Surrey County Council is to make a “public promise of support” to serving soldiers, sailors, air force personnel and veterans.
The county council is drawing up an accord – called the Surrey Community Covenant – to help improve the lives of serving and former members of the armed forces, reservists and cadet groups.*
It is estimated that there are around 95,000 veterans in Surrey while 2 Brigade (South East), which covers the county, currently has 5,500 troops.
Surrey is home to Britain’s military rehabilitation centre at Headley Court, near Epsom, and an Army training centre in Pirbright, near Woking. The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, is just outside Surrey.
Surrey County Council leader David Hodge, who was in the Army for 22 years, said: “Through this public promise of support, we’re showing that we’re proud to stand up for our armed forces because they do such an amazing job.
“Surrey has had a close relationship with the armed forces over many years. We want them to know how much we value the contribution they make to our society by helping in any way we can.”
Brigadier Simon Wolsey, Commanding Officer for 2 Brigade (South East), said: “The Army has long been an integral part of the community in Surrey and the signing of this covenant represents a new and significant strengthening of our ties.
“From this declaration of intent, we will seek to explore how we can work more closely together to the mutual benefit of both the civilian and military populations.”
Mrs Sealy and Brigadier Wolsey will sign the accord at a ceremony on 13 March at Pirbright. Health services and voluntary organisations including armed forces charities are also set to commit to the covenant.
Once the Covenant is launched, Government grants of up to £250,000 will be available from a £30 million pot of Ministry of Defence cash covering services such as transport, health care, education and family support.
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Notes for editors
* The pact between the council and the military encourages communities, charities, organisations and businesses to work together to offer support to service personnel.
After the covenant’s launch, a board made up of civilian and military members will consider issues affecting the armed forces community and help bid for cash for projects.