Deployed families dine at Halton

Families of deployed personnel at RAF Halton were treated to a Sunday lunch at Halton House Officers’ Mess in January. 

A Families Welfare Grant of £4.40 a week is given to Stations by the government to use towards the welfare of families of deployed personnel.  The Station’s welfare committee decided to use the money for the lunch with games and entertainment for the children.  British Forces Broadcasting Services (BFBS) also attended to record messages to be played to the absent partners and parents across the world.

Shirley Cousins, Halton’s Hive lady and organiser, said: “The donation we receive for each of these families is public money so has to be spent wisely and there are many rules and guidelines about what we can spend it on.  We came up with the idea of Sunday lunches which has proved popular with families with one travelling from Surrey to attend.”

Mrs Victoria Smith, wife of Cpl Matthew Smith, who is in Bastion and due back early in March, was there with children, Izzy and Oliver, and said: “This is a lovely idea and the first time in my husbands four deployments that we have been invited to this kind of occasion.  It makes you feel that you haven’t been forgotten and the children enjoyed being able to send daddy a message via BFBS.”

Halton’s Station Commander, Group Captain Simon Harper, who attended the lunch with his family, said: “The governments welfare donation to deployed personnel is a fantastic initiative which helps us as a Station keep in contact with the families.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, it is interesting to hear how the families cope with the separation, and the welfare team is available should any problems arise.  Importantly it also provided us with the opportunity to thank the families for their support, which is vital in everything we do.”

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