21 April 2017

More than £180k in funding has been provided from the Ministry of Defence’s Covenant Fund to support the Armed Forces community in South Yorkshire.

The announcement comes after Sheffield City Council successfully led a bid in partnership with Rotherham, Doncaster, and Barnsley councils and two universities, Sheffield Hallam and York St John.

Now, a grant of £180,695 has been awarded to help South Yorkshire gain a better understanding of the local Armed Forces community and strengthen the delivery of the Community Covenant.

The project, which will see grant money being spent on research and training at both universities involved, will be officially launched to coincide with national Armed Forces Day in June.

Councillor Tony Damms, Sheffield City Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said “We are thrilled with this achievement.

“We are working hard to improve support to the local Armed Forces community and this achievement is another step forward for us as a city and as a region.

“This is collaborative working in action and will lead to better and consistent support for the armed forces community across South Yorkshire.”

Councillor Ben Curran, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources at Sheffield City Council, said: “Armed forces personnel play an important role in protecting our country. Whether serving or retired, it is important that we recognise their contribution to our community.

“That’s why I’m delighted to accept this grant on behalf of Sheffield Council so that we can build on the good work we do for the Armed Forces community in the city.”

The Covenant, a pledge agreed by councils and the Armed Forces community in South Yorkshire, was signed in 2011 and copies are displayed at each Town Hall.

It has facilitated changes in policy and increased the support provided to members and former members of the Forces in their service and post-service lives.

One key aim is to encourage the integration of Service life and civilian life. This project is an opportunity to take stock; to determine what is what is working best and where further innovation can be made, to improve the lives of the armed forces community in the region.

Cllr Taiba Yasseen, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Working and Cultural Services, added: “This funding is great news and will make a welcome contribution to our partnership work across the region, to help support the armed forces community. In Rotherham we recognise and value the significant contributions our armed forces personnel make whether serving or retired.”

The Armed Forces community includes those in-service and also reservists, veterans and those who care for, depend on or are close family members of these groups of people.

Dr Katherine Albertson is leading the research team in Sheffield Hallam University’s Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice.

She said: “We are delighted the project has received this funding as it will enable us to map the interaction of the Armed Forces community in South Yorkshire with services across our region and work with them to maintain social inclusion and wellbeing.

“We intend to talk to the experts – the Armed Forces community themselves – and determine how they perceive the Covenant working in practice across the region. This will give the Armed Forces community in South Yorkshire the opportunity to co-produce valued and integrated pathways into the vibrant civic life of the region.”

Nick Wood, former Royal Navy engineer and Education and Development Lead at York St John University, will deliver continued professional development training to support council staff who identify members of the ex-Armed Forces community.

He said: “At York St John University we have successfully trained over 1000 staff to better understand military culture, values and ethos. This funding will now enable us to support the ex-Armed Forces community in our region during the challenging transition from military to civilian life.

“We are delighted to be part of this important regional partnership and look forward to strengthening the delivery of the Community Covenant.”