Community Matters

What a busy start to 2012 supporting our community! If 2011 was our busiest year on Station, 2012 is already shaping up to be even busier as we appear to be cramming in even more.

So far this year we have already had a great deal happen including the restart of our Community Support Road Show programme around Station, visiting personnel in their places of work; and our outreach programme visiting families living away from Waddington at Cranwell, Digby and Scampton. In late January a couple of other members of the team and myself visited some of our 39 Squadron personnel and their families at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, prior to their move back to UK later this year.

In late 2011 you may have read of our work joining in partnership with 4Children, to provide seamless provision on Station for all our children and young people; our 0 – 19 programme. I am really pleased to report that this has begun to take shape with our nursery and after schools provision going from strength to strength. 4Children have really put a lot into this partnership, investing a lot of capital and have worked hard to improve provision quickly. They were recently inspected by OfSTED in both areas of work and achieved ‘good’ status. In the coming months we will continue to work hard together to develop our pre-school and families provision and I’m sure by the end of this year people will see a real difference in the support that’s available to them.

‘Airplay’ at Waddington continues to be a huge success, with the support of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) continuing to make a huge difference to the children of service personnel engaging more in the services offered. In February, the Station was delighted to host two RAFBF visits to Airplay on Station, marking some of the successes we have seen in recent months.

The most exciting event was a visit by a British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) film crew who came to Station during February half-term to do an article on our sports and play facilities and film one of our holiday sessions. The article will be broadcasted later this year, highlighting the large investment made in facilities by the RAFBF and the difference that their funding has made in employing dedicated Station Youth Work staff, increasing the opportunities on offer to the children of our personnel. I know that the event was enthusiastically received by the 20 or so young people participating, hopefully they will enjoy their 15 minutes of fame later in the year!

During 2012 the Station will continue to work hard to provide support to families affected by deployment and separation through duty, building on our success of the past year or two. With more families than ever being affected due to ongoing operations, separation due to training and other deployments will again, be a difficult period for many. The Station have a couple of major initiatives planned over the next month to provide some support and let Service personnel and families know that their efforts and ongoing support to Defence is recognised and appreciated.

Looking ahead, we are already planning a couple of memorable events to look forward to in 2012. Two events of note will be the visit of British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) who will be running a live radio road show event at this year’s Families’ After Air Show Party. National Families week in August is set to be a huge event that all our families are welcome to attend.

2012 promises to be a huge year for Community Support at RAF Waddington but, if you have any comments, questions, or any suggestions on what we can do to further improve our services, please get in touch with any member of the Community Support Team. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

By Mr John Ferguson

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