Compton Verney, the award winning Warwickshire Art Gallery and Park, has become the first museum or gallery in the UK to sign a pledge to support servicemen and veterans.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a voluntary pledge from businesses, charities and other organisations to show their support for the Armed Forces community. It exists to redress the disadvantages that they may face in comparison to other citizens, and to recognise the sacrifices made.

Dr Steven Parissien, Director of Compton Verney, explains why they decided to get involved: “We are always looking to welcome a new audience and play a greater role in the local community. There are around 45,000 ex-service people in Warwickshire, 27,000 of who live in the adjacent Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon districts near Compton Verney. When they leave their roles within the forces, we would like to extend an invitation for them to consider becoming an employee of, or volunteer with, the gallery and park. Signing the covenant is indicative of the leading role Compton Verney plays in developing new solutions to ensure the heritage sector’s future diversity, resilience and continued relevance.”

Over the past year, the gallery has established a relationship with the local Armed Forces community. This has already resulted in Forces staff assisting with a number of public events. 

Dr Parissien added: “Now we have become the first UK museum or gallery to sign the Armed Forces Covenant in Business, this will, help to ensure that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces and their families should face no disadvantage compared to others citizens in terms of employment and the provision of public and commercial services. This partnership will clearly demonstrate the value of the Armed Forces’ contribution to society and – we really hope - serve as a model for arts organisations across the UK.”

Sheila Stephenson, Community Engagement Officer with Headquarters 11th Signal and West Midlands Brigade, said: “Escapism through creativity has long been associated with the military at times of war – poetry, cartoons, music, the conversion of items of military hardware into sculpture. However, the Arts is an area which the Army is not traditionally associated as having close relationships with. It is, however, a sector of society that we wish to partner with in order to better integrate our service community and improve their local networks and quality of life.”

For more information about Compton Verney follow @ComptonVerney on Twitter, like the Compton Verney Facebook page or visit www.comptonverney.org.uk   

 

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