Wednesday 16th August 2023

This month, One YMCA in conjunction with the RAF Benevolent Fund and partner YMCAs, held a three-day break in Shewsbury for children and young people of military families. The Airbreak hosted nearly 200 children and offered an abundance of outdoor activities and entertainment, providing the opportunity for young people to spend time with peers, develop skills and have fun in an environment away from their military bases.

Airplay is the Fund’s national youth work programme, which provides a safe and fun place for the children and young people of the RAF Family across 28 stations to learn and hang out with their friends.

Airbreaks offer young people in the RAF Community the opportunity to have a break from station life, immersing themselves into a stimulating programme of outdoor activities, teamwork games and lots of entertainment. This year, the residential break was held at JCA Condover Hall in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, where nearly 200 children and young people aged between 8 and 16 attended. Activities included zip lining, kayaking, rock climbing and archery, to name a few.

Airplay attendee, Cyrus, said: “I love Airplay because it just makes you feel at home, when everyone is with you it’s one of the best experiences ever. The kayaking activity has been my favourite at the Airbreak – just swimming about and throwing each other in the water! It’s so much fun.”

He added: “I think Airplay is important for kids like me as it brings us all together, and it can especially help people who are not so confident and are a bit shy by bringing them out their comfort zone.”

Another attendee, Jessica, said: “I like coming to Airplay because it’s a chance to connect with friends and meet new people in the RAF Community. The Airbreak has been amazing – I think my favourite activity was Jacob’s Ladder, I’m terrified of heights but it was really good knowing I could get that high up!”

Airplay Youth Worker Julia Purton, who is based at RAF Henlow, said: “Airplay benefits military children because it gives them a support network – they tend to move around quite a lot, so having Airplay at their new station which is the same make-up and standard, gives them a sense of familiarity. When everything else is changing – their home, their school, friends – they know they can go to Airplay, meet other children and get support should they need it.”

Find out more about Airplay here.

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