List of Articles. Scroll down page to find article you want to read.
A Letter from the CGRM - President of the RMA
Sgt Blackman - Court Martial Appeal - A Memo from Mike Ellis, CEO RMA
A Request from Mark Ormrod
Invitation to fund Raise for RMA without doing very Much and it's Free
Memo RE the RMA National Website
The 2017 Reunion Date Review Memo
A Clarification from the CEO re Membership, Subscription and Fund Raising
A Memo from the CEO regarding the Change over of RMA Presidents with attached letter from the CGRM
Letter from CEO re 2017 Reunion
Letter from CEO May 2016
Letter Re trhe Convergence of RMCTF and C Group
Letter from CEO Brig Mike Ellis
A Letter from the CGRM December 2016.
Sergeant Al Blackman - Court Martial Appeal Court Hearing
On behalf of the membership of the RMA, I would like
to emphasise that we will continue to offer our support to both Al
and Claire following the outcome of the recent Criminal Cases Review Commission’s
assessment of Al’s conviction, and today’s decision not to release Al
on bail pending his subsequent appeal. This Christmas will clearly
be a tough time for them and their whole family.
A huge number of you have been kind enough to write to Al and Claire, passing your Christmas cards, letters of good will and parcels to Central Office for their onward passage. Indeed, many have also made donations to Central Office for Al and Claire, to help them make a fresh start together when this legal process draws to a close. We have previously relayed their expressions of gratitude, I would like to take this opportunity to repeat their sincere thanks for your continued support and good wishes.
While today's outcome is not yet the end of the case, the RMA will continue to hold a support fund on behalf of Al and Claire to allow them to make that fresh start, and if anyone would wish to make further donations, please forward cheques to Central Office, appropriately annotated.
M P Ellis OBE
Brigadier Royal Marines (Retired)Chief Executive
A Request from Mark Ormrod
You’ll probably have already seen on my social media that I’m looking for some support with my latest venture…something I’ve been planning for quite some time now.
You may or may not already know my background story but in brief, I was the first British triple amputee as a result of the conflict in Afghanistan. While serving with the Corps I stood on and detonated an IED losing both legs and my right arm, at one point I was even declared dead while being transported to the field hospital.
After a dangerous & innovative procedure & extensive surgery my life was saved & that’s where the real story began. I was told shortly after (3 weeks post injury) at the age of 24 that I would never walk again and that I would be wheelchair bound for the rest of my life but I wasn’t willing to let a stranger’s opinion become my reality. This happened nine years ago and now I’m ready to tell my story, warts and all to as big an audience as I possibly can.
Along with a friend of mine, Matt Elliott who is also a Former Royal Marine (turned photographer/filmmaker) it is our intention to produce a fly on the wall documentary spanning over the course of a year covering all aspects of my life including being a Triple Amputee, Veteran, Husband, Father, Entrepreneur, Sponsored Athlete, Fundraiser, Business Owner & Motivational Speaker.
To make this project a reality we’re producing a Kickstarter page to raise the funds necessary to cover the costs of equipment, production and expense’s. The idea of the documentary is firstly to tell my story to the masses, no holds barred (including all of the bad stuff that isn't often shown) & to show the world what life is really like living with a disability & secondly to support others, military or not, injured or able bodied who may be struggling with some aspect of their life to show them that nothing is impossible and any obstacles can be over-come. The aim is to provide something thought provoking, motivational & inspirational to help others to see life in a more positive light.
Over the last few years I have been fortunate enough to connect with some very supportive & encouraging people either face to face or through social media and I’ve done my very best to answer the hundreds if not thousands of questions I’ve been asked over those years. My life is extremely busy now with public speaking, running my gym, charity work, being a husband and a dad to name but a few things. However, I now feel the time is right for the public to take a look at what it’s really like to be Mark Ormrod warts and all, and have all their questions truly answered.
Primarily we will be looking for financial funding, but I would also like to ask anyone who I have met or worked with, to come forward and contribute towards the film. This may involve filming at some point, a quote or even a recorded Skype call…we are looking for the full story.
It’s our intention to have this project completed and released this time next year in line with my 10yr BANGiversarry.If you think you can help in any way I would REALLY appreciate it,
I really need to get the word out there about this so if you wouldn't mind mentioning the project on your social media that will help to make a huge difference.
I’ll share the funding page as soon as it goes live. In the meantime, for regular updates about this project, please sign up to my mailing list on the home page of my website: www.markormrod.com.
If you have any filming questions, please contact the film maker:
Matthew Elliott: [email protected]
THIS IS A COMPLETELY FREE SERVICE TO SIGN UP TO (CLICK THE LINK BELOW) EVERY TIME YOU SHOP ONLINE USING EASY FUNDRAISING THEN YOU DONATE TO THE RMA.......AND IT DOESNT COST YOU ANOTHER PENNY! PLEASE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD AND LETS GET LOTS OF YOU SHOPPING THROUGH EASY FUNDRAISING TO HELP THE RMA
You can help Royal Marines Association win the easyfundraising £1,000 Good Cause Giveaway just by shopping online!
1. Go to https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/rma and join for free
2. Get shopping at over 3,000 shops and sites - including Nike, Sainsbury's, John Lewis, Argos and Amazon.
3. Shop twice through easyfundraising this October and Royal Marines Association will be entered into a draw to win a share of £1,000.
Remember it doesn't cost a penny extra, so please think of Royal Marines Association and shop, shop, win!
I am sure that most of you will be aware that we have a relatively new website up and running and new content is being added all the time to it. Please try to make regular visits to it so that you can catch up with the latest news and information. The website is updated almost daily and you also have everything from ticket availability to our events to an FAQ section. You will also be able to see various letters of thanks from people who we, through you and the grants of the RM Charity have helped through some tough times. Branch details and news stories are also on the site........give it a go today.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Following the various discussions at Reunion and AGM, the RMA's Trustees heard a number of views expressing concerns about blending RMA Reunion with the CTCRM Families day over the weekend of 22/23 July 2017, to establish a new RMA event called the Corps Families Weekend. The most commonly expressed concerns were about members being unable to book accommodation in the Exeter/Exmouth area for a weekend in late July at a reasonable price, and the proximity of the proposed families Weekend to the Spean Bridge parade in the RMA's annual events calendar.
The Trustees assessed that those were valid concerns and have undertaken a review of options over the period since Reunion 2016 to decide how to take planning forward for Reunion 2017. Trustees remain convinced that, as part of the work to seek to continuously improve our Association and to increase awareness and interest in the RMA and its relevance to a wider audience, the amalgamation of Reunion with an event that includes a different, younger audience is a key step in the strategy of ensuring the RMA's survival and growth into the exciting and dynamic organisation that CG envisioned in his speech to AGM 2016. As such, the steps to revitalise Reunion's format must continue to be developed. A further factor for consideration in the July vs September debate has been DCGRM's determination to help to find a compromise. After this year's Reunion weekend he offered to support a Reunion-type event in September 2017 with as many serving members of the Corps, with equipment, as can be spared during the autumn deployment season, with the intent of trialling a families' weekend in the September time-frame, as had been originally planned before decisions beyond the RMA's control forced the move to a July date.
After due consideration, Trustees have decided to accept DCGRM's proposal with the aim of running the weekend as a 'pilot' for an integrated Families and RMA Reunion weekend. Thus, the event will be held over the more traditional Reunion timeline of the third weekend in September 2017, but will be open to the families of those RMs and indeed to the families of CTCRM Staff as a stepping stone to a revised Reunion weekend format in the longer term (possibly with the introduction of some new, yet to be defined events too). Trustees have therefore directed the Chief Executive to deliver RMA Reunion 2017 on 16/17 September 2017, and will include, as in previous years, the RMA's AGM and other familiar items as well as some new ideas for trial and assessment. The weekend will be known as the RMA Commando Forces Families' Weekend
This event will be the first alteration to the Reunion format in many years. Trustees are united in their belief that a reinvigorated Reunion is imperative if the RMA is to develop into an organisation that welcomes all generations and members of the Corps Family. They urge all members to embrace the new format, while accepting that it is a trial and the format may need modification in future years.
Mike (M P Ellis OBE, Brigadier Royal Marines (Retired), Chief Executive)
28 September 2016
Dear Region and Branch Secretaries,
Over the last few weeks, I have become aware from face-to-face conversations, telephone calls and emails that a degree of confusion exists around the RMA about 3 separate matters, namely, membership categories, subscription payments and the rules surrounding fundraising. I therefore write to offer clarification about these matters, and to offer Central Office’s support if further explanation is needed.
Let me first consider membership categories. You should all recently have received the proposed amendments to the Bye-Laws that were accepted at this year’s AGM. Most of those amendments concern membership categories, and what falls from them is that there are 4 main types of RMA membership: Full, Associate, Affiliated and Honorary. From the discussions I have had, I believe the first 3 are clear and well understood and provide enough scope to enable friends, family and supporters to join without the need to use Honorary as a catch all. However, confusion is setting in about Honorary membership, particularly since the proposed amendments have done away with Local membership.
To digress for a moment, this because Local membership of Branches had caused untold confusion about subscriptions payments that Central Office is still trying to unscramble – and which will take some considerable time and work – as well as allowing many people to take advantage of RMA Branch membership and all it offers without subscribing to the RMA, which Trustees believe is unjustified and should cease. It has emerged that since this proposal has become became public knowledge, some Branches are considering offering their supporters and ‘Friends’ Honorary membership to circumvent the cessation of Local membership, but are suggesting that payments be made for taking up that Honorary membership. I would propose to you that this is not what Honorary membership is for, and neither should it be offered in this context nor should payment for it be exacted. Honorary membership is designed specifically for anyone who is not, or who is ineligible to be, a Full, Associated or Affiliated Member but who is deemed worthy of membership as a consequence of special service or through other circumstances that merits such distinction. Special consideration should be given to people who have either supported the Association significantly or who are considered to be those who would do so, and of course is open to Widows, widowers or legal next of kin of serving members of the Corps or indeed of retired Royal Marines. Along with this definition goes the statement that Honorary
Members shall pay such membership fees as may be determined by the Board at its absolute discretion.
This statement does not mean that they must pay subscriptions. It is instead a legal device to allow the Board to charge at some point in the future if it should ever be deemed necessary. This is not the case at present.
In summary, Honorary Membership is exactly that, membership that is awarded to honour those who deserve it; it does not attract subscription charges unless Trustees deem it necessary and should not be used as work-around for the now-ceased Local membership.
I would now like to turn to the subject of subscription payments. It is evident that over the years, various methods of paying subscriptions have come about, many of which are contradictory, some of which simply do not work and almost all of which cause enormous amounts of extra work in Branches and in Central Office trying to administer it and to sort out the muddles created by the no doubt well-intentioned local attempts to make life easier for members. To simplify this multitude of payment methods, it would be helpful if all members could become accustomed to the following procedure, which is based around separating RMA membership from Branch membership. RMA membership subscriptions are to be renewed through Central Office on the anniversary of first joining; the process will soon be automated and will become even simpler as Direct Debit is introduced as the preferred method of payment (I will write to you about this separately, once we have more detail available). An additional incentive to establish this change of practice, and to encourage Standing Order, Direct Debit or other online payment processes across the membership, is that we have been told by the bank that as from 2017 it will charge the RMA £1.50 for every cheque it handles on the Association’s behalf.
As paid up members of the RMA, people are free to join a Branch or Branches of their choice, which they can do by applying to the appropriate Secretary or Secretaries and paying the Branch subscription (where that is applied), which will be managed by the Branch. In short, I am asking the individual to manage his/her annual RMA subscription directly with Central Office, while Branches look after their own members’ subscriptions. While some Branches have managed this process effectively, many have not and find it to be a difficult process. Our aim is therefore to deliver a more streamlined and simple system which can be more effectively managed so that all members can be looked after equitably.
In summary, the intention is to terminate the complexity of Branches wrapping up both/all types of subscription payments, sending the whole lot to Central Office for Renée Davies to try to work out who has paid what to whom and when! Your assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
My final point is to remind everyone about the regulations that govern fundraising. While I appreciate that many of you do a fantastic job of raising money for the RM charities, I am also picking up whispers that the proceeds of collections are not always being handled correctly, which shows that not everyone understands how closely regulated is the business of fundraising and how important it is to adhere to the rules. I do not intend to list every rule here. You will have received recently the revised Branch Secretary’s Aide memoire, which contains an Annex entitled “Branch Fundraising”, and I would advise both Secretaries and Treasurers to become fully familiar with this Annex. The central message is that the Charity number and RMA logo should be clearly displayed on collecting tins, buckets or other collecting receptacles; if a donation is made in support of the RMA, then the donor and the Charities Commission expect that the donation will be given to the organisation advertised, i.e. the Royal Marines Association. The other side of this coin is that if the Branch wishes to raise money for a cause that does not benefit the Royal Marines of former Royal Marines or their families or dependents, it may not do so as a RMA Branch or in any way which leaves donors to suppose that they are giving money to the RMA (e.g. using the RMA logo). If you or your Branch members are in any doubt about the regulations that surround fundraising, or indeed how to handle its proceeds, please seek advice from Renée Davies in Central Office (02392 651519 option 2). Furthermore, our auditors have identified that some Branches are using the RMA charity number on all of their correspondence; the number can only be used in association with fundraising events where the proceeds are for the benefit of the RMA (and will be passed to Central Office) or where related to the organising of RMA national events in concert with or on behalf of Central Office.
I apologise if this letter has come over as something of a tutorial about a series of dry subjects, but I believe it is important to try to clarify these important areas so that all are operating in a standardised fashion, which I hope will help Branches, members and Central Office alike.
Mike Ellis, CEO
Introduction of the Corps Family Weekend - July 2017
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For many years the annual RMA Reunion weekend has been one of the most popular events on our yearly calendar. Many of you will remember the previous CGRM’s direction at the last AGM to the RMA to become the central pillar of the Corps Family. His successor emphasised that direction when setting out his priorities on assumption of his appointment as our Commandant General: “Maintain the RM network, not least with critical support from the RMA and the RM Charity, to ensure the wellbeing of the RM family and its interests.” It has therefore become a mission of your Trustees to work out ways in which the RMA can engage the serving Corps in more events and social occasions so that we can become fully what we aim to be: an Association that embraces all elements, ages and aspects of the Corps Family.
Earlier this year a member of the RMA, who is serving at CTCRM, proposed that our Reunion weekend should merge with the CTCRM families day, which would serve to bring more of the Corps Family together while adding depth and breadth to the Reunion programme. After some work to establish what might be achievable, RMA Trustees have directed that in 2017 the RMA Reunion should be moved to the same weekend in July on which the CTCRM Families Day takes place. This will enable all that normally occurs in the RMA weekend to be augmented and enhanced by the addition of all that CTCRM does on its day, as well as being an integral part of modernising the RMA by widening its target audience. After significant consideration and discussion of this matter, your Trustees firmly believe that the benefits of moving of our weekend to a date slightly earlier in the year and merging with the CTC Families Day more than outweigh any disadvantages.
I recognise that change can be difficult to accept, and know all too well that it can indeed be difficult to implement, but to stand still and rest on our laurels is not the Royal Marines way. We should never stop trying to bring more value and a better experience to more of our members as part of a process of continuous improvement for our Association – as well as taking the opportunity to reach out to those who do not yet belong to it and encourage them to join us to enjoy the benefits of RMA membership!
As it stands this September’s Reunion will be the last in its current format before the first “Corps Family Weekend” takes place over the weekend of the 22 – 23 July 2017. This early warning is intended to allow ample time for people to make travel and accommodation reservations for the new dates. Research carried out personally by Trustees and others has shown that the costs of coach/minibus hire and local hotel / B & B accommodation are the same for this July weekend as they would be for the normal September date.
The purpose of this letter is to make you aware of the plans for the change next year and to encourage your active support, and that of your members, for this exciting move. The invitation from our serving companions to engage with more of our Corps Family while enjoying a revitalised and stimulating Reunion will, I believe, offer everyone more than it does in its current format. This is an opportunity for the RMA and the serving Corps to draw closer together that is too good to be missed.
Thank you all for your support as we continue to build a more vibrant Association. Please continue to encourage more members of the Corps Family to join us – we are stronger together.
Dear Region and Branch Secretaries,
I write to inform you of several important developments in the governance of our Association about which you should know; I would be very grateful if each of you would do your utmost to ensure that your members see this letter and are aware of its contents.
It was hoped that AGM 2016 would be the first one of the newly Incorporated RMA, which would have provided the impetus for several innovations. However, the Incorporation process is moving so slowly that we cannot be certain of its completion in time to prepare for the ‘new style’ AGM. The decision has therefore been taken that this year’s AGM will be the same as for the current, unincorporated Association.
This may not appear significant to most of our membership, but there are 2 important components of it that I seek to explain now.
The first component is that of the Financial Year and presentation of the RMA’s accounts at AGM for adoption. Notwithstanding our original aim to adjust the Association’s Financial Year to the calendar year, due to the delays imposed upon our Incorporation by government agencies to date, it has not proved feasible to close our accounts, as originally planned, at 31 Dec 15. It has therefore been decided that we will be forced to revert to our previous 31 March end of FY date. It is then intended that we extend the period of accounts to meet a 31 December 2017 end of FY. That will finally bring us into alignment with the RM Charity while also minimising the number of audits (and associated costs) that are necessary to remain within the appropriate legal constraints.
What this means for our members is simply that the accounts to be adopted at this year’s AGM will be those of Central Office that were closed at 31 Mar 2016. I fully appreciate that in pursuance of working more closely with the RM Charity we asked Branches to close their accounts on 31 Dec 15, and that this caused several people some regrettable and avoidable stress, but frustratingly this has been forced on us by the slow progress of government departments that are critical to the process of Incorporation, and consequently we have no other choice than to make this decision.
The second element that will be affected by the inability to guarantee Incorporation by the time of AGM is that of One Member One Vote (OMOV). Many of you will recall that it was agreed at last year’s AGM that OMOV should be in place by AGM 16. The aim of OMOV is to enfranchise every member of the RMA, and, coincidentally, it meets the legal criteria for members of a “company limited by guarantee” (the legal term for the new “Incorporated” RMA) to be able to vote on matters relevant to the running of their company (the Association). Given that we cannot guarantee Incorporation by AGM 2016, it has been decided that OMOV will not be practised at this year’s voting. Instead, the current system of voting by Branch Delegates will remain in place, but voting will be done electronically, or postally if preferred, as if under OMOV. Thus, voting at this year’s AGM will be a pilot scheme to test the system prior to the introduction of OMOV across the Association. Again, this is not what was originally planned but, has been forced upon us by circumstances beyond our control. Nevertheless, this new plan represents a positive, practicable and effective compromise. The intention is for OMOV to be in place for AGM 2017.
Local membership of RM Branches.
Local membership of RMA Branches has been a consistent thread so far this year, which originated from a request that Branches might be able to make “local members” of former RMs who do not otherwise wish to join the RMA. After careful consideration, Trustees agreed at the last meeting on 21 April that this is not an acceptable proposal. They are clear that membership of the RMA is the prerequisite for membership of a Branch, and that those who wish to join a Branch should be made to understand that they should in fact contribute to the RMA, and only by their full membership and engagement will they be able to do this for the benefit of the greater good. People can not join an RMA Branch and have the privilege of what that brings while not subscribing to the Association as a whole, thereby supporting the wider Corps Family as the rest of the membership does through annual membership subscriptions. Furthermore, years of allowing local membership across the Association in both Branch and Central Office’s records has created significant confusion in the minds of many members as well as in the membership records: unscrambling this is a full time job that distracts Central Office staff from their core business, and this distraction has to cease. There was general agreement amongst Trustees that the Bye-Law allowing Local Branch membership should be deleted. This will be discussed and put to a vote at their next meeting on 21 Jul.
You will be well aware of the hard work that our welfare team puts into delivering grants to those of our community in need; this is work that continues daily and runs continually in the background, so I thought it worth exposing some facts and figures to you all. In the year to date, 103 veteran cases have crossed the welfare team’s desks, resulting in grants from the RM Charity delivered by the RMA being awarded to those cases of £74,915. Twenty-three cases of need in serving Royal Marines have been raised this year, generating £22,319 in grants. The RM Support Network is gaining significant traction across its entire scope: 15 new cases have been taken on in May alone, bringing its active cases to 48. One of the most serious matters that it is handling is with a client who is involved in a murder case, while the furthest away case is an RM veteran in Hong Kong; the oldest client is 90 years old and the most common cause for concern is isolation; a primary reason to encourage all members to reach out to those whom you know who are not already members and to recruit them into our Association. For those who need it, support from RMA welfare team or the RM Support Network is only a phone call away: 02392 651519 for welfare and 01392 547213 for the RMSN, with more details about the complete service on the RMA’s website.
Recruiting to the RMA.
Finally, I would like to add some thoughts about recruiting to the RMA. In 2014, we set ourselves the major task of doubling our membership in just five years. Today, we have 11,800 members, which is a significant advance on 2014’s numbers. To achieve the 20,000 membership target, all we have to do to reach our target is recruit one new member each. In introducing more of our Royal Marines Family into our membership, we can ensure that the RMA can continue to provide the connections, support and welfare and that we can deliver into the future a thriving community that better supports those in need and where more can enjoy the benefits, friendship and camaraderie of those with shared experiences and values.
In reality, though, we know that not everyone finds recruitment that easy. Therefore, we’re on the point of producing a set of ‘member-get-member’ materials to help you, including leaflets explaining the benefits of joining, and posters to help raise awareness. These will be sent to you soon for distribution to your members, and will be available on the members’ area of the website.
The key point about this is that the RMA is for all members of the Royal Marines Family, not just serving or veteran RMs. Anyone on the RM trained strength, including those currently or previously serving in units and establishments within the Corps who are from other Armed Forces, can be a Full Member: we’re also open to relatives, who can join as Associate Members. On that basis, you almost certainly know at least one person who’d be interested in joining us.
We know that serving RMs in particular find it difficult to commit to a specific Branch. For them, we now have a growing number of virtual Branches, including the Landing Craft and Motorcycle Riders Branches, and Clubs such as the Golf Society and Rugby Football Club. These are much more flexible, and make it easier for like-minded people to get together. Please encourage the formation of similar interest groups if any of your members feel inspired to set one up. Equally, please encourage your Branch members to treat every contact with serving or former RMs and their families as a recruitment opportunity. As members, you understand the benefits of belonging, the support and services you have access to, and the unique camaraderie within the RM Family. Just tell the story and share the experience with one person, and when they join the RMA, we’re another big step closer to our goal.
I know this has been a long letter, but I wanted to advise you of some important matters. There is no doubt that the RMA is in a good position and is developing strongly, thanks significantly to your participation and loyalty to it. I am grateful for your attention not only to this letter but for all that you do for your Regions and Branches and if anything that I have said in this is unclear or raises doubts in your mind, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me through RMA Central Office.
THE LATEST NEWS:
The Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund and The C Group have merged to create
The Royal Marines Charity "Royal Marines and their families supported through life"
Both the RMCTF and The C Group have been hugely successful over the last 3 years, and whilst both charities have developed individual areas of expertise there are increasing areas of overlap. To support their combined beneficiaries better over the next decade and beyond the RMCTF and The C Group combined to create The Royal Marines Charity on the 1 January 2016.
Comment from Major General Martin Smith MBE, Commandant General Royal Marines and President of The Royal Marines Charity
“I am delighted to see the convergence of the RMCTF and The C Group to form The Royal Marines Charity, which has my absolute endorsement, and creates a unified charity to better serve our beneficiaries, Royal Marines and their families through life.”
The Royal Marines Charity’s Purpose
To provide a single, unified and integrated charity for the Royal Marines extended Corps family, where cadets, the serving Corps, veterans and families are supported through life with benevolence, comradeship, transition support and amenities, underpinned with a cohesive sense of heritage and esprit de corps.
The creation of The Royal Marines Charity will:
• increase our ability to assist beneficiaries through improved fundraising, transition, benevolence and grant-making;
• create a single point of contact for requests from beneficiaries;
• create a single point of contact for support from benefactors;
• inspire stronger engagement with the Corps family and the support network;
• provide a platform for increased membership of the Royal Marines Association;
• create stronger links with civil society; and,
• create a unified brand with significant profile and credibility, fit to serve the Corps.
About The Royal Marines Charity
The Royal Marines Charity exists to provide the best possible through life charitable support for the Royal Marines, their families, veterans and cadets. We are a single, unified and integrated charity for the Royal Marines extended Corps family, where cadets, the serving Corps, veterans and families are supported through life with benevolence, comradeship, transition support and amenities, underpinned with a cohesive sense of heritage and esprit de corps.
The Royal Marines Charity will remain a proud part of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity group.
If you would like more information about The Royal Marines Charity contact:
Jonathan Ball CEO
Sharky Ward Deputy CEO
lick to add text, images, and other content
Since this year’s successful AGM at which several important motions were agreed by the RMA’s voting membership, I write to advise you of a number of forthcoming developments.
Prospective members can join online
First, you will be aware of the Association’s new website, which is proving to be extremely successful. However, I would ask you to enhance that success by encouraging as many people as possible to make use of the website, including all your friends and family. Please also spread the good news that joining the RMA is now far easier than it has been for the 70 years of its existence as new members can now join through the website by visiting royalmarinesassociation.org.uk.
Members area within the website
With the launch of the new website, every member can securely log in to the ‘members area’ using their email address and chosen password. Once logged in, members can check and update their personal details and preferences as well as enjoy the full range of services and benefits the site has to offer. As we continue to add new features and functionality to the website, we’ll publish announcements so members don’t miss out. Many members have already logged into their online account and will be entered into a monthly prize draw. For those who are yet to activate their online account they will need to click the ‘forgot password’ link at the bottom of royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/login/ This will open a screen asking them to enter their email address and further instructions will be on-screen.
One-member-one-vote – email and postal voting
Next, One Member One Vote (OMOV). As you know, for decades it was only Branches that were permitted to vote at AGM; each Branch had only one vote, regardless of whether it had 20 members or 200. This was patently unfair – especially as almost two-thirds of the membership, those on the HQ Roll, despite being Full Members of the RMA were not eligible to vote since they did not belong to a Branch. It was therefore proposed by 2 Branches that we change to a system of OMOV, which would allow every RMA full member to have a genuine say in what goes on in the Association, giving them a greater sense of engagement, and another strong reason to join and remain with us. The vote for OMOV was carried at AGM with one abstention and 3 against. I have been directed by Trustees to implement the system by AGM 2016. Therefore, the Central Office team and I are working to establish how we can use primarily electronic voting for major issues or strategic initiatives that would materially affect the Association. More will be announced as we develop this process. Meanwhile I seek your support by encouraging as many of our members as possible to become accustomed to using computers, email and the internet to gain maximum benefit from what the Association has to offer. I of course understand that not everyone can or will want to do this; therefore, postal voting will remain an option for the foreseeable future for those who wish to have a say in the running of their Association. For those who would like to learn more about computers and the internet there are programmes like that offered by “Barclays Tea and Teach” (http://www.barclays.co.uk/Home/TeaTeach/P1242672612113) which I would encourage you to research so that your members are better able to connect with us, as well as with their friends and family.
Membership fees increasing
The third subject to which I wish to draw your attention is the always-thorny matter of an increase in RMA subscriptions. There has been no increase in the level of subscriptions since the decision of the AGM in September 2007 to raise them with effect from 1 Apr 08. Since then the annual rate of inflation has averaged approximately 2.6% p.a. The purchasing power of subscriptions has, therefore, been falling. In order to go some way to rectifying this, and to help make the RMA more robustly self-financing than at present, at AGM the following changed subscription levels were endorsed:
a. Subscriptions for Full, Associated and Affiliated Members up to 65: £15 p.a. (if paid by a single payment) or £18.00 p.a. (if paid in 12 monthly installments of £1.50 per month).
b. Discounted subscriptions for Full, Associated and Affiliated members of 65 and over: £12.00 p.a (if paid by a single payment) or £14.40 p.a. (if paid in 12 monthly installments of £1.20 per month)
c. Cadets: £5 per year from joining RMA until aged 18.
d. Those members aged 80 years and over, who currently are entitled to free membership should continue to do so; those reaching 80 years in future should continue to pay the discounted subscription (this is subject to further consideration by Trustees; I will write separately to confirm their decision about this in due course).
The increase to annual subscriptions will be brought into effect from January 2016 with the monthly option coming into effect when we move to Direct Debit (see below).
Paying membership fees by Direct Debit
As the penultimate word on this subject, I should add that the following conditions have been incorporated into the Association’s Bye-Laws concerning subscriptions: RMA subscription levels will be reviewed annually by Trustees, but will not necessarily be raised annually. Increases to subscription levels will not exceed the aggregate rate of inflation, judged by the Retail Price Index, since the previous increase. Any adjustments in excess of the aggregate rate of inflation will require ratification by the membership at AGM. Finally, please make your members aware that we are moving to a system of payment by Direct Debit. This will relieve Central Office of a significant workload and make our income from subscriptions much more predictable than it has been to date. You will hear more about this in due course.
Replacement membership cards
The last two subjects that I wish to raise with you perhaps fall into the ‘miscellaneous’ category, but it is nonetheless important that you and your members are aware of them. Related to the overall subject of membership, until now there has been no charge for replacement membership cards. However, in order to cover production and administrative costs with effect from 1 January 2016, a £5.00 charge will be levied for the replacement of a lost card. Please make sure your members know about this change to our previous policy. This charge will be levied automatically when members login to the members area of the website and request a new card online.
Secretary logins to approve new members and update the website
All members join HQ Roll as base membership, but they can also request additional membership to a Branch. When new members choose this option via the website, a notification email will be sent to the Branch Secretary to approve the request and to make contact with the new member. Privileged access to the confidential Central Office members’ database has been granted to all Secretaries to enable them to review the new Branch member’s contact details (as well as the contact details of the other members of their Branch). To that effect, special logins have been created for all Secretaries. Mindworks Marketing has distributed the login usernames and a Secretary Web User Guide. They require a response from the Secretary to confirm the best contact telephone number to securely provide the login password. Once the Secretary has obtained their login details not only can they approve new members, they can see an appropriate limited range of members’ contact details and records associated to their Branch, and they can update their Branch info page as well as add Branch news, events and galleries to further appeal to both their current and prospective members.
Lastly, I know that many Branches are keen to recruit new members. I also know that many HQ Roll members live not far from Branches across the country but for reasons of either available time or even ignorance of the location of their local Branch they do not either join or contribute to Branch life. I am very happy to write to all HQ Roll members living in the vicinity of those Branches that let me know they wish me to do so, to encourage HQ Roll members to join Branches and take an active part in Branch and Association life. Please let me know if you wish me to do this and I will be only too pleased to help you.
Initiative to introduce Serving Corps to your branch events
As an absolute final word, I must endorse WO1 (RSM) Bruce Riach’s splendid initiative to pair up serving Marines with Branches in their home areas by asking Branches to invite Royal Marines to any event they may be holding. This is an excellent idea with the aim of encouraging local lads to become part of their home Branches. I strongly urge you to give this initiative serious thought, and if you wish to participate in it seek advice from Central Office on how to contact Bruce so that he can put the word out around the Serving Corps.
I know this has been a long letter, but there is much to advise you about since AGM. There is no doubt that the RMA is in a good position and is developing strongly, thanks significantly to your participation in and loyalty to it and to the care taken by your Trustees in taking our Association forward. Thank you for your attention, and if anything that I have said in this letter is unclear or raises doubts in your mind, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me through RMA Central Office.