Last updated: 17 October 2023

Next review: 17 October 2024

Image of the Armed Forces Logo

Waltham Forest has a strong and meaningful connection to the Armed Forces, reflecting its deep respect and appreciation for those who serve and have served the nation.

We are committed to working in partnership with the Voluntary and Community sectors and charities to ensure our Armed Forces community can live and thrive well in Waltham Forest.


What is the Armed Forces Covenant

The Armed Forces Covenant was established in 2011 as a promise by the nation to ensure veterans,  Armed Forces personnel (whether regular or reserve) and their families, are treated fairly and face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in accessing public and commercial services.

The Covenant recognises that the Armed Forces community make unique sacrifices for us, resulting in specific needs and challenges that need to be addressed. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases and in doing so we are not unfairly giving special treatment, but simply seeking to ensure they are not disadvantaged in accessing public services and resources as a result of their service.

Ensuring fair and equal access to goods, services, information, and support whether from statutory, voluntary, or commercial organisations is the main issue the covenant seeks to address.

This means ensuring:

  • Armed Forces personnel (whether regular or reserve), veterans, and their families are not disadvantaged because of their military service.
  • special consideration is given on a case-by-case basis.
  • a level playing field to accessing any form of service, support, and information.

The Armed Forces Act gained Royal Assent in Parliament on 15 December 2021 and further enshrined the covenant into law. The Armed Forces Act delivers a series of improvements and places a duty on public bodies including councils, the Police and Primary Health Care providers to uphold the covenant principles. As a Council, the new Armed Forces Act has provided us with an opportunity to reflect on the work we do to support our Armed Forces community and build upon it.

You can find out more on the Armed Forces Covenant website.

Waltham Forest will be signing the Armed Forces Covenant in November and will publish the full action plan following the event.

If you have any questions or would like to receive more information, please contact

Key stats about the military population in Waltham Forest

For the first time in 2021, the Census in England and Wales asked respondents (over the age of 16) whether they had previously served in the UK armed forces in a bid to improve the treatment of veterans across the two nations through better data capturing.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show veterans make up around 1.1% of our total borough population amounting to 2,475 people, with a large majority living in the north of the borough. 1,560 of the borough’s veterans served in the regular UK Armed Forces whilst 840 served as a reservist.

Waltham Forest has one Reserve Unit, as well as a large active cadet force, with two Army Cadet Force Detachments (in Walthamstow and Chingford), two Air Training Corps Squadrons (in Leyton and Chingford), and two Sea Cadet Units (in Chingford and Clapton).

We will continue to capture information and data so we can better support veterans, serving personnel and their families in Waltham Forest in line with the Armed Forces Covenant.

Waltham Forest Military Footprint jpg

Our commitment

Waltham Forest Council is committed to supporting the Armed Forces community and first signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2013 as a promise to recognise the unique sacrifices the Armed Forces make in supporting the nation. We are committed to ensuring that no member faces a disadvantage in comparison to other citizens, especially when it comes to accessing public and commercial services.

The council will reaffirm its commitment to the Armed Forces by re-signing the Armed Forces Covenant at a special event at Fellowship Square in November. The event will be attended by senior representatives of the armed forces and local partner organisations where our Armed Forces action plan will be launched.