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County Hall raises flag for those who served in the Armed Forces

Jun 25, 2024 | Local News

County Durham is flying the flag for those who serve and have served this Armed Forces Week.

Representatives of the armed forces community joined Cllr Joan Nicholson, Chair of Durham County Council, and Cllr Robert Potts, the council’s Armed Forces Champion, at County Hall yesterday to raise the Armed Forces Day flag.

The flying of the flag marks the beginning of Armed Forces Week (24 to 29 June), which includes Reserves Day on Wednesday 26 June and Armed Forces Day on Saturday 29 June.

Armed Forces Day supports the people who make up the armed forces community, from currently serving troops to service families, veterans, and cadets. Reserves Day recognises the dedication and professionalism of those in the reserve forces.

As part of the ceremony, Cllr Nicholson and Cllr Potts held a reception for the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, Michael Poole, senior representatives of the armed forces community, and council employees who are reservists or cadet force adult volunteers.

Cllr Potts said: “In the 80th anniversary year of D-Day, which typified the bravery and selflessness of our armed forces, we are proud to fly the flag for Armed Forces Week.

“It is important that we continue to demonstrate our support for serving personnel, veterans and express our gratitude for the time that reservists give in service to their country. As an employer we continue to support our employees who are reservists, and as a council to all those who serve or have served, along with their families”.

Sue Snowdon, the Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, said: “Every day our servicemen and servicewomen put their lives on the line for us with fortitude and bravery. They work to protect us in many different ways, from fighting wars to humanitarian relief, from peace-making to search and rescue and much else besides. They carry out these tasks in difficult and often dangerous conditions and they perform them superbly.

“They and their families give up much on our behalf and also, sometimes they pay a tragic price for our security. So, it is only right that we dedicate a day every year to recognise the work and sacrifice of our armed forces.”

As signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant, the council works proactively as a supportive employer and service provider and was recently reaccredited with the Gold Standard award for the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Employer Recognition Scheme.

Through its strong partnership with the armed forces community, it hosts a bi-annual Armed Forces Forum with the MOD and partners, veteran charities and interested parties.

The council also has a guaranteed interview scheme for veterans where they meet essential criteria for an advertised post and offers discounted entry for its leisure services.

Its Armed Forces Staff Network has 30 members, providing a supportive and welcoming environment to employees who are members of the armed forces community, whether they are spouses or partners of serving personnel, a reservist, a cadet force adult volunteer, a veteran, or a close family member of any of these.

It also employs Armed Forces Outreach workers who offer a first point of contact for veterans, or those leaving the armed forces and their families, and who may need support with housing, benefits and debt advice, employment and training or health and social welfare.