Royal Marines Association North Devon

ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE

Items of interest will be published from time to time and listed in most recent first order:


Josh Pelland's Story

The Provision of Advice, Assistance and Advocay to Sertving and Veterans

Commando Force 2030 and Creation of the Maritime Operations Commando


Letter from Brig Mike Ellis, RMA CEO Re Charities Convergence and other items

Memo from RMA Chair of Trustees - Ron Bell

              Instructions for Activating RMA Online Membership


              Frequently Some Asked Question

              RMA Subscription Rates effective 1 January 2016

Josh Pellands 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.

 

 This image of Josh’s spine shows the surgical intervention of screws and metal plates, needed following the accident.


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 pos

 


Josh Pelland during a recovery session in hospital.

 

 

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.

THE PROVISION OF ADVICE, ASSISTANCE AND ADVOCACY TO SERVING MEMBERS AND ROYAL


MARINES VETERANS (Service provided through RM Support Network (RMSN))


1. Since 2014, Tom Coyle (TC) has been an Associate of Hasler Company, the Naval Service Recovery


Centre in HMS Drake. Members of Hasler Company are, by definition, seriously wounded, injured or sick.


Many have life changing conditions and most face medical discharge. Hasler permanent staff do a


wonderful job on recovery and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses but are not trained or equipped to



advise and guide ranks through the pension and compensation entitlement process that faces them on


leaving the service.  This is where TC is able to intervene and offer guidance.



2. Benefit to Members. A retired RSM who since leaving the Corps has gained professional experience in the pertinent areas where he is now offering advice, TC offers:



  • Advice on entitlement, assessment and rights of appeal on all matters relating to War Disability 

  • Pension, WDP, Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, AFCS and Service Invaliding Pensions, SIP.

  • Case-Management of claims, reconsiderations
and appeals, analyse and review communications between service beneficiaries and Veterans-UK.

  • To provide Advocacy and Representation at Tribunals.

  • To obtain evidence in support of above, be that additional medical opinion or witness statements.

  • To act as an ‘Appointed Person’ in those cases where the member is unable or too ill to deal directly with the Veterans Agency himself.

3. In 2016 this service was expanded to include RM Veterans and all of the above now applies to those


post-service. The majority of Veterans currently fall to the War Pension Scheme, (service ending before


2005), and in addition to the above, advice and assistance now includes:


  • Reviews of existing pensions and gratuities.
  • \
  • Fresh or consequential claims under War Pension.
  • \
  • Entitlement to supplementary benefits such as War Pension Mobility Supplement, WPMS, and
  •  
  • Allowance for Lower Standard of Occupation, ALSO
  • .

4. The importance of the correct advice at the correct time is brought sharply into focus in the case of


younger members who can claim only under AFCS which came into force in 2005. In almost all cases, it



can’t be revisited once a claim is made final and it is a ‘one shot’ process that can determine whether a


veteran is financially independent post service or not. If this is not handled properly, it can lead to


hardship or even a reliance on Service Charities. Irrespective of rank or experience, the veteran will not


have the required knowledge or skills to navigate the best path through the WDP or AFCS process. There


is no obligation on any employer, and this includes the MOD, to provide that necessary guidance and


assistance to its workforce.


TC


NOTES:


1. Vets Welfare Service (VWS) - this is a sub unit of Veterans-UK which in turn is part of MOD Business



Services so there is a clear conflict of interest for the VWS who ultimately works for the respondent in any


appeal we submit. They try to serve two masters and it doesn't work.


2. Law firms - solicitor groups such as Irwin Mitchell now offer veterans representation at Tribunals but


will take 20% plus VAT on any award made under AFCS.


3. Other Charities like RBL - they are spread too thinly, do not 'case manage' the claims and appeals and


offer sticking plaster solutions which fail in all but the most simple of cases.


4. Examples: Former Cpl Vice was injured in an IED and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Vets-UK decided


he had made a substantial recovery and was 'self caring' based on how he coped with life as an in-patient

\

\at Headley Court. He was anything but. I commissioned a new Occ Health report which showed his


\dependence on family carers.  He received an uplift of £217,000 and a substantial pension.

 

Commando Force 2030 and Creation of the Maritime Operations Commando


 

RMA Branch Chairman and Secretaries 13 Mar 17

 

Copy to: RMA Regional Chairman and Secretaries

 

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

RMA Regional and Branch Chairmen and Secretaries 10 February 2017

From Ron Bell, Chair of Trustees

 

Dear Region and Branch Officers,

 

I am well aware of the frustrations some RMA members are experiencing by receiving a number of duplicate letters and emails concerning their subscription payments, often informing them that their membership has ended even though they may have paid their RMA membership through their Branches. I would ask you to publish the following message of explanation (that has gone out on a recent RepNet bulletin and is on the website) to all your members and to reassure them that Central Office and Mindworks (the RMA's website and membership database provider) are between them working hard to resolve the technical problem that is understandably, causing such bafflement and ire.

 

“Duplicate Letters and Emails 

We would like to offer our sincere apologies for the duplicate letters and emails that some of you are receiving. We thought that this issue had been rectified a while ago, but it appears it had not. The automatic membership renewal system is processing about a 1000 records a month and appears to be duplicating about 20 of these for no apparent reason. We had thought it was because of two members on one email address, or duplicate records from the historical databases, and while these might still cause problems in future, investigation has shown this is not the cause in this instance.  We have identified the reasons for the most recent problem and have repaired it. MindWorks apologises for any inconvenience or upset caused, but asks that if you experience similar problems please do let us know by sending the details to us at [email protected] so that we can take immediate action to help you.”

 

While the frustrations of members about this matter can be understood, what cannot be understood or condoned is the rudeness offered by some members to Central Office staff when ringing up to enquire about this subject.  The staff spend every weekday working hard on behalf of the Association and its membership, and such gratuitous rudeness about an administrative matter – or indeed any matter – is unacceptable in any walk of life, but especially so in what is supposed to be a comradeship organization. Those of you who have acted in this way know who you are, and should, out of common decency, ring up to make a personal apology for such petulant behaviour.

 

A major contributory factor to the current problem is that many members are still paying their RMA subscriptions through their Branches. This is unhelpful because often those subscriptions do not reach Central Office until after the member's annual subscription period has expired.  This is also why some members see renewal messages when they log into their online account.  I would like to remind you of the request made in a letter dated 28 September 2016 to all Region and Branch Chairmen and Secretaries: "I am asking the individual to manage his/her annual RMA subscription directly with Central Office, while Branches look after their own [branch] members’ subscriptions."  I will make it even clearer than that: there is no option but for individual members to take ownership of their RMA subscriptions themselves.  A simple action such as this by RMA members, which can easily be effected through the website, or by payment over the phone direct to Central Office, will address the incidence of unwanted letters and messages being received by members, and the many wasted and unproductive hours spent by the Central Office team in addressing and resolving the confusion caused by members’ adherence to a superseded process.  In summary, the practice of Branches wrapping up all types of subscription payments and sending the whole lot to Central Office for Renée Davies to try to work out who has paid what to whom and when must stop. The scale of the staff effort to manage such outdated methods is inefficient, indeed it is not manageable for the size of the Association, which now has over 12,000 members and is still growing; this legacy process is no longer acceptable or workable. Individuals must take responsibility for paying their own RMA membership subscriptions to Central Office, preferably through the RMA’s website, although telephone payments are of course welcome.  As a reminder, a guide to logging onto their online account is attached at Annex A to help members who might not be sure how to do this. This is supplemented by a selection of Frequently Asked Questions, which provides additional information, at Annex B.

 

In fact, the onus of individuals paying their RMA membership subscription will very soon become more simple than ever before because of the introduction of Direct Debit payments, which will be live by March 2017. This new facility provides the opportunity to change payment of RMA membership from previous cash payments, cheque or Standing Order to a simple and enduring Direct Debit. After a considerable wait and much effort to make this functional, Trustees are delighted to announce the arrival of this exciting and modernising process, with all of the protections for members (or direct debit customers) that this brings. Trustees are keen that all members should pay by direct debit as soon as it is available. We strongly urge all members to transfer to this payment method, in order to make management of individual subscriptions much easier for all. 

 

Finally, I am particularly disappointed to note that the problem of the automated messages has revealed the fact that many members are confused about the RMA’s annual subscription rates, despite publication of the changes being agreed very nearly 18 months ago at 2015’s Annual General Meeting. For your ease of reference, an extract from the Agenda and Minutes of that meeting setting out the rates effective from 1 January 2016 is at Annex C; I would be most appreciative if you use this to ensure that all your members understand the current subscription rates.  As we modernise and generate the automated processes that provide additional capacity in Central Office, as well as better records, it is becoming clear that some have not been paying the correct rate of subscriptions for nearly 10 years. This has resulted in significant underfunding of the Association.  Trustees are determined that our Association should mirror the profile and quality of the serving Corps but we cannot deliver that for free. Subscriptions continue to be maintained at a very low level; on behalf of my fellow Trustees, I simply ask that all members pay their dues.

 

Yours,

 

Annexes:

A.   Website Account Log-on Instructions

B.   Website Account Frequently Asked Questions

C.   RMA Subscription Rates effective 1 January 2016



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..


Frequently Asked Questions: Members’ category  

 

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/  

 

 RMA Subscription Rates effective 1 January 2016


1.   Extract from CE letter to RMA Branch Chairmen and Secretaries and RMA Regional Chairmen and Secretaries dated 24 July 2015:

“Proposal 6.  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 diminished and at a time when so much work is being undertaken to modernise your Association. To make subscriptions more affordable the Trustees have introduced a monthly Direct Debit option. The Trustees have proposed that the following changed subscription levels should be put to AGM: 

a. Subscriptions for Full, Associated and Affiliated Members up to 65: £15 p.a. (if paid by a single payment) 

b. Discounted subscriptions for Full, Associated and Affiliated members of 65 and over: £12.00 p.a (if paid by a single payment) 

            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”.

 

2.   Extract from the Agenda of AGM 2015 dated September 2015

 

“Vote to accept the proposal that the Subscriptions to the RMA be amended in accordance with the Trustees Recommendation and, if accepted, that the Bye-Laws be amended accordingly.

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.  Trustees have proposed that the following changed subscription levels should be put to AGM: 

 

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.

b. Discounted subscriptions for Full, Associated and Affiliated members of 65 and over: £12.00 p.a (if paid by a single payment) 

            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.

3.   Extract from the Minutes of AGM 2015

 

“Vote to accept the proposal that the Subscriptions to the RMA be amended in accordance with the Trustees Recommendation and, if accepted, that the Bye-Laws be amended accordingly.

 

a.  The Chairman thanked the Trustee Working Group that had carried out the Subscription Review for reaching an impartial, fair, just and compassionate conclusion to a difficult and sensitive study.

 

b.  At the point of voting, the Chairman RMA Glasgow stated that the only dispute his Branch had with this proposal was the membership for 80+ years old should remain free as opposed to attracting the 65+ years old discounted charge.

 

c.  After consultation, The Chairman decreed that there is no provision in the RMA’s Bye-Laws for an amendment to a proposal to be considered at AGM.  Amendments to proposals should be submitted earlier to allow wide consideration. He invited the Chairman RMA Glasgow to submit his suggestion as an amendment to the proposal that would then be considered by the Board of Trustees.