Published on: 31 July 2020
City Hospitals Independent Commercial Enterprises Ltd (CHoICE) has been presented with the Gold Award from the Ministry of Defence, the highest badge of honour for organisations which have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and demonstrated outstanding support for those who serve and have served.
The company, which is based at Sunderland Royal Hospital provides a full range of facilities, procurement and pharmacy services, is a wholly owned subsidiary of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust. CHoICE signed a community covenant with the MoD in May 2019 and has long been a supporter of our Armed Forces.
CHoICE has a dedicated policy to support the work of reservists, which includes paid leave to allow them to attend training. Staff are also encouraged to support military led events, such as Exercise Military Challenge so they can appreciate the work undertaken by the Reserves and gain from their team building ethos.
The Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Awards recognise employers who actively support the Armed Forces community in their workplace and also encourage others to follow their lead. The award scheme, which attracts entries from companies in every part of the country and in the private and public sectors, has seen a rapid increase in participation since it launched in 2014.
CHoICE joins a group of 226 winners from previous years bringing the total to 353 organisations who can share their knowledge and experience on the benefits of employing those from the Armed Forces community. The also follow in the footsteps of the Trust, which was one of the first organisations nationally to be presented with the Gold award.
Eddie Young, Distribution Team Supervisor at CHoICE, is just one of the veterans supported by the organisation. He said: “I feel the skills and experience I gained during my service career in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers is valued and appreciated by CHoICE. I can use my service experience to make a real difference for our customers”
Ian Makinson, Managing Director of CHoICE, said: “We are honoured to have been recognised by the Ministry of Defence for the work we do to support the Armed Forces. Our military veterans, reservists and colleagues with partners in the armed services are a tremendous asset and bring invaluable skills and experience to our organisation. We have always strived to be welcoming and flexible as an employer and support the important work of our reservists and military partners. We also employ a number of veterans and are looking at initiatives that will provide work placement opportunities and guaranteed interviews where they have skills that match a role. We welcome the support of the Ministry of Defence and hope to continue to foster relationships to encourage more organisations to follow this same ethos.”
Johnny Mercer, Minister for Defence People and Veterans said: “The breadth and diversity of the winners this year shows how business support for the Armed Forces continues to grow no matter the sector, company size or location. I am grateful for the positive attitude and flexible policies these organisations have adopted towards the defence community, which is testament to the fantastic contribution our serving personnel, veterans and their families can make to any organisation.
“I am delighted that so many companies are supporting our people and that, through this scheme, we can give them the public recognition they deserve.”