Beacon shines a light on aid for the RAF community

Sian Atkinson, chairman of the RAF Boulmer ssafa In-Service Volunteer Group, opens The Beacon.
Sian Atkinson, chairman of the RAF Boulmer ssafa In-Service Volunteer Group, opens The Beacon.

A new support and family centre has been opened for the RAF community in north Northumberland.

The Beacon, in Portal Place, Longhoughton, will provide RAF personnel and their families with a place to meet and relax, and seek advice or information.

It houses the RAF Boulmer community support team and provides an outreach room for the station padre and the ssafa personal and families support worker.

It is also home to the families centre, with a children’s community library, a lounge, a children’s playroom and a multi-activity room which provides a huge space for soft play, bingo, quiz evenings and other activities. If more volunteers come forward, the centre will be available for weekend use and events.

The refurbishment of the building has been funded through the RAF Boulmer Works Services budget, but most of the fixtures and fittings have been provided by grants from the RAF Central Fund and MODern Housing Solutions.

RAF Boulmer ssafa In-Service Volunteer Group, Longhoughton Parish Council and the RAF Boulmer Thrift Shop all donated money towards books for the children’s library.

Group Captain Paul Atkinson said: “Service life can be very demanding for our families, especially when the serving member is detached away from the station for long periods and the extended family is not just around the corner to help out. The Beacon is a fantastic meeting place and recreational facility, which can also be utilised by our local community and I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all those who have worked so hard to turn the vision into a reality.”

Parish council chairman John Haughie said: “The parish council is pleased that RAF Boulmer is willing to share its facilities with the local community and we are glad to have been able to provide funding towards the children’s library.

This further cements the excellent relationship between the RAF and the local community.”