Riverside has been awarded Silver status by the Ministry of Defence for supporting the armed forces community.
The Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme independently recognises the commitment given by organisations for those who serve for their country.
To receive the Silver Award, Riverside needed to demonstrate a number of requirements to show support for military personnel, including employing members of the armed forces community, and showing flexibility towards training and mobilisation commitments for reservists.
Riverside was the first housing association to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, and is a leading provider of specialist housing and support for veterans struggling to readjust to civilian life.
The Ministry of Defence will present a certificate to Riverside at a ceremony in November.
Carol Matthews, The Riverside Group’s Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely pleased to receive the Silver award which recognises our commitment to supporting veterans who have struggled with the transition back to civilian life.
“In 2014, we were one of the first housing associations to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, and last year we received the Bronze Award. This validated our pledge to support the armed forces community, aligned with the Armed Forces Covenant.
“Riverside actively supports the armed forces in a number of ways. Externally, we help homeless veterans through our housing services across the country, providing advice and support to them. Internally, we employ veterans and reservists who have extra time off to attend military training, and the transferrable skills and experience they gain really benefits Riverside.”
As an employer, Riverside has a Veterans Strategy which covers recruiting veterans. We also run four supported housing services developed specifically for veterans who are homeless, and staff at the schemes are in regular contact with local units of the armed forces to prevent homelessness.
Riverside is one of 12 organisations across the North West who have received a Silver award.
Lieutenant Colonel Steven Wotherspoon, Regional Employer Engagement Director at the North West of England and the Isle of Man Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (NW RFCA), said: “On behalf of the Ministry of Defence we are honoured to be able to recognise the level of support and commitment given to the armed forces by organisations in the region. Each recipient has demonstrated not only that they value the ethos of the armed forces but also that they are prepared to help reservists, former servicemen and women and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers in the workplace. The experiences gained through service with the reserve forces or volunteering with the cadet organisations equip individuals with invaluable life skills – motivation, self-discipline, confidence, communication, teamwork and leadership – all of which make a positive contribution to any organisation.”
Riverside is committed to supporting veterans facing homelessness and its services have been developed and driven by staff who have served in the armed forces. You can find out more here.