Three new service family accommodation flats were opened in Portsmouth Naval Base on January 9.
The official opening was attended by defence minister Mark Lancaster, naval base commander Commodore Jeremy Rigby and the chief executive of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) Robert Robson.
At the official opening, defence minister Mark Lancaster said: “We are committed to ensuring our personnel receive the best accommodation and support possible. These flats will allow naval personnel with children and single parents in particular, to spend more family time together.”
The Royal Navy has set out to provide support to families with the provision of these self-contained units, known as the Navy Mews, that can be hired for short periods – such as weekends, or up to a fortnight – by military men and women on a priority basis, favouring single parents or others restrained by circumstances from spending time with their families.
Commander Martin Evans, the Portsmouth naval base executive officer, said: “We identified a need some years ago; if a service person is the primary caregiver in a child’s life, the MOD will always provide a permanent home – however separated single parents often struggle to retain quality contact with their children because of a combination of the restraints imposed by service life, the costs involved, and the lack of an accessible ‘home-from-home’ facility.
“We wanted to provide somewhere where these parents can have a feeling of normality rather than a hotel where they can cook and eat together, read together, play together and bond in a home environment.”
The flats can sleep between three and seven people, and have a full suite of modern appliances, games, kitchenware, central heating and television equipment. The buildings will be maintained by Portsmouth Naval Base’s accommodation and facilities team to give a much-needed home for families.