United, we will support the most vulnerable in our RAF community.
I want to thank you wholeheartedly for your incredible support during this uncertain and testing time. I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are keeping safe.
We are living in unprecedented times – globally, as a nation, and for every one of us as we deal with the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in our own lives. We are acutely conscious that many RAF veterans and their loved ones are particularly vulnerable during these difficult times.
We have been telephoning over 30,000 members of our RAF community who we know are in high-risk categories (and are therefore shielding or self-isolating) to check on their welfare. It is with a heavy heart that I report to you that we are finding truly desperate levels of isolation, loneliness and need.
Members of our RAF community are struggling and we cannot stand by.
When the COVID-19 crisis began, we launched our emergency Operation CONNECT, to combat the issues we are finding daily.
· A telephone outreach service which is contacting vulnerable individuals by telephone to check on their welfare, offer them ongoing telephone friendship from a regular volunteer and alert them to other support services
· A friendship helpline that anyone in the RAF community can call if they are feeling isolated or lonely and want a friendly chat with someone who understands
· Bag drops providing vital provisions to the doorsteps of the most vulnerable members of our RAF community when their need is critical and desperate.
· A daily RAF-themed online entertainment programme giving much-needed routine and happiness for anyone who is isolated.
These new services are up and running. We are seeing an increasing level of demand and have launched an emergency fundraising appeal to ensure we are able to meet this. More and more people need our support as the impact of the COVID-19 crisis grows. If you yourself are struggling, please ask us for help by calling 0800 018 2361.
Please stay healthy and safe; by working together our RAF family will get through this.
With heartfelt thanks,