Stay Another Day East 17
A special ceremony has been held to mark Southend's support of the Armed Forces.
The leader of Southend Borough Council, Councillor Nigel Holdcroft, has signed a major Armed Forces covenant pledge.
The Covenant represents a voluntary statement of mutual support between the community in Southend and the local Armed Forces Community.
It symbolises a formal promise as part of the national Community Covenant Scheme, launched by the Ministry of Defence, to strengthen the bonds between both communities, raise awareness and provide practical support.
Councillor Nigel Holdcroft has been telling Heart: "We are extremely grateful and proud of our dedicated Armed Forces, so it is our duty to ensure they receive the services and help they and their families need to integrate into civilian life.
"Our residents continue to demonstrate their support for the Armed Forces in many ways, and this pledge is another important way to do so.
"The community turned out vast numbers to cheer the Royal Anglian Regiment when it previously marched through the town, and our veterans events are always extremely well attended."
Speaking on behalf of the Armed Forces community throughout Essex, Colchester Garrison Commander Colonel Mike Newman said: "The military already enjoys strong support from the people and institutions of Southend, which we are immensely grateful for, and the signing of the Community Covenant only serves to strengthen and formalise these existing bonds.
"But the Community Covenant represents far more than a symbolic statement of mutual support. It gives a framework for joint work to ensure that services such as housing, education and health reflect the needs of military personnel, veterans and their families.
"I look forward to a productive relationship to improve understanding between the military and civilian communities in Southend and also to ensure that the Armed Forces play their part in the community in which they live and work."