Herts-based, brand-led business growth agency, Focus7, is one of 100 employers nationwide being recognised by Defence Minister Ben Wallace for their outstanding support for the Armed Forces community, by being awarded an Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award . They will be presented with their awards on 12 November 2019 at the National Army Museum in London.

The 100 winners have been recognised for their long-term commitment to the Armed Forces, with companies from the public and private sector achieving the top grade. Each has signed the Armed Forces Covenant and, where possible, engages with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to promote the recruitment of service leavers as well as honouring individual pledges of support.

This brings to 228 the number of companies to have received this award, the highest badge of honour available to those that employ and support those who serve, veterans, and their families. Amongst the winners are many leading businesses, 23 Local Authorities and 13 NHS Hospitals and Trusts.

There are less than 30 SMEs, with Focus7, formed in 2015 by 3 Liverymen of the Stationers Company, Office Products Industry stalwarts Vida Barr-Jones, David Langdown and Army veteran Leona Barr-Jones, joining the elite group.

The three founders are all from military families, with the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force all well represented. Needless to say, they have committed their business to supporting the Armed Forces community and to encouraging others to do similarly. They have supported numerous initiatives including leading the design of a campaign to promote Armed Forces Week to businesses in East Anglia.

In partnership with East Anglia Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, 3000 local businesses received emails about Armed Forces Week with a link to a bespoke microsite. The microsite included key timings, links to the Armed Forces Day site, the Armed Forces Covenant site, the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme page, the Defence Discount Service site and the Career Transition Partnership. As part of a joined-up campaign, they also designed a series of posters for employers, reservists and cadet volunteers to be placed in offices, reserve centres and cadet buildings.

Focus 7 has a full and detailed Armed Forces and Reservist HR Policy in place, which guarantees they will offer interviews for the armed force community and offer apprenticeships and intern roles to the local cadet forces. Chief Operating Officer, Leona Barr-Jones is the Commandant of the Essex Cadet Force and they also act as Armed Forces champions for Hertfordshire Chamber, Institute of Directors East and various business leader associations.

Leona commented, "I am hugely honoured and delighted that all of the hard work that the Focus7 team puts in to supporting the Armed Forces Community, has been recognised with an Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award from the MoD.  A Gold Award is the highest badge of honour to be awarded to any business that Supports Our Forces and we want to encourage other businesses to go the extra mile with their support for our Veterans, Reservists, Military Spouses and Cadet Forces Adult Volunteers and Cadets who give up so much for our country and society." 

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