UK Navy’s training centre HMS Calliope nears completion of renovation programme

1 February 2016 (Last Updated February 1st, 2016 18:30)

The UK's Tyneside Royal Naval Reserves shelter HMS Calliope has nearly completed a £3.1m renovation programme, which will house the Royal Marines Reserves from RMR Scotland (Tyne Detachment) under the same roof.

HMS Calliope

The UK's Tyneside Royal Naval Reserves shelter HMS Calliope has nearly completed a £3.1m renovation programme, which will house the Royal Marines Reserves from RMR Scotland (Tyne Detachment) under the same roof.

The Defense Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), part of the UK Ministry of Defense (MOD), and the Royal Navy have jointly invested to support the renovation programme of HMS Calliope.

HMS Calliope is a training centre, and is designated as the 'stone frigate' of the Royal Naval Reserve, located in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

"This investment has significantly improved the training, office and fitness facilities available to both reservists and other units."

The renovation programme is a part of the recent defence restructuring and the Ministry of Defense (MOD) Future Reserves 20 programme, which emphasises the Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Marines Reserve units on Tyneside to be sheltered under one roof to reduce the infrastructural expenditure of the Maritime Reserve.

RMR Tyne was situated in its own reserve centre on the Newcastle side of the River Tyne.

The enhancements include the provision of a larger area for training, accommodation space for 24 users, new classroom and office facilities, a fitness suite with climbing wall, and enhancements to the external appearance of the building.

Royal Naval Reserves, Royal Marines Reserves, and other units currently based at HMS Calliope such as the Defense Training Undergraduate Scheme, University Royal Naval University Unit, and the local Armed Forces Careers Office, will benefit from the developments.

Royal Navy staff officer HMS Calliope lieutenant commander David King said: "This investment has significantly improved the training, office and fitness facilities available to both reservists and other units within HMS Calliope, as well as creating a much more attractive building which is at the heart of a vibrant quayside.

"This will help us to attract and retain the best talent in the region as part of the Ministry of Defence's drive to increase the number of reservists by 2020."

The contract for the renovation was awarded to Newcastle-based Surgo Construction in December 2014, and the work commenced in 2015.

Final touches for the renovation are being implemented by Royal Navy and North of England Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, and the project is expected to be completed by end of this month.


Image: An aerial view of HMS Calliope's north elevation. Photo: courtesy of Keith Hall from UK.