RAF Mildenhall, England --
The 100th Force Support Squadron Outdoor Recreation Center at RAF Mildenhall, England, has adapted its operations to serve Team Mildenhall during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The center has reduced the services it offers, but continues to rent Airmen and families everything from lawn darts to lawnmowers.
“Almost all of our rental items are available, with the exception of our bouncy castle,” said Keith Thomas, 100th FSS ODR rental manager. “Any of our other rental options are available, such as our yard equipment, yard games, mountain bikes, camping equipment and storage lockers.”
All items the ODR rent out are properly cleaned before being distributed to a new customer.
“We use sanitizing wipes and disinfecting spray,” Thomas said. “We wipe everything down in addition to our normal cleaning.”
Items are available to rent for either daily or weekly use, and the staff is encouraging patrons to place their orders over the phone to limit in-person contact.
“We’re taking some rental reservations over the phone, which we normally don’t do,” Thomas stated. “The customer just needs to provide their ID at the time they pick the item up. There’s no sense in people getting out more than they need to.”
Although all outdoor recreation trips have been canceled, the center’s team continues to plan future trips to offer Team Mildenhall.
“We’ve got stand-up paddleboarding, backpacking in the Lake District and a sea fishing trip planned, as well as whitewater rafting and surfing,” said Kim Stonebridge, 100th FSS ODR adventure programmer. “I’m hoping to have mountain biking and snowboarding trips going at some point in the winter time. There will also be caving and a trip to Windsor Castle for anyone who likes history. We’ve got a lot planned for when we eventually come out of lockdown.”
The team is open to suggestions for future activities, and encourages individuals to reach out with their ideas.
“We just did a call-out on our social media page for trips to see what people were interested in, and we got plenty of feedback,” said Yahya Abdul-Qaadir, 100th FSS ODR manager. “That was helpful in planning out the rest of our year.”
Although the lockdown has put constraints on what people are able to do, the team encourages individuals to use their exercise time to explore the countryside around them.
“Get outside, there’s all sorts of walks to do,” said Thomas. "You’ve got nothing but time. If you’re not going to use us for our facilities or our equipment, use us for our knowledge. We’ve got a wealth of information about things to do in and around the area."