New initiative aims to tackle isolation among serving RAF personnel and their families

The RAF Benevolent Fund has launched a new scheme aiming to help serving RAF personnel and their families overcome social isolation and loneliness.

The Social Engagement Workers scheme is initially being launched at RAF Odiham, RAF Leeming, RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Honington. Starting in October 2019, the pilot scheme will run for two years.

The new initiative has been launched to support the Fund’s ongoing work on social isolation. By providing tangible support to members of the serving RAF family who are affected by social isolation and loneliness, the scheme aims to allow these individuals to overcome these barriers.

The schemes will also look to enable serving RAF personnel to engage in their communities through the development of working relationships, as part of station Community Support teams, and through clubs and activities available.

Damian Pinel, RAF Projects Manager at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said:

“It’s not just veterans and older members of the RAF family that suffer from social isolation and loneliness. Station life can be difficult to adjust to for many members of the serving RAF community, so we wanted to offer greater support to those who might be struggling.

“This project complements other initiatives we’ve launched that promote positive mental wellbeing, such as the Listening and Counselling service and Group Wellbeing Breaks.”

Veronica ‘Vron’ Young has been hired to lead the pilot at RAF Lossiemouth. Vron most recently worked at as a HIVE Information Support Officer at Leuchars Station. Prior to that, she served as an Airwaves Representative and Airwaves Overseas Manager and the Airwaves Publicity Manager at RAF Akrotiri and Episkopi. She has also held various voluntary roles and is a qualified SSAFA caseworker, SSAFA in service volunteer coordinator, and SSAFA associate trainer.

Vron said:

“My calling in life is most definitely helping people. As someone who’s experienced first-hand all the challenges that come with marrying into the services, moving away from home and your family and friends, I feel naturally drawn helping improve the support for families and serving personnel.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Welfare and Community Support team at RAF Lossiemouth to help break down any barriers that are causing serving personnel or their family members to feel isolated or excluded.”

Earlier this year, the RAF Benevolent Fund launched a Community Engagement Worker scheme to help older RAF veterans get involved in their local communities. The scheme comes in response to research carried out by the Fund which highlighted these challenges as issues which most concern the older generation of RAF veterans.

Photo: RAF Benevolent Fund

See also: Military charities

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