The Queen’s representative in the county, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant, recently presented Dorset HealthCare with a Silver Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Award (ERS), in recognition of the recent corporate covenant pledge which demonstrates the Trust’s commitment to better support and enhance the care available to veterans living in Dorset.
The Trust decided to sign the Corporate Covenant as the size of the ex-service community in the UK is currently estimated to be at 10.5 million and, of this number, 89,000 are estimated to be living in Dorset. New figures also reveal that veterans aged 16-64 are more likely than the general population of the same age to report a long-term illness, 24% versus 13%, which includes depression, heart problems and diabetes.
Andy Gritt, Locality Manager – Mental Health Bournemouth West/ Central Trust Lead for Veterans’ issues and stress incident management support, said: “We are delighted to have received such a prestigious award. This sends a clear message about the importance of the covenant and the pledge we have made as an organisation to support our armed forces, both regular and reserve cadets.
“The award is a welcome acknowledgment of the work we have done to date and our desire to build on this as the employer of choice for those who serve. We are looking forward to continuing to develop our services to the armed forces community and their families and work with the reserve forces association to progress this.”
Julian Brazier TD MP, Minister for Reserves added: “I am delighted with the positive response to the Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme, launched by the Prime Minister in July 2014. Over 360 employers have already been recognised with the silver award via this scheme. I am very happy that Dorset HealthCare were awarded theirs at a ceremony in recognition of the high levels of commitment demonstrated towards defence personnel. We look forward to recognising many more employers in future.”
Jon Beake MIoD Regional Employer Engagement Director for Wessex Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association concluded: “Dorset HealthCare’s recent success in the Employer Recognition Scheme demonstrates their high levels of support towards defence personnel, including reservists, armed forces veterans and their families, and cadets. We value Dorset HealthCare’s commitment and are keen to work with them to build further support for mutual benefit. We also hope that Dorset HealthCare will lead the way for other Dorset businesses to follow.”
The award now takes pride of place alongside the covenant, signed at this year’s Annual Member’s Meeting, in the Trust’s HQ reception.