Air Play – New Youth Team To Inspire Young People
Cultural evenings, trips to the seaside and cinema, and sporting activities are just some of the events in the pipeline for the young people of RAF Wittering thanks to the arrival of a new team of youth workers.
Station Youth Worker Carol Chapman and sessional youth workers Robin Foster and Sheena McClarly joined the Station at the end of last year and are hoping to deliver a wide range of activities inspired by the young people themselves.
Their arrival is thanks to the RAF Benevolent Fund which has joined forces with the charity 4Children to provide support to young people in the service community as part of The Airplay Youth Support Programme.
Carol explained: “If the young people want to do something in particular then we try to offer it to them. So far we have had some really good requests including culture evenings, trips out to the cinema, seaside and the Waddington Air Show.
“All the ideas are coming from the young people and that is what we want to encourage. The new programme will help to expand youth provision to service children and young people aged 8 to 19 years, offering not just activities but also support where needed.”
The nationwide programme, which has been rolled out to 28 UK RAF Stations, also means young people can enjoy continuity of youth provision when they move to new camps.
Community Development Officer (CDO) Mark Davis added: “The youth programme used to be delivered by volunteers and community workers but it became quite fragmented as people got posted and operational pressures increased.
“Every station now has a team of youth workers so if a family is posted we can contact the team at the new Station and put the young person in touch with them. This can help make the move less stressful.”
Since the team’s arrival, they have been talking to young people in Wittering to find out what kind of activities they want to do and also what they want from the Wittering Drop-In Centre, which is currently based in a temporary location after a water pipe burst in the attic on opening night.
The team refused to let the incident dampen their spirits or ruin their hard work so while repair work is carried out the Drop-in centre has moved to 24 St Georges Road.
It is open every Tuesday and Thursday night from 7-9pm, offering a range of activities including cooking, games, quizzes, arts and crafts, and a tuck shop.
The Airplay Youth Support Programme is part of the RAF Benevolent Fund’s youth partnership with 4Children, offering structured activities for children and young people from RAF families.
The programme is tailored to each Station and youngsters can take part in a variety of different activities including sports, crafts, dance workshops and drop-in activities with the support of 4Children’s youth workers.
The charity is investing £10 million over the next five years to provide recreational services and facilities across 28 UK bases. In addition to providing qualified youth workers, it is also funding the building of multi-use games areas and helping to regenerate existing play parks.
The Wittering Youth Team workers – (from left) Sheena McClarly, Robin Foster and Carol Chapman.