A COVENANT pledging to commit to supporting armed forces veterans was signed by several organisations.

Representatives from Barnsley Council and partner organisations including Bernslai Homes, Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group, Barnsley College and armed forces charities, re-signed the Armed Forces Covenant, which was last signed in 2011.

The covenant demonstrates that communities across the borough recognise and remember the sacrifices faced by the armed forces community. The agreement sets out the working partnership to ensure that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are not disadvantaged in accessing services across all sectors.

On Monday when the covenant was signed, Jayne Hellowell, who opened the session, praised how far the support for the armed forces had come in Barnsley.

“Last year we launched Yorkshire’s first Armed Forces Walkway, which was brilliant” said Jayne.

“We have more stones being laid in May, and several people are looking to buy a stone to honour those who have served.

“We have also revamped Barnsley Council’s armed forces site so it is more co-ordinated as there are several services available.

“We have received money from the Sheffield City Region so we can work hard to research the number of homeless veterans because we don’t know the size of the problem and we still have a long way to go to support the population.

“It’s good practice to refresh and resign the declaration and our continued support to the armed forces veterans.”

Coun Joe Hayward, Armed Forces Champion, said: “Our armed forces community have given so much for our country and it’s important that we recognise and remember the sacrifices they, and their families, have made.

“Signing the Armed Forces Covenant promises our support for the community in Barnsley as we work to ensure they are treated with the fairness and respect they deserve. It is great that so many of our partners can join with us to make this commitment.”

Sarah Norman, chief executive of Barnsley council who signed the declaration said: “It’s important for veterans in Barnsley and those who are currently serving in the armed forces to to know that there is support available as they provide a service for our country.

“There is a lot that we can offer in terms of support for our veterans if they are homeless, supporting their mental health and helping families who move into the area who are part of the armed forces.

“We need people to serve and we need to ensure that they are supported.”