The Naval Secretary, Rear Admiral Simon Williams CVO, officially launched the Royal Navy’s ‘Shipmates and Oppos Programme’ at the Navy’s HQ in Portsmouth. The Programme offers free practical advice and a support service for everyone who leaves the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Reserves.
The Programme, funded by Greenwich Hospital and administered by the Royal Naval Association, supports leavers during their transition to civilian life and during the important 5 years post discharge.
Apart from the Royal Navy as the main partner, the launch was also attended by the partner charities: the Royal Marines Association; the Association of Royal Navy Officers and the White Ensign Association – as well as Senior Executives from Naval Sector Charities who work with serving and retired naval personnel.
Everyone, regardless of their rank, trade and number of days served (or whether they have been medically discharged) can call upon the Programme for practical support as often as they need it. Although most Service leavers experience a smooth transition to civilian life, some do not and the Shipmates and Oppos Programme aims to provide ‘an arm around the shoulder’ and guide service leavers through the maze of State and Charitable sector help available.
All Royal Navy/Royal Marines Service leavers will be provided with a Shipmates and Oppos Programme membership card at their point of release. The credit card sized membership card has a contact number on the back where they will find ex Naval personnel, who speak their language on the other end, and will be able to help them find the support they need.
The Programme includes an offer where members may claim one year’s free membership to any of the partner associations. Those who have already left the Service can apply to join the programme at shipmatesandoppos.org.uk.