RAF nursery formally opened by Lady Hillier with help from RAF charity

Lady Elaine Hillier receiving flowers

Lady Elaine Hillier receiving flowers

The Rainbow Centre childcare facility at RAF Marham officially opened an extension to the building this week enabling them to care for more children on a day to day basis.

In 2016 it became apparent that the Rainbow Centre would need to have an extension built due to the increased demand following the introduction of increased free childcare funding from 15 hours to 30 hours. The Rainbow Centre, rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, provides full and part time childcare for more than 400 children from RAF Marham and the surrounding area and employs over 70 staff.

The extension was formally opened by Lady Elaine Hillier, the wife of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier.  The cost of the building extension has been covered by a donation from the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, and the Central Government via Norfolk County Council.

L-R Left-Right: Gp Capt Ian Townsend, Lady Elaine Hillier, Dee Gent, AVM The Honourable David Murray, Jill Warwick

L-R Left-Right: Gp Capt Ian Townsend, Lady Elaine Hillier, Dee Gent, AVM The Honourable David Murray, Jill Warwick

Lady Hillier said: “It was an honour to officially open the Rainbows Centre – especially as both of my children attended the nursery over 20 years ago.  I have seen the Centre go from strength to strength over the years, the essential financial support that has been provided by the RAF Benevolent Fund and Norfolk County Council has made this fantastic addition to the Centre possible and means it will continue to excel.  It’s so important for RAF families to have a facility like this on their doorstep, providing outstanding care and the support they and their children need.  I congratulate Dee Gent and all of her staff for making the Rainbows Centre such a warm and welcoming place.”

Air Vice-Marshal The Honourable David Murray, the Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “The RAF Benevolent Fund is delighted to be able to support the station in building these facilities. The RAF Benevolent Fund is about families and supporting RAF families whenever possible.  It’s great to see the people on the station working really hard to look after each other and we are delighted to be a part of that.”

Dee Gent, the Rainbow Centre manager, said: “This is a fabulous addition to the Rainbow Centre and we are so thrilled and excited that we have been able to have this new facility.”

Gp Capt Ian Townsend, the Station Commander of RAF Marham, said: “It’s great to be here today to celebrate the new extension of the Rainbow Centre. The community and welfare support we enjoy at RAF Marham is exceptional.  We simply could not do what we do at the station without people like Dee and the staff at the Rainbow Centre.  We’ve had some very generous gifts and donations from the RAF Benevolent Fund and Norfolk County Council.”

Jill Warwick, the Childcare Development Manager for Norfolk County Council, said: “Norfolk County Council is very pleased to have been able to support the building of this extension to the Rainbow Centre. It will provide much needed childcare places for working families who will be able to access the 30 hours funding. We are particularly happy that a setting of such consistently high quality has been able to expand its provision.”


For more information and high res images please contact: Hemma Gooljar, Regional Communications Manager, RAF Benevolent Fund E: hemma.gooljar@rafbf.org.uk | T: 020 7307 3333 | M: 07710 714910

RAF Benevolent Fund: The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity. We exist to support current and former members of the RAF, their partners and dependants, whenever they need us. In 2016 we spent £17.6m supporting more than 65,000 members of the RAF Family. For more information visit:  www.rafbf.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/RAFBF

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