Preston joins an elite band of towns and cities in the UK to agree to a partnership and relationship with the military by signing an historic 'military covenant'.
Already proud of its strong military connections and links, this covenant will define a new way forward for Preston to assist people serving or who have served their country and to celebrate the city's military connections.
The most senior soldier in the North West, Brigadier Nick Fitzgerald, Commander of 42 (North West) Brigade, will be signing on behalf of the military. He said:
"Preston has always been a Service-friendly place. The local community has a strong record of supporting its local personnel, both past and present, and I'm sure that same sense of welcome will be extended to those service personnel yet to return here from wherever in the world their Service has taken them. That's why we in the military are extremely proud to be part of the Preston Community Covenant.
"This is an enormously important document which represents a commitment to cement and build on the support which those in military service, those who have now left service and the families of both groups receive. But I hope it will also promote a better understanding and awareness amongst members of the public of the issues that affect the Service community, and that it will encourage the people of Preston to develop an even stronger relationship with those in the city who are part of the wider military family."
Preston is proud of its military connections. Many people from the city serve in the armed forces and Preston is also home to Fulwood Barracks.
The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment and the Royal King's Hussars have freedom of the city. Preston also has an affiliation with 45 Squadron RAF Benson.
The military covenant provides a greater working relationship between the council, other public sector bodies, local communities and the military.
Work will be undertaken to assist service personnel and their families in education, skills and employment, housing, local environment and health and wellbeing. The covenant will also see a strengthening of Preston's military connections and celebrations, particularly important during 2012 Preston Guild year.
The covenant will also see closer working with veterans associations to develop a one stop shop to support armed forces personnel and encouraging local businesses to support military personnel.
An image of the signed copy of the Armed Forces and Community Covenant between Preston City Council, Representatives of the Charitable, Public and Voluntary Sectors and the Civilian Community of Preston can be.