Signing covenant will boost Gosport’s links with forces

SUPPORT Cllr Peter Edgar
SUPPORT Cllr Peter Edgar
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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MEMBERS of the armed forces have been pledged support from their town after councillors agreed to sign an armed forces covenant.

Gosport Borough Council last night approved plans to sign its own armed forces community covenant with the tri-service men and women in the borough.

Gosport would be only the second district council in the country to sign its own pledge of support for the armed forces.

The plan got unanimous support from councillors at a full council meeting in the town hall last night.

Tory councillor Peter Edgar said: ‘It is very appropriate this borough will be one of the first in the country to sign a covenant.

‘Since 1204, there has never been a conflict of importance on planet Earth where Gosport people haven’t been involved.

‘It’s in our DNA in this town to be a service town and it’s no surprise we have the largest percentage of service personnel anywhere in the country.

‘It’s right we should be one of the first to sign a covenant which will set down in words our care for our military personnel and their families.’

The covenant is intended to ensure members and ex-members of the armed forces and their families have easy access to services including education, housing and health.

The plan had been put into action by Lee East councillor Derek Kimber, who is himself an armed forces veteran who served in the Falklands War.

The symbolic covenant will be signed at a ceremony in the town on November 11.

The document will be signed on the day by the commanding officer of HMS Sultan, the chief executive and mayor of Gosport Borough Council, the chief executive of Gosport Voluntary Action and representatives of the Gosport Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Hampshire County Council 
already has its own covenant, which covers the 11 district councils in the county including Fareham and Havant.

But so far none of them has taken the extra step to sign their own agreement.

Lib Dem councillor Rob Hylands added: ‘It is a very good move that we try to help these people when they stop serving their country and try to move on with their lives.’