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A force for good

A force for good

COVER STORY

10 Jan, 2020

Thanks to additional funding received in 2019, Scotty’s Little Soldiers is now able to provide an extra layer of personal support for bereaved British Forces children

A recent survey identified that 89% of bereaved British Forces families felt there wasn’t adequate bereavement support for military families. With this in mind – and thanks to additional funding from Annington Homes and the Veterans’ Foundation – charity for bereaved British Forces children, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, has enhanced its SUPPORT Programme and recruited a head of support dedicated to helping its beneficiaries.

Scotty’s has been supporting hundreds of bereaved British Forces children across the UK since the charity was founded in 2010 by Nikki Scott, following the death of her husband and father to her two children, Corporal Lee Scott, in 2009. Now Scotty’s is proud to offer additional and much needed emotional support to its beneficiaries having taken on this dedicated support worker. 

What does Scotty’s do?

Scotty’s Little Soldiers provides its members with support and guidance throughout their childhood and offers a respite, however brief, from the daily ups and downs of coping with the loss of a parent. It does this through three programmes. SMILES offers children the opportunity to smile and laugh again through a wide range of activities and gifts. The SUPPORT Programme aims to assist with the more emotional side of bereavement, and includes access to professional counselling and a family support network. The STRIDES Programme helps with the charity’s members’ personal development, and includes a range of activity and educational grants. A fourth initiative – the SPRINGBOARD Programme – is currently in development and will be aimed at 19–25 year olds to ensure that support continues into early adulthood.

How is it doing more?

A members’ survey conducted in 2018 identified the need for an enhanced support programme from Scotty’s Little Soldiers: 89% of families asked didn’t feel there was adequate bereavement support available for military families, and 90% said they would be likely to use additional support from Scotty’s. In particular it was felt there was a need for a dedicated case worker who would have expert knowledge of the help available to bereaved military families. 

Having identified this gap, Scotty’s was keen to develop its SUPPORT Programme and, thanks to the new funding mentioned above, it has now been able to do so and has taken on Bev Townsend (pictured above) in the new role of head of support.

Says Scotty’s founder Nikki Scott: ‘The idea behind Scotty’s Little Soldiers is to support children on the difficult journey that follows the death of a parent. Having listened to our families it was clear that Scotty’s makes a real difference to them with the support it already offers but the number of families crying out for additional emotional support was overwhelming. There’s lots of support out there but the families felt they didn’t know where to go for this support or how to go about getting it. We were desperate to fill this gap but as a small charity the big problem was funding. We are so incredibly grateful to both Annington and the Veterans’ Foundation, who have kindly funded the development of our SUPPORT Programme. We’ve been lucky enough to recruit Bev, who is now on hand to offer an extra layer of support to our families.’

Bev Townsend

Bev brings a wealth of experience to her role. She served in Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) and the Army Intelligence Corps for seven years, has 12 years’ experience in palliative care nursing and has also managed positive activities services for disadvantaged children, including young carers. Bev is available to offer initial support to Scotty’s Little Soldiers members; she will then lead them to the relevant support and stay with them on their emotional journey to ensure they are receiving the care they need.

WATCH IT!

Click here to view a video that highlights the need for and importance of Bev’s appointment to the charity, and to find out more about Scotty’s SUPPORT Programme.

Enhanced support

Jane Harsham, corporate responsibility manager at Annington, says: ‘When Scotty’s came to us to talk about their plans for the future, they highlighted the need for a new role – head of support. They felt this role was really needed to move forward with the work they do for bereaved military children. Listening to Scotty’s and understanding the passion behind the charity and the fabulous work it has done in the past, we felt that we really wanted to get involved in helping the children make the very best of their lives, despite the tragedies that have befallen them.

‘This is clearly a much-needed role. These children sometimes need a non-family member in their corner to be their advocate, to be fighting their battles for them, whatever they may be. We are proud and delighted to be able to help Scotty’s achieve their aims.’

David Shaw, chief executive of the Veterans’ Foundation, adds: ‘We’re so pleased we’ve been able to help Scotty’s Little Soldiers develop their SUPPORT Programme. It’s so important to care for bereaved British Forces children. Their parents gave so much for our country and we’re so grateful to Scotty’s for supporting the children left behind.’

In 2019, Scotty’s Little Soldiers supported 400 bereaved Forces children across the UK, offering integral support when they need it the most.

Get in touch

To learn more about the work of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, and to find out how to access support, click here.

About Scotty’s Little Soldiers 

Scotty’s Little Soldiers, founded in 2010, honours Corporal Lee Scott’s memory – both as a loyal soldier and a loving father – supports children and young people who have lost a parent who served in the British Armed Forces, providing a practical yet personal way for the public at large to show their appreciation for those brave individuals who make the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.

Scotty’s founder Nikki Scott witnessed first hand the effect the loss of a parent can have on a child. It was on a family holiday some nine months after Lee’s death that she saw her 5-year-old son Kai laugh and smile for the first time since his dad’s death. She realised there must be many more children who had also lost a parent who served in the British Armed Forces but hadn’t had that opportunity to smile again. She decided to set up Scotty’s Little Soldiers to do just that – to help their children smile. That was back in 2010 and, since then, Scotty’s has continued to grow and the support available to the children has developed.

It does many things to support its members, including providing access to the very best health and well-being care, offering outstanding development opportunities through a range of activity and educational grants, and helping to put smiles back on those brave faces by providing respite breaks, posting them birthday and Christmas presents, and remembering the anniversary of their parent’s death, as well as arranging events where bereaved Forces children from all over the country can come together to have a great time and form friendships with others in the same situation.

About Annington Homes

Annington is one of the largest private owners of residential property in the UK following the purchase of more than 50,000 homes from the MoD in 1996. Most of these properties are leased back to the MoD.

About the Veterans’ Foundation

The Veterans’ Foundation raises funds and provides grants to British Armed Forces charities and associated charitable activities, which are actively helping veterans and their dependants in need.

Main image: Scotty's Little Soldiers Head of Support Bev Townsend

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