We have received a national accolade for our support and being advocates for the armed forces community in Leicestershire.
We are one of 17 organisations in the East Midlands to receive the prestigious Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) gold award, which recognises the work of employers in supporting defence personnel and encourages others to do the same.
To achieve gold medal status, we had to outline and demonstrate some of the initiatives which we have been involved with. These include:
- Hosting public civic events to honour the armed forces, such as last year’s Armed Forces Day ceremony, held at County Hall, which saw an army veteran raise a flag in support of those who have and continue to serve their country;
- Rehabilitation ‘taster’ work placements in environment and transport – working with an occupational therapist from the Defence National Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall - for injured and sick veterans to help them adjust back into civilian life;
- The creation of the Armed Forces Network, which provides peer support for our employees who are members of the armed forces family and mentoring for new starter veterans, as well as an online support network for those who cannot attend the quarterly meetings;
- Displays of armed forces-related creative projects work from local schools and heritage projects themed around the First World War;
- Continued support and fundraising for the Royal British Legion.
We also had to demonstrate that we provide 10 extra paid days leave for reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for all members of the armed forces community, which includes veterans, reservists, cadet force adult volunteers and spouses and partners of those serving in the armed forces.
We already held the ERS silver award and we are now one of 353 organisations across the UK which has achieved the gold standard.
We are extremely pleased and proud that our work supporting Leicestershire’s armed forces family has been recognised in this award. Over the past few years we have worked hard to improve our practices and procedures and continue to celebrate and commemorate this import cohort of our community.
“We are committed to continue to grow this programme of work and look forward to lots of exciting projects with our veterans, reservists, cadets and forces families in the coming years.Person:Councillor Louise Richardson, county council’s armed forces champion
Announcing the recipients of the gold awards, Johnny Mercer, People and Veterans Minister at the MoD, said: “I am grateful for the positive attitude and flexible policies these organisations have adapted towards the defence community, which is testament to the fantastic contribution our serving personnel, veterans and their families can make to any organisation.
“I am delighted that so many companies are supporting our people and that, through this scheme, we can give them the public recognition they deserve.”
The gold award will be held by us for five years.