Families at RAF Valley enjoyed a range of special activities on Thursday 9 June 2011 supported by Airplay, the RAF Benevolent Fund’s £24million youth support programme.
Children and parents living on the station were invited to events ranging from an art auction and football tournament to a coconut shy and live music.
On the day a new Airplay games area was opened by Sir Rob Wright, Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, who visited the station to see the youth programme in action.
Sir Rob said he was proud to open the new games area:
“RAF children face unique challenges. Parents may deploy overseas at short notice for extended periods, sometimes to war zones. Families move around the country as operations demand, often to stations in isolated, rural locations where children must make new friends and start at new schools. It is not always easy, and can put strain on the family unit.
"That's why we have developed our Airplay programme, which has not only provided new games facilities at RAF Valley but also trained youth workers - delivered by national charity 4children – as well as new childcare facilities. Indeed, RAF Valley is a good example of how the RAF Benevolent Fund is doing all it can to give serving RAF families the support they deserve. This is an area that we fully focused on."
RAF personnel organise some activities for young people on stations, but due to increased operational commitments, staff no longer have the capacity to do this. Airplay Youth Workers help fill the gap, giving RAF community teams the trained staffing support they need. The station’s Airplay games area will give children easy access to state-of-the-art play and games facilities.
Kathy Cook, Community Development Officer at RAF Valley, said:
"Airplay will make a big difference to what we can offer young people on station. Over the years I have delivered a number of successful activities and projects with the wonderful support of volunteers at Valley, but operational demands frequently mean that people have to withdraw, despite their good will.
"I am delighted that the RAF Benevolent Fund adopted the Airplay programme and has provided us with the funding for a professional youth worker team. With this kind of support we can offer the children and young people so much more and make a real difference to families living on station!"
Group Captain Bruce Hedley, Station Commander at RAF Valley said:
"I am extremely grateful to the RAF Benevolent Fund for funding of the new Games Area at RAF Valley. These facilities and the supervised activities for the Station's young people will help relieve some of the pressure on RAF parents at home and in the front line. I look forward to seeing the project progress over the years to come."
Charles Ellis, Deputy Chief Executive of 4Children said:
"It is great that so many RAF families were able to join in and celebrate Airplay at RAF Valley. We're delighted that Airplay youth workers are working so well with RAF Community Development staff across the country and look forward to seeing our working partnership grow and prosper in the coming months."