Friday 8th November 2019

The Royal Air Forces Association has launched a subsidiary childcare delivery company and at the time of going to press is already managing nurseries at two RAF stations in England.

RAFA Kidz, which officially opened its first nursery at RAF Odiham on 30 July, will focus on providing the best possible service to the RAF family. RAFA Kidz also took on the running of the nursery at RAF College Cranwell on 16 October.

Speaking at the launch of RAFA Kidz Odiham, Rory O’Connor, Director of Welfare and Policy for the RAF Association, said:

“Access to childcare for serving RAF families is a key welfare concern.

“The Association has already responded by training the partners of serving RAF personnel to become registered childminders, but further discussions with Air Command identified that more support was needed. This led to the creation of RAFA Kidz.”

RAFA Kidz delivers fun, affordable and nurturing early years childcare in a welcoming environment, on RAF stations. It can also reduce costs to parents/carers, while offering an expanded service, for example providing hot nutritious lunches and snacks.  

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot with staff and children at the opening of RAFA Kidz Odiham.

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, who attended the opening of RAFA Kidz Odiham, said:

“Access to affordable high-quality childcare is a key priority for our families, so I am delighted to see the launch of the new RAFA Kidz childcare service. It is already making a huge difference for families serving at RAF Odiham.” 

Group Captain Lee Turner, RAF Odiham Station Commander, said: 

“The availability of excellent, cost effective childcare is a problem for many people, whether they are serving or not, but it had become a particular issue at RAF Odiham.

“I am delighted that RAFA Kidz is now offering just that to those who are serving here and that all profits made will be used to help members of the RAF family.” 

When serving parents send their children to a RAFA Kidz nursery, they will also be supporting their RAF colleagues and the wider RAF family.

Any additional income generated by their nursery will be invested back into the nursery and into RAF welfare activities delivered by the RAF Association. Projects such as free station wi-fi, Storybook Wings and childminder training will all benefit. 

Nick Bunting, Secretary General of the RAF Association, said at the launch of RAFA Kidz Cranwell:

“Taking on the running of the Kidzone Nursery at Cranwell is a further boost for our childcare provision, as we were approached by the board of trustees. The nursery is rated as excellent by Ofsted, so we look forward to maintaining the high standard set by the dedicated trustees.” 

Sez, a parent who uses the nursery at RAF Odiham, has welcomed the change:

“It’s been a huge help knowing that my children come home well fed. As well as making life easier now, it’s helping them get used to eating food away from home, like they will when they go to school. I am pleased that all the nursery employees have stayed on, as the children love them and they clearly love the children.” 

Find out more about RAFA Kidz 

Top image: (Centre, L-R) Nick Bunting, Secretary General of the RAF Association, and Group Captain Gordon Bettington, Acting Commandant at RAF College Cranwell, at the station’s nursery with RAFA Kidz employees. 

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