A collaboration of YMCAs across England, Wales and Scotland are delighted to announce that the RAF Benevolent Fund (the Fund) have awarded them a 4-year contract to deliver their flagship Airplay programme from January 2022. Airplay is approaching its 11th birthday and is designed to help meet the social, recreational and developmental needs of children and young people of the RAF family, as well as providing respite and support to their parents.
The YMCA collaboration awarded the contract will be led by One YMCA whose proposal to the Fund focussed on increasing participation across the 11,000+ children and young people living in the RAF alongside a strong emphasis on digital innovation. One YMCA’s Chief Executive, Guy Foxell, writes; “On behalf of the wider partnership of YMCAs who will collectively deliver the RAF Benevolent Fund’s Airplay programme, we are delighted to be selected as the preferred provider from the 1st January 2022. As Lead Partner, One YMCA are looking forward to working with the Fund, RAF Personnel and RAF Families in continuing and developing a trusted and valued service which provides both exciting and purposeful opportunities for children and young people.”
Airplay and Ben Clubs is the RAF Benevolent Fund’s youth support scheme, providing youth club sessions on RAF stations and access to the digital platform Airplay Connect, developed for children living away from stations. Growing up as part of a military family has its challenges, as parents often spend long periods away from home, and children are required to move school and home frequently. Airplay aims to address these issues by providing a safe place for youngsters to spend time with their peers, with support on hand if needed.
The Fund’s Director of Welfare and Policy, Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon, who led the tendering process said; “The Airplay programme is very important to the serving RAF Family and the RAF Benevolent Fund. Building on the excellent foundations that are in place, we are delighted to have selected One YMCA as the lead body for the new contract. We believe that the mix of national oversight and local delivery, along with YMCA’s deep understanding of, and expertise in delivering, children and youth services, will see the programme continue to develop and evolve. I very much look forward to working with Guy and his colleagues to deliver this vital programme.”
YMCA is the worlds largest and oldest youth Charity and 14 of the 148 independently registered YMCAs across the UK will be coming together to pool their expertise for the sole purpose of delivering the Airplay programme. The very essence of Airplay will continue as it always has done; delivering excellent youth work and play work activities across the RAF’s plethora of bases. The collaboration of YMCAs will be building on the outstanding track record of Airplay by exploiting digital opportunities and expanding the breadth of what the programme provides.