Recruit Training Squadron Re-Energises the Roundel Welfare Facility

  |  Published: Jun 2nd 2015
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Recruit Training Squadron has seen a huge improvement to its welfare facilities recently with the opening of the Roundel Centre on the RTS site. A non-alcoholic relaxation area above the Henderson Mess, it is available to up to 100 young people on the Pre-Recruit Training Course, 500 recruits, 250 Servicemen Awaiting Trade Training (SATTs) as well as 40 Reservists at a time. It was introduced after the OFSTED report from 2012; the aim is to improve the wellbeing of the recruits and trainees and give them somewhere to relax when not directly involved in training or lessons.

There are four separate and distinct welfare facilities areas at RTS already. These comprise the NewComers’ Club bar and social area over two floors, ‘MG’s’ internet area, which is open to recruits after day 19 of training once they have passed their inspection, exams and drill check; the OASIS retreat which has been vacated due to pervasive damp, and the Roundel which had fallen into disrepair. It became increasingly difficult to manage the areas to the standard that the recruits deserved and the new area aimed to be centrally-located, widely available, non-alcoholic and recruit-focused.

In September 2014, the Welfare and Support Personnel (WaSP) began seeking funding to update the Roundel. A bid for Local Initiative Grant (LIG) funding of £5,000 was secured with the assistance of Mr Mark Morrissey and an application for Nuffield Trust Funding of a similar amount was also successful.

To ensure that the recruits were gaining a recreation facility that they wanted and would use, Sgt Sue Burrell and Cpl May Harvey (WaSP) held a meeting with SATT recruits. The result was a wish list of equipment they felt was relevant to young people today; games consoles, table-tennis, air hockey, pool, relaxation areas; even a dance machine was included!  Welfare staff, the deputy RTS Warrant Officer and FS Tracey Field were keen to give the recruits an area to call their own and that that they had a hand in creating. This would then promote a sense of ownership as well as being more relevant to their needs.

Cpls Mel Heaton and Geoff Wiseman moved furniture from the OASIS, organised the procurement and delivery of equipment, bought new items for the kitchen and main area and set up the games consoles and four large wall-mounted TV’s. It was a huge effort and took up a significant amount of personal time. The physical education flight will continue to run this facility with the responsibility being allocated to Sgt Kristian Harrison, and several volunteers who will benefit with the associated development opportunities. Input from WaSP and the recruits themselves, in the form of a McTeague-run committee (the recruits who have been injured through a phase of their training) will complete the team. All the equipment is owned by the Recruit Welfare Fund and the current SNCO WaSP, Sgt Johnny Heaton has organised that all the equipment is maintained and repaired through that fund; the costs have been kept deliberately low for pool, air-hockey and the all-important dance machine!

The Roundel was formally re-opened by the Station Commander earlier this month in front of 40 SATT recruits who were delighted with the facility. The Multi-Faith Prayer room is also located in the building and is open for all to use, containing the accoutrements for six of the major faiths.

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