A number of play parks have been refurbished at RAF Northolt thanks to a £120,000 grant awarded by the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF's leading welfare charity. The project improved facilities at three play parks across RAF Northolt's service accommodation areas.
The new play parks offer personnel with young families a place to spend time with their children outside the home and allows spouses and partners to socialise with other families based at the station. For children, the revamped play parks will encourage greater learning and outdoor activity while teaching important behavioural and social skills.
Group Captain Nick Worrall, Station Commander of RAF Northolt, said: "The support that the RAF Benevolent Fund provides to RAF Northolt is absolutely crucial to our operational output. The partnership we enjoy has facilitated a number of important projects that have allowed us to better support our Service personnel and their families. This most recent endeavour allowed us to enhance three aging and underutilised play parks in our Service Families Accommodation areas around RAF Northolt.
"This improved provision will increase social engagement, boost family relationships and undoubtedly improve the wellbeing of the children of our service people. In this of all years, it has been so reassuring to know that the Fund is still there for our Service personnel and their families, helping to alleviate some of the pressures associated with service life."
The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, emotional, and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. In 2019, the RAF Benevolent Fund supported RAF Northolt by providing funding for Airplay and Ben Club youth services, a Families Day, and Thrive workshops for RAF partners and spouses.
Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "I'm thrilled that we have been able to help refurbish these play parks at RAF Northolt, improving family life for those based at the station. "The Fund is committed to supporting RAF children through a range of other welfare initiatives. Although Covid-19 restrictions mean our Airplay and Ben Club sessions have been temporarily paused, the Fund recently launched Airplay Connect, a digital platform for RAF youngsters, to ensure children can stay in touch with station youth workers and their peers." Over the course of 2020, the RAF Benevolent Fund has launched a range of welfare initiatives to support personnel and their families throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. It has introduced a 24-hour emotional support helpline and created an online mental wellbeing zone, as well as offering Headspace memberships to partners of serving personnel. The Fund has also offered a grant of £2,500 to each RAF station to provide an activity and wellbeing pack for RAF children and rolled out a youth counselling service specifically for children and young people aged 11 to 18.