Minister praises support for armed forces community

Published Tuesday 29 October 2019

A joint initiative helping identify the needs of the Armed Forces community has received high-profile backing from the Government’s Veterans’ Minister.

Johnny Mercer MP, the Minister for Military Personnel and Veterans in the Ministry of Defence and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs in the Cabinet Office, has offered his support – via video – as part of a special event, held at The Symington Building in Market Harborough, on 25 October 2019, to officially launch the findings of an Armed Forces community survey.

Armed Forces event

The survey, conducted earlier this year, targeted people with a connection to the British Armed Forces and was developed by Connected Together, Harborough District Council, Rutland County Council and South Kesteven District Council, with a view to understanding all aspects of military life.

The survey had more than 700 responses across the three Council areas. Over half of the people who took part in the survey were veterans and 25 per cent were currently serving or a reservist.

Attendees at Friday’s launch event heard presentations by Harborough District Council’s Chairman Barbara Johnson, the Council’s Armed Forces Champion Rani Mahal, and Council Leader Phil King – as well as an overview of the survey findings and some of the recommendations as a result.

In his video Johnny Mercer MP said: “A massive thank you for what you’ve done on behalf of the MOD (Ministry of Defence) and the whole veterans’ community in your efforts to really understand the challenges and make the transition easier for people who are leaving [the Armed Forces] and make sure the Armed Forces Covenant is honoured in your part of the world.”

Johnny Mercer MPAs well as a special message from Johnny Mercer MP; there was also a video message of support from Lt Col Keith Spiers of 7th Infantry Brigade & HQ East [The Desert Rats] – and a question and answer session.

Cllr Rani Mahal, Harborough District Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “It is fantastic to get such high-profile backing for the work we are doing in partnership with other Councils. We are all committed to working together to support our Armed Forces community. This survey has helped identify those connected with the Armed Forces within our communities and what support they may need.” 

The report recommendations call for better access to suitable mental health help for veterans and serving personnel, further support with transition to civilian life when people leave the Armed Forces, support for families of serving personnel who may be lonely or isolated, and greater awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant.

Harborough District Council, Rutland County Council, South Kesteven District Council have all signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant which is a formal commitment to support the Armed Forces community.

View the Armed Forces Covenant Survey Findings at

Armed Forces Covenant Survey Report launch event









Pictured above (l-r): Cllr Ian Razzell (Rutland County Council Armed Forces Champion) Cllr Stephen Bilbie (HDC Vice  Chairman), Verina Wenham (HDC Chief Officer Governance), Cllr Rani Mahal (HDC Armed Forces Champion), Cllr Barbara Johnson (HDC Chairman), Michelle Woolman-Lane (Armed Forces Officer), Beverley Jolly (HDC Joint Chief Executuve), Cllr Phil King (HDC Leader)

Armed Forces event