THE coronavirus crisis has led to financial hardship for a great many people across the UK.

However, work here at the RAF Benevolent Fund hasn’t stopped. In fact, we have awarded more than £1.5 million in grants since lockdown measures were announced on March 23. These grants help support retired and serving RAF personnel and their families at this challenging and uncertain time.

That’s why we have launched a new online application system to allow members of the RAF family to access financial assistance more easily than ever before.

But beyond the immediate threat to our nation’s health, the coronavirus pandemic does not pose financial concerns alone.

Many older members of the

RAF Family struggle with social isolation and loneliness on a daily basis; a problem that is compounded by the necessary social distancing rules.

To tackle this issue, we have introduced a weekly Check and Chat service, and our welfare team are currently contacting vulnerable members of the RAF Family to invite them to use this.

We have also expanded our Telephone Friendship Groups service to allow more veterans to join in a weekly chat.

Last year we launched an awareness campaign, Join The Search. Change A Life, aiming to get more veterans and their partners back on our radar. This initiative is more important now than ever before.

I urge your readers to consider

their neighbours, their family, and their friends; if they previously served in the RAF, or are the s

pouse of someone that once served, they are eligible for our support –

be it financial, practical, or emotional.

To refer someone to the RAF Benevolent Fund, please visit or call 0300 102 1919.

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Chef Executive, RAF Benevolent Fund

Help for patients

I WOULD like to let your readers know the support the British Heart Foundation is offering people with heart and circulatory disease throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

People with heart and circulatory diseases are at increased risk of complications if they develop Covid-19.

Heart disease is one of the most common pre-existing health conditions in people who have died with Covid-19.

Understanding what lockdown and the different risk levels mean for people with heart and circulatory disease has been one of the most common enquiries, and the lockdown changes announced in England have raised further questions.

The uncertainty of the situation means we can’t answer every question, but we can often reassure people who might feel anxious and provide information and support specific to their condition.

Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen an unprecedented demand for this service. In response we’ve extended our helpline opening hours, added to its specialist nursing team and launched an appeal to help us continue providing this service.

If you’re feeling unwell or concerned about your heart condition, it’s still vital that you use NHS services as you always would. However, our team of nurses are available if you’re trying to understand what the pandemic means for you or the health of a loved one.

To contact the BHF’s Heart Helpline call 0300 330 3311 or email

Maureen Talbot, head of clinical support, British Heart Foundation