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Airplay: giving a voice to the voiceless

Helen is based in Lossiemouth and married to Corporal Bunker who is currently part of the Expeditionary Air Wing and is regularly away from home. Here Helen tells us how Airplay has helped her family.

I have three heroes in my house, they all wear uniform, they all work hard and my heart swells with pride for them all. Two of them aren't old enough to fight for their country, they wear bobble hats not berets and run around not march!  

All children have the same challenges in life as they learn their way through to adulthood, but add to that additional needs and the stresses that being a military child brings and you can see why they are my heroes.

They never cease to amaze me how they deal with their dad's 'boomerang' lifestyle; the lack of routine; moving house, school and friends every couple of years and the uncertainty of when they will speak to their dad, or see him.  The Bunker family

When we were posted to RAF Lossiemouth 21 months ago we searched for new hobbies for each of them to take up, they were seven and nine and so at an awkward age for clubs and things to do, but then we found Airplay. 

The Bunker familyAirplay is a support programme for young people living on RAF stations developed by the RAF Benevolent Fund.

It’s the only project of its kind for Service families and provides outdoor play areas, youth support and childcare centres.  My daughter started first and loved going, wanted to get involved with everything and her enthusiasm rubbed off onto her brother.  He couldn't wait to turn eight so he could join in the fun.

They now go to their own Airplay club nights, go together to the drama group and put their names down for ALL the outings, residentials, and holiday fun.  Airplay has been a godsend to our family.

It allows the kids a bit of resbite from each other. It also means that I get one to one time with each child for a couple of hours each week and once a week I get to have a break safe in the knowledge that they are being looked after, kept busy and most importantly listened to.  

The best thing about Airplay is that my little heroes, like all the little heroes that attend, are no longer the voiceless part of the military family. Airplay has not only given them time and a friendly ear, it has also given them a voice.

By Helen Bunker

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