Earlier this month, the Gordon Messenger Centre (GMC) was officially opened by General Sir Gordon Messenger KCB DSO* OBE DL.
Positioned close to the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), Lympston, the £2.4 million centre will provide a new community facility for the entire Royal Marines Family. The centre will support serving Royal Marines, veterans and their families through various events, activities, and meetings.
While there are other similar Armed Forces centres around the country, this is the first of its kind for Britain’s Royal Marines, for which Devon is a heartland. It is set to benefit more than 50,000 serving personnel and their families over the next 30 years.
The pressures upon service families are increasingly widely recognised; better support is crucial to ensure that the correct care is available to our Royal Marines and their families. Demands for accessible resources to combat mental ill-health and stress are increasing. Additional practical resources were needed to support the entire Royal Marines Family.
Following an initial statement of requirement from CTCRM in 2014, which arose from the families based there, a Navy-led Community Needs Analysis confirmed that a facility was needed at Commando Training Centre, the home of the Royal Marines.
The Royal Marines Resilience Centre concept was simple; to build a venue that could host a diverse range of support services, accessible to all, in one location. The centre will provide an open location to regularly meet other people “in the same boat”, to share problems and solutions, with access to a wide range of bespoke support.
Financing the Gordon Messenger Centre was a joint effort between many charitable organisations. In April 2018 the RNRMC’s Trustee Board released £250,000 to support the build and this was added to by a collection of major donors, including Mrs Lisa Ronson, The Mrs Nancy Warren Charitable Trust, The Gosling Foundation, The Royal British Legion, The Swire Charitable Trust, The Naval Children’s Charity and Mundy Group. The project’s largest funder was the RNRMC’s sister charity, RMA – The Royal Marines Charity, who contributed over £1M.
The design of the Centre was based on the input of a CTC community working group, while a number of companies and individuals delivered the project, with Midas Construction Ltd as the main contractors. It boasts a conference hall which can be subdivided, meeting rooms, café area, seating area, communication booths, creche and outdoor play area.
Mandy Lindley, RNRMC Director of Relationships and Funding said:
“We are delighted to see the Gordon Messenger Centre officially open. Projects like this sit at the heart of the RNRMC’s support and it is essential that our Royal Marines beneficiaries have facilities that can bring the whole community together. We hope that the centre will be used and enjoyed for many years to come.”
Jonathan Ball, Chief Executive of RMA – The Royal Marines Charity, commented:
“The Gordon Messenger Centre will provide a safe space for building mental resilience in the Corps family and provide a range of facilities for every part of the Royal Marines family. It will be a one-stop shop that epitomises what the Charity is about: comradeship, compassion, collaboration and commemoration. We haven’t had anywhere we can focus on all these things until now.”
The Centre Manager Gaby Wright is now building a volunteer group to assist with the hosting of activities and is holding a registration morning on Monday 11 October. Please drop in or contact her by email firstname.lastname@example.org . She is inviting members of the Corps Family to a curry lunch housewarming (£5 donation including beer or soft drink) on Friday 22 October from 12-1400. To find out more please join the GMC Facebook page “Friends of the GMC”.