Support for armed forces personnel - Armed forces annual report 2022


I am delighted to present this annual report on Bassetlaw District Council’s work in supporting our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant. We have an estimated veteran population of just under 5,000 within Bassetlaw. When you add in family, members this figure is easily double that.  Ever since signing the Covenant in 2012 we have provided updates through our committee process. This report is less formal in style and helps to show some of the real outcomes from our work and the fantastic commitment from many of our partner organisations

I took on the role of AFC in August 2019 and represent on the Nottinghamshire Civil and Military Partnership (CMPB) Board, which provides central co-ordination across Nottinghamshire with senior Military, Council, Health and other strategic partners. The Council has its own Covenant Team made up with employees with a military background. The ‘Support for Armed Forces’ booklet produced by the District Council continues to be very popular and is on its third edition.

The work the Council has undertaken over the years to work with the veteran community and supporting reservists has been reflected in Gold award of the Employee Recognition Scheme. It was an honour to accompany the Chairman of the Council, Chief Executive and our Revenues & Benefits Manager to award ceremony at the National Arboretum in November. We do not however rest on our laurels and the work continues.

The mental health for veterans and suicide prevention is a nationwide issue. I have been able to engage with our local primary care networks and spoken with GPs and other health professionals and receive significant support.

It was great to be able to return to Remembrance Sunday events with excellent turnouts. I would like to thank all our partners, especially the Royal British Legion branches for supporting this.

Armed forces Champion - Councillor Tony Eaton. 

What is the Armed Forces Covenant?

A promise from the nation ensuring that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly

The covenant’s twin underlying principles are that members of the armed forces community should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services; and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most, such as the injured or the bereaved.

Veterans in Bassetlaw

2021 Census

Data on veterans was published on the 10th November 2022. At a national level it shows

  • In 2021, 1,853,112 people in England and Wales reported that they had previously served in the UK armed forces (3.8% of usual residents aged 16 years and over).
  • Of the UK armed forces veterans in England and Wales, 76.3% (1.4 million people) previously served in the regular forces, 19.5% (361,000 people) in the reserve forces, and 4.3% (79,000 people) served in both the regular and reserve forces.
  • 37,000 UK armed forces veterans (2.0%) lived in communal establishments and the remainder (slightly over 1.8 million, 98.0%) lived in households.
  • There were 1.7 million households (7.0% of all households) with one or more persons who had served in the UK armed forces.
  • The local authorities with the highest proportion of veterans included Gosport (12.5%), North Kesteven (10.2%) and Richmondshire (9.5%) in England, and Conwy (5.9%) in Wales.

The census identifies 4,924 Bassetlaw residents have served in the Forces or the reserves. This is the third-highest total in the county after Nottingham City and Newark & Sherwood. The percentage of residents who have served out the total population for Bassetlaw is 5.1%. This, together with Newark, is the highest percentage in the County.

What does Bassetlaw District Council do for the forces and veterans?

The Action Plan at Appendix A details our actions in supporting local veterans, our support for current armed forces employees and reservists, our role in supporting the Armed Forces Covenant and in commemoration of those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

The ERS is designed primarily to recognise private sector support although public sector organisations such as the emergency services, local authorities, NHS trusts and executive agencies are also eligible to join the ERS scheme.

Bassetlaw District Council has been proud to be a Silver Award holder, but had the objective to progress to Gold accreditation. Our outcomes section for 2022 outlines the journey to Gold.

Outcomes from our work 2022

Armed Forces Employment Policy

During 2022 the Council reviewed and updated its Veterans and Reservist Policies. This has now been pulled together in one draft document – ‘Armed Forces, Reservists and Adult Cadet Instructors Employment Policy’ for Bassetlaw DC.

This Policy reiterates the Council’s support to Reservists and their families. Key elements:

Paid Leave – reiterating our current commitment to provide up to 24 additional half days leave. This has now been extended to include adult cadet instructors.

The Council will also support opportunity to purchase additional annual leave, flexi-time and unpaid leave.

Now included is Support for Reservists on return to work. This also incorporates Council employees who may be partners of reservists and we will support requests for additional leave, medical appointments etc.

Now Included - Job Applicants – guaranteed interview for ex forces personnel who meet criteria

Now Included - Wearing Uniform – encouraged on specific events and occasions.

Council receives Gold Award

Bassetlaw District Council has received the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award for their outstanding support towards the Armed Forces community. The Council is one of only 18 organisations across the East Midlands to receive the Gold Award.

Representing the highest badge of honour, Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Awards are awarded to those that employ and support those who serve, veterans and their families.

To win an award, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for Reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for veterans, Reserves, and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, as well as spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.

Organisations must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community by encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme.

Bruce Spencer, the Ministry of Defence’s Regional Employer Engagement Director for the East Midlands, said:  “We are absolutely thrilled that so many local companies have been recognised with this Gold Award. It has been a difficult couple of years for businesses, and despite that, these organisations have gone above and beyond to ensure our Armed Forces community is supported. They should be very proud of this significant achievement.”

Cllr Tony Eaton, Armed Forces Champion at Bassetlaw District Council said:

“We are delighted to receive the Gold Award and this has been a real team effort across the Council. I am proud of our commitment to our Armed Forces community and we will continue to work hard with partners to improve the support and services on offer.”

David Armiger, Chief Executive of Bassetlaw District Council

“Bassetlaw District Council prides itself on its support for our Armed Forces. We recognise the value the skills former serving members, members of the Reserves and spouses offer and we promote positive engagement with service personnel both inside and outside the Council. The Council ensures that the appreciation of our communities for the dedication and commitment of our armed forces personnel and their families is rightly acknowledged.”

“We are delighted to receive the Gold Award and will continue to progress and develop our work to support our armed forces community.”

Promoting the Covenant

Bassetlaw District Council first signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2012 and brought together over 20 public and voluntary sector organisations as part of community wide response. The Council has always been mindful that the commitment to the Covenant needs to be rooted in organisational delivery to ensure that those commitments are delivered into tangible outcomes for the armed forces and veteran community. In February 2022 the Council re-signed.

Covenant Fund Application

A successful bid was submitted by the Council’s Covenant Team and £10,000 secured for the ‘Veteran Safety Net’ project.

The creation of a dedicated garden, allotment, workshop and the provision of a range of outdoor activities for veterans. This will help to develop coping strategies within a stress free neutral environment. It will build emotional resilience and creating a local support network that is centred on the Veteran Voice.

The location will provide a safe and secure environment for veterans to build friendships, develop coping strategies and build emotional resilience and create a support network. As this is an isolated part of the County and there are no easily accessible veterans support nearby. The facility will provide the opportunity to offer wider support and networking and bring in other agencies in a neutral stress free environment. There will be ICT support to access other services. Offers of transport exist to bring in veterans from the wider community and it is on a bus route.

The facility will be a safety net for local veterans.

1945 Veterans Thank You Scheme

Bassetlaw District Council has launched a 1939 – 1945 Veterans Thank You Scheme, as part of its activities to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The launch took place at a special meeting of Full Council on Thursday 16th June at Retford Town Hall.

At the age of 19, Queen Elizabeth the II (then Princess Elizabeth) became the first female member of the Royal Family to join the military. As a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during WWII, Her Majesty learnt to drive and to maintain vehicles. Since then, the Queen has maintained a close relationship with the Armed Forces and holds many military appointments and honorary ranks.

The Bassetlaw Veterans Thank You builds on these links and acknowledges the debt of gratitude we owe as a nation to those individuals in the forces, auxiliary services and civilian related functions

Applications for a badge and a scroll of thanks can be made if an individual or a family member was a World War II veteran from the Bassetlaw region. Veterans' service includes military, auxiliary, WAAF, ARP, Bevin Boy, and Land Army duty, as well as many other important services.

Applications to the scheme can be made online via: or by writing to the Chairman’s Officer at Queen’s Buildings in Worksop.

Amongst those receiving the award at Retford Town Hall were Edward (Eddie) Humes, the sole survivor when his Lancaster bomber was shot down in 1944 over Belgium and Robert Illet, who collected the award in commemoration of his father Frank Ilett, who served in the Royal Air Force during the war.

Councillor Madelaine Richardson, Chair of Bassetlaw District Council said:

The Veterans Thank You Scheme is part of our activities to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in Bassetlaw and builds on her long standing connect with the Armed Forces which began during WWII. It was a great honour and privilege to make the first presentations at Council and to meet WWII Veterans and their families."

On the 26th October around 90 soldiers from the regiment, formally known as the Worcester & Sherwood Foresters Regiment, the Cheshire Regiment and the Staffordshire Regiment, marched through the town in a special parade with colours flying and beating drums. The last time the Mercian Regiment exercised their right to march through Worksop and Retford was March 2010 when they marched in Retford.

The soldiers, together with members of the Mansfield District Corps of Drums, took part in a parade through Worksop town centre. The regimental mascot ram, Lance Corporal Derby was also present. The Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace Council and the Chairman of the District Council, Councillor Madelaine Richardson took the salute on the balcony of Worksop Town Hall. Councillor Madelaine Richardson, said: “It will be an honour as Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council to witness the Mercian Regiment marching through the town of Worksop. The Mercian’s will receive the freedom of the town in recognition of their service to the country.

“This is a tribute of their dedication and commitment as soldiers, giving their lives to keeping us safe and secure in this country and overseas. This is also to recognise all Armed Forces like these troops serving all over the world in places of conflict putting their lives at risk.

 “I am privileged to be able to take the salute on the balcony of the town hall in Worksop and hope that the people of Worksop and the surrounding area will join in with me to cheer the Mercian Regiment and give them the recognition they deserve.”

Supporting the 2022 Poppy Appeal

The Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council bought the first Poppy for the appeal for this year. The Chairman is also a member of the Worksop Branch of the Royal British Legion.

Appendix A - Bassetlaw District Council Armed Forces Local Covenant Action Plan 2019 - 2023

Information gathering, fact-finding and networking

Key Action Lead officer Time scales Financial and resource implications Outcome target Progress
Baselining the Bassetlaw population which could benefit Covenant delivery Stephen Brown Spring 2019 Officer time This will link into the work by other Notts Districts/Boroughs and provide a baseline

Census (2021) profile obtained
This identified 4,924 veterans) in Bassetlaw – 5.1% of the adult population.
29 active CTP clients as at end of October 2022.

Promoted awareness of specific question in Census 2021 amongst the Veteran community.


Make contact/research what other Local Authorities are doing Stephen Brown Ongoing Officer time

Share good practice

Gap analysis of action plans

Learn and gain new knowledge

Meetings are based around the work of the Civil Military Partnership


Attend the Nottinghamshire Civil Military Partnership Board and feedback relevant information learned Chairman of BDC (‘Armed Forces’ Champion) / Stephen Brown Ongoing 4 times a year Member and Officer time

Attend all meetings

Share information

Update board on BDC covenant work

Meetings attended by the Armed Forces Champion


Promoting the Armed Forces Covenant locally

Key Action Lead officer Time scales Financial and resource implications Outcome target Progress
Implement a revised website and maintain/improve, include new covenant branding Carol Robinson Spring 2019 Officer time Website to provide up to date and accurate information with relevant links to enable the public to access information both local information and national. COMPLETED
Work with Comms team to promote all positive outcomes of the Covenant using a variety of sources Will Spence Ongoing Officer time

To ensure positive news stories are shared with the Bassetlaw community

To provide information and news to the Bassetlaw community

To seek support and promote events and activities locally

This is an ongoing target and all possible good news stories have been released using both social media, newspapers and TV.
Features on:

  • VE and VJ Day
  • Armed Forces Day
  • Poppy Appeal
    • Remembrance Sunday, including feature with Royal British Legion branches
Consider, with the County Council and other districts, what we might wish to do in promoting a resigning of the Covenant Stephen Brown Spring 2019

Officer time

Possible reception catering 

Gain awareness of the covenant
Raise the profile of the Covenant

Re-establish momentum across the district

Bassetlaw re-signed the Covenant in February 2022

Consider, ways the business community can become engaged and promote signing up to the Corporate Covenant    

Potential events

Officer time

Engage the business in the community to embed the Covenant principals within their organisations

Look for opportunities to recruit reservists and veterans

Actively used opportunities to promote awareness of opportunities to recruit Armed Forces leavers and of the Covenant with partners.

Work with local businesses to promote offering discounts to members of the Armed Forces    

Potential events

Officer time

Offer support to Veterans and Reservists

Summary to BID / LSP / North Notts Envoys

Continue to promote Heroes Welcome in Bassetlaw

Employment and support of Veterans and Reservists

Key Action Lead officer Time scales Financial and resource implications Outcome target Progress
Retain the Silver Employer Recognition award and consider Gold Stephen Brown / Karen Childs 2019 Officer time

Raises the profile of the Covenant

Demonstrates we are an employer that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant

Encourages other employers.

Silver achieved in March 2018. Renewal due  in 2022

An Armed Forces Reservist Employee Policy has been approved by the Council that provides to Reservists and their families. The Policy also details the support to Cadet Leaders.

Look to provide information guidance and support to the Armed Forces Community locally   Ongoing Officer time

Helps veterans with the transition into civvy street

Provide easy to understand information by experts

Raises awareness

Armed Forces Champion has provided support to a number of veterans.

Discussions on creating a Veterans Hub facility in the district.

Case studies on local support are provided in the AFC Annual report.

Proactively explore options to encourage applications for jobs from service leavers Karen Childs January 2019 HR team time

Military service foster leadership, organisational skills, resilience and many,
other unique qualities which are a great asset to have in an organisation

Veterans have strong
technical skills and unique qualities

Veterans make
highly effective employees

Veterans have
valuable attitudes and are adaptable

Veterans is good for business
and society

Veterans fill skills

Council vacancies are promoted through Careers Transition Partnership.


Consider what applications might be relevant to the national funding pot Armed Forces Covenant Team Ongoing Officer time

Improve service delivery


Consider improvements to our Reservist and other Armed Forces employment support policies Armed Forces Covenant Team January 2019 Officer time

Ensure policies are in line with Covenant principals

Reservist policy in place.


Promote awareness of the Covenant with partners and other agencies. Armed Forces Covenant Team Ongoing Officer and Member time

Raise awareness

Improve local service provision for Veterans and their families.

Presentation to Larwood & Bawtry PCN

Attendance at Mental Health Café to establish links.

Suicide prevention forms a key part of the engagement with Primary Care Networks.
Team members are undertaking the Help for Heroes suicide awareness course.

Support local Breakfast Clubs where possible   Ongoing Member time

Support to ensure continuing development of BC

Raise awareness

Provides veterans with a social activity and support of peers

he Armed Forces Champion has attended Breakfast Club meetings


Veterans Health and Wellbeing 

Key Action Lead officer Time scales Financial and resource implications Outcome target Progress
To visit Primary Care Networks in Bassetlaw to generate awareness of veterans’ issues and promote access to support.

Councillor Eaton



Raises the profile of the Covenant

Promote awareness of the issues faced by veterans accessing public health

Larwood  PCN Visited

Newgate St PCN Visited

2 PCNs progressed Employer Recognition Scheme.

Promote suicide awareness and schemes to try and reduce incidents

Covenant Team


Officer time

Helps veterans with the transition into civvy street

Provide easy to understand information by experts

Raises awareness

Undertake Help for Heroes training scheme.

Remembrance and Commemoration

Key Action Lead officer Time scales Financial and resource implications Outcome target Progress
Remembrance Sunday

Cara Hopkinson / Lisa Dixon

November 2022 Officer and SMT time
Costs from Worksop Charter Trustees
  Two meetings held with local contingents to review arrangements for November 2022
Events to mark contribution of armed forces

Cara Hopkinson / Lisa Dixon

Mercian regiment promotion    

‘Veterans Thank You’ scheme launch event held at Retford for WWII veterans, families, Royal British Legion and Cadet Forces.

Mercian Regiment Freedom March held in Worksop on 26th October 2022.

Armed Forces Day


June 2022 Officer time Ongoing


Flag Flying



Armed Forces Day RAF

Key events for 2019 - 2021 

Events planned for 2019:

  • RBL Freedom
  • Lt A.F. Pickard VC memorial stone with the Royal Artillery Regiment.

Events planned for 2020:

  • Worksop Sea Cadets
  • VE / VJ Days – Virtual
  • Remembrance Sunday – scaled down events. Video clips prepared for social media.

Events planned for 2021:

  • Commemoration of centenary of the formation of the Royal British Legion.

  • Remembrance Sunday –return to events.

Events planned for 2022:

  • Veterans Thank You linked with Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
  • Mercian Regiment Freedom March Worksop
  • Launch of new Retford & District Royal British Legion flag as part of the poppy appeal.



Last Updated on Tuesday, June 18, 2024