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Supporting the serving community through lockdown

Vron Young is a Social Engagement Worker for the RAF Benevolent Fund based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. In this guest blog, she explains how she's continuing to engage with personnel and their partners throughout the current lockdown.

When we were in level one measures here in Moray, I was still able to see personnel and their families on a one-on-one basis outside for walks. However, now that we are back in a full lockdown I'm working with personnel and their families virtually.

Running weekly coffee mornings via Zoom has proved successful by allowing people to develop support networks themselves. I've even had families posted away from Lossiemouth join, with the furthest so far dialling in from the Netherlands!

Working in partnership with Debbie, who runs the HIVE, we have been hosting virtual families' arrival briefs each month. In these strange times, new families are arriving and have no opportunities to meet people face-to-face or find out what support systems are available. These are proving useful to those that have attended.

On Christmas morning, I accompanied Wing Commander Sarah Brewin, OC Base Support Wing, to give out some festive goodies to the sections on unit that had personnel working. This was great way to let personnel know that support from myself and the RAF Benevolent was still available to them.

Inspired by my visit to the RAF Lossiemouth Police Flight at the end of the year, LAC Katie Short decided she wanted to raise money for the Fund. Katie ran a series of events over five days and I joined in with a 45-minute spin session outside the Junior Ranks Mess, and a 45-minute relay run. The final bit of fun was the station Christmas 5K fun run.

Work continues to be busy with my serving families and the 15 'Check & Chat' calls I make to socially isolated veterans each week. I also facilitate a Telephone Friendship Group every Wednesday for the Fund. I have six veterans in my group who are all over 75, have amazing life stories to tell, and are a joy to share an hour a week with. Leading up to Christmas we sang a different carol each week together.

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