Gold standard for Kent County Council’s support for the military

The Band of the Royal Marines marches through Maidstone watched by shoppers

The parade to mark the Freedom of the County of Kent, granted to HMS Kent in September

Kent County Council (KCC)’s support for ex-service personnel and reservists has been recognised with revalidation of the Ministry of Defence Employers’ Recognition Gold Award - five years since it first received it.

The MoD looks at how the Armed Forces Covenant is embedded in the culture of an organisation and how it ensures veterans and their families live successful and fulfilled lives, together with enabling the commitments of current reservists.

Canon Peter Bruinvels, KCC’s Covenant Lead and Civilian-Military Liaison Adviser, said: “We are very proud of this highest level of recognition for the second time.

“We greatly value all our staff as one of the largest employers in Kent, and in particular all our reservists, military spouses and ex-service personnel and the very effective contribution they make to our workforce.

Gathered guests for Kent Reserves Day celebrations at County Hall

Celebrations to mark Kent Reserves Day 2023

“Those colleagues bring their transferable skills such as leadership, organisational and team working and KCC greatly benefits, time after time. We have also always gone out of our way to listen to and support service children across Kent and the issues raised such as their regular changes of school. We consider ourselves military-friendly as an employer and this Gold revalidation reinforces that and proves it beyond doubt.”

Chairman of KCC Gary Cooke presents the Freedom of the County of Kent to HMS Kent's Commanding Officer Jez Brettell

Chairman of KCC Gary Cooke presents the Freedom of the County of Kent scroll to Commanding Officer of HMS Kent Jez Brettell

Gary Cooke, Chairman of Kent County Council and the Kent & Medway Civilian-Military Partnership Board, said: “We have taken meaningful steps to raise the profile of the armed forces community based in Kent, both in the council chamber and not least with events such as the recent granting of the Freedom of Kent to HMS Kent, ensuring no military personnel are disadvantaged by the sacrifices they have made in helping keep Kent and Britain safe and free.

“Our partnership with the armed forces community is second to none and we find it quite humbling that KCC is one of only two employers across Kent to gain the Gold Award this second time around."

KCC Leader Roger Gough added: “I am delighted that KCC’s support for the armed forces has yet again been recognised in this very public way. We have made it crystal clear that regardless of size, location or sector, employing people with military skills is good for business.”

Veterans gather at County Hall for the launch of the Poppy Appeal 2023

Veterans receive their poppies at the launch of the 2023 appeal

The Poppy Appeal  has been launched at County Hall in Maidstone

This year sees a new-look poppy, made in Aylesford from recycled paper.

KCC  Chairman Gary Cooke said: "Kent is very much a military county. County Poppy Appeal launches like this one are not only to remember those who have passed on – but to also personally thank all those members of the Armed Forces very publicly, especially those serving in Kent and Medway, for their outstanding contribution to the common cause.  We will remember them all."

Further information

Find out more about the MoD award scheme here:

For more about the Poppy Appeal, visit the Royal British Legion website here: