Surrey Armed Forces Covenant Conference 2021

On Thursday 18 March 170 people came together from as far afield as Cumbria and Cornwall for the first Surrey Armed Forces Covenant Conference to be held online. The speakers were informative and inspiring and the feedback from those present has been amazing.

The Power of Partnership

The first half of the conference shone a light on the positive impact of the partnerships formed in response to Covid 19. Speakers from the Surrey Local Resilience Forum and Ashford and St Peter's Hospital told of the invaluable contribution made by military personnel working with their teams. The key role of the transferrable skills of military personnel was a recurring theme, demonstrated brilliantly by a reservist working for Surrey County Council, who was re-deployed to the PPE cell.

The determined commitment to support the armed forces community was also in evidence, with speakers from a veterans' hub and the Surrey Council Adult Social Care Team sharing just some of the efforts made to ensure veterans within the County didn't feel forgotten during these tough times.

Looking Forward

The second half of the conference looked forward to the year ahead, with updates from the Ministry of Defence Armed Forces Covenant Team and details of the recently commissioned Living In Our Shoes report, looking at the impact on families if members are serving. Recommendations will be made shortly regarding ways business and local authorities can better support these families. Runnymede Borough Council are committed and shared some of their key objectives.

One challenge raised in the Living in our Shoes report was employment and career options for military spouses. Many businesses were present to hear the presentation from a very talented military spouse working for global business KBR. The pro-active and supportive approach has benefitted both business and employee and we hope will provide inspiration for other companies to look at who and how they recruit.

Forces Connect App

Bringing the conference to a close was an update about the Forces Connect App. This free resource signposts members of the armed forces community to support and advice. It is newly sponsored by The Shots Foundation, the charitable arm of Aldershot Football Club and is set to go from strength to strength.

Watch our promotional video to find out more about the app. We hope you will be enthused to download the app and spread the word!!

Enormous thanks from the Surrey Civilian Military Partnership Board go to all the amazing speakers who made the conference possible.

You can still be part of the conference

If you were not able to be part of the conference on the day it is still possible to view it via the @SurreyMilitary Facebook page.

Surrey Armed Forces Covenant Conference Agenda

10am - Chairman's Welcome

Mr Peter Martin, Chairman Chairman of Surrey Civilian Military Partnership Board and Armed Forces Champion for Surrey County Council

10.10am - Surrey's Partnership Response to Covid-19

  • Surrey's Local Resilience Forum (SLRF) – Steve Owen-Hughes, Chairman of SLRF and Major Sam Hibbs, HAC, Assistant Joint Regional Liaison Officer
  • Reflections on Partnership Working - David Munro, Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Military Personnel working in Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals - Russell Lewis, Chief of Staff, Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Military skills in a civilian environment: the PPE Cell – Tor Peebles, Surrey County Council Flood Risk Management Strategy and Partnership Team Leader and Troop Commander, RLC
  • Supporting Veterans through the pandemic - Deborah and Roy Sellstrom, Veterans & Families Listening Project, Tracey Morris, Adult Social Care, Surrey County Council

11.05am - Questions

An opportunity to ask the previous speakers questions. You can email them in advance to or ask them on the day.

11.15am - Break

11.25am - Armed Forces Covenant - National Context and New Legislation

John Shivas, Assistant Head, Armed Forces Covenant Team, Ministry of Defence

11.35am - 11 Brigade Priorities and Partnership Working in Surrey

Col John Baynham OBE, Deputy Commander 11 Infantry Brigade

11.45am - Living in Our Shoes

Prof Jan Walker OBE FAcSS FRSA

12.00pm - Supporting Armed Forces Families

Cllr Tom Gracey, Armed Forces Champion, Runnymede Borough Council

12.10pm Supportive Employer from Perspective of a Military Spouse

Ginnie Dallard MBE, KBR

12.25pm Access to Support: The Forces Connect App

Shahid Azeem DL, High Sheriff of Surrey and Chairman of Aldershot Football Club

12.35pm - Questions to panel and discussion

1.00pm - Close

The Chairman brings the Surrey Armed Forces Covenant Conference 2021 conference to a close