Bucks County Council Covenant & Halton Youth Outreach Event
As part of the Armed Forces Community Covenant, Buckinghamshire County Council asked RAF Halton to organise a Youth Outreach event to engage with children from the local schools and introduce them to the Royal Air Force.
The invitation was taken up by Wilma Kingsbury, a youth worker at Halton, who requested assistance from the Youth Activities Liaison Officer (YALO), Sgt Daz Mayhew.
Sgt Mayhew took up the challenge of organising the visit which included using the low ropes course and a visit to the Trenchard Museum, where they were given a history of life and flight at RAF Halton by museum curator, Francis Hanford.
Over 40 children from Wendover House School, John Collet, Buckingham School, and Sir Thomas Freemantle schools, some of them with learning difficulties, enjoyed a full day of activities after breakfast at the Rothschild Club, and later a packed lunch provided by the Station.
Sgt Mayhew said: “The youngsters were split into four groups and visited four different areas at different times during the day. We also involved Clothing Stores and the Trenchard Museum to show them past and present aspects of RAF life.
We were pleased to welcome two local dignitaries who spent the day seeing how the Covenant works linking up RAF Halton with the local community, Chairman of the County Council, Councillor Carl Etholen, representing the Armed Forces Community Covenant, and Councillor Chris Adams, County Councillor for Halton, Wendover and Stoke Mandeville, along with Station Executives. Three Station personnel, Sgt Steve Kelly, Cpls John Elwood and John Staples acted as escorts and event leaders.
The whole day was a complete success, with lots of animated youngsters. All the schools requested other visits later in the year.” Councillor Etholen said: “This is a great opportunity for the children to come and experience the RAF way of life; it’s a win-win situation with them seeing what the RAF can offer for a future career. The RAF family in Buckinghamshire is very big with Halton and High Wycombe on our doorstep so the Armed Forces Community Covenant is very dear to us.”
Also eager to comment on his experience was Councillor Chris Adams who said he felt: “Proud to visit the Station and seeing trainees marching made him think about what RAF Halton can offer the youngsters with regards to discipline and structure.”
Three of the children spoke to Halton’s Media Communications Office about their day, Liam Strickland 8, and Joseph Kane 8, who attend John Colet School and Olivia Scott 13 from Winslow School. All enthused about the day saying it was hard at times but lots of fun. They all got a lot out of the low ropes and all mentioned that they had learned a lot about team work and motivation.
Mel Turner, who works for Bucks County Council as a Progress Officer, said: “This has been a long time coming. In November we started engaging schools in team and leadership exercises. We were financed by the Community Covenant Fund which has given us the opportunity to bring everyone together to meet Station personnel. It has been a very successful event, thank you to Daz Mayhew and his team for all their encouragement.”