logo-landscapeSTOCKTON-ON-TEES Borough Council is reflecting on a year of action in support of the armed forces community.

The Council first signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant in March 2012 and each year since then has worked closely with members of the Tees Valley Armed Forces Forum to encourage support for the armed forces personnel working and residing in Stockton Borough.

A special Armed Forces Community helpline number has been established so members of the armed forces and their families can easily access support which includes help with health issues, housing, education, employment and training alongside assistance provided by the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

The number is 01642 528334 and is available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “Today’s publication of the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Covenant annual report is a timely opportunity to reflect on the work under way across Stockton-on-Tees to support our armed forces personnel and their families.

“We are always proud to recognise the great contribution and sacrifices that our armed forces make to protect us.

“Alongside this, we also remember the vital role played by the families of armed forces personnel and I have no doubt that Stockton Borough residents will join us in thanking them.

“We are delighted to have progressed with a range of activities and services that ensure the importance of their work is recognised and we will continue to support armed forces personnel, ex-service personnel and their families.”

Commanding Officer of 102 Battalion REME, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Black, said: “Initiatives to commemorate First and Second World Wars continue to be well publicised and supported. This demonstrates the Council’s proactive, forward leaning commitment to the Covenant.”

During the last year, Stockton Sea Cadets have worked with the Tees Valley Armed Forces Forum to secure secured £70,000  from a Community Covernance bid. This funding was used to purchase a building that will act as the headquarters for the cadets and a Tees District Boat Station that will serve cadets and other groups across the Tees Valley.

Meanwhile, in June, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council officially presented the Freedom of the Borough to 1 Close Support Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Around 200 soldiers from REME marched down Stockton High Street and the surrounding roads to celebrate receiving a Freedom of the Borough scroll which was presented by the Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Councillor Ian Dalgarno.

For further information about support provided by the Council to armed forces personnel, visitwww.stockton.gov.uk/communitycovenant