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The Fund launches scheme to tackle isolation

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

Social Engagement Workers RAF Benevolent FundFrom left to right, Stuart Gray, Veronica (Vron), Sophie Napleton and David Rose

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: "Social isolation and loneliness can impact on all of us at some stage of our lives. Working with Community Support and welfare staff, we want to support members of the RAF family who may be feeling lonely or who are experiencing barriers to their participation in the wide range of provision available on stations and in local communities.

"This programme complements other initiatives that we have launched to promote resilience and positive wellbeing including our Listening and Counselling service and 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 we 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.

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