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A Gold Award for supporting armed forces staff

01 Sep 2021 - Press Release

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust has been given a national award for providing the best possible support for its armed forces staff.

The trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital and community NHS services in Stockport, has been granted the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award from the Ministry of Defence in recognition of its efforts to ensure staff who also work in the armed forces have the time they need to train.  

To win the award, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for Reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for veterans, Reserves, and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, as well as the spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.

They must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community by encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant which ensures a fair deal for those serving, and engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme, as well as other elements of support for reservists. Stockport NHS Foundation Trust had previously received Silver Award status, while the new rating reflects the continuation and enhancement of its commitment.

This year, organisations receiving the award include NHS trusts, educational institutions, financial services, hotels, charities, law firms, police services, football clubs and museums. The trust joined 18 other organisations across the North West in receiving the new award, including Manchester City Council, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and the University of Chester.

One staff member supported by the trust is Sophie Monkman, a junior doctor who also serves as an army medical reservist. Sophie said “The trust have been hugely supportive towards training in my army role, recognising the benefits it brings to the NHS and giving me the time for this additional commitment. It’s great to see this support being recognised.”

Karen James OBE, Chief Executive of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust said “Staff who work both for our trust and as reservists have shown a double commitment of public service which is truly to be admired. We are proud to show them our support, and are very pleased to have received the Gold Award in recognition of our commitment to this support.”  

Jan Cox, 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 delighted to be able to recognise the support and commitment given to the Armed Forces Covenant by employers in the region, through the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold awards. Each recipient has demonstrated the highest level of support to the Armed Forces community and we thank them for their outstanding commitment and enthusiasm.”

Reservist and doctor Sophie Monkman with Karen James, Chief Executive

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