Council adopts forces covenant

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Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council have agreed to adopt a community military covenant, which will help to provide support for military personnel and veterans.

The motion was proposed by Councillor Ben Mallon and seconded by Alderman Michael Henderson.

“It seemed appropriate that on Armed Forces Week, I brought this motion forward to council,” explained Councillor Mallon. “Within our council area, we have countless families who have loved ones that have paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom.

“The Armed Forces Community Covenant is a statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local armed forces community. It is intended to complement the Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the Nation, the Government and the Armed Forces- I know this is something which my colleagues in the Assembly and Westminster are working hard to bring to Northern Ireland.

“Almost all local authorities on mainland Britain have passed motions on this issue and I felt that we in Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council should follow suit and join with the adoption of the community covenant. This is foremost, an opportunity to renew our commitment to our servicemen and women.

“Through passing the Community Covenant, £10 million per year becomes available through a Grant Scheme to every local council in the UK. Through this, we as a council can apply for funds to assist our communities which have service personnel living in it.

“This is a positive declaration of intent from our council to ensure that those who serve or have served in our nation’s military as well as their families are not disadvantaged by the lack of a Community Covenant in our area.”

Alderman Michael Henderson added: “The Lisburn and Castlereagh areas have a long and proud tradition of supporting the Armed Forces community. In addition to the welcome presence of Thiepval barracks in Lisburn, we have many hundreds of our citizens who have proudly served in the Armed Forces. Community Covenants complement the Armed Forces Covenant at a local level. The aim of the community covenant is to encourage local communities to support the armed forces community within their area and promote understanding and awareness amongst the public of issues affecting the armed forces community. I trust that the decision of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Borough Council to support the Armed Forces Community Covenant will help ease the burden for those in our community to whom we owe so much.”