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We are proud to support the Armed Forces community

The University has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, which sets out our pledge to support both staff and students who are associated with the Armed Forces community. 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.

Gold MOD Employer Recognition Scheme Award

Representing the highest badge of honour, the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Awards are awarded to those that employ and support those who serve, veterans and their families.

To win an award, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for Reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for veterans, Reserves, and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, as well as spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.

Organisations must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community by encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage in the MoD Employer Recognition Scheme. 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.

The University is home to the Westminster Centre for Research in  Veterans which aims to support the military community through innovative and high quality research, educational provision and community engagement. Colonel (Rtd) Alan Finnegan, Professor of Nursing and Military Health is the University’s Armed Forces Champion and develops and supports the University’s Armed Forces Network as well as being Director of the Centre.

The University is part of numerous national and international military networks that are striving to support and improve the health and well-being of the Armed Forces Community. Locally, University is a member of the Cheshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership, which is a commitment by civilian organisations in collaboration with the MoD to support the Armed Forces community. It is an opportunity to recognise the value of serving personnel, both regulars and reservists, veterans and military families and their contribution to the UK. 

The Cheshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership comprises Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington Councils, the NHS, Clinical Commissioning Groups, charities, the Department of Work and Pensions, the emergency services, veterans, military families and the MoD and the University of Chester.

Professor Finnegan is Chair of this Committee, which enables the University access to networks and information sharing which in turn gives the ability to provide members of our own internal Armed Forces Network with the relevant advice, guidance and practical support that may be needed by this community.

In today’s announcement 140 organisations from across the UK (18 in North West England), including NHS trusts, educational institutions, financial services, hotels, charities, law firms, police services, football clubs and museums have received the award.

Professor Alan Finnegan said: “I am extremely proud that the University has received this Gold award. This is the culmination of several years of hard work to ensure the University of Chester is a recognised national and international leader in supporting our Armed Forces Community.

“The Westminster Veterans Research Centre has helped many other organisations to engage in this incredibly important initiative. Without our staff commitment, motivation and determination, then we would not have got this far and I need to acknowledge the brilliant contribution of my colleague Lottie Ainsworth-Moore. That said, I would like to say thank you to everyone from across the University who has worked so hard to make it happen. This award is their award, and a reflection of their loyalty and steadfastness in supporting those who have served and their families.”

Internal Armed Forces Network

As part of the Covenant, the University has created an internal Armed Forces Network and appointed Colonel (Retd) Alan Finnegan, as our first Armed Forces Champion.

The University is part of the Cheshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership, which is a commitment by civilian organisations in collaboration with the MoD to support the Armed Forces community. It is an opportunity to recognise the value of serving personnel, both regulars and reservists, veterans and military families and their contribution to the UK. This is built on recognition that Armed Forces personnel sacrifice some significant civilian freedoms, face dangers and are much more likely to sustain injury or death. Families also play a pivotal role in supporting the operational effectiveness of the Armed Forces and are embedded in the commitment.

The Covenant defines that those who serve in the Armed Forces, veterans and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved. This commitment includes voluntary and charitable bodies, private organisations, and the actions of individuals in supporting the Armed Forces. 

The Cheshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership comprises Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington Councils, the NHS, Clinical Commissioning Groups, charities, the Department of Work and Pensions, the emergency services and the University of Chester. Being part of this group enables the University access to networks and information sharing which in turn gives the ability to provide members of our own internal Armed Forces Network with the relevant advice, guidance and practical support that may be needed by this community.

The skills and experiences that service leavers can bring to the University are highly valued.

We are also members of Universities in Support of Wounded, Injured and Sick Service Personnel (UNSWIS) network.

Armed Forces Champion

Alongside his day job as Director of the Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans, as Armed Forces Champion Alan helps develop and support the University of Chester’s Armed Forces Network. He acts as a designated point of contact within the institution, represents the University on matters relating to the Armed Forces Community and is happy to provide informal advice to staff and students connected with the military. Alan has developed a new teaching programme to enhance the knowledge of student nurses with regards to veterans. This programme is now being made into an online learning module with funding from Health Education England, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and the AFCFT.

Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELCAS)

We are an Approved Learning Provider on the Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme. Further information can be found on the ELCAS website.​

The Armed Forces Covenant was re-signed by the University of Chester in 2019.

The University of Chester and the Armed Forces community are working together to:

  • Encourage support for the Armed Forces community working within the University.

  • Recognise and remember the sacrifices faced by the Armed Forces community.
  • Encourage research which provides insight into the Armed Forces community.

View our Pledge here

The University of Chester has strong links with the Armed Forces:

Cheshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership Committee

Useful contacts

Useful links