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Article release date: 14/12/2011



Representatives of Bracknell Forest Council and the Bracknell Forest Partnership gathered at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to pledge the borough's support for the wider army community.


The signing of the Armed Forces Community Covenant took place at the world famous officer training establishment on Monday 5 December.


Among those who took part were Cllr Paul Bettison, leader of Bracknell Forest Council, Timothy Wheadon, chief executive of the council and chairman of the Bracknell Forest Partnership, and Major General Patrick Marriott, Commandant of RMAS.


The Community Covenant is a statement of mutual support between local people and armed forces personnel based in the area. Its aim is to encourage understanding and awareness, remember the sacrifices made by the armed forces and encourage activities which help integrate the armed forces community into local life.


Bracknell Forest's covenant is among the first in the UK.


Cllr Bettison said: "We are delighted to sign up to this very important pledge. The council and our partners are already working closely with RMAS to provide support to the armed forces community, which is well-established in Sandhurst and the surrounding area.


"We see the RMAS and its personnel as key partners, although of course, the covenant, does not confer any service prioritisation over residents


"The signing of the covenant formalises and highlights the successful initiatives we have already undertaken and provides the impetus to take this work further."


Mr Wheadon said: "The RMAS is an active member of Bracknell Forest Partnership's community cohesion group and the council has already established an action plan to help people leaving the armed forces to settle in the community."


Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Roy Parkinson, the RMAS spokesman, said: "The Commandant and Staff and their families are grateful for this initiative which reinforces the ties already built between the Academy community and Bracknell Forest. 


"The scheme will benefit those serving at the Academy and their families and those who choose to settle in the area once they leave the army."