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Ribble Valley Support Armed Forces

Published Friday, 28 June 2013

Community leaders gathered in the Ribble Valley Civic Suite for the signing of the borough's Armed Forces Community Covenant.

Ribble Valley Mayor Richard Sherras, Brigadier Nick Fitzgerald of the Army and Lieutenant Martin Walker of the Royal Navy joined representatives of community groups and organisations, including Ribble Valley Homes, the Royal British Legion and the Citizens' Advice Bureau, for the flagship event.

The covenant marks Ribble Valley's pledge to support members of the armed forces living in the borough, nurture public understanding and awareness of issues affecting service personnel, recognise the sacrifices faced by the armed forces and promote activities aimed at integrating service personnel into the community.

It also encourages the armed forces to engage with the community through participation in events and joint projects.

Afterward the signing ceremony, the civic party proceeded to Clitheroe Castle, where Brigadier Fitzgerald handed an armed forces flag to Councillor Sherras.

The flag was raised from the Clitheroe Castle Keep marking the start of Armed Forces Week.

Councillor Sherras said: "The purpose of the covenant is to recognise the sacrifices made by the armed forces and commits the signatories to ensure servicemen and women are not disadvantaged by the nature of their work when living and working in Ribble Valley during or after service.

"It presents an opportunity for signatories to bring their knowledge and experience of the particular problems facing armed forces personnel to bear when giving help and advice, and providing services."

Former soldier Jim White, who represents Longridge on Ribble Valley Borough Council and is the council's armed forces community champion, has spearheaded the covenant.

He added: "I know local servicemen and women will be honoured and moved that the Ribble Valley community has chosen to recognise the sacrifices they make by signing this covenant.

"The covenant is a two-way arrangement and local armed forces personnel will be encouraged to support the community, too."

Armed forces personnel often face disadvantages in civilian life as a result of long periods of time spent away from home, injury and specific health issues.

Among the many covenant initiatives are: Council reception staff have been trained in signposting armed forces personnel to helpful information, local businesses are being encouraged to offer discounts to armed forces personnel, health issues specific to armed forces personnel will be raised at the Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board.

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