In 2023, Newport will be honoured to hold Wales’ national Armed Forces Day – the annual commemoration and celebration of the armed forces community.

We highly value our serving personnel, veterans, reservists and their families.

They deserve our thanks for their service and the sacrifices many have made to keep our country safe. In more recent times, they have played an important role during the pandemic alongside NHS staff.

I recently visited the Newport Veterans Hub which supports former service people and their families in the city. Those involved in this excellent organisation aim to bring veterans out of isolation by offering them a place to socialise and make new friends.

They are welcoming all veterans to join them as well as volunteers to help with activities. I would encourage veterans living in the city who are not aware of the hub to visit for more information.

We were delighted to be shortlisted in the employer of the year category in the Welsh Veterans Awards and to receive a bronze award last week.

I attended the ceremony along with the council’s armed forces champion, Councillor Mark Spencer, and reservist Tony Hampson, who works in our education team.

Hundreds of nominations were received for the awards which aim to inspire future service leavers.

The employer of the year category called for a commitment to attracting, employing and retaining ex-forces personnel and reservists as well as looking at the support and training offered.

We have adopted a reservist policy and have a guaranteed interview scheme for members of the armed forces community as well as employing a regional schools liaison officer to support service children.

The council has signed up to the armed forces covenant and has received its gold employer recognition award. It also encourages suppliers and partners to sign the armed forces covenant.

We believe it is only right as an employer to support veterans, serving members of the armed forces and their families for their service to the country.

The award is a tribute to those members of staff who are dedicated to making sure we help our former and serving members of the forces in every way we can

We also hold regular ceremonies to remember those who have served our country since the First World War, including the Merchant Navy and recently raised the red ensign in recognition of the valuable contribution made by its sailors.

At the end of October, we will be giving the Freedom of the City to the Royal British Legion to honour this wonderful organisation in its centenary year.

Plans are also being drawn up to mark the annual Remembrance Day events in November and further details will be available in the coming weeks.

We must never forget that members of the armed forces have given so much including, in some cases their lives and their health, to protect us and our country.