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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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RAF members given free wi-fi in bid to cut isolation

This news post is almost 7 years old

The RAF Association has invested £1.2 million to keep personnel connected with loved ones

RAF members are set to benefit from free internet in a bid to tackle social isolation.

A third of serving RAF personnel can now benefit from free communal wi-fi thanks to an initiative led by the RAF Association.

The charity has made a £1.2million investment to keep serving airmen and women connected to their friends and loved ones - and have said it is already proving a huge success.

Sixteen RAF stations and more than 11,000 personnel can now benefit from the free wi-fi. The project came about when the association was told of the social isolation that many new recruits feel on commencing their service life.

Security considerations often prevent access to military wi-fi for personal use and the cost of extra infrastructure to reach the more remote RAF bases is usually prohibitive.

Rory O'Connor, director of welfare and policy for the charity, said: "In this age, we are reliant on digital technology to stay in touch with friends and family, but also to manage our online presence and daily tasks.

“This is particularly true when it comes to the armed forces community, who are often away from loved ones and pressured to find time within the working day to manage personal affairs. It is vital that when personnel are away from home that they are able to stay connected and alleviate isolation.”

The association is also working to connect RAF welfare contact houses to the free wi-fi. The charity has so far refurbished 73 contact houses on 32 stations, ensuring that separated families are able to have somewhere on station where they can reunite in a homely environment. These facilities will be enhanced by the addition of free wi-fi to more than 70 of the houses.