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Royal Marines Association North Devon

ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE

List of Articles in Published Order

Frequently Asked Questions About Members

Instructions for Activation of Membership on RMA Online Account/Website
Josh Pellands Story
RMA/RMC Roadshow Observations
Trustees Mtg April 2017
An Update from the CEO March 2017

Frequently Asked Questions About  Membership. 

 

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.

 

One-off renewals:

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.

 

Camaraderie Category

 

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/  

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACTIVATION RMA ONLINE ACCOUNT

 

Step 1. Login as a 'member

 

First of all, you need to activate your online account. You should have received an email about this previously. If not, please follow these steps:

  • Go to: royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/login 
  • Ignore what you see on screen, just scroll straight to the bottom of the page and click the ‘forgot your password?’ link
  • Enter your email address and press the 'request password reset' button
  • You will be sent an email with a unique link to reset your password (please note the link is only active for 12 hours). If the link expires, please repeat the above steps.
  • Once you've set a password, this is your online account now "activated". This means you can log into the members area and also 'login' when prompted for things like booking event tickets.

 

Whenever you log in as a member, your ‘username' will always be your email address; your password will be whatever you chose as part of the above process.. 

Josh Pelland's Story

In June 2016, former Royal Marine Josh Pelland was severely injured during a climbing accident in his hometown of Calgary, Canada. The accident left Josh paralysed from the chest down. Luckily, Josh had a strong support network around him, and was referred to us by his Royal Marine friends. Despite Josh being located in a remote area of Canada, we were able to liaise with the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League to request a visit from a Royal Canadian Legion caseworker. The purpose of the caseworker visit was to complete a full assessment of needs, enabling us to consider the best way to assist. As a result of the visit, various items were identified that Josh needed, but would not be able to self-fund. Josh needed a specialist wheelchair, and chairlift to allow safe entry/exit to the family home. Substantial building modifications, to suit his needs, had already been completed by his parents.


The Royal Marines Charity grant for £2000 contributed towards the purchase of a specialist wheelchair, which ensured that this young former Royal Marine remains as independent as possible.


A thank you letter from Josh demonstrates how our assistance has had a positive impact on his life;

 

“The RMA has helped get me settled back into my house and back into life by helping me out financially, for this I am extremely grateful”.

 

Josh then states how he “can really only attribute my ability to crack on from everything I've witnessed and learned from my time in the corps and all the inspirational stories and challenges others before me have overcome”.

 

Clearly demonstrating the Royal Marine Corps ethos/values, Josh has drawn positives from this challenge, and has now set his sights on competing in various physical competitions, including The Calgary Half Ironman!

 

We wish Josh and his family the best of luck with his continued recovery.


RMA/RMC Merger Road Show.  Feed Back from John Peel, Chair – North Devon RMA

1. What is good about the RMA currently?

 

The Globe and Laurel/Corps Brand

Camaraderie and Staying in Touch

Support

Living the Dream

 

2. What is perceived as not so good about the current RMA?

 

Recruitment – although growing – possibly not in the right age range.

Disenchantment of the grass roots of the RMA about modernisation.

 

The merger appears to be commonsense and definitely the way forward, creating a single communication group, better resource at no extra cost and a common goal.  As usual there were many who wanted to hijack what the meeting was meant to be about.  There are many in the current ranks of the RMA who are allergic to change.  Why?  They maybe can’t keep up with the modernisation programme.  They may like their way of doing things in their branch and see the future as threatening to their nice little arrangements and don’t want to be accountable. Who knows?  I feel those who are objecting and being disruptive may have something to hide as there is nothing of what was stated in Exeter is of a threat to anyone.

 

3. Personal thoughts on things that could be worked on following the merger.

 

  • Recruitment:  This is a real issue and when the merger is completed this should be addressed.  Even though statistic indicates a reducing average age of membership this I think is a false perception.  What should be considered is the average age of those on the coalface – the branches, including the new virtual branches, who are the face of the RMA in public and are, by having a name, accountable to Central Office.  The Central Office Roll are not.  Even though Mark and Richie do an excellent job at CTC – I agree with those who felt that a bunch of recruits in a lecture theatre will not absorb details and sign anything.  The real test is what happens further down the line when they leave.   This is when they need to be captured (in the nicest possible way).  Getting regular Road Shows in the Units to include the local branch chairman is a means of re-engaging with those about to leave.  I did a presentation to the Seniors Mess at Chivenor and they admitted being oblivious to what went on in the RMA.
  • Support.  Although this has and is developing I have a couple of alarming stories.  I introduced myself to the RNRM Welfare Team at a recent Families Day at CHF in Yeovil and they seemed to be uncertain about their link to the RMA.  When I mentioned what we are trying to do in North Devon they genuinely were surprised.  So much so they want me to attend a Hub meeting and give an overview of what we do on the ground and how linking the local branch with the unit RMRN team would help all.  I had a conversation recently (while at Sainsbury’s) where an RM was medically discharged felt let down by the Corps as they were supported for only 3 months following discharge and then seemed to be left to their own devices.  I didn’t get the full story so am unaware of the circumstances – but the wife of this former RM said they were totally disillusioned by the Corps and the after leaving support.  Referring back to the chat I had at Yeovil with the RNRM Support Team it’ not difficult to believe there is a lack of joined up thinking particularly with the branch on the ground and local RNRM team.  This is an area where a process of connecting the local branch support team with the Unit Welfare Team would help get over this problem (something we are trying to achieve in North Devon.)
  • Fund Raising .  This seemed to ring alarm bells at the meeting.  I have to say I was disappointed but not surprised by the person who wanted to know if by merging there would be an expectation to fund raise and would they be allowed to continue fund raising for the branch and if they couldn’t how would they be able to fun d the branch.  I was even more surprised by message by the presenters that nothing would change.  I have for a long time believed that branches would wear RM related attire – berets, medals Corps badge etc and fund raise for themselves.  This should be stamped out and the message from the presenters on the night wasn’t clear.  It has to be said that anyone donating whether an RMA or RMC charity number is visible or not is donating for the good of those we support.  That donation should not pay for the branch to have a social.  Under no circumstances should anyone in a branch be allowed to wear Corps clothing and fund raise for anyone but the Corps Charities.  The question is how can this be monitored.  I also don’t believe a branch with 4-6 members can’t do at least a few hours bucket collecting.  It amazed me that 4 members of my branch and I raised over £800 in 4 hours on another branches patch during the Global Challenge when they couldn’t support it.  I don’t agree that lack of manpower is an excuse.  2 of us have stood outside a Supermarket and raised hundreds of pounds in the back water of Ilfracombe.  So all in all I think there should be a clear directive after the merger – no RM attire unless fun d raising for RM Charities and branch incomes should be monitored against their social activities.  If a branch gets caught out it could be damaging for the entire RMA/RMC.
  • Fund Raising Events.  Following the merger there need to be an understanding of geographical areas and fund raising events.  Put simply – North Devon raise £15-18,000 per year for Corps related charities.  We are very careful not to over cook things.  Had the Global Challenge arrived on our doorstep the week before Sainsbury’s we would have had problems from the public who support our annual Sainsbury’s Challenge which this year raised £6225 for the RMC.  Equally we do a round of fund raising at Christmas across 4 towns in North Devon.  Should someone come up with an idea involving the Corps which happens to arrive in North Devon at that time the public would be a little annoyed.  The damage to future fund raising in the area and the good reputation of Royal in North Devon could be damaged.  Better communication and co-ordination when a fund raising idea is hatched.
  • Marketing.  It would help branches, certainly North Devon, if we were issued with better marketing tools, professional posters which give clear messages why we are out there.  We found at Sainsbury’s, which has raised over £65k since we started harder this year.  Although there was a considerable down turn in footfall I believe the military being out of the limelight affected donations.  What the public need to know is that we still have over £2.5 million in commitments annual as a charity and will do for ever.  When I have a widow over a branch member leaving funeral donations to H4H or someone coming up to us in public saying who are you collecting for H4H it indicates that H4H got and still gets it’s marketing message out there.

 

In Summary.

 

Things to work on going forward post merger:

 

  • Better capture in recruitment – getting the right message across at the right time (which is not at recruitment stage).
  • Think of how to use the Old and Bold and those in the coal face branches who are the public image of the Corps – not the Central Office Role - 
  • Better joined up support from serving to retired particularly between the RNRM Welfare Teams and RMA Branches not just Central Office.
  • The right message to branches about fund raising that it is illegal to look like a serving or former RM and keep the money in the branch.
  • When someone in Brigade or Central Office comes up with a fund raising idea – consider the impact on branches – particularly rural – who may have an annual strategy in place – like North Devon – and maybe hold these events in big cities where there is a huge footfall.  Talk to the branches.
  • Help branches get the right market strategy and message out there and give them the material and tools to accomplish this.  It will save my printer ink!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draft Minutes of Trustees Mtg April 2017


THE ROYAL MARINES ASSOCIATION

 

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS OF A TRUSTEES’ MEETING HELD IN THE MEDAL ROOM, THE ROYAL MARINES MUSEUM

 

Thursday 27 April 2017 at 0930 hours

 

Present:                        Mr R Bell JP (Chair)                                                Chairman

                                    Brigadier M P Ellis OBE (CE)                                    Chief Executive

                                    Mrs K Richardson OBE (KR)                                    Specialist – Families

Mr G Salvetti                                                             Specialist – Legal

Mr B R Reading (BRR)                                                Specialist – Investment

Mr R Crawley                                                            Scotland & N. Ireland Region

                                    Mr P Deacon (PD)                                                Northern Region

                                    Mr R N Eales (RE)                                                Midlands Region

                                    Mr T A Galsworthy (TG)                                                East Anglia Region

                                    Mr S Beet                                                            East Anglia Region (desig)

                                    Mr P G Richardson (PR)                                    South East Region

                                    Mr L Sartorel                                                             Southern Region

                                    Lt Col C Wilson RM (Retd) (CW)                                    RMA PDO

                       

In Attendance:                        Mr H Player             Greenwich Hospital

                                    Mrs R Sheen             RMA Welfare Grants Officer

                                    Ms R Davies            RMA Finance Manager

                                    Mr R Puttock            RMA Operations Manager

                                    Mr G Frost             Bluespire Accountancy Ltd

                                     

Apologies were received from: Lt Col E C Musto RM, WO1 (RSM) P S Gilby MBE RM, WO1 D Egan RM

Messrs D Sargent, A Bennett, P Sheridan.

 

Item 1. Opening Remarks.

 

1.   The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting and reminded everyone of the very full agenda and the resultant need to keep to the point in discussions.  He noted the apologies received, as recorded above. He noted the presence at the table of Mr Lou Sartorel, new Trustee for the Southern region, replacing Mr Brien [RB1] Briars, and Mr Simon Beet, who would replace Mr Terry Galsworthy when he stood done as a Trustee in the summer. The Chairman observed with gratitude that TG had been a Trustee since 2004, and asked both new Trustees to introduce themselves. He then drew attention to the presence of Hugh Player, and suggested that, for Mr Player’s convenience, his presentation at Item 3 of the Agenda should be brought forward.

 

Item 3.  Brief on Greenwich Hospital.

 

2.   Mr Hugh Player presented a comprehensive and fascinating brief about Greenwich Hospital, one of the oldest charities in Great Britain and a major donor of grants to other Naval Service charities.  He distributed a booklet about the Hospital’s work containing the key facts of his brief. CW holds spare copies in RMA Central Office.   The Chairman thanked Mr Player for his time and for a fascinating and illuminating brief. 

 

Item 6-1.  Central Office Staff Updates – Operations Manager.

3.   The Chairman brought forward the Central Office Staff Brief of Mr R Puttock to allow him to travel to London to meet an important early afternoon appointment.  The central points of RP’s brief are at Annex A.  RP emphasised the following requests, specifically to regional Trustees:

 

            a.   Encourage members to attend the Graspan Parade on 14 May – the more attendees, the

more cost effective the parade would be, especially in the context of the charges to the RMA for road closures, Royal Parks support etc. He also stated that if the event wasn’t supported we may lose it.

 

b.   The National Memorial Arboretum is expensive; the more members attending the parade (11 Jun 17), the better value for money it would become; he therefore urged Regional Trustees to encourage their members’ presence at this event.

 

c.   Members from across the country should be encouraged to support the Corps Family Weekend at CTCRM (16 Sep 17).  It will be an excellent and very enjoyable event, but as this would be the first version of it, it would probably not be perfect.  He asked that members encourage attendance at the event with the right attitude, thereby helping to develop the weekend into the principal event in the RMA’s calendar. CE emphasised RP’s point by explaining that DCGRM and CRSM are both personally engaged with the planning for the weekend, and see it as being symbolic of knitting the whole Corps family together.

 

4.  RP then raised the question of the entitlement to the wearing of regimental attire and asked that a section setting out guidance about this subject be written for the Branch Secretaries’ handbook. KR suggested initiating a section of FAQs about this and other advice in Homeport and on the website, signposting members to the website by an announcement on Central Office’s answerphone greeting.  CW undertook to write the section, develop the FAQs and investigate the signposting message.

 

                                                                                                                        ACTION: CW

 

5.   CE drew Trustees’ attention to the unwelcome subject of several members’ rudeness to the Central Office staff team, particularly to Tamsin, who tended to be first point of contact (recently evident when members ring having experienced difficulties with the website).  To general agreement, he stated that such behaviour is unacceptable. KR suggested that the Central Office telephone greeting could contain the warning that conversations may be recorded for training purpose.

                                                                                                                        ACTION: CW

 

6. KR wished to record her thanks to RP for all that he does for the RMA, stating the RepNet is invaluable and his hard work for the Association is exemplary. This sentiment was echoed by the Chairman, who added that RP and the whole Central Office team have a huge number of fans across the Association.

 

Item 2a.  Minutes of the Last Meeting and Matters Arising.  

 

7.   The following points were raised:

 

a.   Page 2, sub-para 2c.  RE offered an update about Eastern Region MSSC (Sea Cadet) meeting, in which it had become clear that RM Cadet Company Commanders had not carried out the requested action to pass RMA membership application forms down their chains of command. After general discussion, including LS asking what RMA membership offered to RM Cadets, and CE explaining the existence and role of the RM Cadet Council, it was agreed that a working group of CW, LS, PD, RE and SB (all of whom have close links with RM Cadets) should follow up the question of RMA membership for RM Cadets with the aim of generating momentum. 

 

                                                                                                ACTION: CW to coord

 

b.  Page 3, paragraph 6 (Mindworks Update). GS wished it to be noted that throughout the association with Mindworks Marketing Ltd, he expressed concern about the total expenditure and indeed costs to date.

 

c.  Page 4, sub para 7a(i).   GS stated his concern that the Financial SOPs referred to in the subject sub-paragraph had not been started yet.  The Chairman directed that these concerns should be noted.

 

                                                                                                ACTION: CW.

 

d.  Page 6, para 11.  GS asked who was on the Trustees Working and Steering group for convergence. The Chairman explained that it was himself, BRR and PD.

 

e.  Page 00, para 32. BRR wished the statement reading “With BR standing down from…” be clarified to show that it referred to WO1 (RSM) Bruce Riach RM, not Brian Reading!

            

8.   On conclusion of the discussion, the Minutes of the last meeting were accepted as true record of events.

                                                                                               

Proposed: Mr G Salvetti

                                                                                                Seconded: Mr Paul Deacon

                                                                                                Carried unanimously

 

Item 6-2.  Central Office Staff Updates – Operations Manager.

 

9.  Mrs Wendy Sheen presented the next Central Office Staff briefing, focusing on welfare support. The facts from her briefing are attached at Annex B.  She added the following points:

 

            a.  Welfare cases are increasing year-on-year.

 

b.   The demand for psychological treatment has risen significantly; RMA can now enrol a patient for treatment within 2 weeks of initial contact.

 

c.  The ability to apply for welfare support through the website is a very strong tool, proving popular with younger people but is being used across the age range.

 

d.  A proactive Central Office team (albeit only 3 people) in this role was proving invaluable.

 

10.  KR welcomed WS’s statement that RMA seeks grant money from Greenwich Hospital, and has a strong working relation with the RN Benevolent Trust. She added that she would be happy to provide a quick route to Greenwich Hospital if required.  The Chairman thanked WS, and her colleague, John Reed, for all that they are doing for the RMA’s beneficiaries and for the Association.

 

11.  Ms Renee Davies presented the final Central Office staff briefing, describing her work as Finance Manager.  She provided the following observations:

 

a.  She has been the RMA Central Office accountant for 10 years, and every year seems to become busier. However, the first half of 2017 has been the busiest ever, caused by:

  • Incorporation: re-registering new company with HMRC, opening new bank account, changing the RMA’s details with all its suppliers.
  • Audit in Jan/Feb.
  • Assisting Branch Treasurers with their financial returns.
  • Preparing for launch of Direct Debit subscription payment system in Feb.
  • Managing Gift-Aid opt-in by members for RMA Ltd.
  • Since Mar, working on the Due Diligence questions for merger with TRMC from Kingston Smith

 

b.  She asked that Regional Trustees urge their members to opt-in for Gift Aid to RMA Ltd.

 

c.  She reported to the Board that several members have been extremely rude to Central Office Staff over the phone when ringing to discuss difficulties with the website.  All agreed that this is completely unacceptable behaviour and that those who behave in this manner should be sanctioned. 

 

12.  The Chairman expressed his admiration for RD’s dedication, commitment and hard work and offered, on behalf of the Board, his sincerest thanks for all she does.

 

13.  Discussion followed that focused on RD’s solo status in the office and finding support for her, notwithstanding the challenge that she pointed out, of training a stand-in should one be needed.  The Chairman directed the Chief Executive to find suitable support for RD, and invited her not to afraid to ask for support if she felt herself to be overwhelmed.

 

                                                                                                            ACTION: CE

 

14.  CE supplied a report, at Annex C, from WO1 (RSM) Tom Coyle RM (Retd), who supports the RM Veteran Support Network by helping claimants with their appeals against Armed Forces Compensation Scheme decisions.

 

Item 8.  Merger & Due Diligence

 

14.   The Chairman opened this item by describing merger planning to date and summarising the last 3 Merger Steering Group (MSG) meetings. He explained that the vehicle under which merger will be achieved will in fact be an acquisition (of RMA by TRMC), which meant that there would be no need to set up a new charity number. He added the following points:

 

a.  A shell company of RMA Ltd will remain, allowing receipt of donations/payments to the RMA under that name.

 

b.  Work was being undertaken to explore whether a clause could be written into the Articles of the new charity to allow “termination or exit” if it became necessary.

 

c.  The RMA Brand must be allowed to endure, and business must carry on as usual for members.

 

d.  Recent Steering Group meetings indicated that this could be a happy marriage.

 

15.  The Chairman then opened discussion to the Board, and the following points were made:

 

a.   BRR, a member of the MSG, stated that he would seek reassurance that RMA financial assets would remain under the membership’s control after merger. 

 

b.   PD added that the RMA trustees on the MSG had made its members aware that every decision made in the merger process must be in the Association’s best interests.  The Chairman explained, in amplification, added that several key decisions have yet to be made, and that some items have been tabled as proposals for decision at the next MSG meeting. If accepted, he would be able to bring news to the next RMA Board.

 

c.  For the benefit of new Board members, the Chairman explained that the governance structure of the new charity would consist of a top level/main Trustee Board, on which probably 3 members of the “Membership Board” (which would be responsible for running all membership matters, including events) would sit. He then summarised the advantages of a single charity:

 

            i.   A single RM charity- removes confusion.

            ii.  Removes overlaps of effort as well as any gaps.

            iii. Improved/streamlined back office functions.

            iv. Better focus of charitable efforts for beneficiaries.

 

d.  The Chairman explained that the Due Diligence procedure looks at the financial, operational, legal and reputational aspects of the 3 charities involved and then brought GF into the discussion, who reported the Board that he had suggested to the F&GP Committee that it should take a risk-based approach to DD by not looking at every aspect of the sister charities in minute detail, but should decide what is important and focus on that. He added that the whole DD process was really a means to the end of deciding about the Association’s future and that this was Trustees’ opportunity to ask him what they wanted him to find out.

 

e.  The following questions emerged:

 

i.  GS stated that his concern lay with what were the prospective or hidden liabilities of the other party.  He also referred to discussions of 2 years ago in which safeguards to ensure the Main Board could not dissolve the Membership Board were mooted.  He then raised the question of RD’s capacity to reassign current RMA members to the new charity. CW explained that it was intended to follow the same process as assimilating the membership into RMA Ltd: members would be advised in their renewal letter that payment of the RMA subscription indicated their willingness to belong to new entity; they would be given the opportunity to opt out.

 

ii.   KR asked whether RNRMC was scrutinising the RMA, to which the answer was ‘yes’, just as the RMA is examining the RNRMC. 

 

iii.   BR questioned the reliability and sustainability of income in the other parties, relating their susceptibility to fluctuations to a strong reason for RMA to maintain control of its reserves, which in turn would help direct its levels of subscription payment.  RB interjected that an escape clause was being explored as part of the MSG work.  GF added that the top-level board’s ability to use or influence the membership’s funds is statutorily limited – by law, its funds remain ‘restricted’ as opposed to ‘designated’, the former being the best option for the RMA, ensuring that its members retain control of their own activities. BR also asked whether any view was being taken in the DD process about the small restricted funds maintained currently by the RMA for third parties. CE put his view that the current practice whereby known third parties might use the Association’s charity number for their fundraising and for their money subsequently to be put into a small restricted fund was expected to continue.

 

iv.   BRR asked GF whether there was anything in the RM Shop’s accounts that were causing concern.  GF replied that his main concern lay with the Shop’s cash shortage, adding that now was the lowest point of the year and that if the Shop were to falter because of this, it would be now. BRR stated that he is worried that the Shop’s accounts will be available or inspection under DD, and that he would wish to be sure that they contained nothing that might cause the RMA difficulty. GF’s view was that the Shop has to keep selling in order to survive, but its wage bill is quite high, and he was concerned about the amount of stock it holds (although RE thought JL had told the F&GP Cttee that he was holding quantities of stock to counter a lag in supply). To general agreement KR suggested that the RM Shop should be added to the RMA Risk register.

 

                                                                                                ACTION: CW

 

v.  Finally, RE asked whether the merger would be open to One Member One Vote (OMOV) to which CE explained that he intended to arrange for voting to take place before AGM, and was therefore planning the motion would be ready for the July Trustees’ meeting.

 

Item 2b.  Minutes of the Extraordinary Trustees meeting (21 Feb) and Matters Arising.

 

16.   Page 5: RE pointed out that the election of a Vice Chairman had been omitted. CW to rectify.

 

                                                                                                                        ACTION: CW

 

17.  On conclusion of the discussion, the Minutes of the Extraordinary Trustees’ Meeting were accepted as a true record of events.

                                                                                               

Proposed: Mr R Crawley

                                                                                                            Seconded: Mr G Salvetti

                                                                                                            Carried unanimously

 

Item 4. Report from the F&GP Committee (to include RM Shop).

 

18.   The Chairman invited comment page-by-page, which were as follows:

 

a.   Page 4, para 13. BR drew attention to this minute, to which CE explained that the reason for the sum reflected in this paragraph was due to receipt of an extremely generous legacy. BRR added that the course of action proposed here was an opportunity to rebuild reserves, having drawn down on them somewhat in 2016.

 

b.   Page 4, sub-para 12d.  RB proposed to defer the action suggested (repaying a portion of this year’s block grant to the RMA by TRMC, due to a legacy to RMA making this feasible) until more would be known about timing of receipt of the balance of the legacy, which was agreed. 

 

19.  It was put to the vote that, in accordance with the recommendation at paragraph 13 of the F&GP Committee Record of Proceedings,  £250,000 should be moved to RMA Ltd’s investment funds. 

 

                                                                                                            Proposed: Mr B R Reading

                                                                                                            Seconded: M R Bell

                                                                                                            Carried unanimously.

 

20. The Chairman invited CE to brief the Board about the recent meeting of the RM Shop’s Board, on which he sits. CE advised that he had raised the F&GP Cttee’s concerns about oversight of the Shop, which had exercised the Shop’s Board, as its members did not view the shortcomings with the same level of concern as the F&GP Cttee. CE stated that a loan was offered to help the Shop’s finances, for which its Board was grateful but after discussion, the offer was not taken up. CE then advised that he had just been made aware that the RM Shop’s website developer had reneged on its agreement to pay back the Shop for its failings in creating its new website, and related the sorry history of this failure to the Board. He finished by stating that the RM Shop Board feels that the shop is on firm footing for its stage of existence, and is confident in its future. He added that there will be no donation to the RMA this year.

 

21.  In the long and wide-ranging discussion that followed, the following points were pertinent:

 

a.  There was general concern for Joe Lane and the perceived lack of support for him from his Board.  Joe’s lack of success in appointing a ‘second in command’ was also commented upon, with the concomitant concern that if Joe could not work for any reason, the Shop would probably cease trading.

 

            b. The shop is overstocked.

 

c.   The shop’s Board had not taken a tough enough line with overseeing the management of the shop’s finances.

 

d.  What was the shop’s debt to its creditors - particularly its suppliers?

 

e.  The shop’s Board had not met often enough since the parlous situation of its finances became clear: there should be regular meetings and the shop should be providing the board with

weekly update.

 

f.   What, if any, action had been taken to recover money from the website developer? CE read a draft letter he had received before this meeting from the shop’s board to the website developer. GS advised that it was neither strong nor detailed enough and offered to help JL/CE develop a more appropriate document.

                                                           

                                                                                                            ACTION: GS

 

g.   BRR proposed that, on behalf of the RM Shop’s holding company, the shop’s Board met regularly and that weekly cash projections and reports were forwarded to its Board and to the F&GP Committee. CE agreed to draft a letter to this effect to RM Shop’s Board, asking for a written response to the RMA Board’s concerns.

 

                                                                                                            ACTION: CE

 

Item 5. 2016 Trustees’ Report.

 

22.   No comments were made on the submitted draft; therefore the Chairman accepted that the Board was content with it as it stood, subject to the addition of detailed and up-to-date figures.

 

Item 7. Risk Management.

 

23.  The Chairman suggested going through the Risk Register asking for additions.  BRR immediately reinforced the earlier suggestion of placing the RM Shop in the Register, probably under the ‘reputational’ category.  It was agreed that CW would draft this entry before the next Board meeting.

 

                                                                                                                        ACTION: CW

 

24.   BRR questioned whether the risk noted at 2.1 was too high and whether its score could be reduced when/if support for Renee is provided.  After discussion, it was agreed that CE should remind CE TRMC about the arrangement for support from TRMC staff; the need for regular reminders about this arrangement was also identified.

 

                                                                                                                        ACTION: CE

 

25.   Discussion followed about the value of placing the costs associated with Mindworks Marketing on the Register, on the basis, in GS’s view, of the increasing expenditure without an end date.  BRR pointed out that there was no risk – Trustees are aware of the costs and the F&GP Cttee had agreed this year’s expenditure on website development at its previous meeting, subject to agreement by this Board.  KR felt that members who had had a difficulty with the website might question the costs. CE explained the level of work that MWM was doing on the Association’s behalf and that such a complex website takes time to bed in.  He added that the error rate was running at only about 2%, but of course that had a high profile.  The Chairman concluded the discussion by reiterating that the costs were actually proving to be lower than the forecast which had been approved by Trustees before the development programme began and stating his view that the website work was such an important part of the RMA’s development that if it broke due to under-investment, the staff would not cope. He directed that the risk that should be recorded should be that of MWM closing, under 2.4, “RMA’s Business Resilience Compromised’, (or add a new risk at 2.5).

 

                                                                                                                        ACTION: CW

 

 

26. PD suggested comparing the Association’s Risk Register and that for the merger to ascertain overlaps.

 

                                                                                                                        ACTION: CW

 

Item 9.  Digital Marketing.

 

27. Defer until next meeting.

 

Item 10 Additional Funding - Update.

 

28. Nothing significant to report.

 

Item 11.  Serving Corps Update.

 

29. Corps RSM absent on duty.

 

Item 12. Central Office Admin Burden

 

30.  CE outlined the case for either charging members, or asking them for a donation, should they ring the office and ask the staff to perform a task for them that could be done through the website.  Animated discussion made it clear that there was no support for either of these suggestions.

 

Item 13. AOB

 

31.   Update on Charitable Discounts from Rackspace.  CE informed the Board that, following enquiries by John Harris-Burland, Rackspace does not offer discounts to charities, although it does have its own Corporate Social Responsibility policy, which favours selected charities.

 

32.  Distribution of ETM Minutes.  The Chairman directed that the ETM Minutes should be distributed only to the Board.

 

33.  Family Days Out – Ticket Eligibility.   CE explained that at present anyone in the Units that holds the tickets could use them. Feedback to him from RSMs & WO1s is that this should not be the case – it would be preferable if at least one member of the family group taking advantage of the offer belonged to the RMA.  He stated that he would write to the relevant Unit Welfare Officers warning them that this condition on the tickets’ use would be imposed with effect from 1 Jan 18.  LS suggested that if RM Cadets had access to such ticket, it would be a significant inducement to them to join the RMA. CE agreed, and undertook to explore how this might work.

 

                                                                                                                                    ACTION: CE

 

34.   The application to open the RM Club as a Branch.   The Chairman introduced this item by explaining the RM Club’s origins in Cdo 999 and its difficult relationship with the RMA. He made the point that personalities had changed in the RM Club and that it wishes to become a Branch of the RMA. However, the document that the RMA had received from the RM Club raised several important questions the most important one to his mind being that it suggested the RM Club become an Association with an Association. He said that it could be a strong asset as part of the RMA if all checks and balances to ensure that it was run in accordance with the spirit of the RMA’s Bye-Laws were in place.

 

35.   Discussion around the Board, based on the document received from the RM Club, revealed the following concerns:

 

a.  The RM Club is trying to differentiate itself from the RMA by labelling itself ‘the official club of the Royal Marines’

 

b.  What were the implications of it being ‘self-governed’?

 

c. The name would add the confusion about entities with ‘Royal Marines’ in their title that it is hoped merger will prevent.

 

d.   How would the RM Club provide a welfare service, and to whom? This would compete with the magnificent work done by the RM Central Office welfare team.

 

e. Why would it need its own separate website?

 

f.   RM Club’s constitution and business plan should complement those of RMA.

 

g. Trying to be all things to all people.

 

h. What benefit would the “app” bring? Would it be compatible with the RMA’s website?  Why would something allegedly so expensive be offered for nothing?

 

36. The Chairman drew the discussion to a close by asserting that he recognises the paper was naïve and set Board Members on edge, but that he would like to support the aspiration for the Club to become an RMA Branch, although the details of how that is achieved caries significant concerns. He suggested that Roger Dobson (RM Club’s Chief Executive) attend the next Trustees’ meeting, and that CE communicate with him before that to explain the Board’s areas of concern and seek common ground. 

 

                                                                                                                        ACTION: CE

 

37.  Merger Briefings to Regions.  CE explained that “roadshows” to brief members about the merger have been arranged in 3 Regions (Scotland, Northern & SW), and he urged those who have not yet organised one to put in bids for dates as quickly as possible (see CE email sent to Regional Trustees on 23 Mar at 1618 hrs).                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                        ACTION: RE, TG, PR, LS

 

38.   Bids for RM Support to RMA Events.  CW stated that he had sent an email on 14 Mar 17 to all Branches asking them to submit bids for uniformed support for their events in 2017 to him by 20 April.  To date, not one response had been received. He urged Regional Trustees to advise their Branches that short notice bids for RM support will not be met. If Branches wished to gain the support of the serving Corps for any type of event, the bidding process detailed in his email should be followed and bids for support during the remainder of 2017 should be submitted as quickly as possible.

 

                                                                                                            ACTION: Regional Trustees

39.  Regional News.

 

a.  East Anglia Region. TG reported that EAR Branches had been reminded about the need to submit the bids alluded to in para 38 above at the Region’s recent AGM. He also suggested an amendment to the final sentence of Bye-Laws article 7.8: “Branches will be given details of those HQ Roll Members who live close to them on an annual basis so that they can persuade them to join a branch.”  CE interjected to say that this direction had been superseded because of Data Protection rules: henceforward, if a Branch seeks to recruit from HQ role members living in its area, it should send its recruiting message to Central Office which will publicise it and send the letter to the relevant individuals.

 

b.   Midlands. RE promoted the Walter Parker VC memorial parade on 30 Apr at Staplewood, Nottingham, and the NMA Parade on 11 Jun.

 

c.   North.  PD drew the Board’s attention to next year’s Zeebrugge 100 commemoration on Merseyside, stating that discussions are under way between the Region and RMR Merseyside about the joint dinner to be held to mark the event. He also voiced a concern that the RN might be planning parallel commemorative events that would clash with RMR/RMA plans. CE explained that the Naval Regional Commander is the point of contact for coordination and he would send contact details to PD.

 

ACTION: CE  

 

d.   South.   LS remarked that there is a Regional desire to set up an Op Frankton commemorative event at Eastney, but there seems to be no one living local who is either willing or able to arrange it, and asked how to proceed.  CE suggested that the lead for Frankton-related events should be SBSA, with RMA in support. He explained the principle established by DCGRM of the 4 main RMA events in the calendar gaining support from the Corps, as well as one ‘floating’ Regional event each year, and asked Trustees to start considering the appropriate event for 2019 (given that 2018 will be the Zeebrugge 100 commemorations in Liverpool)

 

e.   South East.  PR announced that the RM Heritage Trail in Deal will go live next year. He also drew attention to the fact that SE Region Committee positions of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer are all vacant and there are no volunteers to fill them.  He added that the RM band memorial Concert will take place in July and suggested that it is too late to prevent the RM Shop’s exclusion for this year, but that CGRM should be asked to discuss the matter with the concert’s organiser with a view to the Shop attending 2018’s concert .

 

f.  Scotland & NI. RC drew attention to Barry Barnwell’s draft plan for an RMA ‘Forward Operating base’ in Scotland, and added that RMA East Scotland had proposed a similar idea of a satellite Branch helping to reduce the challenge of distances in Scotland, whereby, for example, the members might meet at a given location with one member attending the main Branch meeting and reporting back to the satellite branch.

 

40.    GS placed on record his thanks to the CE and the executive team in RMA Central Office for all the hard work on behalf of the Association. He also formally thanked Terry Galsworthy for all that he had done for Branch, Region and Association.

 

41. The Chairman recorded his formal thanks and appreciation to Terry Galsworthy for his commitment and dedication, not only as a Trustee but in other RMA fields

 

41.  There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 16:13 pm.

 

An Update from the Chief Executive.


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,

 

Chief Executive