On Friday 24th January the Princess Royal officially opened the Drumfork Community Centre in Helenburgh after a £2m modernisation project undertaken by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and help from MacRobert Trust, Greenwich Hospital, British Forces Broadcasting Services Scotland, the Royal Marines Association and the Royal Navy Association.
The centre, which has been at the heart of HMNB Clyde for over 50 years, was built in the 1960s to benefit the service families and personnel in Helensburgh, Argll and Bute, initially catering for approximately 300 families before the Royal Navy submarines move to Scotland began in 2014.
After six decades of use the building was in desperate need of modernisation which is why the RNRMC is proud to have been able to help fund the complete renovation of this facility and put the heart back into Faslane.
The centre aims to support with the aim of promoting, enabling and facilitating inclusive activities which embrace and address the education, training, employment, welfare, health, social, cultural and recreational needs of the local Naval and wider Helensburgh community.
The positive benefit and impact of this refurbishment project will be felt by a service family population of some 800 families (living in service family quarters and local homeowners). This equates to some 3200 family members, rising to an estimated 2000 families and 8000 family members, once the RN’s 2014-2022 programme to relocate all its submarines and shore-based training to the Clyde has completed.
RNRMC Director of Fundraising, Alasdair Akass, said:
“The physical manifestation of our philosophy to play our part in building community resilience among Naval Service families is no better demonstrated than in this flagship project in Helensburgh.
“The fully refurbished Drumfork Community Centre represents the biggest demonstration to date of putting the weight of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity behind our beneficiaries.”
Captain Nick Gibbons, Captain of HMS Neptune, said:
“We were delighted that The Princess Royal took the time to meet so many of those involved in the creation of the Centre and also speak with those who will use and benefit from the facility.”
Shelley Gilmour, Drumfork Communitty Centre Manager, said:
"Drumfork Community Centre is a safe space for everyone to come together all under one roof to learn, socialise, educate and most of all have fun."