During the latter half of 2012, RAF High Wycombe received funding to improve the welfare facilities of personnel on the unit. The money was invested into various infrastructure related projects.
Unfortunately, last year the station received the disappointing news that the Physical Recreation Training Centre (PRTC) project would no longer be going ahead therefore the fitness suite was the first area to be revamped. The fitness suite was painted throughout both internally and externally which greatly improved its appearance. Other improvements are planned such as installing new windows to aid in the ventilation as well as new mirrors by the CV equipment… Watch this space, it will happen.
The Station is aware of the importance of its support services, therefore it was decided that Badge Control and MT would benefit from the funding. Badge Control is a small building that is located by the Bunker. The section is manned 24/7 by the MOD Guard service. This project was quite challenging as it is a very small are, a which meant that it got a little crowded at times. The main consideration was to try and maximise the space available in order to improve their working environment. To further enhance the area, the building was redecorated and new white goods were installed to create better surroundings. Another area that significantly contributes to the operational capability of the station is MT. Again, this area is manned 24/7 therefore to improve their welfare facilities a new kitchen was installed.
The previous financial year saw the beginning of a rolling programme to install new kitchens into the Junior Ranks Barrack Blocks. This year 2 further barrack blocks benefitted from the upgrades. 8 kitchens received a full redecoration as well as the installation of new cabinets and work-tops. Site Estates will continue with this programme and will endeavour to upgrade the remaining barrack blocks in the forthcoming financial year.
As we go to print, Site Estates are in the midst of creating a welfare room in the Sgts Mess. 2 single rooms have been knocked through and the aim is to have a bedroom and sitting room area. The rooms will be fully redecorated and will benefit from new fixtures and fittings. The aim of this project is to create a room that has a domestic feel thereby allowing the mess membership to have a welfare facility that they can use as and when required.
The wider RAF community received support from station, most notably the childcare facilities. Medmenham Early Years required a complete reconfiguration of one of their toilet areas. The children (and staff) were incredibly accommodating to the noisy workmen. After the noise had subsided, the children were left with a facility that they are delighted with. The House at Pooh Corner is due to have an external shelter and play area installed at the rear of the building and it will be internally decorated throughout. Those personnel with families rely heavily on childcare facilities therefore they are probably some of the most important welfare facilities on unit. These services ensure the operational output of the unit.
There were other areas on Station which also benefitted from the funding. The Officers’ Mess has been extensively redecorated. Smithy’s Bar had block-paving laid to improve the patio area and external gym equipment was fitted at 1 site. Without this type of funding, Site Estates would not have been able to finance very many welfare projects. Personnel are at the core of our business and it’s important that they have the facilities in place to enable them to fulfil their duties… Let’s hope with the new financial year comes a renewed impetus for the continual improvement of the welfare services in and around unit.