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C o m m u n i t y

Community Support & the Community Development

Officer by Patrick

Lewis-Brown at Cottesmore

P 40

atrick has been at RAF Cottesmore as Community Development Officer (CDO) since December

2003. He qualified at North East Wales Institute in 1986 as a Youth & Community Worker and has worked for several Local Authorities.

The introduction of professional and qualified civilian Community Development Officers (CDO) has been a major step forward in providing the Service community with much needed support and understanding.

The role of the CDO is to actively network on the Station’s behalf to ensure that the service community has access to all the support it is entitled to at local authority level. They also ensure that at Station level there is compliance with legislation and best practice guidelines.

Work with external organisations, agencies and group’s is very important part of community development work. At Cottesmore this includes close relationships with Rutland County Council and their youth service, housing, education, children and families departments.

Spring 2008

We might also engage with other groups such as Family Learning Forum, Rutland Youth Activities Working Group, Children’s Education Advisory Service, CAB, Rutland Play Strategy, The Royal British Legion, inspire East, local schools and colleges the list goes on and on!

On the Station the CDO works as part of the Station’s community support team made up of the chaplain’s, SMO, OC PMS and staffs, OC SSS, CPO, HIVE and SSAFA. The team look at current issues including pre-deployment briefing and how best to support the families of those out of area.

Community Support initiative achievements so far include the complete refurbishment of two out of the three designated children’s play facilities. The opening of the Youth House has been a long time coming but thanks to the efforts of volunteers from both the Naval Strike Wing and 4 Sqn the building was completely redecorated. It was officially opened by Gp Capt Bell.

Over the last 4 years the CDO has been instrumental in organising and running Summer Youth Activities Programmes for the children and young people here at RAF Cottesmore. This task is very time consuming

as it is not just about facilitating the activities but also ensuring that volunteers are all CRB cleared, that risk assessments are carried out, there are recci-visits, transport to be organised and of course the collection of monies and management of the finances; the list is endless.

Last year Cottesmore contracted out its Summer Youth Activity Programme (SYAP07) to a charitable organisation the Kings Foundation. The Foundation runs SYAP both nationally and internationally at schools, colleges and other military sites as well as in Africa.

The process started when Kings Camps were invited to give a taster session in September 06. The CS team decided that it would pilot this programme to see if this would work for not just for Cottesmore but for all RAF stations.

The Kings Foundation administers all aspects of staff employment, the supply of equipment, all child protection issues, Ofsted registering, CRB checks, health safety issues including risk assessments inclusively in the package etc.

The programme was an overwhelming success catering for 64 children per day for a week at a cost of just £30.00. The

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