As the newly appointed Chief Executive of The RNBT it gives me an immense sense of pride to pay tribute to the veterans of ‘The Longest Day’.

A letter written to The RNBT In May 1944, from the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth said: ‘The heaviest call on organisations, will not come during the war or immediately after it, but at a period several years later when the many thousands of wartime personnel who will have left the service at the end of the hostilities, who will have a claim for assistance find themselves or their dependents in need of help’.

Eighty years later, a small number of those veterans are still supported by The RNBT through financial grants awarded to pilgrims returning to pay their respects to their fallen comrades and those living in our care homes as they enjoy the later stages of their life. Remarkably many of the issues we face today are as familiar as they were in 1944. War had a devastating impact on Sailor’s families not only because of casualties but also with debt, which had been affordable until the loss of the husband.

Many of the principles applied during the war apply today. In June 1945, a letter written to The RNBT by the Admiralty Board stated, ‘The work of your trust, carried out so well and so readily no matter what the difficulties during the past long and trying years, has been of invaluable help and comfort to the personnel of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.’ During the war RNBT worked collaboratively with others, adapting to change as needed and helping in times of distress and hardship.  Those guiding principles remain as strong today as they were in 1945.

It is hard to imagine that over 100 years later, the work of The RNBT is as relevant today as it was when the Trust was formed by the Admiral Jellicoe in 1916 and incorporated under Royal Charter in 1922. Created with a desire to do good, to act with kindness and give charitably to others, The RNBT continues to proudly serve the Navy family.

Last year alone 1,059 individual grants were given and 673 regular charitable payments were awarded to individuals on a low household income. Already this year we have seen a continued increase in grants awarded, with most awarded to provide food, furnishings and to cover rent. In response to the 55% of naval veterans aged 65 or above, the Trust has extended its care home provision with the opening of Admiral Jellicoe House in June 2022, RNBT’s centenary year.  Reminded of the words of the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth in 1944, some of our greatest challenges are faced now. It takes courage to ask for help and it is ironic that many of today’s issues are similar to those faced in 1945. Under careful stewardship, The RNBT remains the principle naval benevolence charity. It is my privilege to honour those who have served and continue to serve and the volunteers and staff that make The RNBT what it is today.

Meet the RNBT Beneficiary Support Co-ordinators (BSCs), Phil Shuttleworth and Chrissie Hughes.  

There may be lots of underlying issues which lead the RNBT beneficiaries to times of need and distress. By taking a more holistic approach to these issues Phil and Chrissie will spend some time on the phone discussing a resolution, offering guidance to other forms of assistance, and empowering the beneficiary to achieve resilience and sustain themselves moving forward. 

Good mental health is key to success.   

This year’s theme to MHAW 2024 is “Movement: Moving more for our mental health”. 

The BSCs regularly discuss how important movement is for our mental health.  So many of our beneficiaries find that a dog walk, a lap of their local park, kitchen dancing or some light chair exercise can make such a difference to their mood and equally their day. 

Equally, we encourage socialising regularly to avoid isolation.  The BSCs can help you find your local Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club (AFVBC), Royal Naval Association (RNA) or Royal Marines Association (RMA), Men’s Sheds, Association of Wrens (AOW).  All providing opportunity to meet likeminded folk.  

The engagement and mentoring also includes navigating beneficiaries to organisations that provide support for more complex mental health issues.  Locally in Portsmouth we have the Voluntary Outreach Support (VOS), nationally Combat Stress, and the NHS initiative Op Courage. 

This service enriches lives, provides continuing support and ensures a better outcome for those currently serving and former serving who apply to the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust for assistance. 

We are delighted to confirm that His Majesty King Charles III will be retaining the Patronage of The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust.

 

This announcement marks the first anniversary of Their Majesties’ Coronation and we continue to feel incredibly honoured and grateful to be acknowledged and supported by His Majesty in the work we do.

A collection was made for the benefit of three charities including BFF, who provide entertainment to boost morale across the Armed Forces, the RNRMC and the RNBT (Admiral Jellicoe House).

Representatives from Admiral Jellicoe House were invited to HMS Sultan to receive a donation of £350.

Base Warrant Officer, WO1 Daniel ‘Bouncy’ Castle said: “The RNBT provides fantastic welfare support, especially in terms of dementia care for older members of the service community.

“The wrap around care they provide is a great example of the ‘serve a day, supported for life’ work that they undertake, and we are delighted to be able to show our support.”

Jade Delaney the Deputy Home Manager at Admiral Jellicoe House said: “I can’t thank HMS Sultan WO & SR’s mess enough for all the support that they have shown Admiral Jellicoe House since our opening in June 2022. From inviting us to their meat raffles and Christmas dinners, to now donating money for us to buy a Christmas tree for our residents and relatives to enjoy over the Christmas period, we really are so grateful.”

Guests, including the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and the RM Corps of Drums,  gathered to celebrate Alan’s special day.

The Royal Marines Corp of Drums performed a spectacular display of music and on completion family and close friends gathered for a small party.  It was a very special day for everyone and especially Alan.

RNBT assists our most needy people who only have a very low household income with a regular payment to help make ends meet. We have recognised the impact of the recent rise in the cost of living, particularly on utility bills, and to help offset the impact, particularly in the difficult winter months ahead we recently increased our amount.

If you are on a low income and are struggling with the cost of living please get in touch with RNBT.