On Friday 15 April, 23 military charities and non-profit organisations gathered under one roof in an attempt to identify future charitable challenges and needs within the beneficiary groups of the Naval Service.

The workshop, hosted by The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) at its HMS Excellent headquarters, Whale Island, Portsmouth, represented the first time that so many associated charities, welfare and support networks, have come together in anticipation of the future challenges that the Royal Navy family may face in future, and how best to prepare for these challenges.

Mandy Lindley, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity Director of Funding and Relationships, said: "This is the first time we have brought the naval benevolence charity community together to discuss the concept of ‘need’ in the naval benevolence sector. The feedback from the workshop is invaluable as it will help inform our funding priorities for the coming year.

She added: “I’m delighted that so many people could attend and contribute to the session. Many have come a long way for this which demonstrates a real willingness to work together for the benefit of our joint beneficiaries”.

Attendees included representatives from front-line charities who deliver services directly to beneficiaries, as well as grant-makers and major grant recipients of the RNRMC.

Craig Fulton, Interim CEO of Aggies charity, said: “Given the complexity of the issues which affect the welfare of today’s Royal Navy sailors, Royal Marines and their families there is a clear risk of addressing the most obvious needs and missing subtle, but perhaps more vital problems. Collective thinking, in workshops such as this one, is essential if we are to ensure that scarce resources get to the real point of need most effectively.”   

Tackling tough topics

Topics of conversation included assessing the current needs of Royal Navy beneficiaries; identifying where needs aren’t currently being met as a result of insufficient resources or where outside of the remit of individual organisations; and ideas, resources and opportunities to address these needs or how to work together for the benefit of beneficiaries. The concept of ‘early intervention’, in order to prevent beneficiaries needing to access charitable services in the first place, was one example of the kinds of themes discussed by delegates.

In total, 40 people attended the session, from the following organisations: RNRM Welfare East Hub, Naval Families Federation, Kids, Royal Marines Association, Regular Forces Employment Association, RNRM Children’s Fund, Royal British Legion, Aggies, Royal Navy Benevolent Trust, Sailors Childrens Society, Seafarers UK, White Ensign Association, Veterans Outreach Support, The Royal Marines Charity, Greenwich Hospital, Royal Naval Association, WRNS Benevolent Trust, Naval Family Welfare, and the Maritime Charities Group.

The success of the event will not only inform the RNRMC about how to best deploy its resources for the remainder of the year but it also paves the way for organisations to work even more closely together for the benefit of their joint beneficiaries.

Needs workshop slideshow