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The official endorsement of the York Community Covenant Agreement


5:13pm 8th December 2011

City of York Council has marched forwards with representatives from across the city, including three armed services and other key York figureheads and organisations, to officially endorse the York Community Covenant Agreement.

On Thursday 8th December (tonight) City of York Council, the Army, Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal British Legion, reserve forces, veterans, York CVS and other key figureheads will join together to sign a scroll to mark the launch of the York Community Covenant.

The aim of York Community Covenant Agreement is to strengthen the relationship between military and civilian communities by encouraging local communities to support the armed forces community in their areas.

The Community Covenant also aims to recognise and remember the sacrifices faced by the armed forces community, and encourage the armed forces community to help and support the wider community through participation in events and joint projects.   

Representatives who will sign the scroll include:

" Kersten England, Chief Executive of City of York Council
" Cllr James Alexander, Labour Leader of City of York Council
" Brigadier Greville K Bibby CBE, Commander 15 (North East) Brigade
" Commander David Pickthall, Chief of Staff, Naval Regional Commander for Northern England
" Group Captain Terry Jones, Station Commander RAF Linton-on-Ouse
" Maj Gen (Ret'd) D S Jolliffe CB (Late RAMC)
" Mr C Cunningham, Royal British Legion
" Col (Ret'd) C E M Snagge, Reserve Forces and Cadets Association Yorks & Humber

The signed scroll will be formally handed to the Lord Mayor during Full Council and will now be on show in the Mansion House.

Cllr James Alexander, Labour Leader of City of York Council, said:

"York has been home to the Army since AD71, when the first Garrison was established in the city, so the city has always held a strong bond with the Army.
"So after being approached by the Brigadier earlier this year I was really happy to start the ball rolling on this scheme.

"York's Community Covenant isn't just about signing a scroll, it means much more than this. It's about coming together and at time when the national Armed Forces Covenant is increasing in prominence and continuing to strengthen our relationships between civilian and military communities in York."

The new partnership will be able to bid to the Community Covenant Grant Scheme run by the MoD to support suitable projects and grants can be up to £250k.

If plans for the council to enter into a community covenant partnership with York's armed forces are agreed, there will then be opportunities to provide financial support to projects at a local level.

The Community Covenant Grant Scheme aims to deliver financial support, whilst strengthen the ties and the mutual understanding between members of the Armed Forces community and the wider community in which they live.

Bids may only be submitted from areas that have already established a community covenant in their area, and applications are invited to apply for sums from £100 to £250,000. 

The Community Covenant Partnership will consider any bids in the first instance at a local level. If the partnership is happy to endorse an application, this will be then be submitted to the MOD to be considered by the Community Covenant Grant Panel.

Earlier this year Councillor James Alexander, Labour Leader of City of York Council met with the regional Commander for the Army, Brigadier Greville Bibby CBE and Kersten England, Chief Executive of City of York Council earlier this year to discuss how the council could work towards these aims.

All three discussed how the council could strengthen the relationship with the Army and work positively towards this community covenant.

The meeting came after Cllr Alexander joined hundreds of representatives from local businesses and organisations in York at a special Army presentation in July this year at Imphal Barracks, Fulford.

The event was aimed at promoting a greater awareness and understanding of the British Army and to develop important and beneficial links within the community.

Projects that might be supported by this fund include:

" local infrastructure, such as a children's playground which might be used by children from both service accommodation and the wider community
" projects that increase the integration of service personnel, veterans and their families with the wider community
" projects that improve the health, welfare or financial literacy of service personnel, veterans and their families
" one-off activities, such as an activity camp involving the Armed Forces and local young people, in which the scheme would meet the travel and subsistence costs of the service participants
" an exhibition at a local library etc, explaining what a local Armed Forces unit has recently been doing (e.g. in Afghanistan)
" an "oral history" project, where the local branch of a regimental association, locally based Armed Forces personnel or a specific group of Armed Forces personnel recorded their experiences or discussed them with local schoolchildren
" a community outreach project bringing veterans together with their non-service equivalents to highlight what support is available for them in their local community or to increase the level of targeted support

The council supports and encourages Army events and presentations in the city, such as homecoming parades, combat medal presentations, freedom parades and fundraising for Help for Heroes. 

The council also encourages demonstrations of support, such as displaying the Armed Forces Day window sticker in cars and businesses. This has proven to have a positive effect towards boosting the morale of York's Armed Forces community. The Community Covenant scheme aims to build on this local level of support.

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