A PARTNERSHIP scheme between Cotswold District Council and 29 Regiment Royal Logistic Corp at South Cerney to help soldiers get involved in the community is going from strength to strength.

Last year the council signed up to the Gloucestershire Local Armed Forced Community Covenant and has since been working to support soldiers stationed at the base – home to 140 families.

Steps forward that have been made include setting up regular buses between Swindon and Cirencester and securing a £14,000 grant from the Ministry of Defence, which will help pay for services including English language training, adult education cources and youth activities.

The regiment’s commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Viliame Nanovo said the isolated location of South Cerney had long posed problems for soldiers and their families, but the covenant was helping to address this.

"We are bringing activities and services to the families as a first step to exposing them to what opportunities are available, and our hope is that this will then encourage them to seek out and participate in more activities in the local community," he said.

He added the council had connected the regiment with a number of agencies including the Churn Project and Gloucestershire County Council’s adult education team.

"We are also working with CDC on the possibility of improvements to the children play areas within the South Cerney married quarters area," he said. "Overall the CDC partnership will make a real difference in offering opportunities and benefits to my families."

CDC cabinet member for housing and communities Cllr Carole Topple (Con, Riversmeet) said she was pleased by the progress the project had made.

"We owe so much to the military for safeguarding the security of our country but their efforts do tend to get overlooked as we go about our daily business," she said. "The covenant has helped to focus our attention on the needs of the military families who live in this locality and I am sure it will pave the way to improved mutual understanding between local residents and the base."