A fundamental characteristic of the RNBT is that the majority of trustees and other volunteer members are serving and ex-serving RN ratings and RM other ranks. This dates back to the founding principles of the Grand Fleet Fund, the forerunner of the RNBT, established by Admiral Lord Jellicoe in 1916.
A charity with a Royal Charter
The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust was incorporated under Royal Charter granted on the 2nd May 1922, and is registered with the Charity Commission (number 206243). The Charter has been updated over the years.
The Trust is honoured to have as its Patron His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales KG KT GCB OM.
The Trust may appoint Vice Patrons from time to time and currently there are three. Mr John Thompson MBE BEM, who has been associated with the Trust since October 1985 and was Vice President and Honorary Treasurer from 1994 to 2009, is a Vice Patron. Mr Ken Lambert BEM, who was chairman of the Grant Committee from 2010 to 2017 and a trustee from 2010 to 2018 is also a Vice Patron. Recently the trustees granted the honour of becoming a Vice Patron to Mr Nick Jellicoe, naval author and grandson of Admiral Jellicoe, the founder of the Grand Fleet Fund.
The governing body of the RNBT is known as the Central Committee, and its members are the trustees of the charity. The Chairman of the Trust chairs the Central Committee, and its members are the Vice President (also the Honorary Treasurer), the Admiralty Governor, the Senior Serving Officer Trustee, the Specialist Trustees and the Ordinary Member Trustees. The Central Committee meets three times per annum, supported by three standing sub-committees, the Finance and Risk Committee, the Care and Safeguarding Committee and the Benevolence Committee, which report to the Central Committee.
The President is a retired senior officer appointed by the Central Committee; Vice Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery KBE ADC took up post in October 2013.
The Chairman of the Trust is a retired senior officer who is elected by the Central Committee; Captain Nick Fletcher Royal Navy was elected in October 2016.
The Vice President and Honorary Treasurer
These posts can only be filled from the body of Ordinary Member trustees. Mr Ian Ranscombe (former CCY Royal Navy) was elected to both posts in November 2019.
Senior Officer Trustees
In addition to the Chairman there are two other Senior Officer Trustees, one carries the title “Admiralty Governor” and, as with the Chairman, is a retired senior officer who is elected by the Central Committee, and the other is a senior serving officer. Both are volunteers who join the Central Committee by virtue of their competence and interest in the work of the Trust.
Good governance requires that the trustee body comprises an appropriate cross section of skills. The Trust has five such specialists offering skill-sets in finance and investment, legal matters, care and safeguarding, building projects management, and marketing and communications. As with all the trustees, they are all volunteers who have a genuine interest in the work of the Trust.
There are up to ten Ordinary Member Trustees who are serving or former RN ratings or RM other ranks, all of whom serve a three year term that is renewable subject to being re-elected.
The Trust employs a staff led by the Chief Executive, Commander Rob Bosshardt Royal Navy. The headquarters staff operates from Castaway House (Portsmouth), and deals with grants administration, finance, public relations and the day-to-day administration of the affairs of the Trust. The staff of the Trust’s care and nursing home, Pembroke House (Gillingham), is led by the Home Manager, Mrs Tarnia Harrison RGN Dip BSc, who is in turn responsible to the Chief Executive.