The RAF Benevolent Fund is proud to announce the opening of Swakeley's Play Park at RAF Northolt.
The play park forms part of Airplay, an RAF Benevolent Fund sponsored initiative which encourages youths of all ages to take part in an array of social activities at a variety of RAF sites.
RAF Northolt has a long established programme of youth activities and engagement, with many committed volunteers helping to ensure that the programme is successful. The play park will encourage more youngsters to enjoy the benefits such provisions can bring, including a real sense of purpose, friendship and community.
Swakeley’s Play Park will also allow parents to relax, safe in the knowledge that the stresses of family life on RAF stations are eased and that there is a safe place for their children to spend time with others growing up in the same environment.
RAF Northolt’s Officer Commanding Support Wing, Wing Commander Sally Cawdery, said: "We are delighted to have Airplay youth activities at Northolt and the launch of the Swakeley's Play Park is great news for the families that live here. Providing a rich and rewarding programme of activities for our kids is a very valuable thing, and we are very grateful to the RAF Benevolent Fund for helping this project come to light."
Over the past 12 years, the RAF Benevolent Fund has committed £24 million to their Airplay initiative, a dedicated support programme for young people living on RAF stations. As the only project of its kind for service families, Airplay has three main elements: Airplay Parks, Airplay Youth Support and Airplay Childcare Centres.
As Paul Hewson, Regional Director for the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "The RAF Benevolent Fund realises that children growing up on RAF stations are often in isolated locations, and may have to overcome a number of challenges.
"Sometimes the mother, father or indeed both can be deployed overseas, which is really tough for the children. Airplay is designed to help children overcome such obstacles, and provide a dedicated stimulating range of activities – from dance classes to mural painting. It’s the perfect way for children to play in a safe environment, despite all that is going on around them."
The opening saw more than 20 parents and children take to the play park, with Meg Murray just one of many thrilled to see such a facility at RAF Northolt: "The park is such a great addition to the community. It will make my life so much easier - as a mum of two and a childminder too it really helps bring the community together around here and the kids just love it, playing games and having fun. It's been brilliant."