WIGAN Council has been acknowledged for its commitment in supporting the armed forces community.

The local authority received the silver level Employer Recognition award by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as recognition of its approach in supporting veterans.

The council was handed the accolade for its ongoing work in helping serving personnel and their families, in addition to its work in raising awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant to businesses.

The announcement comes only months after the council was given the bronze award.

The MOD’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) is a nationally recognised scheme encouraging all employers to support defence services and inspire others to do the same.

Wigan Council leader, Cllr David Molyneux, said: “Ensuring our armed forces community is not disadvantaged compared to other citizens is extremely important to us.

“We understand that veterans, serving and ex-serving personnel, reservists and their families are a distinct group of people and may have specialised needs.

“We’re committed to helping them access the correct support and putting them in touch with different services, charities and groups – mainly through our dedicated key workers and the Wigan Borough Armed Forces HQ.

“It’s also key that we inspire businesses working in the borough to acknowledge this too and to work with them so that they are able to provide employment and tailored opportunities to this specific community of people.

“The MOD award recognises this work and is an achievement we are certainly proud of.

"It is fantastic and unusual at the same time to be awarded silver so soon after being awarded bronze.

“This is proof that our work is making real change and that Wigan Council is committed to seeking out new and effective ways to support this group of residents.

“We will continue working with partner organisations to deliver invaluable services and look forward to a time where we could even be awarded gold.”

READ > Appeal leads to care home receiving postcards from across the world

Wigan Council signed up to the armed forces covenant in 2013 and updated its commitment by re-signing in 2018.

It is a promise to ensure those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly and face the same opportunities as other citizens.

Over the years, the council has strived to help the armed forces community with education and family well-being, housing, employment skills, accessing healthcare, financial concerns and more.

For more information on support for the armed forces community, go to www.wigan.gov.uk/armedforces or visit the hub at Molyneux House, School Lane in Wigan or phone 01942 821293.