Published on: 4 September 2019

CHoICE Ltd, which provides facilities, pharmacy and other operational support services for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, has received the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver award.

The prized award follows the signing earlier this year by CHoICE of the Armed Forces Covenant, which formally identified the company as a forces-friendly employer.

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same by pledging, demonstrating or advocating support to defence and the armed forces community and aligning their values with the covenant.

CHoICE Managing Director Ian Makinson said: “We are committed to further strengthening our links with the armed forces so we are very proud indeed to receive the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver award. Our role is to support and assist the NHS in providing vital healthcare services and we employ a number of veterans to help us to do this. We know at first hand the benefits that reservists and veterans bring through their unique training, skills and experiences.”

CHoICE also supports staff who are members or who wish to join the reservists or cadet forces, ensuring they can take leave to train and supporting them during deployment.

Commenting on the announcement of the 2019 Employer Recognition Scheme Silver awards, Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said: “These awards recognise the outstanding support for our armed forces from employers across Britain and I would like to thank and congratulate each and every one. Regardless of size, location or sector, employing ex-forces personnel is good for business and this year we have doubled the number of awards in recognition of the fantastic support they give.” 

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said: “Veterans make a huge contribution to businesses across the country and it’s fantastic to see a record-breaking number of organisations recognised for their support. We’re working closely with businesses to help them further understand the huge value that veterans, reservists and military spouses can bring to their organisation.”

The Armed Forces Covenant represents a promise by the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly by having the same access as any other citizen to everything from healthcare, education and starting a new career, to financial assistance and having a home. As well as signing the covenant, CHoICE is also signed up to Step into Health, a programme developed in conjunction with The Royal Foundation and Walking With the Wounded to provide a dedicated pathway for the armed forces community to access the numerous career opportunities available in the NHS.