The honour constitutes another significant milestone and an historic first for Becketts, as it became the first hospitality venue in the city of Portsmouth to win such an award.
Businesses, charitable concerns and public sector organisations can sign the Armed Forces Covenant to demonstrate their support for the UK Armed Forces. Covenant signatories then become eligible for the Armed Forces Covenant Awards, which are handed out through an Employer Recognition Scheme. The scheme identifies those that have provided exceptional support to the Armed Forces community and defence by going above and beyond their covenant pledges, recognising them with the award.
The awards are allocated according to a three-tiered approach of bronze, silver and gold awards, which is indicative of the different levels of commitment provided by employers. The awards also enable the Ministry of Defence to publicly thank and honour organisations for their support.
Becketts’ general manager, Terence Carvalho, commented: “We are very proud to announce that Becketts has been awarded a Bronze Award of The Armed Forces Covenant.
“Becoming the first hospitality venue in our city to do so is a source of immense pride for us, and a sign of our commitment to our Armed Forces.”
As businesses such as Becketts are being recognised for such work, there is an indication that support is growing for the Armed Forces in the face of their courage and devotion. However, it is not to be forgotten that for some service personnel, there remains a need for key services to help settle them back into civilian life after leaving the forces, with the adjustment proving difficult for some.
Using eco based interventions, a variety of indoor and outdoor activities and peer camaraderie, Battling On is an organisation that seeks to address this issue by supporting military veterans through providing them with a safe, empathetic and non-judgmental environment.
Much like Becketts is in the hospitality sector, Battling On is a multi-award-winning organisation in its own field. A signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant also, some of the honours that Battling On has received include the receipt of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, and recognition as a Centre of Excellence.
Battling On’s founder, Nikki Markham, was awarded an MBE in 2021 having featured on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for her work providing services to communities in the southwest of England where the organisation is based.
More recently, Nikki has been vocal in calling on government to provide a greater level of funding for support schemes targeted at Armed Forces veterans who are re-adjusting to civilian life.
Nikki told the Leaders Council: “In terms of helping veterans, overall resources are woefully lacking. The government announced £5 million of funding into Armed Forces charities to support the mental health of ex-servicepeople…but part of that is being invested into technology such as user-friendly apps and I can’t help but ask why this is the case.
“I can tell you from having worked on the frontline with veterans in crisis, they don’t use websites and it won’t help them. They want to be able to look someone in the eye. There is no effort to hold their hand over the whole journey by just pumping money into online resources, and that is what they need. Government money needs to be invested at grassroots into people that are actually working on the frontline and talking to these veterans, not going to large charities that are moving everything they do online.
“Meanwhile, organisations like the Armed Forces Community Fund Trust have been amazing in their work, but they're not given enough money by the government to support everything they want to do. The £5 million will be a drop in the ocean in terms of trying to deal with the wider issues we face.”
Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons