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Welfare homes built for families of troops
Buy this photo » Nicky Pulford, wife of Air Marshal Pulford, Air Member for Personnel, Air Marshal Sir Dusty Miller, president of RAFA, Group Captain Steve Lushington, RAF Brize Norton station commander, and Flight Sergeant Jane Corban at the new homes
A HOME from home to help support servicemen and women in need.
That’s the idea behind new welfare homes unveiled at RAF Brize Norton yesterday.
The houses will be used by families of service personnel receiving hospital treatment in Oxford. They will also provide a place where single servicemen and women can have their children to stay, and young airmen and women can host their parents.
Four two-bedroom homes were officially opened yesterday after a £100,000 refurbishment. They join four three-bedroom homes that were opened two years ago.
Senior Aircraftman Stephen Jackman’s mother and sister from South Teeside used one of the welfare homes in July while he was treated for a faulty aortic valve in his heart at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
The 27-year-old said: “Having a home for my family was crucial. Before I went into hospital my main worry was not about my health but how my mum was going to cope, how she was going to get to hospital and know where the shops are.
“Being in this house meant that everyone was around here to look after her and she was not stuck in a hotel room. It was a weight off my mind.
“And I needed my mum in hospital. It would have been a whole lot more difficult not having family here.”
SAC Jackman, an air traffic controller at RAF Brize Norton, is returning to work on Monday.
The revamp saw dilapidated former married quarters stripped out and refurbished.
Small kitchens were knocked through to create large kitchen-diners and play equipment was put in gardens.
The six-week project was funded by seven branches of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA).
Flight Sergeant Jane Corban, who managed the project, said: “We wanted to provide a homely environment for people in times of distress or who need a place to be with children.
“The RAF is committed to supporting families of service personnel and recognises that family welfare has a direct impact on serving personnel and their capabilities.”
Air Marshal Sir Dusty Miller, president of the Royal Air Forces Association, said: “These homes are immensely valuable. Their value is far greater than the sum cost of their parts.
“We spend a lot of time and effort supporting veterans and this has been a chance to show support to the younger RAF family. I think the homes are absolutely brilliant.”
Group Captain Steve Lushington, RAF Brize Norton Station Commander, said: “I am utterly delighted that the Royal Air Forces Association has been able to help service families through the funding of the refurbishment of these spectacular welfare houses.
“I have no doubt they will be well used and will ensure that the service families at RAF Brize Norton have access to first class facilities.”
The homes are unlikely to be used for the families of repatriated service personnel.
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