RAF News

Mental Health Awareness Week: Bringing the Community Together

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is kindness. This week we’re sharing stories of acts of kindness within the RAF family during the coronavirus lockdown.

The wife of an RAF Airman has brought joy to her local community with her photography skills during lockdown.

Viola Jackson is an NHS nurse and lives in the Service Families Accommodation at RAF Shawbury with her husband Dan, an Air Traffic Controller, and their baby son, Arnold.

Using her daily exercising route around the ‘patch’, Viola has taken ‘porchraits’ - photos of families on their doorsteps, so that they have happy lockdown memories to look back on.

Please note: Social distancing rules were maintained when images were taken. 

“I’ve been keeping a lockdown scrapbook for my little boy to look back on when he’s older, so I thought it would be nice for other people to have something they could show their children too. Or even just a nice family portrait because nobody can have a proper family picture right now,” 


Completed over two nights, the project was met with enthusiasm from the neighbours. Feedback on the community Facebook page ranged from ‘It really brightened our day’ to ‘Times like this make you appreciate the military community’.

“Even when I was taking pictures of one house, a couple of doors down the next family would be out ready and they’d be waving at each other and chatting. It was really fun, and it’s quite hard to have fun at the minute!” added Viola.

“It’s been really nice to have the community of the RAF family. We had to quarantine for two weeks at one point because my little boy had a cough. Whenever someone from the community went shopping, they’d ask if we needed anything and drop it off at the door.”

Viola has been on maternity leave but is soon returning to her job as an NHS nurse where she will temporarily join A&E to help on the coronavirus front line.

Viola and Arnold

“In my career I deal with patients all the time who suffer from mental health problems. It’s so important to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week: it’s something that many people will suffer with in their lifetime, even slightly – everybody gets down occasionally.

“It really helps to keep communicating with your family, friends and neighbours, which is why I think the ‘porchraits’ were quite successful.”

Please note: Social distancing rules were maintained when images were taken. 

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