Shropshire Armed Forces and veterans: information released from the 2021 Census
The second topic summary of results from the 2021 Census by the Office for National Statistics has been released. These results focus on people who have served in the UK Armed Forces, either as regulars or reservists. Data will be available from national level down to small areas, called ‘census output areas’.
This is the first time questions have been included in the census asking people about whether they have served in the UK Armed Forces. This has been included to support commitments made by the Government and local government under the Armed Forces Covenant. This will enable the Government, local government and charities to better understand the profile and needs of ex-military people and their families.
In 2021, 14,800 people in Shropshire reported that they had previously served in the UK Armed Forces. This is 5.5% of the usual resident population aged 16 and over. This is significantly higher than the England and Wales figure of 3.8%. In Shropshire 77.4% of these served in the regular forces, 18.1% of these served in the reserve forces and 4.5% served in both regular and reserve forces.
Early headlines show that, in March 2021, there were 14,500 (98%) UK Armed Forces veterans living in households, and the remainder (300) living in communal establishments. In Shropshire there were 13,800 households (10% of all households) with one or more people who had served in the UK Armed Forces. This compares to 7% of all households in England and Wales.
Shropshire Council has recently had their Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award re-validated. This demonstrates the council’s commitment to supporting its workforce, as well as the wider Armed Forces community.
The council has been signatories to the Armed Forces Covenant for over 10 years. Through this commitment, the covenant promote they are an Armed Forces-friendly organisation, support veterans, service spouses and partners, reservists, and cadet organisations. Armed Forces Covenant also supports a number of local and national events: examples include Armed Forces Day, Military Match Day, Remembrance, and Covenant signings. The Shropshire Armed Forces Covenant has also formed close links with several businesses, charities and organisations across Shropshire, many of whom have signed the Armed Forces Covenant to demonstrate their support.
One project that highlights the support for the Armed Forces community is the Armed Forces Outreach programme. The programme provides wraparound support for the veteran/ military community in Shropshire and beyond. The team provide information, advice and guidance, working with a number of the service charities to ensure that military personnel, veterans and their families are offered the help and support they deserve. This can be as simple as them attending the various outreach locations for company, to providing support with housing, benefits, physical and mental health, and employment.
Shropshire Armed Forces Outreach also work with a number of the local agencies who regularly refer veterans to the outreach for additional support. Many of these agencies have signed the Armed Forces Covenant to pledge their support to the military community.
It is hoped that the census will give a better idea of the location of veterans in Shropshire, ensuring that we are reaching all areas.
Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member and Armed Forces Champion, said:-
“This new information will be extremely welcome to help support the work of the Shropshire Armed Forces Covenant and the Outreach Project. It will enable us to better direct our resources to help veterans and their families.
“The census data will give a better idea of the location of veterans in Shropshire, ensuring that we are reaching all areas.
“Better information means we can work more efficiently with other public services and charities.”
James Walton, Shropshire Council’s executive director for resources, added:-
“This is the first time information has been collected about veterans, and will be invaluable information for Shropshire to improve the knowledge and understanding about the veteran community and their families, helping to ensure services and funding can be put in place where they are needed most.”
During November 2022 to January 2023, the Office for National Statistics will be releasing a series of topic led results in the order of:-
- Ethnic group, national identity, language and religion – 29 November 2022
- Labour market and travel to work – 8 December 2022
- Housing – 5 January 2023
- Sexual identity and gender identity – 6 January 2023
- Education – 10 January 2023
- Health, disability and unpaid care – 19 January 2023.
For further information, and to find out more about the Census 2021 results, people can visit the ONS website.
Further information and analysis for Shropshire will be added to the Shropshire Council 2021 Census webpages as further results become available. It is important that the results and analysis are widely accessible to all. The council is aiming to publish the early headlines and infographics, followed by the development of area profiles, interactive tools and topic-based analysis.
Please note all figures have been rounded.