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Local community set to benefit from Drumfork renovation work

2 March 2018
A £2M upgrade to a Helensburgh community facility has been announced to mark the 1st Anniversary of the joint development plan between the Royal Navy and Argyll and Bute Council.

Building Contractor Stewart & Shields Ltd has been awarded a £2M contract to upgrade the Drumfork Centre in Helensburgh’s Churchill Square.  The work, which is being partially funded through a Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) fundraising campaign, began on February 19.

The renovation is linked to the Strategic Delivery and Development Framework (SDDF) agreement, the memorandum of understanding signed in February last year between the Royal Navy, the UK Government, and Argyll and Bute Community Partnership.

“A huge amount of effort has been expended to get this exciting and important project to this stage,” said Captain Craig Mearns, Captain of HMS Neptune.

“The SDDF agreement committed the signatories to work together to deliver infrastructure and opportunities for both Royal Navy families and local people to live, work and prosper together and the Drumfork project is a fantastic example of exactly that, even more so given that the contract for the refurbishment work has been awarded to a local company.”

After speaking with numerous users of the Drumfork Centre and those in the nearby community, the feedback we received was that what was needed today was childcare provision and a flexible space which could be used by various clubs, groups and organisations active in the area

Commander Hayle

Helping shape the future use of the facility was a project team from HM Naval Base Clyde headed by Commander Jim Hayle.  Engaging with numerous users of the Drumfork Centre and those in the nearby community, the team gauged how best to use the space.

“After speaking with numerous users of the Drumfork Centre and those in the nearby community, the feedback we received was that what was needed today was childcare provision and a flexible space which could be used by various clubs, groups and organisations active in the area,” said Commander Hayle.

The refurbishment is due to complete in August with the Centre reopening later this year.  The revamped Centre will feature an area for a registered childcare provider and five multi-purpose function rooms that can be used for organised and semi-organised activities.  Overseeing the work on behalf of the MOD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) will be Stuart McQuade of Carillionamey. 

Funding for the project has come from the RNRMC, the military charity which supports sailors, marines and their families.

Robert Robson, Chief Executive of the RNRMC, said:“After years of planning with the Royal Navy, it is fantastic to see that work has finally begun on the much needed Drumfork Community Centre.

“This centre is the start of a new beginning; one which will foster greater social cohesion, provide much needed child care facilities and that will create a home away from home for those who followed the flag to the area.”

Commenting on the award of the contract DIO Area Manager Gordon Anderson said: “We are delighted that, by providing specialist advice, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation has enabled the appointment of local construction company, Stewart & Shields Ltd.

This appointment will greatly improve the community infrastructure in Helensburgh for both Naval and local families.  We look forward to having a neighbourhood facility that will last for many years to come.”

The SDDF agreement was signed at Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre on February 27 last year and witnessed by Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell.

The MOD is investing £1.3BN in developing HM Naval Base Clyde as the Royal Navy Submarine Centre of Specialisation.  This will see all UK attack submarines based in Argyll and Bute by 2020, and the eventual arrival of the Dreadnought class of ballistic submarines.  The development is expected to increase the number of personnel at HMNB Clyde to an eventual population of 8,500.

All submarine training will also be moved to Faslane over the next 10 years. These changes will provide Royal Navy Submariners with a single working location allowing them to have a far more stable domestic life.

As a consequence, at least 1,000 more Service personnel will be living in the local community by 2030, many with their families. This is why the MOD’s work with Argyll and Bute Council - ensuring that the necessary infrastructure, housing and education facilities are put in place in anticipation of the increase – is so important.

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