The Royal Air Forces Association Headquarters in Newark has been operating since 1946. The branch has been through a number of changes since then and was extended to include a private hire hall in 2001. The club supports local charities in the Newark area as well as local armed forces groups who meet and use the facilities regularly. 

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RAFA Newark video transcript

Alan

This is the Newark branch of the Royal Air Forces Association headquarters building and the branch has actually been in existence since 1946.

The building is now nearly 30 years this bit and the other side is probably 15 years old.


Boilers have a life expectancy and unfortunately ours was well past the sell by date. We were struggling with the hot water and were struggling with the heating sometimes.

We contacted British Gas, had a chat with the gentleman there who said he’d come down and look at the place. They offered us a deal that was just unbelievable.

We were just, chuffed. For the fact that we’ve got people on our side, basically. Excuse me.

Marilyn

It’s totally voluntary we have a small club which is supporting our members of the Royal Air Forces Association, local groups and local charities in the area and other armed forces groups. So we try to sort of help and support all of these people and then in order to run the business, we have to take on private functions as well.

Stella

We have coffee mornings, every other Thursday afternoon there’s the bingo afternoon. We have functions that we put on. We do lots of things.

Alan

Members of the general public come in and sit and have a coffee and a natter. Somewhere nice and warm in the winter and somewhere to dry off, dry their umbrellas.

Marilyn

They said they would fit two combi boilers, take the old cylinder out, they would sort the pipe work out. Obviously there was a lot of electrical work to be done, balance the radiators and really put it online and give us hot water and heating.

Alan

They did one, one side at a time so we could still use the other side whilst the boiler was out. But it was all done in a few days and then the engineer came out and programmed the system up. And the fact that when we turned the taps on and we got hot water was, magic really.

Marilyn

If we would’ve had to close the club, we would’ve lost business and we cannot afford to lose a penny.

Alan

People who’ve never been in the armed forces don’t realise it’s a family. And a lot of service men or women when they leave, there’s a loss. And they miss the comradeship, the humour and in here we can get it. 

This year was the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and we were very fortunate that we had hot water to clear up afterwards, we had heating and it was all done in that timeframe for us. We couldn’t fault them.

Marilyn

They were brilliant, they were absolutely brilliant. They worked their socks off for three days and they were very kind, they were very understanding and it was nice to trust them. It really worked out well.

Alan

It was absolutely brilliant, they contacted us straight back if we’d got a query. Setting things up, everything came straight back to us either in an email or a phone call so it was sorted. It was a nice, steady progression. That’s brilliant.

Marilyn

On reflection, what British Gas has given us is a new lease of life, when we needed it.

Caring for the community

All of the workers are volunteers and many have served in the armed forces. The branch serves as an important social venue for the local community as it’s a place where ex servicemen and servicewomen can meet new friends and chat about the past.

In order to keep the branch operating as a business and to support the development of the club, they open the hall for private functions most weekends.

Battle of Britain 75th anniversary

2015 marked the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the RAFA Newark Branch was planning to host a gala day to commemorate this. The club was to serve tea and coffee and host an outdoor sale to generate money for the Royal Air Forces Association.

The club had been without running hot water for over a month and the heating was intermittent due to problems with the existing boiler. Our Commercial Installations Manager visited the property and worked with the customer to create a solution that was perfect for their needs.

 

“We contacted British Gas and had a chat with a gentleman there who said he’d come down and take a look at the place. They offered us a deal that was just, unbelievable.”

Alan Brooke, RAFA Newark Branch Headquarters & Club

RAFA Newark Engineer

 

New boiler installations

Our Commercial Installations Manager inspected the two existing boilers which were beyond repair and gave a quote for two new replacements. It was important for the club to stay open whilst the work was being carried out to keep disruption to events and coffee mornings to a minimum. 

We worked closely with the customer to design a bespoke solution to meet their needs. The project consisted of:

  • Installation of a two new highly efficient boilers
  • Installation of two new seven day time controls 
  • An upgrade to the existing gas supply 

 

We successfully completed the overall design work and installation:

  • In accordance with the agreed programme of works
  • To the highest Gas Safety standards
  • Without any health and safety incidents on site
  • With minimum disruption to the customer

“They worked their socks off for three days and they were very kind, they were very understanding and it was nice to trust them. It really worked well.”

Marilyn Brooke, RAFA Newark Branch Headquarters & Club

 

The Royal Air Forces Association

The RAFA is a membership organisation and registered charity that provides welfare support to the RAF family. The organisation receives no government funding and relies completely on donations from supporters and their loyal membership base.

They work closely with the RAF to support serving personnel to ensure that they and their families enjoy as normal a life as possible. Such as the refurbishment of contact houses on stations to allow separated RAF families the chance to enjoy quality time together.

If you wish to read more about the RAFA and the work they do, please visit https://www.rafa.org.uk/


RAFA registered charity 226686