Exactly one year to the day, the UK entered its first national lockdown as Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained to the nation that strict measures would need to be put in place to try and curb the spread of Covid-19. We were told to “stay at home” and “work from home where possible”, as thousands of businesses around the nation closed their doors not knowing when they would reopen once more, if ever.

Recognising the significant impact that the global pandemic could have on our beneficiaries, the RAF Central Fund decided to embody a sporting mentality to be agile and flexible in our support. As an RAF charity with a prehabilitation mission to safeguard the health and wellbeing of serving personnel through sport and physical activities, we knew we needed to up our game to ensure our beneficiaries were supported during these challenging times. As RAF Sport was put on hold and station gyms temporarily closed, we came up with novel lockdown initiatives to try and ensure there would be no adverse effects to the physical and mental health of serving personnel.

Within six weeks of lockdown we had teamed up with two of the world’s leading providers of digital fitness platforms, Myzone and Les Mills on Demand, to provide subsidised heart rate monitors and free online fitness classes to those on deployment and at home. The response to both of these initiatives has been overwhelmingly positive and to date we have had more than 2,500 personnel receive discounted Myzone heart rate monitors and nearly 2,000 personnel have benefited from the Les Mills on Demand platform with over 100,000 workout classes downloaded.

We are delighted to say that both these initiatives are still available to all serving personnel as follows:

Myzone: Apply for a Myzone-3 belt for the subsidised rate of £38 (RRP £129.99). Limited codes available and offered on a first come first served basis. Email us at myzone@rafcf.org.uk confirming your MOD email address for verification and a personal email address that you will use to register your belt. Open to new applicants only, one belt per member of serving personnel. Deadline for applications 19 April 2021.

Les Mills on Demand: Try Les Mills free for 30 days, with a discounted monthly rate for those wishing to continue or re-subscribe at http://link.lesmillsondemand.com/SH17P

Whilst we have yet to fully evaluate the impact of our charity’s work over the course of the pandemic, we know from the wealth of feedback we have received from our beneficiaries that our lockdown support has been invaluable in supporting both their physical and mental health during these challenging times.

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