By HRH The Princess Royal – Patron

HRH The Princess Royal officially opened Drumfork Community Centre in Helensburgh in January 2020. The complete modernisation and refurbishment of the facility is the largest project ever undertaken by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and serves as a support hub for Royal Navy families who have followed the flag to Scotland as part of the relocation of the Submarine Service.

At the beginning of 2020, as Patron, I was invited to open the Drumfork Community Centre on the West coast of Scotland, the biggest demonstration to date by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity of building community resilience and support for Royal Navy families.

Little did anyone know then the importance and relevance of building community resilience among dispersed naval families who, like the rest of the country, have gone on to experience a sustained period of widespread disruption to their daily lives which has brought with it, in many instances, loss, grief and financial hardship.

We may live in uncertain times, but the Royal Navy has lost none of its famous resolve or lowered its operational tempo. It continues to protect our interests, support our allies and shoulder its responsibilities, wherever in the world they are at stake.

As the national charity of the Royal Navy, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity has matched this resolve with no let-up or disruption to its grants programmes or in its commitment to provide the support on which so many sailors, marines, veterans and their immediate families rely, particularly those who cannot be supported elsewhere. The RNRMC Hardship Fund enabled the sixty or so partner organisations the Charity works with to apply for additional funding in order to maintain their services and respond to increased need throughout the crisis.

The 75th anniversary of both VE and VJ Day this year was a poignant reminder of another existential threat to our nation, which the Royal Navy played such a critical role in overcoming. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all naval veterans who continue to contribute to our way of life, long after they leave the Service and for whom this year’s restrictions have been especially challenging. The Charity is developing a nationwide Befriending Project for veterans and building on the sense of community and camaraderie across the nation that has been so inspiring to see in the face of the pandemic.

The role of the charity sector in fostering community cohesion, individual wellbeing and bridging social divides will be critical to the national recovery. The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity has achieved a very great deal in tackling both the effects of service to the nation and their causes in the dozen years since its foundation. Now more than ever, I urge you to give it whatever support you can so that it continues to have the confidence and wherewithal to grow and develop.

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