East Lothian Council and its Community Planning partners have signed a covenant to support the armed forces community living in the county.

This is a fantastic initiative that represents a real commitment and responsibility to supporting the Armed Forces, past, present and future

The covenant is a local statement of mutual support between civilian and Armed Forces communities at local level. It complements the national Armed Forces Covenant which outlines the moral obligation between the nation, the Government and the forces. The East Lothian Community Covenant presents an opportunity for the council and its partners to bring their knowledge, experience and expertise together to provide help, support and advice to the armed forces community. It also encourages the integration of service life into civilian life.

East Lothian Council’s Chief Executive Angela Leitch said: “Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day rightly pay tribute to the ultimate sacrifices that were made, and continue to be made, on our behalf by the armed forces. The East Lothian Armed Forces Covenant formally recognises that all partners have a role to play in providing support to our armed forces community and that, by working together, we can make a real difference to members living in our area.” 

A working group brings together key partners from the council, health, education, service and veterans organisations to create policies and practices that will support armed forces personnel (serving and retired) and their families. The key themes that the group is progressing are housing, employment, education and training, health and wellbeing and community.

East Lothian Council’s Armed Forces Champion Councillor Jim Goodfellow said: “The move from service life to civilian life can present challenges for personnel and their families in a wide range of areas. We want to raise awareness of these issues and work with our partners to support the armed forces community. They give so much on our behalf through their service that it is only appropriate that we support them in any way we can.”

Aileen Hill Lothian Armed Forces and Veterans Project Lead Development Officer said: “Our project aims to raise awareness of the Covenant and improve support to the Armed Forces Community as well as promoting a stronger public profile for the Armed Forces and Veterans by highlighting the positive contribution they bring to our wider society.

“We have been privileged to work with East Lothian Council and the local Armed Forces to establish an active working group to ensure that the Covenant is delivered effectively and with commitment.  The enthusiasm that we have seen from the council has been extremely positive and we have confidence that this will bode well for the work of the group and relationship between the Local Authorities and Armed Forces Community.”

Major Stuart Vine, OC E (Lothians & Border Yeomanry) Squadron:

“This is a fantastic initiative and the signing by East Lothian Council and Community Partners represents a real commitment and responsibility to supporting the Armed Forces, past, present and future. We recruit from East Lothian and are continually looking to strengthen our heritage and community roots whilst we build our capability as the Lothians & Border’s Light Cavalry unit.  Our Squadron, reformed in 2014, renewed our historical ties to the Lothians & Border Horse and to Dunbar, Haddington and the wider East Lothian community. We are duty bound to represent, serve and the support the communities from which we live and work and the signing of the Covenant in East Lothian will only serve to strengthen this bond. We grant our unwavering support to work in which ever we can to support East Lothian Council and the community – well done to all involved in making this happen.”

Information about the East Lothian Armed Forces Community Covenant and links to support organisations is available from the East Lothian Council website.

Members of the armed forces community or interested groups who wish to be kept informed can on the Covenant can contact Stephanie Kerr, Community Planning Officer on 01620 827707.

Published: Thursday, 8th November 2018