Moving to a new location can be very disruptive and it may take time to establish yourself and develop new networks. In addition, a change in circumstances, such as deployments, having a baby or starting a new job can result in people feeling isolated.
One of the key findings of our research 'Meeting the Needs of the Serving RAF Community' was that although there are many facilities, clubs, societies and organisations available on stations to the RAF Family, there are challenges in accessing them and it might result in feelings of isolation or loneliness.
This applies as much to single personnel and those living in Single Living Accomodation (SLA) as it does to people living in (Service Families Accomodation) SFA or their own homes.
To address these findings and as part of a wider programme to address isolation, the Fund has appointed four Social Engagement Workers (SEWs) for an initial two-year trial at the following RAF stations: RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Leeming, RAF Honington and RAF Odiham.
Station Community Support and Welfare teams provide professional and valued assistance across a wide range of areas and are the first port of call for most RAF personnel. The SEWs are here to assist individuals in overcoming some of the barriers that may be encountered in becoming more engaged in their community.
No matter how confident you are, walking into an established group can be challenging, as can navigating the process to, for example, join a gym. For some, what may be required is an introduction to organisers and members of groups and a friendly face to accompany them during initial visits.
Similarly, some organisations experience difficulties in raising awareness of what they have on offer and will welcome support in attracting new members and participants. The SEWs have their own personal experience when it comes to living and working within the RAF family. Plus, the vast benefits and challenges of service life.
They will work alongside Community Support teams providing an additional resource, but not duplicating or replacing any of the vital roles that already exist.
Meet the RAF Benevolent Fund's Social Engagement Workers:
Social Engagement Worker at RAF Leeming
Social Engagement Worker at RAF Lossiemouth
Social Engagement Worker at RAF Odiham
Social Engagement Worker at RAF Honington
If you require further information please contact Irene Greenwood, Welfare Projects Executive on tel: 0207 307 3436.