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RAF High Wycombe play parks reopen following £120K refurbishment

RAF High Wycombe recently reopened three play parks following a £120,000 refurbishment project, funded by the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF's leading welfare charity.

The refurbishment project focused on one play park at each families' accommodation area at RAF High Wycombe in Walter's Ash, although the station intends to revamp the remaining five parks in the coming years. Old equipment has been replaced with modern pieces that will encourage children to play outside and offer refreshed community spaces where families can meet and socialise.

AVM Chris Elliot Airplay High Wycombe Play park opening

Group Captain Shaun Harris, Station Commander at RAF High Wycombe, said "We are very, very grateful to the Fund for providing this facility. It makes such a big difference to our forces families, especially to children who are just coming out of lockdown. But what it also emphasises to me is how much we rely on the Fund and how important it is in these COVID-19 times, to keep supporting the Fund."

The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, emotional, and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. This includes grants to help with financial difficulty, free memberships for Headspace, Airplay youth clubs, and more. In 2019, the Fund spent more than £250,000 supporting personnel and their families at RAF High Wycombe.

RAF Personnel Airplay High Wycombe Play park opening

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "These parks form an important part of the Fund's commitment to supporting young people living on RAF stations. Our Airplay and Ben Club sessions also provide a safe place for children to spend time with their peers and access support if they need it.

"This park on Greenwood is a place very close to my heart and it's great to see this area looking so resplendent. As someone who has used these parks myself with my children, I know just how important they are to families living on RAF stations."

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fund has expanded its Telephone Friendship Groups service to allow more veterans to join a weekly call and developed an online application form for grants of up to £750. It has made £2,500 available for each RAF station to provide an activity and wellbeing pack for RAF children and launched Airplay Connect, an online version of its youth support service.

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