Airplay is our project supporting young people on RAF stations. Yesterday we opened a new Airplay park at RAF Lossiemouth. Sarah Riley-Evans, from Airplay Lossie, tells us more.
Braving arctic conditions and dodging snow storms we launched a new state-of-the-art games area at Lossiemouth yesterday and for just a few minutes we were blessed with blue skies!
We were joined by the current Station Commander, Group Captain Ian Gale, and a former Station Commander Air Marshal Chris Nickols, who has recently taken on the role of Controller at the RAF Benevolent Fund.
It was a real privilege to see Air Marshal Nickols again as he was the Station Commander who actually appointed me many moons ago.
One of the first things he said to me back then was that he wanted to improve the services for the RAF children so it was an absolute delight to give him a tour of the facilities.
Young people with a parent in the RAF face all the stresses and strains of growing up but they also have to face being uprooted from schools and friends as their parent gets posted.
They have to cope with mum or dad being deployed and doing a dangerous job and they never know if their parent will be at home for Christmas or birthdays.
As Airplay is run by the RAF Benevolent Fund for RAF young people, we instinctively understand these pressures. We are able to offer focused personal support, particularly during stressful times when a parent is away serving their country.
In just two years we have grown to over 100 members aged 7 to 17 years and thanks to the generosity of the RAFBF we can now offer dedicated youth activities four nights a week.
We have over 90 personnel deployed from RAF Lossiemouth over the Christmas period and many of them have children. Airplay Lossie will not be shutting down for the festivities as we know this is when our members need our support most.
Between trips to the pantomime to craft days to Christmas parties, we will be there providing a listening ear and a friendly face and a source of fun and laughter.
We are very grateful to the RAF Benevolent Fund for building our new play parks as it has been a massive investment. Now I can’t wait for spring to come as we have exciting plans to run sports outreach at our new games area. We have just recruited a couple of volunteer sports coaches to offer football and basketball tuition in the evenings which will further enhance what we offer at Airplay Lossie.