an historic and established relationship with the Armed Forces, thanks to the centuries-old link between the town and its garrison. I would encourage other organisations in the area to follow CBH’s lead. Other organisations should ask if there is anything they can do to be more Armed Forces friendly and sign the covenant.”
Lieutenant Colonel Ed Rankin, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “I congratulate CBH on signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant and joining thousands of local authorities, businesses and charities across the country in declaring their support for the Armed Forces community.
“In Colchester, the strong bonds that exist between the civil and military community mean that we are formalising rather than creating a relationship with CBH, with Operation Pegasus Pathway an example of the positive work we have already done together.”
In July, CBH joined forces with Colchester Garrison to organise Operation Pegasus Pathway – part of Project Morpheus, a wide-ranging multi-agency initiative aimed at preventing anti-social behaviour among young people.
Over two days, 10 to 18-year-olds were able to experience fun and competitive activities with the Parachute Regiment to learn about the Pegasus Ethos, which sets out the values and standards expected of paratroopers.