A NEW initiative to help and support members of the armed services was launched in Scarborough today.
Army, Royal Navy and RAF personnel, and veterans, will benefit from a new discount scheme at hotels, restaurants, and wide range of other businesses in the town.
The Heroes Welcome innovation demonstrates support for the armed forces, including the 8,500-strong Catterick Garrison, and for any service personnel who visit Scarborough on trips or holidays.
We will list the offers next week, including the hotel breaks offers.
The venture will include money- off schemes for personnel and their families, or an extra service, upgrade or other benefit. The type of offer, and who should be included, is up to the individual business.
The scheme is supported by train operators First Trans-Pennine Express, Scarborough Council, Chamber of Trade, the Scarborough Hospitality Associ-ation – which includes hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation, as well as the town's Urban Renaissance Group, the Forum for Tourism, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and the Scarborough Evening News.It was initiated by the South Bay Traders' Association.
Organisers hope businesses across Scarborough take part. They can also broaden their support by including veterans and the families of personnel who have been deployed on military operations.
Any businesses can take part by displaying a Heroes Welcome sticker in their windows. These stickers will be available from the Tourist Information centre in Sandside, from the Evening News office at Aberdeen Walk.
You can download the Heroes Welcome poster from Scarborough's top website, www.scarborougheveningnews.co.uk, where you will also find a new section dedicated to the scheme.
To benefit, servicemen need to show their official identity card. Veterans can show a regimental association or British Legion membership card while service families should also display identification.
John Senior, chairman of the South Bay Traders' Association and co-ordinator of the scheme, said: "The national press has recently been dominated by stories regarding the treatment of our servicemen, some positive and some negative. The introduction of an Armed Forces Day provides an excellent opportunity for Scarborough to show its support in a direct and positive fashion."
David Mallender, a spokesperson for First TransPennine Express, said: "It's an excellent idea and Scarborough seems to be leading the way where others could follow."Details of its offer are being finalised.
Colonel Nick Millen, commander at Catterick Garrison, said: "Any initiative to help reduce the cost of living for soldiers is to be welcomed. Many thousands of troops are either based in North Yorkshire or live in the region.
"Scarborough has always been a seaside resort that military personnel have enjoyed visiting and this new discount scheme will provide an added incentive for soldiers and their families to enjoy great value on their day-trips or longer breaks.
"It is an offer that also encourages a greater bond between the military and the civilian community."
John Anderson, secretary of the Scarborough branch of The Royal British Legion, added: "It is along the lines of what's operating in America, Canada and Australia where veterans are valued for their service as a nation."
Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill said: "It's a brilliant idea and full marks to John Senior and the other local businessmen who have taken on this initiative.
"As so often Scarborough is the first. I hope other towns around the country will follow suit to give our armed forces the recognition they deserve."
If you want your business to take part in the scheme by offering discounts to members of the armed forces it is very simple.
Pick up a sticker from Tuesday at the Evening News reception in Aberdeen Walk or the tourist information centre in Sandside