Bob Kemp, RAFBF Regional Director for Scotland, Northern Ireland and North England, visited RAF Leeming on Monday 24 January to attend the opening of the station’s new multi use games area (MUGA), provided as part of the RAFBF's Airplay project.
The visit saw a five-a-side football match played on the Games Area between RAF Leeming Station Executives and pupils from RAF Leeming Primary School.
As well as the games area the station is being provided with trained youth workers (in partnership with national charity 4Children) and a refurbished play park.
All the new support is part of the £10 million, RAF-wide Airplay initiative, which is improving and developing youth support for RAF families at RAF stations across the UK.
The RAF Leeming Station Commander, Group Captain Tony Innes, said: "I am extremely grateful to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund for their funding of the brand new, state of the art Games Area at Leeming. The MUGA provides us with a flood-lit out door area that can be used by service personnel and their families as we have seen today during the opening five-a side football game. It really is a great facility."
Mrs Joanne Thomson’s husband works on 90 Signals Unit. She said: "My daughters have watched the old play park been knocked-down and removed, and the new one put in place along with the MUGA. It is really exciting to watch it all take shape and my daughters can’t wait to get into the park, it all looks fantastic."
Bob Kemp said: "We identified some time ago that we could do a lot more for young people on RAF stations where some facilities are run-down. By providing new facilities like the games areas we can ease the stress on RAF families at home, which in turn eases the pressure for servicemen on the front line.
"Over the next four years the RAFBF will spend around £10 million play parks, games areas and trained youth workers to run supervised activities. Behind it all is our drive to support families by ensuring their children have a safe, fun environment in which to play."
The project officer for both the MUGA and play park is Squadron Leader David Mann.
He said: "The play park is very modern and encapsulates interactive play by making children work together and thereby developing their social skills. For example, the nest swing only works if children push other children on it.
"Rather than an age specific play park, this mixture of activities means children of different ages can play in the same park, again increasing the interaction as well as making life easier for parents having children spanning all ages."