New Play Park Encapsulates Community Spirit
Around 18 months ago I introduced my daughter Megan to the Trinity Community Centre (TCC) for the first time and she expressed that the Play Park was lacking the appropriate equipment that children wanted, in fact if I was honest, as a 6 year old, she probably said “Mummy, this is rubbish!” I had to agree.
The soft play facilities within the TCC are brilliant, some of the best I have seen in my time on various units, but the external area was letting it down so as the lead for Community Support at RAF Halton at the time, I had to do something about it, plus my daughter had told me so.
As the best Subject Matter Expert in her field, I sat her down and asked her exactly what was needed and she came up with a design including swings, slide, roundabout and even a rollercoaster, optimistic but adventurous. Following a brief exploratory search of Play Park providers, I was quickly educated on the expense of good quality equipment and realised I was not going to achieve this project with unit funding alone, so approached the RAF Benevolent Fund for help. a lot of help. Projects such as this take a lot of planning, but here we are, glazed in glorious sunshine, the final result for all to enjoy.
On 22 May 18, the new Play Park was officially opened with Megan proudly cutting the ribbon joined by the Station Commander, Group Captain James Brayshaw and Benelephant. A combined event to also showcase a recently refurbished TCC to highlight all the facilities available to the serving community. Organised by the rest of the Community Support Team, a packed programme of horse riding provided by the RAF Halton Saddle Club, various activities hosted by Ben Fund and Airplay staff, balloon modelling and face painting, bouncy castle and bucking bronco, BBQ and ice creams and of course, a comprehensive testing of the new park equipment, which I am glad to say passed with flying colours. A real community spirit. None of this would have been possible without the support of the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity with a proud tradition of meeting the needs of the RAF Family, which it has certainly achieved at RAF Halton.
The wider RAF Halton family came out in their numbers, keeping the BBQ with a constant demand. The smiles on the children’s faces was magical and overhearing one parent have the confidence to instruct their children to go and explore shows we have managed to create a space that is safe and secure, with something for everyone, even witnessing Benelephant testing out the swings.
My tour at RAF Halton is coming to an end, but I hope the community spirit produced by the TCC and specifically the external play area continues, despite the lack of a rollercoaster.
Squadron Leader Jane Stone
Officer Commanding Personnel Management Squadron