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Welsh council committed to Armed Forces Covenant

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council becoming one of the first Local Authorities in Wales to establish an Armed Forces Covenant, formerly named the Armed Forces Community Covenant.

A decade on, and the Council continues to support its Armed Forces Community, Past and Present, and their families.

Councillor Maureen Webber, Deputy Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said: “We all owe such a huge debt to all those service men and women who have fought and served both at home and overseas.

“Many lost their lives during battle, but we continue to remember them with great pride and extreme gratitude and offer our support to their families and all of our veterans across Rhondda Cynon Taf.

“It is important that all of our veterans of all ages, and their families, know that the Council’s Armed Forces Veterans Service is there to offer them help, support and guidance whenever they need it in their lives.

“The Council is proud to continue its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, which it first signed 10 years ago. A decade on and we remain loyal and pledge our continued support.”

Rhondda Cynon Taf has a proud record of valuing its Armed Forces, Past and Present, and the Armed Forces Covenant, which the Council signed and committed to during a ceremony at Sardis Road Rugby Football Club, Pontypridd, in 2012, is a true testament to the Council’s ongoing support of its Armed Forces Community.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between the civilian community of Rhondda Cynon Taf and the Armed Forces Community based in the County Borough. The pledge recognises the dual respect between the Council, its partner agencies, its local communities and the Armed Forces Personnel (serving and retired) and their families.

In May 2011, the Ministry of Defence published ‘The Armed Forces Covenant: Today and Tomorrow,’ which set out “an enduring covenant between the people of the UK, Her Majesty’s Government and all those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown and their families”. The Covenant is the expression of the moral obligation the Government and the nation owe to the Armed Forces.

This was followed in November 2011 by the Welsh Government’s publication of its own ‘Package of Support for the Armed Forces Community in Wales,’ which complements the UK-wide Covenant and set out what is being undertaken within the devolved areas of responsibility.

As part of the Armed Forces Covenant, in June 2011 the UK Government launched the Community Covenant scheme, which encourages public service providers, the private sector and the voluntary and community sectors to offer targeted support for their local armed forces community.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council was one of the first local authorities in Wales to sign the Armed Forces Covenant in 2012, a commitment that was reaffirmed in 2018, cementing a mutual understanding between its local communities and the Armed Forces, Past and Present.

A decade on and Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, continues with its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, which significantly progresses the Council’s objectives to support its Armed Forces community.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is proud to have established an Armed Forces Staff Network, consisting of members of staff from across various Council services. It has also introduced an Armed Forces Guaranteed Interview process and has a very successful Veteran’s Advice Service, which has established and supports three Veterans groups across the County Borough.

The Council’s Veteran Advice service also provides free, impartial, dedicated information, advice and support to members of the Armed Forces Community within Rhondda Cynon Taf. The service covers a range of areas, including Benefits, Adult Social Care, Finances, Employment and Housing.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council was presented with the Ministry of Defence’s prestigious Gold Award in 2017 in recognition of its approach to supporting the Armed Forces community locally.

On June 2, 2018, the local authority granted the Freedom of the County Borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf to MOD St Athan, and all local service personnel of the Royal Air Force, past and present. The Council also granted the Freedom of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough to The Welsh Guards in 2013.

The Council’s Veteran Advice Service is available for all past and present Armed Forces personnel and their families. Email: [email protected] or call 07747 485 619 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm).