Haven extension is a big boost for navy chaplaincy

Captain Peter Towell, commanding officer of HMS Sultan, assists Royal Navy Chaplain of the Fleet, The Venerable Ian Wheatley, in opening the new galley at The Haven
Captain Peter Towell, commanding officer of HMS Sultan, assists Royal Navy Chaplain of the Fleet, The Venerable Ian Wheatley, in opening the new galley at The Haven

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CARE and welfare services at a naval establishment received a significant boost after new facilities were built.

The Chaplain of the Fleet (COTF), The Venerable Ian Wheatley QHC Fleet visited HMS Sultan, in Gosport, to unveil the new facilities in The Haven.

The kitchen has been extended and 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 for gaming.

The COTF led prayers of dedication before officially cutting the ribbon alongside Captain Peter Towell, the commanding officer of HMS Sultan.

The 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.

‘This will help to make it 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), which donated £30,000 towards the project in support of a contribution from the Rebalancing Lives Fund.

Anne Carr, RNRMC’s 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.’