Reserve Forces and Cadets Association
for North of England


Prince Harry and Defence Secretary Award Gold to Supportive Employers 

HRH Prince Henry of Wales has presented City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust and thirty-two other UK employers with an Armed Forces Covenant Gold Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) award. The award is the Ministry of Defence’s prestigious badge of honour for organisations who have demonstrated outstanding support for the Armed Forces community. Hosted by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, the award presentation took place on Monday 9 October at the Imperial War Museum.

 HRH Prince Harry thanked this year’s winners and heard about successful initiatives providing veterans with a fair chance of starting a second career in diverse industries following military service. Other support measures in the workplace include flexibility for Reservists and mentoring and job opportunities for military spouses.

 Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

 “This year’s Gold award winners should be extremely proud of the work they are doing to live up to the Armed Forces Covenant pledge and to promote the pledge to others.

 “I’m delighted to recognise employers who make it crystal clear that regardless of size, location, or sector, employing people with military skills is good for business. I hope others follow their example, thereby delivering a better deal for veterans and armed forces families.”

 Welcoming their Gold Award, Ken Bremner, Chief Executive of City Hospitals Sunderland, pictured with Prince Harry, said:

 “We are honoured to have been recognised by the Ministry of Defence for the work we do to support the Armed Forces and particularly delighted to have the Award presented to us by HRH Prince Harry this evening. It is important for us to celebrate the contribution made, particularly by our staff, who also serve as Reservists and we very much value the extra skills and experience that they bring to the Trust. We also employ a number of veterans and are looking at initiatives that will provide work placement opportunities and guaranteed interviews where they have skills that match a role. We welcome the support of the Ministry of Defence and hope to continue to foster relationships to encourage more organisations to follow this same ethos.”

 The Employer Recognition Scheme encompasses three award tiers: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Gold Award winning employers have to first make pledges under the Armed Forces Covenant, then demonstrate and advocate their support for the Armed Forces.  So far, 79 employers have been recognised with a Gold award. 

  Armed Forces Covenant: a promise by the nation, enshrined in law, that those who serve and have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly and face no disadvantage in accessing public and private services.

 Armed Forces Covenant initiatives include: 

  •  A new agreement with mortgage lenders allowing personnel posted abroad to rent out their homes without facing higher mortgage costs or having to change their mortgage.
  • Fairer mobile phone contracts, freezing the accounts of Armed Forces personnel and their families posted overseas and removing cancellation fees.
  •  Better deals in motor insurance, allowing personnel to keep their no claims bonuses and avoid cancellation fees when posted overseas at short notice.
  • Employer networks in a wide range of sectors to support Service leavers through their transition to new careers. 

Ken Bremner, CE City Hospitals Sunderland, with HRH Prince Harry

 City Hospitals Sunderland-GawardsKP_36