Twenty-one Crawley businesses have pledged their support for the men and women who serve or have served in the armed forces.
The Heroes Welcome initiative was part of the Community Covenant, which was signed one year ago by members of the armed forces and Crawley Borough Council.
The covenant was drawn up to pledge mutual support between the local community and the armed forces.
Heroes Welcome has been backed by more than 500 firms nationwide. The Crawley 21 have offered discounts, service upgrades or special acknowledgement to military personnel who show them an ID card or veterans’ badge.
Among the businesses was the Topsy Turvy hairdresser, in The Boulevard.
Owner Martin Stone said he signed up on the first day and the pledge had attracted one regular customer who had been stationed in Afghanistan.
He added: “I could never have been a soldier. I don’t have the stomach or the stamina. But we should really support the armed forces especially the ones who come back wounded.”
Cllr Chris Oxlade, Cabinet member for community engagement, said: “We want to officially recognise our servicemen and women and I’d like to encourage more businesses to make this commitment by extending a welcome to all sections of the community as well as visitors.”
A council spokesman said retailers and organisations could give as much or as little support as they were able; be it a discount or simply a warm welcome.
Anyone interested in signing up can contact Toby Shaw on 01293 438655.
The Crawley businesses supporting Heroes Welcome are: Ackerman Music, Profile Flooring, Advanced Chiropractic Clinic, Proposals, Barclays Bank, Salon 59, Blue Inc, Salontwelve, Charlie Choys, Specsavers, Crest Care, Topsy Turvy, Freedom Leisure, Trespass, Go Ape, Vines BMW, Mankind Barbers, Wimpy, Perfect Beauty, Zoe’s Florist and Phones 4 U.