Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service received the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award at a formal awards ceremony at Eaton Hall, Cheshire, alongside other Gold Award recipients from around the North West of England.
Earlier this year, MFRS were confirmed as Gold Award recipients within the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (DERS).
The DERS is a Ministry of Defence initiative that seeks to encourage employers within the public and private sector to support former defence veterans, past and serving reservists and cadet force volunteers and their families.
To receive an award under the scheme, employers must demonstrate and advocate their support to the defence and the armed forces community and be signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant. Nominations for awards are scrutinised by a panel chaired by a senior military officer and ultimately endorsed by the Secretary of State for Defence.
As a Gold award recipient, Area Manager Kevin Longshaw (Strategic Sponsor for the Armed Forces Network), Brian Welsh (Chair of the Armed Forces Network) and Councillor Les Byrom (Chair of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) were invited to attend the formal awards event held at Eaton Hall in Cheshire, the official country residence of the Duke of Westminster.
The formal awards joined together other Gold Award recipients from around the North West of England, as well as all 5 Lord Lieutenants for the North West Region.
On receiving the award on behalf of the service, AM Longshaw said:
“Receiving the Gold Award is a first for MFRS and is testimony to the efforts we have made to ensure we actively promote and support our Armed Forces colleagues past and present, as well as our regional collaboration with similar groups in our districts and our counterparts in the other North West Fire & Rescue Services.
“It is an incredible achievement for MFRS and one we should be rightly proud of. Receiving the Gold Award places us in a very small group of organisations nationally that can set an example and lead in this area.
“I believe that with our newly formed Armed Forces Network, we will build on this success and continue to offer invaluable support and opportunity to veterans, reservists and cadet force volunteers long into the future.”
The ERS was launched to recognise and reward employers who support Defence and inspire others to do the same. To find out more about the ERS and Armed Forces Covenant, see: Employers - North West Reserve Forces & Cadets Association (nwrfca.org.uk).
The full list of Employer Recognition Scheme Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners is available here.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. More information about the Armed Forces Covenant and how to get involved is available here. Alternatively, please e-mail MerseysideAFN@merseyfire.gov.uk