What a Year
As 2017 draws to a close, Air-Vice Marshal David Murray – Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund – looks back on the support the charity has given during 2017.
The past 12 months have seen the RAF family face new challenges and we are incredibly proud to have supported more than 50,000 members of the RAF community so far this year.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you who are at the frontline of our country’s defence. The pressures you face are almost unrivalled, and certainly not known to many. It is our duty to ensure that no-one who serves with the Royal Air Force stands alone. Once RAF, always RAF Benevolent Fund.
Whether the need is financial aid, emotional support or simply advice, our dedicated welfare effort for serving personnel is there to help alleviate the pressures that some face and in the first half of 2017, we spent more than £2.3m helping individuals do just that. We have seen an uptake in Airplay and Ben Clubs, and our Seaside Cottages have been used by over 100 serving personnel and their families – the perfect solution for those struggling to realise a well-deserved break.
And we have proudly given grants totalling upwards of £500k to over 200 people in the RAF – providing dedicated support to individuals, addressing a whole host of different needs.
Next year sees the RAF celebrate its centenary and in 2018 we look to assist more personnel and their families through welfare initiatives including supporting those struggling with stress, anxiety and depression, in partnership with the charity Anxiety UK. We will be launching a series of books for the children of those serving in the RAF, aiming to enhance wellbeing and family life. We will also be introducing a package of support for those with caring responsibilities, providing access to financial support, advocacy, counselling and peer support.
If you are currently serving and need help, we are there for you. Your Chief Clerk can provide on-the-spot welfare grants of up to £500, using RAF Benevolent Fund money, as well as help with your application to us if your need is more substantial.