Sheffield is celebrating a number of key achievements thanks to the City’s Community Covenant.

It has been just over two years since the first Sheffield Community Covenant was signed. The Covenant is a statement of mutual support between the civilian and local armed forces communities.

The covenant has been instrumental in providing support for the Armed Services Community, allowing them to access vital services in the city.

The Sheffield Veterans and Armed Forces Support Service offer emotional, financial and practical support. Launched in November 2013, staff from the Royal British Legion help with advice, guidance and support for all those eligible dealing with homelessness and housing issues, mental or physical health issues, debt, isolation, unemployment, training or a family breakdown.

The support service compliments the Armed Forces Community Covenant to help improve the transition from service life to civilian life. This helps the armed forces community to contribute their skills and experience to the local community.

In 2013, the covenant has been successful in attracting funding from the Ministry of Defence for projects in the city including an educational programme at Sheffield which will engage 2,500 school children over the next three years in the commemoration of WWI.

Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council said:

“Those who serve our country risk their lives and wellbeing to protect our freedom, together with their families, play a vital role in our community.

As a city we must do all we can to support them. We must ensure that local services such as housing, education and social care, are appropriate to support the needs of the local Armed Forces Community, having the Community Covenant does just that.”

Since the original Covenant was signed in 2011, partners from across the city have expressed a wish to demonstrate their support and these additional signatories signed the covenant in July 2013. By continuing to highlight the work of the Covenant Partnership Board it is hoped that more and more organisations will join the covenant.

In 2013 the Council also spent £42,000 cleaning 11 war memorials across Sheffield. In 2014 another £90,000 will be spent cleaning the remaining 20 ahead of the City’s WWI commemoration activities.

Sheffield City Council launched the Women of Steel Appeal in February 2013.

The Appeal is trying to raise £150,000 for a permanent memorial to Sheffield’s inspiring women to commemorate a special group of Sheffield women aptly named the ‘Women of Steel’.

The women worked tirelessly in Sheffield’s steelworks and factories, during the two world wars. Their bravery, determination, work ethic and guts in the unfamiliar surroundings of the factory floors has been virtually un-recognised over the last 70 years, until now. £150,000 is needed to produce a figurative statue made of bronze which will be in Barkers Pool.

To find out more about the Community Covenant visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/armedforces.

To find out more about the Women of Steel Appeal visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/womenofsteel.