West Sussex County Council has been recognised for its work supporting the armed forces with a Silver Employer Recognition Scheme award.
The accolade is awarded to organisations that are making a demonstrable effort to support, recruit and develop armed forces personnel.
Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities, collected the award at a ceremony on-board HMS Victory in Portsmouth.
The county council was nominated for the award by a military veteran, Matthew Hall, now an employee of the council.
Matthew, who is the council’s Head of Emergencies and Resilience, said: “The support I have received from the council since leaving the regular forces and as a reservist has been fantastic.
“I have been able to continue developing my leadership and risk management skills in addition to developing a wider understanding of different cultures.
“Without the support of West Sussex I would not be able to undertake this work.”
Another council employee, Megan Muddle, whose husband is in the forces, said: “The support I have received from managers and colleagues has been incredible.
“They have been so understanding of my situation and having only been at the council for six months I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome.”
Debbie Kennard said: “I am really delighted that we were nominated for this award by a member of staff.
“I am very proud that this council actively supports our armed forces communities each and every day just as they support us, by protecting our way of life.
“It is really important that organisations such as the county council support people to be able to continue serving as a reservist, support a forces family member or helps someone to reintegrate into civilian life.”
The county council signed the military covenant in 2012. This gives a commitment by the council and other organisations to help forces members, veterans and their families with issues such as housing, education, healthcare and employment.
Photo caption: Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities, receives the award from Nigel Atkinson, Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire. Also photographed are Sally Manning and Matt Hall from West Sussex County Council.