Author Archives: Bob Dean

CONA September 2019

CONA Clear Lower Deck – Short Report by Sarah Clews RNA Relationship Manager

CONA Conference held on Friday 20 September 2019, in ‘Below Decks’ at the Royal Maritime Club, Queen Street Portsmouth. PO1 3HS.

A blend of formal presentations (with time for Questions and Answers) in the forenoon, followed by interactive sessions led by a range of relevant organisations:   

Introduction by Vice Admiral John McAnally, CONA Chairman

Forenoon presentations by:

Rear Admiral Mike Bath, CONA President and NavSec. A really useful round up of where the RN is operating, new flexible working initiatives, personnel numbers and new ships.  

Rob Bosshardt, CEO – Royal Naval Benevolent Trust. Hot off the Press News: on the success of Pembroke House Care Home in Kent, plans to build a new Home, providing Dementia care in Portsmouth have been submitted. Please consider raising funds to support! More details Here

Geoff Heal – Prostate Cancer UK. His personal story and a very informative presentation; lots of information leaflets to take away.  If you would like to arrange for a presenter to attend your Association meeting/event, or if you would like advice from a Specialist Nurse, contact the Charity Here

Sarah Austin – Chief Operating Officer, Solent NHS. Local mental health initiatives for both civilians and Veterans available in Portsmouth.  Please look at for similar initiatives in your area. More details Here

Afternoon 20 minutes per session; a range of Subject Matter Experts provided the opportunity for them to share details of the services they provide and for small groups to share their experiences and learn from others.  We heard from:

Brad Snelling, Veterans Hearing Support: Call Free for further information and guidance.  See details of the services and treatments at their website  Here

Gary Bassett, Maritime Society and Sea Cadets:  Please consider involving Sea Cadets where you can, encourage the members of your Association to share their experience of service life with Sailors of the future. See MSSC website Here

Chrissie Hughes, Shipmates and Oppos: A free programme for those leaving the service and making the transition to life as a civilian.  A range of help and guidance as well as a welfare check (via phone or email). For more information, please see Facebook page @shipmatesandoppos  Join the programme online at this Link

Sara Craigen, Defence Medical Welfare Services: Specific help for the Veteran community, more details at this Link

Andy Spencer, Portsmouth Military Wellbeing Alliance: Leading on from the information provided at the forenoon presentation by Sarah Austin.

David Machon, Age UK (Portsmouth): ‘Joining Forces’ is their Veterans specific support programme, available across the Country.  Advice on allowances, breakfast clubs and coffee morning as well as a full range of practical help and support.  Why not sign up for the Age UK Veterans Newsletter? 

Thanks to Harold Burke, The UK Holiday Group Sales Director, who presented a cheque to CONA; this very generous donation enables us to deliver and offer light refreshments at our meeting in March and Clear Lower Deck in September.  Please take time to look at one of Britain’s leading privately-owned holiday and hospitality companies; they can help with reunions and social gatherings, offer amazing deals and a professional personal service.


To all contributors.

There are some 30 plus comments that have been posted that I have not viewed or responded to. My sincere apologies for this. It was due in part to a glitch some while ago which I failed to rectify and subsequently forgot about.