New Membership Associations Community will work together to combat mounting pressures on community comprising over half a million people.

RMA – The Royal Marines Charity was delighted to host 35 representatives of 13 single cap badge membership associations from all three armed services yesterday at a conference held on a suitably nautical setting, WW2 warship HQS Wellington on the Thames Embankment in London.

RMA launches tri-service single cap badge Membership Associations Community

The conference was joined by the Director of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) Jessie Owen with her two Deputies Matthew Seward and Sam Tillotson, by the Operations Director of the Confederation of Service Organisations (Cobseo) Richard Goodman, by the CEO of ABF-The Soldiers’ Charity Major General Tim Hyams and the Army’s lead on engagement with associations and charities Brigadier Alex Potts.

From left to right: Matthew Seward, Deputy Director (Policy) OVA, Jessie Owen, Director OVA, Jonathan Ball, Chief Executive RMA, Sam Tillotson, DD (Research and Data)

Attendees represented the lead associations from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Special Boat Service, Army Air Corps, King’s Royal Hussars, Intelligence Corps, Royal Artillery, Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Engineers, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps, Women’s Royal Army Corps and the Royal Air Force. Together they number over 175,000 members, which with dependants is a community over 0.5 million.

RMA called together this gathering for 3 reasons:

  • To enable the sharing of ideas and best practice to help our associations’ membership numbers grow and to improve our membership offer;
  • To identify common opportunities and challenges and to explore how we can better tackle them together;
  • To open two way communication with OVA to enable more effective delivery of the Government’s Veterans’ Strategy, which seeks to make the UK the best country in the world in which to be a military veteran.

Common challenges and opportunities which were identified on which to work together were:

  • Improving our reach and communications with serving personnel, veterans and the service chains of command
  • Improving the attractiveness of our membership offer to encourage younger and more active participants
  • The cost of living rise impact on our communities
  • Tackling loneliness and isolation and reaching vulnerable veterans
  • Encouraging volunteers and enhancing their effectiveness

Cobseo agreed that if we wished their assistance we could make proposals to their Executive –  two of our attendees are Executive members.

The OVA requested assistance with a major veterans’ survey which will be undertaken in November to assist the Government in checking how successful the delivery of the Veterans’ Strategy has been to date.

The Conference agreed to continue to communicate regularly and meet 2-3 times a year to focus on specific issues. It is intended that the number of single cap badge associations will grow so we become more representative of the service community.

Jonathan Ball, Chief Executive, said:

“The Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge carries the powerful motto, ‘United We Conquer’, and that’s very much what this new Associations community is about – helping each other to become more effective in serving our communities, and by joining together becoming stronger in representing our communities.

“The atmosphere on board HQS Wellington was fantastic – new friendships were made, bi-lateral meetings set up, and the usual service rivalries were ignored as we found we have so much in common and so many ways we can support each other.

“Service people will always have a tribal loyalty to their cap badge, and we want to strengthen that sense of belonging and comradeship through our work together.”