RAF Benevolent Fund Airplay

Tuesday 23rd April 2024

The RAF Benevolent Fund and One YMCA have launched the latest Airplay Annual Review for 2023.

The 2023 Review highlights the key findings and impact of the Fund’s national youth programme Airplay, delivered by One YMCA, across 24 RAF stations. Airplay provides an invaluable service designed to address the unique challenges faced by RAF families, by giving children and young people access to a safe, stimulating programme of activities and some much-needed continuity if and when their family relocates.

The recent report has found that across the year, over 2,000 children and young people actively engaged in Airplay activities, with over 4,000 sessions delivered and nearly 7,500 hours of activities. A huge 87 per cent of members agreed they had a direct say in the activities that were delivered at their Airplay project.

An Airplay Scampton member, aged 12, said:

“I love Airplay. I feel welcome and I know I can have a say and the staff will listen. They help when I’m sad too because sometimes things are hard.”

Over 70 per cent of members agree that Airplay has helped them to settle in when they have moved to a new Station.

A parent from Airplay Boscombe Down said:

“Whatever RAF base we go to, there is an Airplay. This has a huge sense of familiarity for our child. This helped with my child making friends and feeling part of our new community.”

There were 195 youth forums across the year, whereby the young people were able to have a say in the future of the programme, empowering members to have their voices heard.

It was reported that 83 per cent of members feel that Airplay has helped them to make new friends and 96 per cent of parents agree Airplay staff are friendly and welcoming.

Air Commodore Simon Harper, Director of Grants, Services and Programmes at the Fund said:

“Having served over 34 years in the RAF, including as Station Commander at RAF Halton, I know first-hand the benefit that the Fund’s Airplay programme delivers to the children, young people, and parents of the RAF Family.

“The quality of support provided by the Station Youth Workers across 24 RAF Stations is excellent. Airplay members continue to tell us that Airplay is a fun, safe and exciting environment where they can develop themselves and make new friends. I am pleased that RAF parents overwhelmingly agree Airplay provides a space where their children feel they belong and advance in confidence.”

Guy Foxell, Chief Executive Officer of One YMCA said:

“This past year saw the popularity of the Airplay Programme grow by 16 per cent, proving the incredible worth of face-to face activities and clubs, even in this digital age. This Annual Review celebrates the incredible impact that Airplay has had in 2023 and showcases some of the outstanding children and young people we’ve worked with.”

On 23 April, RAF Odiham will be hosting a virtual event to launch their Airplay Relay fundraiser across all Airplay youth clubs over the coming months.

Airplay Relay is a competitive challenge for Airplay members to collectively build up a number of miles between them either running, walking, hopping or skipping. All proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Airplay Annual Review 2023

RAFBF Annual Review 2023

You can read the full Airplay Annual Review 2023.

The RAF Benevolent Fund provides financial, emotional, and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. This includes grants to help with financial difficulty, mental health support, Airplay youth clubs, and more

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