Read about the work we've done to support the armed forces and meet the aims of the Armed Forces Community Covenant in Rochdale.
World War One floral display an award-winner
A commemorative floral tribute which marks 100 years since the beginning of World War One has received a coveted ‘Highly Commended for Excellence’ award from North West in Bloom.
The eye catching display in Broadfield Park of the classic poppy and a simple ‘1914 – 2014 Centenary’ message created a highly visible landmark to all traffic travelling along Manchester Road.
Measuring 12m by 5m, the flower bed was installed in July following a week of activity for Armed Forces Day.
Street renamed in honour of Crimean War VC recipient
Jim Dobbin MP, Councillors, veterans and members of the public gathered to pay respect to a true hero as a street in Heywood was renamed in commemoration of Private Anthony Palmer, a soldier in the Crimean War and Victoria Cross recipient, who is buried in Heywood Cemetery.
A heritage sign was unveiled on the former Wood Street, outside Heywood Library, at 1.30pm on Sunday 24 August 2014, to mark the official renaming of the street to ‘Private Anthony Palmer VC Parade’.
Among the guests was Private Anthony Palmer’s only living relative, his great-great-great grandson Ronnie Cooper, who had made the journey from Spalding, Lincolnshire. Other activities, jointly organised by Rochdale Borough Council and the Lancashire Veterans Association, included the ‘Private Anthony Palmer VC’ parade, during which the Grenadier Guards Band, veterans and Cadets marched from The Bay Horse pub on Torrington Street to Heywood Library.
Middleton remembers VC hero Joel Halliwell with street named in his honour
Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell V.C, Middleton’s only Victoria Cross recipient was recognised in the town on Tuesday, with the unveiling of a street sign in his honour in the town centre. Corporation Street will now forever be known as LCpl Joel Halliwell V.C. Way.
Free fitness for Armed Forces extended
Rochdale will continue to offer serving armed forces personnel free use of fitness facilities and swimming pools in council buildings to the end of 2014.
Following a successful pilot, Link4Life which manages leisure and cultural facilities on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council have also decided to extend the offer to local ex-armed forces who are out of work.
Serving Armed Forces personnel and unemployed ex armed forces can use council buildings at Rochdale Leisure Centre, Middleton Arena, Littleborough Sports Centre, Heywood Sports Village, Bowlee Park Sports Centre and Castleton Swimming pool free of charge.
Over the last 5 months, 125 military personnel have taken up the offer, with 2 out of 3 people using the facilities more than twice a week, resulting in nearly 1,100 visits.
Applying for a job with the council through agencies
If you've left the Armed Forces and apply for a job at the council, you'll be guaranteed an interview if you meet certain conditions.
Recognition from the Royal British Legion
The council appears as one authority recognised by the Royal British Legion as best example of their work under the Armed Forces Community Covenant.
Council Tax exemption
It was agreed by councillors that with effect from 1 April 2014 properties left empty by armed forces personnel in the course of their duties will be eligible for a full discount to the property. If the property remains occupied by other family members Council Tax will continue to be payable. The Council Tax regulations allow authority's local discretion to fully discount properties left empty in these circumstances and this aligns with the council's commitment to work with and support our armed forces personnel.
Rochdale was given the chance to say thank you to hundreds of soldiers for their overseas service. Following a gruelling 6 month tour in Afghanistan, the First Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers headed home and were invited by Rochdale Borough Council to parade through the town.
The parade travelled through Maclure, Drake Street and finished at The Esplanade, Rochdale.
Thousands of people lined the streets to pay tribute and the troops were given a civic reception.
Armed Forces newsletter
The first Armed Forces newsletter - Action for Armed Forces, supporting Rochdale's military community was published.
BNTVA Recognition campaign
On 14 October 2013 councillors voted to support the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association's (BNTVA) campaign for national recognition of the country's nuclear test veterans.
Success for CCE Rochdale who have been working with the MOD to repair damaged vehicles from the front line
Four Army transporters are being regenerated after serious damage by improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan. Work on the Oshkosh transporters is being carried out by Commercial Contract Engineers (CCE) of Rochdale where the latest was handed back to the MOD on 19th August.
Armed forces guaranteed interview scheme
Councillors have agreed to implement a proposal to guarantee an interview for ex-armed forces personnel applicants where they meet certain qualifying criteria.
The aim of this proposal is to deliver the council's commitment to further the 'Armed Forces Community Covenant' to ensure that ex-armed forces personnel are not disadvantaged as a result of their service.
Heywood's finest awarded Military Cross
Heywood's Lance Corporal Stephen Shaw has attended Buckingham Palace to collect his Military Cross for heroism while serving in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Shaw, 24, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, was praised by Prince Charles for having pulled an injured comrade to safety while under fire and giving him life-saving treatment. The Prince of Wales remarked: "Well done, it must have been a bad situation to get in."
Armed Forces Day
The council showed its support for the Armed Services by conducting services in every town in the borough.
First street in the borough to be renamed
Lance Corporal Stephen Shaw was the first soldier in the borough to be honoured by the council to rename a street within the borough in honour and recognition of his services. A part of Church Street, fronting the memorial gardens in Heywood, was renamed LCpl Stephen Shaw MC Way.
Freedom of the borough awarded to Lance Corporal Stephen Shaw
Lance Corporal Stephen Shaw M.C become a Freeman of the Borough, the highest honour the council can bestow on an individual or group.
He attended the ceremony at Heywood Civic Centre on 26 May 2013.
Free use of leisure facilities through Link4Life
All regular and reservist serving personnel from the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, regardless of where they live, have free use of all Link4Life fitness facilities and swimming pools across the borough.
It's easy. Just turn up at the centre and show your Forces ID card to Reception. If your ID card doesn't have a photo of you then please bring something like your driving licence as well. The first time you come you will be asked to fill in a Registration Card.
Death of Lee Rigby, a son of Rochdale
We received over 1,000 online messages of condolence for Fusilier Lee Rigby. Messages were also left in the books of condolence available at our libraries and council information points.
Rochdale organised and led the nation's condolences to his family at his funeral in the borough. Thousands of people lined the streets of Rochdale, Middleton and Bury to pay their final respects to Fusilier Lee Rigby as he was laid to rest.
Street naming in support of our Armed Forces
On 17 April 2013 the council supported the implementation of a policy of offering families of fallen service personnel who have died in active duty from the borough of Rochdale a chance to have a street or road named after their loved one.
Such lasting recognition, if this is the wishes of the family, could be a poignant way to demonstrate the community's admiration for those who serve.
Armed Forces website launched
A tailored suite of web pages has been created for armed forces, ex armed forces and their families. The Armed Forces community has been consulted with to maximise on accessibility, usability and to improve the content.
The website received over 18,000 page views in only 5 months of its launch. It has received positive feedback from the Ministry of Defence, The Royal British Legion and proved to be very successful with members of the Armed Forces from as far afield as Canada. Other local authorities are following our lead.
Dedicated Armed Forces contact details
A dedicated email address, postal address and 24 hour phone number was set up to deliver a more efficient service to armed forces, ex-armed forces and their families.
Helping ex-armed forces obtain medals
The vast majority of Service personnel receive campaign medals awarded to them while they are still in the Armed Forces, as they are required to be worn for ceremonial duty and other functions for which their uniform is required. If, however an individual leaves the Armed Forces before the medal can be issued, it is his or her responsibility to claim them from the Ministry of Defence Medal Office. As a result, there are still many veterans who have not received the medals to which they are entitled, the council are working closely with veterans to support them in completing and submitting application forms to obtain medals rightly owed to them due to the great bravery of those who contributed to two very significant campaigns of World War II. In total, the council has successfully supported a number of ex armed forces in obtaining medals.
Housing for Armed Forces personnel
Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) is the principal social landlord in the borough of Rochdale and a partner on the Armed Forces Community Covenant. They manage the housing register for 8 other social landlords operating in the borough, who also provide social rented housing. You only need to apply once to be considered by most social landlords in the borough of Rochdale. They provide support to all Armed Forces at every stage of their rehousing or tenancy.
Rochdale Armed Forces Community Covenant
The Rochdale Armed Forces Community Covenant was signed on 28 November 2012. The Armed Forces Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local armed forces community. It's intended to complement the Armed Forces Covenant which outlines the moral obligations between the nation, the government and the armed forces at a local level.