Stagecoach signs covenant to support UK armed forces community

23 Jun 2015

  • Transport group’s written pledge recognises the contribution of the country’s military personnel 
  • Free bus travel for uniformed military personnel for National Armed Forces Day

Stagecoach Group has demonstrated its commitment to the UK Armed Forces by signing a corporate covenant to support the country’s military community. 

To mark the event and in recognition of National Armed Forces Day on Saturday 27 June, Stagecoach UK Bus is also offering free travel to military personnel on this special day. 

Uniformed military personnel and veterans wearing their medals are invited to travel, free of charge on local services on Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June. 

The voluntary Ministry of Defence written covenant recognises the contribution made by service personnel, reservists, veterans and military families to the UK and the value they bring to businesses across the country. 

The pledge – which was signed by Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths – commits the Group to upholding the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant which include treating all members of the Armed Forces Community with fairness and respect, and supporting military personnel and their families at all times.  

Through the covenant, Stagecoach has vowed to:

  • Promote that it is an Armed Forces-friendly organisation
  • Seek to support the employment of veterans, young and old
  • Strive to support the employment of Service spouses and partners
  • Support employees who choose to be members of the Reserve Forces
  • Offer support to local cadet units

Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: “The importance of the Armed Forces Community to the UK cannot be underestimated. At Stagecoach we are hugely grateful to our military personnel for the courageous work they do, both at home and abroad, in the interests of British citizens. 

“We are forever indebted to those who risk their lives every day, and to those who have sadly lost their lives or suffered injury while serving our country. We believe we can play our part in repaying the Armed Forces in some way by pledging to provide support wherever we can for military personnel to ensure they are treated fairly and with respect at all times.”

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Stagecoach Group companies have supported military personnel in a variety of ways over the last 12 months.

  • Stagecoach UK Bus is providing free transport to uniformed personnel and veterans wearing medals on National Armed Forces Day
  • Stagecoach UK Bus makes an annual donation to the British Legion by purchasing a poppy on behalf of every driver
  • Stagecoach West has decorated nine of its buses with images and information about nine servicemen from the Gloucestershire Regiment; eight of whom hold the Victoria Cross, and one of whom holds the George Cross. The fleet of buses is used throughout the local area and plans are in place to take them to schools later in the year
  • Stagecoach London decorated a bus from head to toe in poppies in recognition of London Poppy Day
  • The South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance attends dedicated armed forces recruitment fairs across southern England, attending three events in the last year. The events help personnel who are transitioning from military life into full time work utilising the skills and experiences gained whilst serving
  • Stagecoach Supertram offers free transport to uniformed personnel and veterans on Poppy Day and places poppies on all of their trams

Stagecoach Group has also launched initiatives to support military personnel in North America. The veterans work programme covers all of the Group's 25 local bus companies in the United States, which operate 2,400 buses and coaches. It works with veteran groups and the forces to help military personnel find work as drivers, mechanics and secure other roles.

A dedicated helpline gives access to support from the company's human resources team. The initiative also offers paid training for military applicants without previous experience as a commercial bus driver, with part-time opportunities available to fit with their military and civilian schedule.

For the past two years, Stagecoach Group's business in North America has also donated $1 to the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) for every passenger travelling on Veterans Day in November. More than $40,000 has been raised for WWP, which for more than a decade has worked to raise awareness and provide aid for the needs of injured servicemen and women. WWP currently serves more than 59,000 injured veterans and, by 2017, that figure is expected to grow to more than 100,000.

Stagecoach Group also recently became the first corporate patron of the Black Watch Museum in Perth which pays tribute to the former Black Watch Regiment, the area’s elite military regiment whose history stretches back almost three centuries.

Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans, Mark Lancaster, said, “We are incredibly proud of the Armed Forces Covenant and the positive, lasting impact that its schemes are having on our personnel and their families. Since the Armed Forces Covenant was enshrined in law in 2011, we have committed over £150 million, and this year have confirmed a permanent commitment of £10 million a year. Despite these achievements, we are not complacent and recognise there is more that can be done. 

“Military life can often have its challenges and, for our personnel, often means putting themselves in harm’s way which can result in injury and potential difficulty in integrating back into civilian life. For families, military life can mean having to move around the country every few years affecting places on NHS waiting lists, children’s schooling, partners finding jobs and getting credit or mortgages. It is for those reasons that the security the Covenant offers is so vital to our Armed Forces who, due to the sacrifices they make in serving their country, deserve our support and appreciation.”