An action plan for improving the lives of serving and former armed forces personnel across the Solent has been published.

It details how six councils will work together to better understand and support the needs of around 60,000 serving and reservist personnel and veterans living and working in the region.

The six – Portsmouth City Council, Southampton City Council, Havant Borough Council, Gosport Borough Council, Fareham Borough Council and the Isle of Wight Council – are all signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant, a commitment to ensuring that current and former service personnel are treated with fairness and respect.

The six councils work together as the Solent Armed Forces Covenant Partnership Board, which has now published its plan for the next two years.

The action plan sets out:

  • How the Partnership will work with health providers, military charities and others to better reach and support armed forces members and their families.
  • How factors that disproportionately affect servicemen and women, such as employment, housing, education and poverty, will be addressed
  • Opportunities to increase support and training for frontline staff
  • Plans so that all members of the armed forces community know about the support available to them

A needs assessment carried out in 2022 gathered the views of armed forces members to understand their needs across the region, which has helped shaped the new plan.

Speaking on behalf of the Partnership, Portsmouth City Council leader Cllr Steve Pitt said: The thousands of servicemen and women and veterans living in the Solent are a huge part of its very identity. Each person brings their own unique skills and experiences to our places of work and our communities.

Working as a partnership, we recognise the great sacrifice they and their families make. So it’s right that our plan is ambitious and sets out the work we will do to make sure armed forces members and their families are not disadvantaged because of their service.”