Steve Brine has welcomed news that a 'community covenant' was signed by Winchester City Council and the local Armed Forces community at the Guildhall in Winchester on Wednesday 15 May.
The covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between the civilian community, represented by the local authority, and local representatives of the Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.
The document was signed by the Mayor of Winchester, the Right Worshipful, Cllr Ernest Jeffs, Brigadier Allan McLeod Late RLC on behalf of the Armed Forces, Colonel Stephen Oxlade MBE on behalf of the South East Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association and Mr William Bates MBE, County Chairman of the Royal British Legion.
The purpose of the covenant is to encourage support for the Armed Forces community working and living in the Winchester District and to recognise and remember the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces, particularly those who have given the most. This includes those currently in service, ex-service personnel and their families.
Cllr Keith Wood, the Leader of Winchester City Council, said: "This covenant recognises on behalf of the City Council and the Winchester District the role played by the Armed Forces in our community, notably at Worthy Down, Sir John Moore Barracks and Southwick Park and through the military museums at Peninsula Barracks.
"For the City Council and its partners, the covenant presents an opportunity to bring to bear knowledge, experience and expertise to help and advise members of the Armed Forces community and a chance to build on existing good work."
Steve Brine said: "This is great news, and something that will be warmly welcomed. The military has such a presence here in Winchester, and knocking on doors it is apparent just how many ex-servicemen continue to live locally, so I am delighted to see this covenant between our representatives in the council and the Armed Forces."
Brigadier Allan McLeod Late RLC representing the Armed Forces community, said: "The Forces welcome the signing of this community covenant which supports the integration of service life into civilian life and encourages members of the Armed Forces to help their local community.
"We look forward to continued and increasing participation in events, joint projects and charity work to help boost public understanding and awareness of the issues affecting the Armed Forces."
Winchester City Council has always enjoyed a close association with the Armed Forces and several regiments have been awarded 'Freedom of Entry to the City', including the Adjutant General's Corps (Worthy Down), the Rifles (Museum and HQ at Peninsula Barracks), Princess of Wales Royal Regiment (Museum at Serles House), the King's Royal Hussars (Museum at Peninsula Barracks), and the Army Training Regiment (Winchester), (formerly the Army Technical Foundation College – Sir John Moore Barracks). The Defence College of Policing and Guarding is also based at Southwick Park, in the Southern Parishes
An informal celebration of the new covenant is planned for Armed Forces Week in June 2013, and the covenant will see the City Council and the Armed Forces work together in areas such as celebration of civic and ceremonial events, community events, activities and campaigns, access to appropriate housing and employment, leisure, recreation and retail, transport and parking, as well as influence and representation.
Pictured; Winchester welcomes the returning 11 Light Brigade, back from Afghanistan, in 2010