Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) is to re-commit itself to the new Armed Forces Covenant and demonstrate its support of the armed forces community at a ceremony at County Hall later this month (16 March).

The trust received the Armed Forces Covenant Gold Award in 2019 and the re-resigning will maintain that gold award status.

LPT is currently one of eight organisations in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to hold the Gold Award, which is held with a high level of respect within the military for the support it provides as a civilian organisation.

The covenant is a pledge that local communities, business and public organisations acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.

The trust, which provides adult mental health, community, learning disability and families, young people and children’s services, has agreed to uphold the principles of the covenant.

These include that no member of the armed forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen.

“The covenant is so important to members of the armed forces as it helps them make a quick transition to civilian life,” said Mark Eyres, LPT’s veteran liaison volunteer, who served in the RAF for six years before joining the Trust 12 months ago.

The trust also acknowledges that in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved dependant on clinical need and injury obtained during service.

“It is vital that we recognise the commitment that members of the armed services and their families have made to the country and we are delighted to re-commit to the covenant,” said Cathy Ellis, chair of LPT. “We are a forces friendly health trust that already has a staff Veteran’s Group, dedicated staff training and an induction scheme designed for services personnel that come to work with us.”

The trust will continue to support the employment of veterans and spouses and partners and also support staff who are members of the reserve forces and volunteers in military cadet organisations.

This will include granting additional leave for annual reserve forces training, supporting any mobilisations and actively encouraging membership of the Reserve Forces and cadet organisations.

The covenant also underlines LPT’s support for national events such as Armed Forces Day, Reserves Day, the Poppy Appeal Day and its support for Armed Forces charities.

The trust’s Buddy2Buddy cafe style virtual cafes have also restarted and aim to connect, support and empower veterans and their families.

Running through to September 2022, the informal sessions, which are funded through LPT’s Raising Health charity provide a safe space to relax and share experiences to support the emotional wellbeing of armed forces veterans.