The Black Country Chamber of Commerce are celebrating after being named the first Chamber in England to have been awarded the Defence Gold Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Award 2020.

The Armed Forces Covenant Scheme enables employers to publicly declare their support for Defence personnel. The three-tier scheme of bronze, silver and gold awards encourages employers to support defence and the wider armed forces community by aligning their company values and providing a working environment that openly advocates support for employees from the service community. The awards enable the Ministry of Defence to publicly thank and honour organisations for their support.

British Chambers of Commerce Co-Executive Director Hannah Essex said: “I am delighted that the Black Country Chamber has been recognised for their support of our defence personnel. Not only have they championed this work in their local communities, they are also coordinating and encouraging greater efforts across the Chamber Network.
“This Award serves as another example of how local Chambers are striving to make their communities a better place to live and work.”
Corin Crane, Chief Executive for Black Country Chamber of Commerce said: “The Defence Employer Recognition Awards represent the value of our UK Armed Forces and the many benefits they bring to employers and business. As an organisation we are committed to upholding our covenant pledge, receiving gold status is testimony to the hard work and endeavours of our team and we congratulate our fellow award winners for the recognition and value they place on our Armed Forces and those in the wider defence community.”
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, Johnny Mercer, Minister for Defence People and Veterans said: “ The breadth and diversity of the winners this year show business support for the Armed forces continues to grow no matter the sector, company size or location. I am grateful for the positive attitude and flexible policies these organisations have adopted towards the defence community, which is testament to the fantastic contribution our serving personnel, veterans and their families can make to any organisation.”
Sarah Walker, Project Manager and Armed Forces Champion for Black Country Chamber of Commerce told Prosper; “Gold ERS status is a huge achievement which publicly recognises our support for the Armed Forces Community within the Black Country and through our nationwide project the Chamber Military Network (CMN).

“As a Chamber, we are the lead on the CMN project and the award winning ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’ business start-up programme. We remain committed to ensuring the profile of our military community is raised at the highest levels.”