Maidstone United are joining with clubs in the National League to support a military scheme.
The Armed Forces Corporate Covenant, which was introduced in June 2013, has attracted backing from more than 700 companies that have publicly pledged their support to the Armed Forces community.
Members of the Armed Forces met club representatives at a National League meeting in Telford yesterday (21 January).
Speaking at the meeting Major General Richard Stanford MBE, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Regional Command, said: “Football is the national game and it’s also the soldiers’ game – and this is an ideal way to link the Armed Forces to football, to link into communities, to prevent us from being seen as separate.
“The Armed Forces Covenant is not about special treatment – it’s about recognising the unique nature of service life and providing a level playing field and together in this we can make a real difference and I look forward to developing closer links between the clubs and you all.”
The National League led the way on behalf of its clubs with the signing of the covenant last November by chairman Brian Barwick.
Mr Barwick added: “It’s a no brainer to get involved in this. I’m delighted our clubs are signing this too for the Vanarama National League.
“We should commit ourselves to helping the Armed Forces and I think the Armed Forces can be beneficial for us, inspiring people – and our own people can inspire them too – it will be a great partnership.”
The covenant is a promise between the nation, Government and the Armed Forces to treat our serving personnel, veterans and their families with fairness and respect. Corporates, charities and local authorities can sign the Armed Forces Covenant and make their own promise to support the Forces in ways of their choosing.
The Stones will be paired with 36 Engineer Regiment, based at the neighbouring Invicta Park Barracks. There is a significant connection between the two already, with the Gallagher Stadium being on the site of the regiment’s former sports ground.
The stadium hosted a match between the Royal Engineers Association Football Club and a Football Association XI back in November 2013.