RAF play park to help coping with isolation
‘Tough time’ for children with parents in the air force
CHILDREN living at RAF Northolt will benefit from a play park to combat ‘isolation’, thanks to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Swakeley’s Play Park was opened at the airbase to provide a safe place for children of RAF parents to spend time with others growing up in the same environment.
The Play Park forms part of Airplay, an RAF Benevolent Fundsponsored initiative which encourages youths of all ages to take part in an array of social activities, with volunteers at RAF Northolt helping to ensure that the programme is successful.
Regional director Paul Hewson 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.
“Such children can struggle to find the confidence to socialise with others, even though many others might be feeling the same emotions. 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 RAF Benevolent Fund has pledged £24 million to their Airplay initiative, the only project of its kind for service families, providing Airplay parks, Airplay youth support and Airplay childcare centres.
Sally Cawdery of Wing Commander, which supports RAF Northolt officers, said: “The launch of 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.”
Meg Murray, a parent, said: “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.”
To find out more about Airplay and see how you can help, visit www.rafbf. orf/airplay.
n AIRPLAY: Children and adults have fun at the opening of the new play park