RAF Honington recently reopened their children's centre, following a regeneration of the outdoor spaces made possible by a £45K grant from the RAF Benevolent Fund. The generous funding means that the station has a safe, modern space in which the children can play and learn.
A new canopied area, suitable for facilitating an outdoor classroom, is one of the elements now in place. Play surfaces, which were previously filled with holes and were unsafe for use, have also been updated with fun surfaces, allowing children to play and develop in a safe, fun environment. Funding also went towards the replacement of fencing, the installation of storage in the garden areas, parasols, buggy parks and the fitting of a ramp. Age-appropriate play equipment has also been installed, replacing the old, dilapidated apparatus.
Group Captain Dutch Holland, Station Commander RAF Honington, said: "I am delighted to be back where both my children started their educational journey to formally open the children’s centre here at RAF Honington. With incredible and invaluable support from the RAF Benevolent Fund, we have been able to regenerate the outdoor spaces to provide an improved, enriched and safe environment for our children. The funding has also allowed us to increase access to outdoor play and learning facilities for all youngsters, something that is vitally important to so many serving personnel and their families.
"The children's centre is extremely popular and provides a highly-valued service to the station community. For many families, including mine in the past, visits to this centre form part of their daily routine and provide critical opportunities for engagement, interaction and support. Beyond its remit to provide care for children, such activity helps to break down barriers across the Station and foster a greater sense of community. Thanks to the RAF Benevolent Fund, the centre is now safer for our children and a richer experience for everyone."
Irene Greenwood, Welfare Programmes Manager, also celebrated the project: "I'm thrilled that we have been able to support the development of RAF Honington’s Children’s Centre. As a busy station, we know that there are acute pressures on serving parents, and additional knock-on pressures on children and young people. I’m confident through funding the regeneration of the station's children's centre, we have made a marked improvement to those based at RAF Honington – not just today, but for many years to come."
The Fund would also like to extend thanks to the April Fool's Club, who donated generously towards this project. Since 2019, the Fund have provided RAF Honington more £86K worth of support, providing emotional, practical and physical support to those in need.