On Wednesday 24th February, RAF Shawbury’s Station Commander, Group Captain Phil Wadlow and their Community Development Officer, Mrs Gail Moore made the first cut of the foundations of the units new Youth Activity Centre.
The Youth Activities Centre has taken over 4 years of planning by RAF Shawbury’s Community Development Officer (Mrs Gail Moore), as well as the Unit’s Infrastructure and Community Support teams; the final design incorporated ideas from the young people who attend the youth club. The current youth club is in a small 1930’s building which was originally designed as an accommodation block and is not suited to host the growing number of young people from the station and delivery of a modern youth activity programme. The new facility will enable, the Unit to deliver a mixture of social, education and learning activities in line with the National Youth Agency Policy’s Youth Covenant
Gail said: “It has taken a long time to bring our original ideas to the drawing board, find funding and today start the building process; I like everyone else is looking forward to seeing the hard work realised in a building that will enable provision of an inspiring activities programme for our young people for many years to come.”
The building has been designed to be as environmentally friendly as can be and includes technology such as Structural Insulated Panels - a higher tech version of timber framing with insulation values and structural strength. An Air Source Heat Pump – for the underfloor heating and Photovoltaic Panels – providing electricity. It also incorporates a surface water drainage system (SuDS)– SuDS mimic nature and typically manage rainfall close to where it falls allowing water to be moved to underground storage areas where it can slowly soak into the ground or evaporated from surface water and lost or transpired from vegetation.
The building has been possible through funding provided by a number of organisations, the major one being the RAF Benevolent Fund. The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF's leading welfare charity with a proud tradition of looking after its people. They are there for all serving and former members of the RAF as well as their partners and dependent children. Over the years they have provided support for RAF Shawbury including items such as their Multi Use Games Area, play parks and welfare support.
Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "I’m so pleased the Fund has been able to support the work on the youth activity centre. This facility will form an integral part of RAF Shawbury for many years to come and highlights the Fund’s commitment to supporting young people living on RAF stations.
“Working closely with RAF Shawbury over the years, it is clear the difference a dedicated space will make, providing a safe, fun and relaxing space for all who choose to access it. I cannot wait to see the project progress and look forward to seeing it in use come the Autumn.”
The Station Commander at RAF Shawbury, Group Captain Phil Wadlow has only recently taken command of the unit and said: “I have been immediately impressed by the spirit and support shown by the personnel and families at RAF Shawbury especially under the current lockdown. This new Youth Activities Centre will be the focal point for our young people and will, I am certain, help to shape their lives in the future. I would like to thank the fantastic support once again shown by the RAF Benevolent fund and for Gail and her team in getting this project off the ground (literally!).”