Physical activity and talking to someone are both well documented ways of relieving stress and supporting mental health. So, when we were approached by the RAF Intelligence Profession’s wellbeing team to fund conversation starter cards for their wellbeing walks we were more than happy to give our support.
We spoke to the team’s project officer, Sergeant Gary Robinson about the initiative:
Why did you approach the RAF Central Fund for a grant?
“I’ve used the Central Fund’s individual sports grant programme for sporting activities before, including archery, skiing and golf, but I had seen they support other opportunities, so I thought I’d take a shot at putting together an application. Claire (the Fund’s Grants Officer) was great and supported the application and idea from the start.”
What is the RAF Intelligence Profession Wellbeing team and when and why was it formed?
“The Wellbeing team was formed about 18 months ago and we’ve spent a lot of time trying to work out what wellbeing and resilience support our people need. Over the past two years we’ve conducted surveys and provided input at the Intelligence Profession virtual conferences. We are now at a stage where we can start sharing our findings and identifying the core support needed. Every Profession in the RAF will have different wellbeing needs, we just want to make sure we tailor something for specific to us but at the same time lean on the existing support that’s out there.”
How did you come up with the concept of walk and talk cards?
“The survey highlighted that our people were struggling to integrate back into the office after Covid. And if people had moved location at that time, they felt isolated and didn’t have the opportunity to get to know their new colleagues. Providing conversation starter cards, takes the initial awkwardness out of getting to know someone, it also gave us the opportunity to steer the conversation towards wellbeing and hopefully remove some of the stigma that still exists. We also wanted to get people active, so inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore and his 100 laps of his garden, we incorporated completing 100 laps into the event.”
The team have already held their first successful Walk & Talk events, using the cards at Chicksands last September and again at RAF Digby last week where they donated several packs of cards. More events are planned this year, including one out in Cyprus.
If you think your station, unit, branch or trade group would benefit from something similar then get in touch with our grants team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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