The Rainbow Centre childcare facility at RAF Marham officially opened an extension this week meaning they can care for more children on a day to day basis.
In 2016 it became apparent that the Rainbow Centre would need to have an extension built due to the increased demand when free childcare funding went up from 15 to 30 hours. The Rainbow Centre, rated as outstanding by Ofsted, provides full and part time childcare for more than 400 children from RAF Marham and the surrounding area, and employs over 70 staff.
The extension was formally opened by Lady Elaine Hillier, the wife of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier. The cost of the building extension has been covered by a donation from the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Central Government via Norfolk County Council.
Lady Hillier said: "It was an honour to officially open the Rainbow Centre – especially as both of my children attended the nursery over 20 years ago. I have seen the Centre go from strength to strength over the years, the essential financial support that has been provided by the RAF Benevolent Fund and Norfolk County Council has made this fantastic addition to the Centre possible and means it will continue to excel. It's so important for RAF families to have a facility like this on their doorstep, providing outstanding care and the support they and their children need. I congratulate centre manager Dee Gent and all of her staff for making the Rainbow Centre such a warm and welcoming place."
Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "The RAF Benevolent Fund is delighted to be able to support the station in building these facilities. The RAF Benevolent Fund is about families and supporting RAF families whenever possible. It's great to see the people on the station working really hard to look after each other and we are delighted to be a part of that."
Gp Capt Ian Townsend, RAF Marham Station Commander, said: "The community and welfare support we enjoy at RAF Marham is exceptional. We simply could not do what we do at the station without people like Dee and the staff at the Rainbow Centre. We've had some very generous gifts and donations from the RAF Benevolent Fund and Norfolk County Council."