The Armed Forces community includes Armed Forces personnel, their families and veterans. Their numbers are vast- estimated by Government at totalling over 10 million people.
In Gosport, the size of the Armed Forces Community is estimated to be nearly 5,400 people. The demands imposed on the Armed Forces in the course of their duty are unique and set them apart from others who serve and protect society. These special circumstances provide the potential for disadvantage and are taken into account by local policymakers and service providers to ensure their needs and circumstances are understood.
The Government has identified some areas of disadvantage experienced as:
- Lifestyle choice – The unique demands of their profession can hinder the real and sustainable choices Armed Forces personnel and their families have for balancing military and family life;
- Continuity of Public Services – Service mobility risks disadvantaging personnel and their dependents regarding access to and continuity of local public services wherever they are based and whenever they are obliged to move;
- Ongoing Treatment and Support – Their service comes with inherent risks of serious physical and mental injury which can result in the need for ongoing treatment and welfare support for themselves and their families.
More information about the important roles and contributions of those in the armed forces can be found in the Families Federation factsheets.
UK National Statistics from April 2012 estimate the total Armed Forces serving personnel in Gosport to be 1,440 , of which 1,270 were Naval, 150 Army and 20 Royal Air Force. In Hampshire the overall number of serving personnel as of April 2012 was 13,700.
2015 figures revealed 1,385 Royal Navy Regular & Reserves have a permanent residence in Gosport, followed by Portsmouth with 1,110. The total figure for Hampshire is 5,444.
A Ministry of Defense report confirmed the ratio of armed forces pensions in payment to the local population is 1:16 and this is the highest in Hampshire and second highest in England.
The Armed Forces Community Covenant
Gosport Borough Council supported the Armed Forces Community Covenant signed by Hampshire County Council and the Armed Forces Community in Hampshire on 23 June 2011. The Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between the civilian community and any serving and former members of the Armed Forces and their families working and residing in Hampshire.
On 11 November 2012, a Gosport Armed Forces Community Covenant was established to formally acknowledge Gosport's long affiliation with the Armed Forces and to all parties within the local community to provide help and support to the local armed forces community, making it easier for them, their families and veterans to access the help and support needed, not just from the Ministry of Defense, but also from local statutory and voluntary services as well.
The Armed Forces Covenant Toolkit provides a variety of useful links to information and resources available for the armed forces community.
The Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) web site can provide further information on the following link:
SSAFA Forces Help – A national charity helping serving soldiers, sailors and airmen, veterans and the families of both. SSAFA can be contacted locally on 02392 529945 or at its national office on 020 7403 8783. More information about the charity’s work can be found on the following link:
http://www.ssafa.org.uk/ The Armed Forces Community Covenant Fund
was established a few years ago by the Ministry of Defence to provide local funding for projects which improved integration between the Armed Forces and civilian communities. Initial details of the 2016-17 grant fund criteria and application process have been released and applications open on 4 May. The latest information released can be found on this link.