Wednesday 24th April 2019
For Brenda Gillian, introducing her granddaughter Amelia-Rose to Airplay had been a way for her to have fun, but when alopecia robbed her of her hair, the youth club group became a safe haven from the bullies who made her life a misery.
Amelia-Rose first lost her hair aged about two but with some hormone treatment it grew back and as a young toddler she was none the wiser. But the condition returned 18 months ago and Amelia-Rose, now 11, had to come to terms with losing huge chunks of her hair, leaving large parts of her scalp exposed.
“Amelia was awarded a wig from The Princes Trust, which she wears to school, because she is bullied. The bullying devastates her confidence, she has no confidence in herself, the school, or the support networks. She is withdrawn and unwilling to go out to play. Without Airplay, Amelia’s mental state would not be as good as it is today.”
Brenda helps Amelia-Rose’s mum taking Amelia-Rose and her brother to after school clubs. She noticed one day Amelia had taken off her wig before her Airplay session. Amelia told her ‘I do not need it there, no-one bullies me, it is much nicer there’.
Airplay is the RAF Benevolent Fund’s youth support scheme for families living on or close to RAF stations. Amelia has been a member of RAF Wyton Airplay for four years.
Brenda explained the impact it has had. She said:
“Airplay is a place where no-one judges her. She is not judged by her peers or the youngsters around her. It is a place of great fun, there is always laughter and lots of activities going on. We go there and are always greeted with a smile.”
In her own words, Amelia said:
“I find the Airplay Youth Club fun and I am always excited to go there and no-one asks about my hair!!!”
See also: Military support organisations