RTS re-energises Welfare Facilities

Recruit Training Squadron has seen a huge improvement to its welfare facilities recently with the opening of the Roundel Centre on the RTS site. A nonalcoholic relaxation area above the Henderson Mess, it is available to up to 100 young people on the Pre-Recruit Training Course, 500 recruits, 250 Servicemen Awaiting Trade Training (SATTs) as well as 40 Reservists at a time. It was introduced after the OFSTED report from 2012; the aim is to improve the wellbeing of the recruits and trainees and give them somewhere to relax when not directly involved in training or lessons.

There are 4 separate and distinct welfare facilities areas at RTS already. These comprise the NewComers’ Club bar and social area over 2 floors, ‘MG’s’ internet area which is open to recruits after Day 19 of training once they have passed their Inspection, exams and drill check, the OASIS retreat which has been vacated due to pervasive damp, and the Roundel which had fallen into misuse. It became increasingly difficult to manage the areas to the standard that the recruits deserved and the new area aimed to be centrally-located, widely available, non-alcoholic and recruit-focussed.

In Sep 14, WaSP began seeking funding to update the Roundel. A bid for Local Initiative Grant (LIG) funding of £5,000 was secured with the assistance of Mr Mark Morrissey and an application for Nuffield Trust Funding of a similar amount was also successful.

To ensure that the recruits were gaining a recreation facility that they wanted and would use, Sgt Sue Burrell and Cpl May Harvey (Welfare and Support Personnel (WaSP) held a meeting with SATT recruits; the result was a wish list of equipment they felt was relevant to young people today; games consoles, tabletennis, air hockey, pool, relaxation areas; even a dance machine was included! WaSP, as well as the Deputy RTS WO, FS Tracey Field, were keen to give the recruits an area to call their own and that that they had a hand in creating. This would then promote a sense of ownership as well as being more relevant to their needs.

It was decided that welfare monitoring posts would be French Air Force Instructors visit Airmens’ Command Squadron Three instructors from the French Air Force Rochefort Academy have visited the RAF Airmens’ Command Squadron (ACS) at RAF Halton, following on from higher-level visits to enhance the Anglo-French alliance within the training and education pillar. The visit included the first Instructor Development Workshop; the main aim was for the French instructors to witness a variety of the training delivered through ACS in order to understand the methods and models utilised. The visit included created amongst RTS NCOs who would also benefit from the associated development opportunities. Several personnel volunteered, and Sgt Kristian Harrison was allocated the Roundel responsibility on the basis that he would rotate PTI JNCOs through the posts to enhance their profiles.

Cpls Mel Heaton and Geoff Wiseman moved furniture from the OASIS, organised the procurement and delivery of equipment, bought new items for the kitchen and main area and set up the games consoles and 4 large wall-mounted TV’s. It was a huge effort and took up a significant amount of personal time. PEd will continue to run this facility with ongoing input from WaSP and the recruits themselves, in the form of a McTeague-run committee (the recruits who have been injured through a phase of their training). All the equipment is owned by the Recruit Welfare Fund and the current SNCO WaSP, Sgt Johnny Heaton has organised that all the equipment is maintained and repaired through that fund; the costs have been kept deliberately low for pool, air-hockey and the allimportant dance machine!

The Roundel was formally re-opened by the Stn Cdr on 15 May 15 in front of 40 SATT recruits who were delighted with the facility. It is open and available for use from 0700 to 2300. The Multi Faith Prayer room is also located in the building and is open for all to use, containing the accoutrements for six of the major faiths.

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