Forces Charities

The Princess Royal Opens Newly Renovated Scottish Community Centre

Supported by the BFBS Big Salute grant, the centre, for naval families and the wider community, has had a dramatic transformation.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has officially re-opened a new community centre for families at the home of the Royal Navy in Scotland.

Two million pounds was spent renovating the Drumfork Centre in Helensburgh - which serves as a hub for naval personnel and their families based at Faslane.

The project was led by the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity with the BFBS Big Salute also providing a grant.

The centre will provide the personnel and their families with an IT suite, nursery childcare services and a venue for community and family events.

Based in the heart of the married quarters in Helensburgh - it’s expected to attract 2,000 users a month and hopefully bring the naval and civilian communities in the town closer together.


Princess Anne took time to meet with some of those who have backed the project to upgrade this vital community hub.

On being presented to Her Royal Highness, BFBS Scotland Breakfast Show presenter Jim Gellatly said:

"It was a great honour to attend the official opening of the refurbished Drumfork Community Centre. The Princess Royal is Patron of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, and it was clear she has a real passion for the project.

"She was very interested in the part the BFBS Big Salute had to play in the development.

"The £10,000 grant was used to help with the furnishing of the centre, including the fantastic new soft play area."

Princess Anne also took an interest in Jim's career and passion for new music. He gave first ever radio play to Amy Macdonald, Biffy Clyro, KT Tunstall and Twin Atlantic when they were unknown artists. Jim said:

"Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity Chairman of Trustees Sir Bill Thomas introduced me as a chap who had helped unearth some major Scottish musical talent.

"She asked if it was bands or electronic acts I had supported. I wasn't expecting that. She's very switched on.

"She was great fun and spent around an hour longer than scheduled at the Drumfork Centre as she took time to speak to a lot of people."

The centre, for naval families and the wider community, has had a dramatic transformation. It's one of the biggest projects the RNRMC has ever undertaken. Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity CEO Adrian Bell revealed:

“I first came here about 15 months ago. I almost cried when I saw it. It was awful.

"It required a lot of faith and a lot of hard work to get it where it is today.”

The newly developed multi-purpose facility will offer a variety of activities and facilities to service personnel and families as well as the wider community.

The core aim of the centre is to enable and facilitate inclusive activities which embrace and address the education, training, employment, welfare, health, social, cultural and recreational needs of the local community. 

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