On the 4th February, a newly refurbished outdoor space was officially opened by Rear Admiral Jude Terry OBE, Director People & Training, at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, near Lympstone. 

The outdoor space sits next to ‘Jollies,’ a dining facility mainly used by Phase 1 and 2 recruits, and has been transformed thanks to a grant from the RNRMC, working in partnership with the RMA – The Royal Marines Charity and supported by additional funding from the Nuffield Trust and Rebalancing Lives fund.

In warmer months, many recruits wished to socialise outdoors, however the area was originally laid with unsightly paving slabs, many of which were broken, and the whole space was unappealing. It was clear that the land’s potential was not being met and there was an opportunity for development. The area adjacent to ‘Jollies’ was a perfect spot for use as a year-round, high-profile, setting that could accommodate quality furniture and overhead cover, with stunning views across the River Exe Estuary.

Royal Marines selection is some of the most demanding military training in the world and the need for recruits to be able to switch off and socialise with one another is crucial for good morale and mental health. Without this opportunity, individuals may experience a loss of ability to adapt to normal changes and stress, difficulty with concentrating, being persistent at tasks and pacing oneself, or trouble maintaining social relationships. The transformation of a previously unused and neglected space will provide personnel with a welcoming area to relax and wind down at the end of training days filled with arduous and stressful physical and psychological challenges.  

Having sought designs and quotes from various contractors, a local landscaping company were selected to provide the facility that is now in place. With grant funding from by RNRMC and RMA – The Royal Marines Charity, in addition to the Rebalancing Lives Fund, Nuffield Trust and CTCRM, totalling £120k, the current site is now complete. It is now a refreshing and uplifting community area for socialising in a large expanse of enclosed courtyard, with covered areas for shelter, oak sleeper beds and planting to soften, extensive new hard standing areas and steel corten screens. 

Major Mark Latham has overseen the project and said: 

“The new outdoor area will provide a vibrant social area for all ranks at CTCRM. With views over the Exe estuary, people will be able to relax and socialise in a setting befitting their wellbeing expectations. I am confident that personnel will welcome the initiative to improve the ‘lived experience’ and appreciate the funding that has been provided to enable this project to be completed”