Riverside awarded Gold by Ministry of Defence for armed forces support

Employer Recognition Scheme Gold AwardRiverside has been awarded Gold status by the Ministry of Defence for supporting the armed forces community.

Representing the highest badge of honour, the Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award identifies organisations that show a commitment to those who serve for their country.

We have held Silver status for a number of years and in granting us the Gold Award, the scheme has recognised our efforts to employ and support armed forces personnel, veterans and their families, as well as our works to encourage other organisations to do the same.

Riverside was also able to demonstrate:

  • our forces-friendly credentials as part of our recruiting and selection processes;
  • that we’re a leader within our sector, advocating support to defence people issues to partner organisations, suppliers and customers with positive results;
  • our flexibility towards training and mobilisation commitments, including how we offer over 10 paid days of leave to reservists to attend training;
  • that we have policies supportive of veterans, reserves, Cadet Force adult volunteers, spouses and partners of those serving in the armed forces;
  • that we ensure our colleagues are aware of our positive policies towards defence people issues.

We would like to thank the hard work of our Veterans Strategy Working Group in achieving the standard and are particularly proud of the following accomplishments we have made, which have supported us to obtain Gold:

  • Leading the national campaign supporting veterans experiencing homelessness;
  • creating our online Veterans Hub for Riverside colleagues, containing useful information and resources to support them in their roles and in our communities;
  • delivering our Veteran’s and Armed Forces Strategy 2016/21, which involved developing a network of Veteran Champions who are available to provide advice and support;
  • launching a research project with University of York which aims to produce an action plan to address veterans’ homelessness, enabling Riverside to use evidence-based research to advocate for defence personnel issues.

There are now a total of 643 gold award holders nationally since the scheme launched in 2014, and we’re delighted to be listed alongside the likes of Liverpool City Council, IBM, Microsoft, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Admiral Group and Groundwork.

Lee Buss-Blair, Director of Operations and Group Veteran Lead, said: “The Riverside Group is extremely proud to achieve the Gold Award of the Employer Recognition Scheme.

“This award affirms our continued commitment to making the Group a great place to work, and live, for members of the Armed Forces community, through initiatives such as our national network of Veteran Champions, our online resources for colleagues working with veterans and our continued advocacy for veterans experiencing homelessness.”

Minister for Defence People, Leo Docherty MP, commented: “Regardless of size, location or sector, employing members of the Armed Forces community is good for businesses.

“These awards recognise the outstanding support for our Armed Forces from employers across the UK and I would like to thank and congratulate each and every one.”

Riverside was the first housing association to sign the Armed Forces Covenant in 2014, and we are a leading provider of specialist housing and support for veterans struggling to readjust to civilian life.

We will continue to remain committed to supporting the armed forces community and are dedicated to helping veterans impacted by homelessness, with many of our services having been developed and driven by staff who have served. If you’d like to find out more, please click here.