Welcome to the Website of the The North Devon Branch of the Royal Marines Association. We hope you find the information contained in the site useful and informative. The Association meets on the second Friday of each month unless stated differently at 1800 at the Sergeants' Mess, Royal Marines Barracks Chivenor near Barnstaple. If you would like to join our branch or come along to one of our meetings, please contact the Branch Chairman on 01237477438 or email him on
RUNNING TOTAL OF DONATIONS MADE TO ROYAL
MARINES AND ASSOCIATED SERVICE CHARITIES BY THE
NORTH DEVON BRANCH ROYAL MARINES ASSOCIATION FROM 2009 TO :APRIL 2017
HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh Captain General Royal Marines talking to Pat Ferguson, Finlay McCulloch and Clifford Coates
The Rt Hon Nick Harvey MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Lord John Burnett of Whitchuch, Major Mark Woosey Royal Marines, OC Command and Support Squadron Commando Logistic Regiment Royal Martines, cutting the ribbon with Branch Members Tom Rivenberg, Jan Vickers with John Peel and Colin Shearsby in the Background.
Letter from Brig Mike Ellis, RMA CEO Re Charities Convergence and other items
Ladies and Gentlemen,As part of the work to keep the membership well informed about what is going on in the Association it is requested by the RMA Trustees that you should read the following letter to your Branch at the next opportunity. Trustees are very keen that, notwithstanding the fact that this article will be posted on the website and will be publicised on the RepNet as well as being entered into the Globe and Laurel magazine (G&L), reading it to your Branch should serve to reinforce what your Trustees assess to be most important messages for all members to understand.
The subject that has started to dominate the work of Mike Ellis and Charlie Wilson in RMA Central Office this year is that of the possible merger with The RM Charity (TRMC). Many of you might have heard talk about this in the past two years, and you may have read the article on the subject in the last edition of the G&L, but now the work to take the Corps’ two principal charities towards a merger has started in earnest.
Put simply, the Trustees of the Association and TRMC see the rationalisation of RM charities as a logical step, viewing the RMA and TRMC as 2 sides of the same coin. The immediate focus on this process has come about as a result of the challenge from the serving Corps’ hierarchy to understand ways in which the two primary Charities of the Corps could work better to the benefit of those that they both support – the Corps Family. As this work commences, Trustees are convinced that convergence will significantly streamline and improve the work that both organisations currently do to support the Corps Family. Fundraising for a single Corps charity instead of the present ‘competitive’ practices makes eminent sense, especially when the bald fact is that the RMA depends on TRMC for much of the funding that enables it to deliver services to its membership and the wider Corps family. The motto on the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, “United we Conquer” seems particularly apt.
A merger is therefore being considered in order to bring unity of effort and clearer focus on work both charities do to maximise their effect for beneficiaries. The process is being led by a steering group chaired by the Deputy Commandant General (DCGRM), with representation from the RMA, TRMC and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) as TRMC’s parent charity. Monthly meetings for the first half of the year are already programmed, with the intention of reaching by July a provisional proposal to be put to the membership at AGM in September 2017. Reaching this point is subject to successful results of due diligence checks and with the agreement of both the RMA and TRMC boards. The intention is to initiate the merger on 1 January 2018, but that is not a hard target: it is more important for the arrangement to satisfy all parties and take longer to implement than to be constrained by the necessity of meeting a fixed deadline.At present, all members of the Merger Steering Group firmly support the concept of the merger. DCGRM sees that it can only be beneficial for the whole Corps Family; in other words, it is not solely about the RMA or TRMC. Ron Bell, Chairman of RMA Trustees, is convinced that this process will bring nothing but benefits to the RMA membership, but he is simultaneously determined that for Branch members business must continue as normal after the merger is complete and that the RMA brand must endure. An important part of the proposed merger is to ensure that RMA members are informed about what unification means and you are encouraged to contact your Regional Trustee or Central Office if you have any questions. Responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) will be widely promulgated to help to keep you informed.
Once this work is further advanced, later in the year, it is planned to conduct a series of briefings around the RMA Regions, you will be most welcome to attend in order to find out more about the exciting developments for our Corps Charities. Regional Trustees will soon be asked to coordinate the locations and timings of the meetings and the details will be promulgated once they are known.
Reflecting on the achievements of last year, it is very clear that there are some stalwarts of the Association who have continued to proudly and most successfully raise the profile of the RM in the public eye by raising very significant sums of money for both RMA & TRMC. Amongst the many superlative efforts of which Central Office was made aware last year, North Devon Branch has capitalised on its association with the Commando Logistic Regiment by creating a network of links in the Barnstaple area, establishing an RMA discount scheme in local shops and persuading local serving and retired RMs (and indeed those from other Services too) to help their spectacular fundraising efforts. By contrast, Romford Branch members, far removed from the Corps’ centre of gravity, have consistently managed through their own efforts alone, (plus being blessed with silver tongues, boyish good looks and charm - according to them), to persuade the good folk of Essex regularly to donate many thousands of pounds, to our Association. They are an exemplar of what can be achieved through consistent dedication, dogged hard work and loyalty, no matter how little uniformed support might be available. This is not a one off: they continue to achieve these amazing results with metronomic regularity and frequency. Trustees are most grateful to all of you who give so much of yourselves and achieve so significantly for the benefit of our Corps Family, whether as part of the RM Support Network, as Branch Officials, organisers of fundraising events or as donors, your contributions are not only valued, they are critical to our Corps Family. This year alone, the support that we give to individuals in need has increased as against the same period last year, thankfully, so has generosity to the RMA from across diverse sources: it is particularly noticeable that donations through the website are increasingly frequent, all of which is truly humbling. Thank you all for what you do and what you give!
On the subject of generosity to the RMA, many of you might have received a notice requesting you to opt in to Gift Aid. This will boost the value of your subscriptions and donations by 25% at no cost to you by enabling the Association to claim back basic rate tax that you have already paid on those amounts. Thus, for every £1 you give the Association retrieves 25p from the taxman. The reason that we are asking you to do this is because we became a charity limited by guarantee on 1 January 2017. So, while we’re still a charity, we’re now known officially (to our mutual friends at HMRC, at least) as The Royal Marines Association Limited. On a practical level, that means that we’ve had to change our charity registration number. Unfortunately, HMRC rules mean that we are now required to ask you again whether you would like to “opt in” for Gift Aid on your subscriptions and donations to the new company “RMA Limited”. You can do this very easily by logging into the preferences section of your personal account on the RMA website or by contacting Renee Davies at Central Office (02392 651519 option 2); she will send you a Gift Aid form to complete and return.
As a consequence of the increasingly close relationship between the RMA and the serving Corps, not least that CGRM is now our President, this year for the first time a Corps Family Weekend will take place at CTCRM on 16/17 September. This event will incorporate all the components of the RMA Reunion with which many will be familiar, but augmented by contributions from the staff of CTCRM and the wider serving Corps. Planning is well under way with the comprehensive support of the serving Corps, and it is intended that equipment exhibitions, sports competitions, arena displays and much more will be woven into a weekend that will bring together many elements of the wider Corps family all in one place. This will provide an opportunity not only to build links across the family while enjoying the weekend’s activities, but also to raise the profile of the RMA amongst serving RMs and their families, which can only be a good thing. This has the potential to be a truly spectacular and memorable weekend; I look forward to seeing as many as possible of you there.
As ever,Mike Ellis, CEO
Memo from RMA Chair of Trustees - Ron Bell
I am well aware of the frustrations some RMA members are experiencing by receiving a number of duplicate letters and emails concerning their subscription payments, often informing them that their membership has ended even though they may have paid their RMA membership through their Branches. I would ask you to publish the following message of explanation (that has gone out on a recent RepNet bulletin and is on the website) to all your members and to reassure them that Central Office and Mindworks (the RMA's website and membership database provider) are between them working hard to resolve the technical problem that is understandably, causing such bafflement and ire.
“Duplicate Letters and Emails
We would like to offer our sincere apologies for the duplicate letters and emails that some of you are receiving. We thought that this issue had been rectified a while ago, but it appears it had not. The automatic membership renewal system is processing about a 1000 records a month and appears to be duplicating about 20 of these for no apparent reason. We had thought it was because of two members on one email address, or duplicate records from the historical databases, and while these might still cause problems in future, investigation has shown this is not the cause in this instance. We have identified the reasons for the most recent problem and have repaired it. MindWorks apologises for any inconvenience or upset caused, but asks that if you experience similar problems please do let us know by sending the details to us at [email protected] so that we can take immediate action to help you.”
While the frustrations of members about this matter can be understood, what cannot be understood or condoned is the rudeness offered by some members to Central Office staff when ringing up to enquire about this subject. The staff spend every weekday working hard on behalf of the Association and its membership, and such gratuitous rudeness about an administrative matter – or indeed any matter – is unacceptable in any walk of life, but especially so in what is supposed to be a comradeship organization. Those of you who have acted in this way know who you are, and should, out of common decency, ring up to make a personal apology for such petulant behaviour.
A major contributory factor to the current problem is that many members are still paying their RMA subscriptions through their Branches. This is unhelpful because often those subscriptions do not reach Central Office until after the member's annual subscription period has expired. This is also why some members see renewal messages when they log into their online account. I would like to remind you of the request made in a letter dated 28 September 2016 to all Region and Branch Chairmen and Secretaries: "I am asking the individual to manage his/her annual RMA subscription directly with Central Office, while Branches look after their own [branch] members’ subscriptions." I will make it even clearer than that: there is no option but for individual members to take ownership of their RMA subscriptions themselves. A simple action such as this by RMA members, which can easily be effected through the website, or by payment over the phone direct to Central Office, will address the incidence of unwanted letters and messages being received by members, and the many wasted and unproductive hours spent by the Central Office team in addressing and resolving the confusion caused by members’ adherence to a superseded process. In summary, the practice of Branches wrapping up all types of subscription payments and sending the whole lot to Central Office for Renée Davies to try to work out who has paid what to whom and when must stop. The scale of the staff effort to manage such outdated methods is inefficient, indeed it is not manageable for the size of the Association, which now has over 12,000 members and is still growing; this legacy process is no longer acceptable or workable. Individuals must take responsibility for paying their own RMA membership subscriptions to Central Office, preferably through the RMA’s website, although telephone payments are of course welcome. As a reminder, a guide to logging onto their online account is attached at Annex A to help members who might not be sure how to do this. This is supplemented by a selection of Frequently Asked Questions, which provides additional information, at Annex B.
In fact, the onus of individuals paying their RMA membership subscription will very soon become more simple than ever before because of the introduction of Direct Debit payments, which will be live by March 2017. This new facility provides the opportunity to change payment of RMA membership from previous cash payments, cheque or Standing Order to a simple and enduring Direct Debit. After a considerable wait and much effort to make this functional, Trustees are delighted to announce the arrival of this exciting and modernising process, with all of the protections for members (or direct debit customers) that this brings. Trustees are keen that all members should pay by direct debit as soon as it is available. We strongly urge all members to transfer to this payment method, in order to make management of individual subscriptions much easier for all.
Finally, I am particularly
disappointed to note that the problem of the automated messages has revealed
the fact that many members are confused about the RMA’s annual subscription
rates, despite publication of the changes being agreed very nearly 18 months
ago at 2015’s Annual General Meeting. For your ease of reference, an extract
from the Agenda and Minutes of that meeting setting out the rates effective
from 1 January 2016 is at Annex C; I would be most appreciative if you use this
to ensure that all your members understand the current subscription rates. As we modernise and generate the
automated processes that provide additional capacity in Central Office, as well
as better records, it is becoming clear that some have not been paying the
correct rate of subscriptions for nearly 10 years. This has resulted in
significant underfunding of the Association. Trustees are determined that our Association should mirror
the profile and quality of the serving Corps but we cannot deliver that for
free. Subscriptions continue to be maintained at a very low level; on behalf of
my fellow Trustees, I simply ask that all members pay their dues.
Regards, Ron Bell, Chair of Trustees
Frequently Asked Questions: Members’ category
Q: How do I become a branch member?Before becoming a branch member, you need to be a member of the RMA.
To join please fill in our online form (https://royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/join-us/).
During your application you will have the option to join your preferred branch.
If you are already an RMA member you can join or leave as many branches as you wish, this can be managed in your online account (royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/members/account/membership/).
Q: How do I renew my membership?Life or Honorary members:
If you are a Life or Honorary member you will automatically be renewed and a membership card will be sent to you each year.
Full, Associate or Cadet members:If you do not subscribe by Standing Order or Direct Debit, you will be sent a one-month renewal reminder which will detail how to renew.
If you renew by one-off payments you can renew or monitor your expiry date online at this address royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/members/account/membership/
To renew online, we will need your email address. If you do not have an email address or if you wish to renew on behalf of someone else, payments can be taken over the telephone by calling: 02392 651519, menu option 2.
Renewal by Standing Order or Direct Debit:
If you pay by Standing Order or Direct Debit a new card will be sent to you on receipt of your subscription money. Remember if you are renewing your membership via Direct Debit, please cancel your Standing Order.
Q. Do I need to renew if I am a Life or Honorary member?
If you are a Life or Honorary member you will automatically be renewed and a membership card will be sent to you each year.
Q. Where do I renew online?
You can renew online by logging into your member’s account by clicking here: royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/members/account/membership/. You will only be able to log-in if we have your email address on our system. If you haven’t supplied your email address to us or if you have changed your email address, please call: 02392 651519 menu option 3 and we will update your record.
Q. What do I do if I have forgotten my password?
If you have forgotten your password when you get to above log-in screen, remember that your password is case sensitive. If you are still unsuccessful, then please click the ‘forgotten password’ link which is just underneath. Then enter your email address and click ‘request password reset’ and you’ll receive a password reset email with a unique link. After that set your preferred password (which much be at least 8 characters long). Once set, you should be able to log-in and renew your membership.
Q. Can I renew at any time?
Yes, but your renewal date is based on your renewal month not from the date you renew.
Q. Can you help me find a lost contact?
It’s likely that the person you are looking for is a member of the RMA. If you are a member, you can log into our members area (royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/members/account/membership/) and use our member search facility. If you would like to join the RMA, please apply online here: (https://royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/join-us/).
All welfare categories
Q. How do I apply for welfare support?
You can either call our welfare team on 02392 651519 menu option 1, during working hours or if you can fill in our online form at any time here: https://royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/support/welfare/help/
ROYAL MARINES VETERAN SUPPORT TO PROVIDE ENDURING SUPPORT TO THE WHOLE ROYAL MARINES FAMILYAs touched upon, we found that the stressful combat related issues faced by RM Veterans are eclipsed by a large number of other demanding areas. For the vast majority of their problems are as a result of coming to terms with the challenges of aging and coping in the civilian environment. Below, is a list of some of the matters that Veterans deal with (in common with their civilian counterparts) on a regular basis:
• Accommodation Issues
• Mental health problems
• Dementia, strokes, heart and general poor help
• Marital and relationship issues
• Finding employment • Financial problems
• Misuse of alcohol
• Anger issues
• Repatriation of deceased RM Veterans
• Bereavement and funeral issues
These are just a few of the subjects we are called upon in order to assist our Veterans and their families. Our primary objective remains unchanged from the ‘T4V’ days. Simply put, it is to “Engage – Befriend –Signpost”. We will direct the Veteran to the most appropriate support agency with the minimum of fuss and delay. Often, when immersed in a crisis it becomes quickly apparent that you have a problem, finding the answer to that problem can sometimes seem insurmountable. VSO’s have the experience and training to enable them to provide the solution to your particular problem.
For the majority of us, there comes a time in our lives when we need a little extra support and assistance. The challenges we may need to address can relate to a wide range of welfare and life style related issues. The first question you may have to face is “whom do I call to get help”? With over 2000 individual registered Service Charities to choose from, making the correct choice of agency can be quite a daunting task. For Members of the Royal Marine Family, the starting point is to contact the organisation that provides the bespoke response for all Veterans welfare needs. The organisation in question is the “Royal Marines Veteran Support” (RMVS) which is an integral part of the Royal Marines Association.
They can ensure that if they can’t fix the problem, they will almost certainly know someone who can!
For many years the Royal Marines have been the lead organisation for providing trauma support and sign posting for its serving personnel. The concept of providing peer delivered support to Royal Marines involved in traumatic events was called “Trauma Risk Management” or “TRiM” for short. After 18 years of successful application of the TRiM concept, it was decided in 2013 to adapt TRiM to enable it to assist Royal Marines Veterans and their immediate families.
It was initially named “TRiM for Veterans”, but was more commonly abbreviated to ‘T4V’. The ‘T4V’ Project was originally conceived as a tool to assist Royal Marine Veterans who were suffering from a range of differing ‘Post Traumatic Injuries’ (‘PTI’s). The primary aim of the T4V Project was to engage with the Veteran and direct him to an agency that could provide the level of treatment to meet their specific needs. However, we quickly realised that the Veterans needs were far wider and more complicated than we initially suspected. To meet these need’s, a number of organisational changes were introduced. The result was that on the 1st of October 2014 the “T4V “title was discontinued and the organisation became known as the “Royal Marines Veteran Support”. It became a full part of the Royal Marines Association (RMA) and remained financially supported by the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund (RMCTF).
Whilst the title and role of the organisation had changed, the Veteran Support Officers (VSO’s) who make up the RMVS, learnt new skills and became extremely competent ‘veteran case workers’. The 120 Staff are all volunteers and have a strong connection to the Royal Marines either having served or have a Corps family connection. Our VSO’s are not trained as clinicians or counsellors but they are trained to recognise the nature of the Veterans difficulties and sign post them to the appropriate support organisation.
Getting assistance from the RMVS is extremely straight forward. If you call us or Email us, the details and the nature of the call will be dealt with in strict confidentiality. Referral is not restricted to the Veteran or their immediate family. Friends, neighbours, social workers or GP’s who are concerned about the needs of a Royal Marine Veteran should not hesitate to call us.
The main contacts for receiving and dealing with assistance calls are:
Wendy Sheen Welfare & Grants Officer Royal Marines Benevolent Fund E: [email protected] T: 02392 651519 M: 07885466754 or Cameron March MBE Principal Veteran Support Officer E: [email protected] T: 02392547213 M: 07860943002. Both are located at RMA Central Office HMS Excellent, Normandy Building Whale Island, Portsmouth PO2 8ER T: 02392651519