Medway Council welcomes census change to count the armed forces community in | Medway Council
Published: Thursday, 16th July 2020

For the first time in the history of the census, there will be a question on armed forces service after a campaign led by The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland, supported by Medway Council.

The council is delighted that the government has announced the 2021 census will now include a question to provide information on whether someone has served in HM Armed Forces, following legislation passed last month.

The census is held every 10 years and gives government and local authorities the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. The information residents give will help decide how services are planned and funded in Medway.

The Royal British Legion, which led the campaign, is at the heart of a national network offering a range of support and services to the armed forces community. The decision to include the question on the 2021 census will provide the Legion, as well as public bodies, local authorities, and other military charities with valuable information to ensure they can best meet the needs of serving personnel, veterans and their families.

It has been estimated that there are 2.4 million veterans currently living in Great Britain who make up part of a wider ex-service community which includes their spouses, partners, dependent children as well as widows and widowers. However, little is currently known about the exact numbers, location and needs of this significant group. Including an armed forces question in the next census will provide public bodies, local authorities, and charities with valuable information to ensure they are able to deliver the best services they can for our armed forces community. 

Medway Council has signed the Armed Forces Covenant which focuses on ensuring services are provided to members of the armed forces community, from education and family well-being to advice on starting a new career. In 2018 the council was presented the silver award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme for its continued efforts to help those from a military background secure employment and provide support to them throughout their employment.

The Armed Forces Covenant ensures that services, such as education and career support, are provided to members of the armed forces community.

We are committed to doing everything we can to support Medway’s armed forces community

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services and Armed Forces Champion, said: “I am very pleased that the 2021 Census will now include an armed forces question. This historic change will help us have a better understanding of the needs of veterans in Medway and will play a key part of making sure our services are tailored for serving personnel, veterans and their families. We are incredibly proud of our military connections here in Medway and we are committed to doing everything we can to support Medway’s armed forces community.”

This will have a huge impact on service personnel, veterans and their families 

Charles Byrne, Director-General of The Royal British Legion, said: “This is an extremely proud moment for the Legion. After leading a successful campaign, the fact that a military question will be in the 2021 Census will significantly improve our understanding of the Armed Forces community which up until now has been very limited. It will ensure that we, along with other charities and service providers, can deliver the best service possible to them when and where it is needed most.

“This is something we have been striving towards for many years, it will have a huge impact on service personnel, veterans and their families well into the future, as the outcome will allow us to provide more effective care and support to those who are in need. We are delighted and are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported the campaign and helped us to achieve this historical success.”

Census 2021 will start on Sunday 21 March 2021 on Census Day.

A number of job opportunities are currently available to encourage everyone in Medway, and across the country, to take part.

Find out more about the RBL's Count Them In campaign. You can also pledge your support on social media using the #CountThemIn hashtag.

‘Count Them In’ is part of The Royal British Legion’s ongoing campaign work to help champion the interests, welfare, and contributions of the Armed Forces Community.

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