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Chief's 'light' blue sky thinking helps Trust reach milestone

Published: 21 Feb 2017

A suggestion from Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, that Junior Ranks (JRs) based at RAF Odiham should approach the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT) for support for their welfare facility not only resulted in a grant for the station, but has also helped the charity reach a significant milestone.

The recommendation from Sir Stephen came when he visited the station in November and saw the progress of the new facility - the Henderson Room - intended as a space for JRs to relax and unwind away from their rooms, or the station bar. Upon hearing their need for further funding for a Sky package, he suggested seeking help from the Trust.

The resulting award of £5,788 has taken the total amount granted by the Charity since it was established in 2005 beyond £4 million.

SAC Kieran Skews, a member of the station's Personnel Services Flight project team, said "We thought a Sky package would be unaffordable to keep up, but CAS recognised the importance of the facility and suggested we put in a bid to the RAF Charitable Trust to fund the package. The Trust turned around the bid in a matter of days, securing funding for the Sky package for a full three years. 

"This is an amazing win for the JRs at Odiham and will definitely encourage people to use the Henderson. We are really grateful to CAS for the suggestion and to the Trust for granting us the bid. Now we're really looking forward to getting it up and running."

The Chairman of the RAF Charitable Trust, Air Marshal Sir Kevin Leeson, said that since the Trust was first established it has enjoyed tremendous support from successive Chiefs of the Air Staff. He said: "I'm delighted that Sir Stephen is so actively championing the Trust's work and how it is helping to support serving personnel at RAF stations in the UK and abroad."

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