Neath Port Talbot Council is to employ a dedicated member of staff to support children from armed forces families in its schools.
The Council’s Education Department has been successful in obtaining Welsh Government funding for the initiative which has been welcomed by the authority’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Chris James.
He said: “This additional support will benefit our young people, who may have been adversely affected by a family member being deployed, or due to frequent school moves.”
Speaking during a flag raising ceremony in Port Talbot on Saturday (Nov 2nd) as part of Neath Port Talbot Council’s annual Armed Forces Festival, Cllr James also gave a special mention to a recent joint effort to help ex-servicemen and women into employment.
He said: “We’re particularly proud of the collaborative efforts of organisations that support our armed forces community. Over the past months we have considered issues around homelessness, domestic abuse, and contact with the justice system.
“Service leavers may never have had a formal job interview, or do not appreciate how the skills they have learnt, can be useful to employers on ‘Civvy Street’. Therefore, several organisations recently worked with the Port Talbot Job Centre, to run a very successful employability course, following which most of the veterans have a number of interviews or jobs lined up.
“It’s pleasing to know that such practical support is helping our Armed Forces Community, and your presence today is another show of strength from the Community. Thank you.”
The Armed Forces Festival Concert held at the Princess Royal Theatre, Port Talbot on Friday (Nov 1st) was a big success, being well attended and having strong support from the County Borough’s young people.
The event, compered by Meyrick Sheen, featured Neath singer Kirsten Osborn, the 215 Squadron Air Training Corps Band, the City of Swansea Pipe Band, Cymric Choir and also the NPT County Youth Choir and NPT County Youth Band.
The evening ended with the Last Post and the falling of thousands of poppies.
Armed Forces Champion Cllr James added at the flag raising ceremony: “The festival is in recognition of the Community Armed Forces Covenant, which was signed by this Council and many of our partners represented here today, in 2013.
“The Armed Forces Covenant is a nationwide promise to ensure that those who serve, or have served, in the armed forces – and their families – are treated fairly and are not disadvantaged by their service. This is particularly important for those who have given the most such as those physically or mentally injured, or bereaved in the line of duty.
“The Neath Port Talbot area, has a strong tradition of recruitment into the armed forces.Therefore, we have a strong contingent of serving, reserve and veteran members of all three services, along with their supportive families living in this area. The majority are integrated and an important part of our communities. However, particularly if their wellbeing is affected by their experiences during service, some of those veterans and families do require additional support.“