Leeds makes new commitment to support military heroes

From the famed Ark Royal fundraising drive of the 1940s through to the award of the freedom of the city to the Rifles Regiment a decade ago, Leeds has always been proud of the support it shows for the country's servicemen and women.

Coun Judith Blake speaking at today's ceremony.

And today the close connections between Yorkshire’s biggest city and the military were underlined once again during a ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall.

It marked the re-signing of Leeds City Council’s armed forces community covenant, with the authority’s leader, Coun Judith Blake, and the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Graham Latty, among the high-profile local figures in attendance.

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Originally introduced in 2012, the covenant is a formal pledge by the council to offer “tailored assistance, advice and help” to existing and former members of the armed forces.

Its commitments include providing additional support to veterans in housing need and working with partners such as the Royal British Legion Industries charity to make training and job opportunities more widely available.

In a joint statement, Leeds City Council’s armed forces champions, Coun Jane Dowson, Coun Caroline Gruen and Coun Mohammed Iqbal, said: “With the armed forces community covenant in place for many years now, we’ve continued to review how it works regularly to ensure that it is offering the best possible service.

“The re-signing reflects the updates made and underlines our commitment as a city and council to ensuring that members of the armed forces community have access to the support, advice and practical help that they need regarding any council service.”

Also in attendance were Col Andrew Hadfield from the British Army and Cdr Stephen Hoyle from the Royal Navy.