Defence and armed forces – guidance

British Forces overseas posting: RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus

Find out about RAF Akrotiri, accommodation, medical facilities, schools, amenities and recreation.

RAF Akrotiri is situated on the Akrotiri Peninsular on the south coast of Cyprus, probably the most sought after posting in the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Important notice

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Accommodation

Medical facilities at RAF Akrotiri

Treatment of patients with existing medical conditions on posting to Cyprus

It is in the patient’s best interest to ensure that the appropriate facilities are available in Cyprus to maintain continuity of treatment for a specific condition. If you, your partner or a dependent is diagnosed with a particular chronic illness or a rare condition that is being treated in the UK, it is very important that you and your partner or your dependent consults with your GP or unit medical officer well in advance of arriving in Cyprus.

If necessary, the GP or unit medical officer can discuss individual cases with a single service advisor or directly with the command medical advisor for British Forces Cyprus.

Command Medical Advisor
TPMH
RAF Akrotiri
BFPO 57

Treatment of non entitled patients

An important point to remember about the medical and dental facilities is that there is no provision to provide free treatment for visitors to the British Forces/MOD civilian personnel serving in Cyprus. It is essential that all visitors prior to their arrival obtain adequate medical insurance cover.

EU travellers should also apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which should provide certain services within the Cypriot health care system.

Vacancies: nursing: UK dependents

Occasionally vacancies arise for nursing job opportunities for UK dependents within the hospital and all recruiting is carried out by the civilian labour recruiting office (CLRO) at RAF Aktrotiri. You will need to be registered with the CLRO for employment.

If you are a qualified nurse with a current nursing and midwifery council (NMC) registration and may be interested in taking up employment with us, please forward your details along with a CV to the deputy officer commanding nursing wing (Dep OCNW).

Schools and education at RAF Akrotiri

Station crèche

Akrotiri crèche is a popular, professionally run station amenity, catering for up to 120 children per week from the age of 3 months to 3 years. Registered with the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) and a member of the pre school learning alliance, the crèche is run by a qualified co-ordinator, together with a team of qualified supervisors and play leaders. Open every weekday morning from 8am to 12 noon during school term times, it is a non-profit making, self-financing venture whose aim is to provide a stimulating and safe environment for children to develop to their full potential.

The crèche is limited by law to a maximum of 35 children at any one time: 10 in the baby room and 25 in the main room. Demand for places is very high and parents wishing to make use of the facility should register with the crèche co-ordinator as soon as possible after arrival on the station. Places are offered on a first-come-first-served basis in each of the 3 age ranges, initially for 1 session per week up to a maximum of 3; sessions are for either 2 or 4 hours.

The crèche provides a suitable range of activities and play equipment to stimulate children’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs, enabling them to grow in confidence and enhance their self-esteem. The children have companionship from adults and learn to socialize with children of their own age. But most important of all, Akrotiri crèche is a happy place where the children can have fun.

RAF Akrotiri primary school

Akrotiri School is a 3 to 11 primary school located on the RAF base at Akrotiri. The school pupil population is usually round about 550 children from 3 to 11 years old (nursery to Y6), which makes it the biggest service children’s education (SCE) school on the island, including the secondary schools. Our school is one of two primary schools in the Western Sovereign Base Area (WSBA). Both schools feed St John’s secondary school in Episkopi. Akrotiri school is part of SCE, a government agency within the MOD, which administers schools for British servicemen and servicewomen, and civil servants throughout the world.

The school is currently staffed by 23 teachers including the head, with an average class size approximately 26. It is well resourced with up to date furniture and equipment throughout and contains all the usual books found in any UK school. The school follows the English National Curriculum, and we strive to mirror all the best practices found in the UK.

If you know that your child will be coming to Akrotiri primary school why not let us know the date of your arrival by contacting us on our school website.

St John’s secondary school

St John’s secondary school is situated in Episkopi garrison on the southern coast of Cyprus, some 12 miles west of Limassol. The school takes all secondary age children from families of service personnel and UK-based civilians serving in the Western Sovereign Base Area. Some expatriate Cypriot and children of other nationalities attend the school as fee paying pupils. There are approximately 320 students on roll, although this number varies throughout the academic year.

The teaching staff are made up of full-time UK-based teachers plus some full-time and part-time locally employed teachers.

Music, art and drama feature prominently in school life with orchestral, choral and dramatic performances each year.

If you know that your child will be coming to St John’s secondary school, why not let us know the date of your arrival by contacting us via our school website.

Adult education

RAF Akrotiri is unique in comparison to its UK counterparts as personnel are unable to link in directly with local colleges. As a result, a varied programme of extramural classes has been developed, in both academic and recreational subjects. Generally there are 2 major enrolment days which take place during an academic year. The first is in September for the 30-week IGCSE courses and the first wave of short recreational courses. The second is in the following January, for the second wave of recreational courses.

Distance and web based learning

Traditionally, distance learning has served as an invaluable alternative to service personnel who are subject to the turbulence of service life. Your motivation must be strong if you choose this method of study because you will not normally benefit from interaction with other students and your contact with tutors can be limited. The method also suits certain types of learning much more than others. For example, if you need to improve your written communication skills, a well designed distance learning package is an effective way of achieving this.

Technology has vastly improved the scope of distance learning and an integral element of training in Trade Groups 1, 2 and 3. The internet acts as an information service for research purposes and allows the student to communicate with classmates and tutors. Computers provide continuity when you are away from your permanent location for short periods of time and at the FDS education centre we have a high specification broadband IT suite equipped with a range of bespoke IT training packages.

For more information ring: 00357 2527 6271

Defence Electronic Learning Centre

Defence Electronic Learning Centre (DELC) courses are available to all service personnel, MOD civil servants, contracted staff and dependents.

A range of the current DELC off-the-shelf e-products are available during normal working hours within the education centre at RAF Akrotiri. Courses include the following:

  • Computing (including the European Computer Driving Licence)
  • Management environmental and H&S regulations
  • Languages
  • Financial/accounting
  • Quality/lip
  • NVQs
  • Equality and diversity

For more information on courses ring 00357 2527 5246

Amenities at RAF Akrotiri

Ermes shop

The newly refurbished one stop shop offers a wide range of provisions. Many of the items that are currently on your list are available, from top brand cereals to frozen and tinned goods. The range also includes local wines, minerals and squashes, beer, spirits and tobacco goods.

A convenience shop is situated next to the Peninsular Club. This shop carries a small range of goods primarily for single personnel.

CESSAC

Lady Lampson cafeteria is located opposite the station gym. It offers a place to meet friends and sample the excellent freshly prepared meals, or a slice of homemade cake with a cuppa. Alongside the eating area is an internet facility, a lounge with comfortable seating and a TV, a conference room and a separate area used almost daily for mother & baby groups. There is an eating area outside as well as a well equipped children’s play enclosure.

CESSAC also run a book shop which is located near the main Ermes shop and bank, selling newspapers, magazines, cards and stamps, a wide variety of toys, books, gifts and stationery.

Banking facilities

There are two Cyprus banks used by service personnel on RAF Akrotiri, these are the Hellenic Bank and the Laiki Bank. Upon arrival in Cyprus you will have to set up a new bank account for your salary.

Forces Financial

Forces Financial are agents for Abbey banking services. The office is located next to the main Ermes store. For further information please telephone military 00357 2527 5146.

Churches

There are 3 active churches at RAF Akrotiri, each with its own chaplain. The Roman Catholic Church of Christ the King is located on the beach road close to the Officers’ and Sergeants’ Messes. The RC Chaplain can be contacted on Ext 6180.

St Paul’s Church of England Church is located opposite the Astra cinema and the chaplain can be contacted on ext 6182.

St Andrew’s Church (Church of Scotland and Free Churches) is beside the RC on the Beach Road. The CSFC chaplain can be contacted on Ext 6183.

All the churches warmly welcome families, singles and visitors to their respective church services. Other activities include study groups, choir practices, music groups, social events, etc many of which are organised on an ecumenical basis.

The community outreach worker organises many children’s activities and clubs including a busy mother and toddler group. She also oversees the joint church ladies worship group which provides friendship and support at Akrotiri. She can be contacted on 00357 2527 5251. The chaplains work from the chaplaincy centre located on the beach road next to the CSFC and RC churches. They are always available to support and help anyone in need and guarantee complete confidentiality to service personnel and dependents alike. Our door is always open for you to call and enjoy a cup of coffee and a chat.

Station library

The station library situated within the education centre has over 17,000 books and numerous DVDs. The library is open to all personnel and their dependents. Just complete a registration form which is available from the library itself.

The Oasis Centre

The Oasis Centre could be described as an information community centre for RAF Akrotiri. It houses The Hive, Thrift Shop, Treetops Soft Play Area and The Coffee Pot. The building was opened in 1996 to provide the station’s informal community services with one central point, making it easier for service personnel and their families to gain access to a whole host of facilities.

Akrotiri HIVE

Akrotiri HIVE is a community and resource centre based at RAF Akrotiri. The HIVE aims to provide an atmosphere in which everyone will feel welcome. On arrival at your quarter you should find a HIVE information booklet containing maps, school and club information, useful telephone numbers and much more. The HIVE is open Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 12.30pm.

An internet facility is available in the HIVE enabling families to utilise the e-bluey email facility.

The HIVE also provides:

  • contacts for clubs/groups on camp
  • advice on educational courses, jobs and voluntary work
  • opening times for facilities on camp
  • tourist information
  • events information
  • pets information
  • benefits and housing issues, including maternity and child benefits
  • travel details and arrivals briefings for newly arrived dependants

SSAFA Forces Help at Akrotiri

SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) Forces Help is a charity established to look after the welfare of service and ex-service people and their families, whatever their problems. The charity is represented at Akrotiri by a network of volunteers and professionals (health visitor, social worker and midwife) and there is also a SSAFA Forces Help fundraising committee.

The fundraising committee is made up of both the SSAFA Forces Help professionals and also wives of station personnel. It raises money throughout the year for the benefit of the whole community at Akrotiri. Almost all the money raised stays at Akrotiri - the only exception being any money raised for the ‘Big Brew’ each September which is sent to central office in London. The committee has 2 sources of regular income, namely the loan store and craft workshop, but also runs numerous stalls at the RAF Akrotiri families day.

The committee is also responsible for the distribution of the money raised. This may take the form of a confidential donation to an individual or family where a welfare need has been identified by the SSAFA Forces Help professionals, or a donation to a station project, recent recipients include the Youth Club, the Coffee Pot, Jolly Jugglers Beach Club and Treetops indoor play centre.

Craft workshop

The volunteers at the craft workshop make a whole range of things to sell in the craft shop in the Oasis Centre, and on stalls at the families day (April/May) and at the ladies club autumn fayre (October/November). The workshop is very friendly and you don’t need to be an expert at sewing to help – there are always plenty of non-sewing jobs to be done (cutting out, glueing, etc), or you can just pop in for a chat and offer to make the coffee!

The loan store and craft workshop are run entirely by volunteers and are always on the look out for new helpers. So, if you could spare a couple of hours once a week/fortnight/ month to help on the loan store desk then please leave your name and telephone number at the HIVE and the co-ordinator will get in touch with you. If you would like to help in the craft workshop then just drop in at classroom 7 on any Tuesday morning.

St Andrews Coffee Pot

St Andrews Coffee Pot plays an important part in the life of the community at RAF Akrotiri, as a meeting place where everyone can meet in a friendly environment. All profits go to local and overseas charities. Situated next to the HIVE, St Andrews Coffee Pot is open Monday 9 to 1.30pm, Tuesday to Friday 9am to 12pm, and Saturday 10am to 1pm.

Home-start

Home-start is a confidential civilian voluntary organisation offering support, friendship and practical help to families at home with at least one child under 5. Being a parent, wherever you live whatever the situation, is not easy. Many parents feel exhausted and overwhelmed by the stresses of family with the under 5s. It is even more difficult when you do not have family with you that can offer support when you need it most. Volunteers are parents themselves, who also offer family support and understand what it is like to be away from family while you have small children. Volunteers attend a course of preparation before being able to visit a family, ensuring confidentiality and understanding.

For more information please contact the co-ordinator on: 00357 2596 6069.

Youth service

The youth service contributes to the welfare of dependents of service families by providing social and educational opportunities supporting the personal development of young people in British Forces Cyprus. The service operates through officially sponsored youth centres and projects and is staffed by 3 professionally trained and qualified youth workers, 3 trainee youth workers and supported by some 100 volunteers. Through their involvement with the youth service, young people learn to identify and develop their physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, social and emotional capacities. They can identify and accept their responsibilities as individuals, citizens and group members.

The work takes place within the 5 individual youth centres. Akrotiri has a large and well resourced centre, which offers an extensive range of programmes to young people between the ages of 8 and 18. Akrotiri also has a teenage ‘drop-in’ facility, which is aimed specially at older teenagers.

Akrotiri youth centre

School year 8+: Mondays and Wednesdays 7pm to 9pm
School year 5, 6 and 7: Tuesdays & Thursdays 3.30pm to 5.30pm
School year 4 and 5: Wednesdays 3pm to 5pm
Drop Inn School Year 9+: Thursdays 6pm to 9pm
Fridays and Saturdays: 7pm to 10pm

Recreation and leisure

Sports

RAF Akrotiri has a wide array of outdoor sports facilities including 4 football pitches, a rugby pitch, tennis and squash courts, a volleyball court and floodlit 5 a side football pitch. More information about the facilities can be obtained through the physical education flight.

Akrotiri: 00357 2527 6825

Gymnasium

A 24 hour, fully air conditioned facility containing a wide range of sports and fitness equipment. The station gymnasium is secured by an electronic swipe card system. Cards can be obtained through the physical education flight after attending an induction briefing. Contact the staff for more information.

Akrotiri: 00357 2527 6825

During your tour in Cyprus you will no doubt spent a great deal of time relaxing on the beach and soaking up the rays. There are 6 beach clubs on base at RAF Akrotiri:

  • Water ski club
  • Sub aqua club
  • Angling club
  • JJ’s Beach Bar
  • Buttons Bay
  • JAWS

From the shore you can spend your afternoons admiring the beautiful views over the picturesque Troodos Mountain Range or enjoy a relaxing swim in the Med. The shining sun is enough to keep the sea warm for comfortable swimming from early May all the way through to October. Many of the beach clubs can be hired for the afternoon or evening for section functions. The facilities at each beach club varies, from barbeques to bouncy castles. Contact each club individually for more information.

The best way to find your favourite beach is to get out and try them all!

Astra Cinema

The newly refurbished Astra cinema is a 464-seat, unit-run cinema owned by Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC). It is run by volunteers who are service personnel and dependents. The movies shown are usually no more than one month behind UK releases. Film schedules are well advertised on BFBS1 and also in local service journals.

Swimming pool

Akrotiri has a heated 33.3 metre swimming pool that has a retractable roof enabling all year round swimming.

K1 Triathlon Club

For details see the website.

History

The history of RAF Akrotiri began on 1 July 1955 when the first 30 personnel posted to the unit established themselves in the flat, dry, rocky scrubland on the windswept Akrotiri Peninsula. Nicosia Airport was temporarily closed as a result of terrorist activity and the handling of the island’s civil aviation was diverted to Akrotiri - with a tented civil airport reception centre to match. An RAF Regiment light anti-aircraft wing was also brought in.

By the end of August 1956 station strength had increased to 260 officers and 2,864 other ranks. It brought with it 1,430 personnel on the daily sick-parade, mainly as a result of the overcrowding and insanitary conditions, as construction lagged behind the unforeseen demand for accommodation.

From its rough beginnings with caravans and mud tracks, the station was laid out, roads made, hangars and some permanent buildings constructed. 3 new barrack blocks were opened allowing another 32 families onto the station into formerly misappropriated married quarters. Other intended married quarters were still in use as billets, station sick quarters, an education centre, a hospital and a NAAFI shop. A bank opened for business, and 4 wooden shacks served as shops. A small theatre club was in existence and out along Ladies’ Mile, the sailing club was formed.

In its first 12 months as a functioning operational airfield, RAF Akrotiri not only survived but expanded and flourished. Although continuously affected by the EOKA troubles in one way or another and with more than a quarter of the year spent on a full war footing for the Suez Crisis, morale was high and the pioneer spirit was still strong.