If you’ve been anxiously waiting with baited breath to find out who has won the coveted 2021 Soldiering On Awards, your wait is finally over!
And the next three Thursdays will see the other winners revealed during exciting Zoom events.
We kicked off tonight in fantastic style, with the fabulous actress Fiona Dolman compèring our first virtual award ceremony of the year! The event was attended by the category finalists and sponsors, Patron Of the Soldering on Awards, the Rt. Hon. Earl Howe, Commodore Melanie Robinson, ADC Royal Naval Reserve, Air Commodore dave Tait MBE MA RAF, and Lee Holloway, CEO of The Officers’ Association.
The Earl Howe, Patron of the Soldiering On Awards said:
“These Awards recognise and acknowledge the enormous efforts and achievements from many people across the military community who help and support those in need; volunteers, charity teams, public servants, social enterprises, veterans themselves, individuals, employees… the wider military community is incredibly diverse!
“That help and support manifests itself in acts of kindness, the raising of money, provision of services, tremendous acts of courage or endeavour and ultimately doing great things to support those who have served.
“Our service men and women take part in military campaigns at the behest of the Government and on behalf of us all. They deserve not only our respect and thanks, but also our support. Thank you to all our finalists, many of whom are veterans themselves, for being exemplar in providing that support.”
Our finalists were:
Military and Police Support of West Tyrone – an award-winning independent charity that brings together various military and police associations to support veterans under one umbrella.
Mission Automotive, delivered by Mission Motorsport – a collaboration linking MoD, charity and industry bodies, to bring together veteran employment initiatives with Mission Motorsport’s automotive expertise.
Greater Manchester Police Armed Forces Lead – A team of 35 Armed Forces leads who are predominantly veterans themselves work across all districts of Greater Manchester to provide community support.
You can read more about these finalists here.
We are delighted to announce that the Winner of the FiMT Working Together Award is…
Greater Manchester Police
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) services a community of 2,800,000 people, of which around 250,000 are members of the Armed Forces community (AFC). Officers interact with these people daily – as colleagues, vulnerable victims, witnesses, and also as offenders.
A team of 35 Armed Forces leads who are predominantly veterans themselves work across all districts to provide community support. It has resulted in GMP receiving interest from many other forces and even organisations outside of policing. The group has supported UK police forces as far afield as Jersey, as well as other organisations including but not limited to the BBC, Cadent Gas and Mitie. The group helps other police forces to introduce a minimum national standard for the Armed Forces community who have had contact with the police anywhere in the UK.
“Bringing the community together has highlighted the benefits peer support can bring to their staff within the police force who may be struggling. But, more importantly, they’ve developed bespoke pathways of support for vulnerable veterans and those in trouble with the criminal justice system.”
GMP is the top performing force for the numbers of vulnerable veterans it refers to Project Nova, and is responsible for the Veterans Gateway having more activity than any other area of the country. GMP employs around 1100 Armed Forces staff and recognises the skills these reservists and veterans bring into GMP and its specialist departments, such as Firearms and Counter Terrorism. Veterans are encouraged toward these teams to maximise their military skills.
In 2020, the force achieved Gold status in the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme awards. It is one of only 5 Police Forces to have done so and continues to help the group’s aim of becoming the most armed forces friendly police force in the country.
“Innovation has been behind much of the group’s work. No other force in the country has a structure and governance in place, and recognised staff association with an entire network of leads and champions, ensuring the service to the AFC is the best it can be. GMP has also approached the National Police Chiefs Council to put itself forward as National Policing Lead for the Armed Forces Covenant which would give the armed forces leads wider scope to build the work in every other police force.”
Greater Manchester Police said:
Chris Sykes, Assistant Chief Constable: “Thank you for the Soldiering On Awards for recognising our hard work. I do feel a little bit guilty accepting this award when it’s the staff – the police officers on the ground – doing the hard work. We do an awful lot of work trying to support the Armed Forces Community, both those that serve with Greater Manchester Police, and those we support in the community.
Inspector Jim Jones: I can’t tell you what it means! We’ve strived to try and become the most Armed Forces friendly force in the country, and when we received the gold award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, we knew we needed to continue that momentum. An award from the community we’re trying to support is as good as it gets!
Lt Colonel Ren Kapur MBE, CEO of X-Forces Enterprise and Soldiering On Awards said:
“We are delighted to congratulate these inspirational winners and it was incredibly special to gather everyone together and celebrate our amazing community after such a challenging 18 months.
“These virtual events have allowed us all to come together and celebrate once more, as we build-up to our glamorous in-person Gala Dinner on December 15th. Having not had the opportunity to celebrate in-person since 2019, this December will be the military gala dinner of the year and being able to have everyone together for a night of celebration is something that we’ve all needed for some time. I’m very much looking forward to shining a light on the incredible armed forces community.
A word from our Sponsor…
Hans Pung, Chair of the Forces in Mind Trust, said,
“These outstanding finalists represent the very ethos and spirit of the Armed Forces Community and FiMT is immensely proud to support this unique award. Each finalist shows incredible collaboration within their organisations and externally to the wider armed forces community. We would just like to add that of course each finalist this year is a winner within their own right. Congratulations.”