A NEW covenant between Moray’s community leaders and its local Armed Forces has been signed.
Members of the Moray Community Planning Partnership will meet at RAF Lossiemouth with not only representatives from the Royal Air Force but also the Army based at Kinloss Barracks and the Royal Navy to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, reinforcing their commitment to serving personnel, veterans and their families in Moray.
The Armed Forces Covenant enshrines fair access to health, education, employment and housing to current service personnel, veterans and their families. Big changes to the community have taken place since the original Armed Forces Community Covenant was signed in 2012, particularly the arrival of the Army to Kinloss Barracks.
The Moray Community Planning Partnership – which brings together all public sectors including education, health, the emergency services, the environment and the economy to engage with the communities it represents to plan and coordinate Moray’s public services – has also experienced changes since then, with tsiMORAY now representing the voluntary sector.
These changes, coupled with the recent announcement of the Ministry of Defence’s continuing development of RAF Lossiemouth as a base for the new P8 Poseidon aircraft, make re-signing the Armed Forces Covenant and reinforcing Moray’s commitment to service personnel, veterans and their families particularly relevant.
Moray Council convener and chair of the Moray Community Planning Board, Cllr Allan Wright, said: “This is an auspicious day for Moray. Senior representatives from all the public sectors in Moray and the military have come together to declare our continued support for the close ties and friendship between the armed forces at our two bases and the communities.
“We remember the huge swell of public support for Lossiemouth in 2010 which, we were told officially, helped to keep the base open.
“Now we are witnessing the beginning of a massive expansion and investment programme. The Armed Forces Covenant is tangible proof of how our armed forces and the folk of Moray are all part of the same community, helping and supporting each other.”
Group Captain Paul Godfrey, station commander at RAF Lossiemouth, said: “The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.
“It is a privilege therefore, for me to re-sign the Covenant on behalf of the RAF Community in Moray, both serving personnel at RAF Lossiemouth, their families, veterans and air cadets locally.
“Our sincere thanks must go to the councillors, charity organisations and Government service representatives who have showed their commitment to supporting us today.”
Councillor Chris Tuke, Armed Forces Champion for Moray Council, says: “During my short time as councillor, I have seen the Community Covenant evolve into the Armed Forces Covenant.
“Many of the Covenant’s aims were already established due to the long presence of the Royal Air Force in the area.
“I hope that the principles of the Covenant can continue long into the future and my gratitude goes to all involved in making Moray a great place for our serving Armed Forces personnel and their families to be based and, often, to settle on retirement.”
A recent success for the Armed Forces Covenant in the area is Moray Council’s introduction of a pilot scheme, in partnership with the General Teaching Council of Scotland, to enable conditional registration for teachers who qualified outside of Scotland.
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 95,510 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.
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Contact: Peter Jones