A Lancashire county councillor has received a national award for work to support the armed forces and veterans’ community.
County Coun Darren Clifford, who is the county council’s Armed Forces and Veterans’ Champion, has received an LGIU Councillor Achievement Award in the Partnership Achievement of the Year category.
The award recognises work on Lancashire’s Community Covenant, which encourages communities to support the services for armed forces and veterans in their area, and promotes understanding and awareness of issues affecting the armed forces community.
Winners were chosen by a group of judges including local government experts and councillors.
Darren, who served in the army for 14 years, said: “I’m proud to receive this award on behalf of everyone who has helped with Lancashire’s Community Covenant.
“This award is due to the hard work and dedication of many different people and organisations, who have all been working together on our Community Covenant. This includes the armed forces themselves, our council colleagues across Lancashire, the voluntary sector, the NHS, the police, fire and rescue service and many more.
“The county council recognises the needs of serving personnel, veterans and their families, and we’ve provided services to support them. It is important that people understand how difficult it is for some veterans to make the transition into civilian life.
“I hope that this award will help to raise awareness of these issues and the great work that’s going on here in the county to help people from the armed forces community.”
Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the LGIU, said: “It is a real privilege to honour the outstanding efforts of these councillors who work day in and day out to make our communities healthier, our streets safer and our public services stronger.
“The 2015 Councillor Award winners have set the bar for all councillors with their exemplary leadership and passion for change. We congratulate Coun Clifford and look forward to hearing about his future success.”
The Community Covenant aims to encourage local communities to support the armed forces and its personnel in their area; as well as promoting awareness and increase understanding of the issues affecting the armed forces among the wider community in Lancashire.
It also aims to enable military personnel and their families to access services and facilities; support resettling or relocating military personnel and their families; and promotes access to suitable employment and training opportunities for those in transition or preparing to leave active service.