We often think of our armed forces as protecting us from external threats, keeping us safe and secure from those who wish to harm us or our way of life.
Yet as if we needed reminding any more, the Coronavirus pandemic has shown that our armed forces keep us safe in so many more ways than we can even imagine.
It was the armed forces that were deployed to test people at the start of the crisis, who ensured that vital supply chains kept running and who are helping to secure the effective roll-out of the vaccine. Even now, we’re hearing reports that the army will be drafted in to help support with deliveries during the fuel crisis.
Given how each of us benefits from the safety our armed forces community provides, it should be seen as a responsibility and a duty of employers to support the armed forces in any way that we can.
In the UK today, there are around 320,000 people without a home.
Homelessness comes in many different forms; some people are sleeping rough on the streets while others may be staying on friends’ sofas or staying in a hostel long-term. Of those without a home, 6,000 are men and women who served this country as a member of our armed forces, only to return and be left without a home.
As part of our campaigning, Community has ran, walked and cycled to raise money for a local charity to help end veteran homelessness and between us we raised over £6,000. We have created a bespoke learning and training offer for veterans and have been setting up bespoke learning plans, and our members up and down the country have been collecting warm winter clothes, toiletries and other necessities to support veterans.
Earlier this year, Community resigned the Armed Forces Covenant to reaffirm our commitment to the armed forces community.
We want to ensure that those members of the armed forces community who are currently employed by us or will be in the future have the conditions and working environment that suits their needs and their service.
Another one of our renewed commitments is to encourage those employers where Community is the recognised union to also take the step to sign the Armed Forces Covenant.
As a first proactive step to standing true to that commitment, we have pledged to write to every employer we have a good relationship with and ask them to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant. For those employers who have already made that commitment then we will ask them to follow our lead and refresh and extend their commitments under the covenant.
Community also intend, as part of our campaign to end veteran homelessness, to continue to work alongside the armed forces to secure better protections and extended rights for those currently serving or who have served.
As part of a broad coalition of organisations and individuals working together, we will ensure that no one who has served our country ends up on our streets, and instead is offered safety and protection and for those who want it – good quality, highly skilled employment and the safety net that provides in every aspect of life.
Community will be continuing to campaign with a wide range of organisations, and we won’t stop until we end the scourge of veteran homelessness for good.
If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0800 389 6332.