Armed Forces personnel and their families make many sacrifices in serving their country.
For the serving personnel, ultimately it can mean putting themselves in harm’s way, which can result in injury and potential difficulty in integrating back into civilian life.
For families, it can mean having to move around the country every few years. This affects places on NHS waiting lists and children’s schooling. Relocating can cause partners difficulty finding jobs, and getting credit or mortgages.
To balance this, the Government created the Armed Forces Covenant. Written into law, it says that Armed Forces personnel, veterans or their families will not be disadvantaged by their military life when accessing goods and services, compared to other citizens.
Highlights of Covenant achievements from central government, local government and businesses include:
- A government Forces Help to Buy Scheme which helps Armed Forces personnel to get on or stay on the property ladder; a challenge made more difficult by a mobile Military lifestyle
- More than 500 companies both large and small making a range of commitments to Armed Forces personnel such as guaranteed interviews on leaving the Forces
- A £35 million government fund for schemes and projects for mental health and injured Service personnel. This includes organising short holiday breaks for Service family members with additional needs / disabilities, and Combat Stress mental health community outreach programme.
- Career development for Service partners, such as the Royal British Legion ‘Industries Lifeworks’ for families and the University of Wolverhampton ‘Dependents’ Business Start Up’ programme
Read how the Armed Forces Covenant has helped individuals:
1. Emily Edwards, wife of an RAF serviceman
Due to the regular postings of service life I wasn’t able to obtain a full time job, so I had the idea of starting up my own business – something that I could work on no matter where I was posted. When we had our little girl I’d started carrying her around in a baby sling, and as I’d found it really helpful I went on to complete a course that gave me the skills to teach other parents and health professionals how to use baby slings safely. This is where my ‘wearthemwithlove’ business was born – a business providing others with education and tuition on how to use slings. However, I didn’t know quite where to start with a new business and so I enrolled on the Dependants’ Business Start Up programme. The programme really helped me focus my business idea and understand the principles of running a business, especially with regards to marketing, finance and legislation. These skills have enabled me to seek out great opportunities and has helped me build a professional reputation. I now offer my services to parents ranging from one-to-one consultations in their own home, and workshops held at a local venue.
To find out more about Emily’s business, visit wearthemwithlove.co.uk
2. Liverpool FC Foundation’s Military Veterans
Funded by the Armed Forces Covenant, the Liverpool FC Foundation started a ‘Military Veterans’ group, which aims to engage military veterans back into civilian life and recapture the spirit of service and comradeship. It engages over 50,000 military veterans in the Merseyside area.
Jason Malloy served in the Artillery Regiment for seven years in Iraq and Afghanistan and joined the Foundation’s programme in November 2012. He said,
‘Unfortunately, I had to return from duty on medical grounds. I was in a recovery unit in Preston and I met another ex-serviceman who told me about the Foundation’s programme so I signed up. It’s one of the best decision I’ve made. The programme has helped me so much to readjust to civilian life. It’s great to be able to speak to other ex-service personnel about their experiences and continue to work together as part of a team. Really, the football is just a way of getting us together! It’s given me real drive and enthusiasm to keep fit’