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Portsmouth is the home of the Royal Navy, and the armed forces is a significant part of the fabric of the city. At last estimate nearly 25,000 people living in Portsmouth were members of the armed forces community (either currently serving, a veteran, reservist, or immediate family’s members of) – that is about 12% of the population.
We recognise the contribution and sacrifice made by members of the armed forces community, and the unique skills and attributes they bring to our workplace. We are proud to have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and supporting our armed forces community is a part of our corporate plan.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
Those who serve in the armed forces, whether regular or reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most such as the injured and the bereaved.
This obligation involves the whole of society: it includes statutory, voluntary and charitable bodies, private organisations, and the actions of individuals in supporting the armed forces.
The issue the covenant is addressing is the fair and equal access to goods, services, information and support whether from statutory, voluntary or commercial organisations.
The Armed Forces Act, which gained Royal Assent in Parliament on 15 December 2021, enshrined the Armed Forces Covenant in law for the first time. The Armed Forces Act delivers a series of improvements and places a duty on public bodies including councils, the Police and Primary Health Care providers to uphold the covenant principles.
Every year the Government publishes a report detailing its progress to strengthen delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant. You can read the national annual report on the government’s website.
You can find out more on the Armed Forces Covenant website.
The Armed Forces community is made up of:
Portsmouth’s armed forces community
An estimated 12% of Portsmouth’s population is from armed forces community – either currently serving, veteran, reservist, or immediate family’s members of).
In November 2022 Portsmouth had
In addition, the Royal Navy brings an estimate £450M contribution to Portsmouth’s economy.
Solent Armed Forces Partnership Board
Portsmouth, Southampton, Gosport and the Isle of Wight are signatories to the Armed Forces Covenant and in 2016 these local authorities came together to form the Solent Armed Forces Partnership Board (SAFPB).
The Solent Armed Forces Covenant Partnership worked together to understand the needs of this community in the Solent region. You can view the full needs assessment on our website.
This is currently being updated with a new version expected to be published in early 2023.
Find out more about our partnership.
Portsmouth City Council is committed to supporting the armed forces community and first signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2012 as a promise to recognise the unique sacrifices that they make to support the nation and ensure that no member of the armed forces community should face disadvantage compared to other citizens.
The council reaffirmed its commitment in June 2022 by re-signing the Armed Forces Covenant at a special event at HMS King Alfred.
We fly flags outside the civic offices in Guildhall Square to show our commitment to the armed forces. As part of our commitment the council hosts events throughout the year that residents and staff are welcome to attend.
We make sure our commitment is reflected in the services that we deliver, and we ask providers to do make the same commitment when they deliver services for us.
We provide work experience and have supportive polices for our armed forces staff.
Businesses – show your support
Over 9,000 businesses nationally have pledged their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.
Portsmouth City Council contracts include a Consideration of the Covenant clause. This clause outlines our expectations that our providers demonstrate their commitment to the armed forces community by signing the covenant and showing consideration of the armed forces community within the services they deliver.
If you are a business or organisation Sign the covenant
If you have any questions or want to find out more information about the covenant, please email armedforcesSPOC@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.
We provide a range of services to residents and support for the armed forces community is embedded within these services. We are currently updating our local offer pages for housing, children and families (including education) and health.
If you have any questions or want to find out more about how the covenant applies within specific circumstances, please email email@example.com
We recognise the contribution and sacrifice made by members of the Armed Forces community, and the unique skills and attributes they bring to our workplace. We are committed to ensuring better access to employment opportunities, support, mentoring, and work placements for transitioning personnel, reservists, veterans, and partners of serving personnel and veterans, and adult cadet force volunteers. We are doing this in a range of ways:
Our employees share their thoughts
Capt John Pearce did a placement with the through care team at Portsmouth City Council:
“I served 24 years in the Army and felt ready to start a new career. In the Army I was an instructor with a focus on coaching and developing young people to reach their full potential. Portsmouth City Council could see that my service had given me experience in managing complex issues. They offered me work experience with the Through Care Team. In this role I used my skills with young people who had experienced trauma. It was really rewarding and led to me a getting full time paid position in the team. I am now employed as a full-time reservist with the experiences gained within the through care team added to my skill set. I would recommend a work placement like the one I had to anyone leaving the forces.”
Helen Kendry is communications and engagement officer (health & social care), at Portsmouth City Council:
“Portsmouth City Council has gone above and beyond in enabling me to maintain my own career while supporting my partner. By being able to work mainly remotely with monthly visits to the office I have been able to move with him to where he is posted, while keeping my own job. I am very grateful to my colleagues and the council for their flexibility and understanding which has made things really easy for us.”
We know that successful employment is more likely if other key areas are also addressed. We also offer the armed forces community support with access to healthcare, education, family well-being, and having a home. In addition to the council, there are a number of local services that can support you with employment and finance; you can find more information about this in Access our Services and Other Support sections.
Portsmouth, Southampton, Gosport and Isle of Wight councils have a partnership approach to delivering the covenant within the Solent region of the wider county of Hampshire. Entitled Strengthening Local Covenant delivery, the aim of this partnership is to:
The Solent Armed Forces Covenant Partnership Board representing Portsmouth, Southampton and Gosport, and the Isle of Wight Civil Military Partnership Boards, provides strategic governance for local delivery of the covenant.
Meeting dates and reports
Details of meetings will be added here.
Work with partners
We are proud to work in partnership with many organisations to strengthen locally delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant. Find out more about the work and offer of other local organisations here:
The Veterans Gateway launched in 2017 can put veterans and their families in touch with the organisations best placed to help with the information, advice and support they need – from healthcare and housing to employability, finances, personal relationships and more.
We have been working with organisations across the Solent to add local service information to the Gateway.
Meeting up with like-minded people is a good way to get peer support and access other services. There are several places you can do this locally:
This monthly drop-In is a welcoming and relaxed place for UK veterans and their direct family members to come for confidential welfare or psychological support or simply to meet for a sociable chat. You do not need to make a prior appointment – just drop-in.
Takes place on the second Friday and the last Friday of every month from 10am to 12pm at the Bradbury Centre. All ex-service personnel are welcome to come along, together with their partners, to socialise with other veterans, take part in the banter and enjoy a great breakfast.
Family hubs are where our early help and prevention team provide some of their support to families, as well as where our behaviour management surgeries and groups are delivered. These used to be called children’s centres but have been expanded to include help for children and young people up to 19 years. All families, including service families are welcome in our family hubs.
Home-Start helps armed forces families with children up to 12 years old, particularly at times of heightened anxieties. These might include key transition points of rebasing, deployment and transition. In Portsmouth their RNRMC project includes a weekly stay and play session. This gives a space for parents to meet others while children enjoy weekly activities and play.