Care and welfare services at HMS SULTAN received a significant boost recently when The Chaplain of the Fleet (COTF), The Venerable Ian Wheatley QHC BTh visited to officially open new facilities within The Haven.
The new facilities include a kitchen extension which offers cooking and coffee bar facilities within the Chaplaincy Service’s drop in centre. In addition, the extension has opened up existing space for visitor services including ‘The Blue Room’, a new snug room complete with an Xbox One for gaming.
COTF led prayers of dedication before officially cutting the ribbon alongside Captain Peter Towell, the Commanding officer of HMS SULTAN. COTF said: “I would like to thank all those who have been involved with the conception of these new facilities. It’s so easy in life to just leave things as they are so to actually be bold enough to conceive something like this and to follow it through will make a real difference.”
“This new space will enhance the role of the chaplaincy here, if someone wants to come over and hang out or speak to a chaplain but the only time they can speak to a chaplain is over a meal time then at least there is an opportunity to still get fed and this will just help to make this a happier and more relaxed place. It’s a really well delivered and nicely conceived space with a good feeling about it.”
The project was made possible thanks to the generosity of several charities and organisations including the Nuffield Trust and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) who donated £30,000 towards the project in support of a contribution from the Rebalancing Lives Fund.
Anne Carr, RNRMC Head of Grants, said: “The Haven is a really valuable facility for the personnel of HMS SULTAN, providing sailors with somewhere to relax or get advice about a variety of welfare, religious, life and charity matters. Its sense of community and interaction is vital for the wellbeing of its patrons so we're delighted to have helped fund the project.”
The Haven is one of many facilities across the Royal Navy who benefit from the support of an Aggie Weston’s Pastoral Worker who is there to provide support to Serving personnel and their families. Craig Fulton, Chief Executive Officer of the charity said: “Aggie’s Pastoral Workers and volunteers are placed around the community doing practical stuff such as running The Haven, facilitating a wives group or running a holiday club which will be beneficial to the community.”
“At the heart of it all is an individual who is there ready to listen, to encourage to comfort and support and help those involved feel valued and worthwhile. We are also here to help signpost people on to specialist services who can provide support such as counselling or specialist grants.”
“Pastoral support is all about listening and offering the gift of time to listen to people for whatever the reason.”
Article by Matthew Hibberd
Photography by PO (Phot) Nicola Harper