A cause for celebration as more than 100 Essex businesses pledge their support to the Armed Forces Community.

Since the introduction of the Armed Forces Covenant, over 100 Essex based organisations and businesses have now taken meaningful steps to support the local Defence community.

Recently, Essex Chambers of Commerce joined the array of businesses, charities and local councils who have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant and thereby pledge their support in ensuring that those who serve, or have served, in the UK’s Armed Forces are treated fairly and not disadvantaged in day to day life.

Speaking about this Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said “Essex has a long and proud connection with the armed forces stretching back over many centuries and I am pleased to show Essex Chambers’ recognition of the debt that the people of Essex owe them by signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant.”

She added “We will encourage our members to also sign up to it and also work with the services to do what we can to help ex-service people enter into meaningful employment when they leave whatever branch of the Armed Forces they have served in. I would strongly encourage businesses in Essex to find out more about the Covenant on the national website.” 

Iain Finch, East Anglia RFCA’s Employer Engagement Chairman for Essex, is “delighted that we have now achieved 100 Armed Forces Covenant signatories in Essex.  With the increasing level of support we’re receiving from influential County based business groups, such as the Essex Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business, and varying industry sectors and businesses large and small, it shows loud and clear the very high regard our employers have for our service personnel, reservists, veterans and their families. 

The strength of the Covenant Pledge from every business is that their level of support is genuine, progressive and successful in delivering employment support or significant and thoughtful benefit to those who have served, or in the case of our 1000 plus Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, continue to give to our Nation. For that, as an Engagement Board representing Essex, we’re very grateful indeed.”  

Engaging with the local business community is a significant task and one that East Anglia RFCA carries out on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. Headquartered in Chelmsford, the Association’s Employer Engagement team is supported by a volunteer network of members that work tirelessly to help deliver the benefits of partnering with Defence to the local business community.

Kristina Carrington, Regional Employer Engagement Director, commented, “Without the support of our volunteer members, the mutually beneficial relationship between local organisations and Defence would not be as developed as it currently is. The volunteer members add significant value to the business, utilising their network of networks and local knowledge to allow us to connect with forces friendly employers. I would like to extend my thanks to Iain and the other Employer Engagement Chairs across East Anglia for their continued contribution and look forward to continuing to support the Armed Forces Community together.”

Another recent example of a local Essex employer to sign the Armed Forces Covenant is leading developer contractor, Higgins.

Higgins has pledged to promote the fact that it is an Armed Forces friendly organisation by supporting the employment of veterans and service leaders. It also offers flexibility in leave for services spouses and partners before, during and after deployment and will support reservist employees, allowing leave for training and deployment.

On signing the Covenant, Steve Leakey, Managing Director of Higgins (pictured) commented, “We are extremely proud to be supporting the Armed Forces by signing this Covenant.  At Higgins, we recognise the value of supporting the Armed Forces community and that both Reservists and Veterans bring a variety of transferable skills and qualities, developed throughout their military careers to the civilian workplace, which are extremely invaluable, particularly in the construction industry.”

Lt Col Mary Read, Commanding Officer 254 Medical Regiment, co-signed (pictured), adding, “Higgins is a family-friendly company that has a history of supporting long careers.  It’s the ideal environment for Veterans and Reservists to contribute their skills and develop their careers in the construction industry.”

If you’re an organisation interested in signing the Armed Forces Covenant, please contact Kristina Carrington on ea-empsp@rfca.mod.uk

Main picture: Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce co-signs Armed Forces Covenant with Col A B Jackson, Deputy Commander 16 Air Assault Brigade

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