New leaders for RAF fund’s family support programme

The YMCA in Lincolnshire has been given a four-year contract to deliver support and respite for RAF families in the county.

The RAF Benevolent Fund's Airplay programme for young people from RAF families. EMN-210813-140529001
The RAF Benevolent Fund's Airplay programme for young people from RAF families. EMN-210813-140529001

The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity, supporting current and former members of the RAF, their partners and dependants, whenever they need help.

Now in its 11th year, Airplay and Ben Clubs is the RAF Benevolent Fund’s youth support scheme, providing youth club sessions on RAF stations and access to the digital platform Airplay Connect, developed for children living away from stations.

Growing up as part of a military family has its challenges, as parents often spend long periods away from home, and children are required to move school and home frequently. Airplay aims to address these issues by providing a safe place for youngsters to spend time with their peers, with support on hand if needed.

YMCA Lincolnshire will be responsible for delivering Airplay across RAF bases at Cranwell, Digby, Scampton, Waddington and Coningsby, offering 30,000 opportunities to over 11,000 young people a year from January 2022.

Chief executive Caroline Killeavy said: “Lincolnshire has a 100-year aviation history and the RAF’s presence in and contribution to our local communites is immense. It is a genuine honour to support the young people of RAF famiiles.”

YMCA Lincolnshire has a 152 year track record of working with youth and community services, tackling local i and ensuring work opportunities for young people.

The contract will be led by One YMCA and aims to increase participation across young people living on RAF stations. One YMCA chief executive Guy Foxell said: “One YMCA are looking forward to working with the fund, RAF personnel and RAF families in continuing and developing a trusted and valued service which provides both exciting and purposeful opportunities for children and young people.”

RAFBF’s director of welfare and policy Paul Hughesdon said the YMCA’s mix of national oversight and local delivery, along with expertise in children and youth services will see the programme develop.