Maritime reservists across Wales are celebrating after the formal handover of their new home in Cardiff Bay, from the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Wales.

The £11 million state of the art facility is set to serve as the central hub and operating base for three Maritime Reserves Units; HMS Cambria – Wales’ Royal Naval Reserve Unit, the Royal Marines Reserve Detachment Cardiff and Wales’ University Royal Naval Unit – URNU, who look after student Naval cadets at universities in the city.

There to receive the building on behalf of the Royal Navy in Wales was Commander Steve Fry, Commanding Officer HMS Cambria, from Colonel Nick Beard of RFCA Wales, who project-managed the build with builders Morgan-Sindall and landowners, Associated British Ports (ABP) who have supported the development since its inception.

“HMS Cambria is the pride of the Royal Navy in Wales,” said Commander Steve Fry. “We have great plans to grow our reservist numbers by recruiting from across the area. Maritime reserves come from all walks of life in Wales and now have even more fantastic opportunities to support our regular colleagues.

“With virtual reality classrooms, new recreation facilities and two brand-new power boats to train on, we can ensure we’re ready to support the Royal Navy at sea.  This is a great day and an exciting time to be a Maritime reservist in Wales.”

Colonel Nick Beard, Chief Executive of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Wales said, “As the organisation responsible for the reserve and cadet estates in Wales, we are hugely proud to have delivered this prestigious project on time and on budget for the Royal Navy.

“Not only has the project enabled HMS Cambria to fittingly return to its original maritime home, but it now offers the best possible facilities for our reservists to work and train.  We hope the brand-new facility will inspire future potential reservists from the surrounding areas to sign up to become vital and valued members of the Armed Forces family.”

First established in 1947, HMS Cambria was originally based in Cardiff Docks until moving to Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan in 1980. The new building constructed at the Cardiff Bay site, began in January 2019 with the 4,000 square metre steel-framed facility completed on time at the beginning of 2020.

It replaces the existing HMS Cambria in Sully and will serve all Maritime Reservists in Wales and be a focus for community engagements in the region.  The new facility will also provide short term accommodation for up to 50 people, alongside a modern office environment with up to 80 workspaces, several training and classroom suites, a fitness room and a large multi-purpose dining room. Outside, there will be a Royal Marines rope training area, car park and an essential parade square.

The project has been delivered through the joint partnership of RFCA for Wales and Associated British Ports, South Wales (ABP South Wales). Its commission forms part of the Future Reserves 2020 (FR20) programme to encourage growth and investment in the UK’s Reserve Forces.

“It is an enormous personal pleasure being here to see HMS Cambria formally take the keys of this magnificent building, which will serve as the beating heart of the Royal Navy in Wales,” said Commodore Mel Robinson, Commander Maritime Reserves.

“The Maritime reserves are transforming to ensure they are fully equipped and ready to support the Royal Navy when required. Maritime reserves from the Royal Naval and Royal Marines Reserves, along with University Royal Naval cadets, will train and operate here in Cardiff Bay guaranteeing they have the skills to be interchangeable with their regular colleagues.”

“It’s been a team effort to get to where we are and I’d like to thank Associated British Ports, Morgan Sindall – the builders and the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Wales for their dedicated work during these difficult times.”

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