We are thrilled to announce that ABF The Soldiers’ Charity have chosen to support our tri-service Youth Participation project for a second year with a grant of £34,200.
We launched our national Youth Participation Project in September of last year. The Project aims to support young people from Serving and Veteran families in Scotland to influence and improve services and policies that affect them.
Young people from Armed Forces families can face real challenges with school attainment, making and keeping friends and feelings of low mood, confidence and social isolation often exacerbated by repeated moves and parental deployments. Children, predominantly from veteran families, can also struggle with factors such as poverty, family breakdown, substance misuse and mental and physical health difficulties in the home.
Armed Forces young people tell us:
- “My friends don’t always realise why I can’t go out or why I’m feeling down. They don’t know how hard it is when your parent is going away.”
- “It’s hard moving schools. The system in Scotland is so different and we miss lots of stuff. It’s hard not to think about dad and I get depressed. Teachers don’t get it.”
- “I don’t talk to anyone [about being from an Armed Forces family), but I do think it would be good to talk to someone that understands.”
Although there are campaigns and charities that support Forces families and veterans, many do not have specifically tailored approaches supporting these young people meaning that there is often not enough support available. Where there is generic support available in the civilian community, young people can continue to feel frustrated by the lack of understanding these services have to the unique challenges that they face.
Our project seeks to change that. By listening to the voices of young people, we help them to shape and develop the support services they need and want. The project has been hugely successful so far with over 300 tri-service young people sharing their views and experiences across Scotland.
Last month, we also delivered an outward bound residential with over 20 young people from across Scotland building their confidence and helping to shape the strategy of the programme going forward. Young people engaged in all sorts of fun activities from scavenger hunts, island canoeing and film-making sessions.
Feedback from our young people included:
“Just had the best time ever over the last couple of days, made some new friends, boosted my confident and had so much fun!!! I would go again if I got the opportunity!”
Colin Flinn, Chief Executive of RCET Scotland’s Armed Forces Children’s Charity said “This funding from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity for a second year is wonderful news for the progression of our Youth Participation Project. The generous grant will enable us to build on this promising work and help Armed Forces children to unlock their own potential, supporting them to break down the barriers they face to getting the support they need and deserve.”
Brigadier (Ret’d) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff at ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, added: “We are delighted to be supporting the RCET National Youth Participation Project. Supporting young people from military families is vital for their wellbeing. We are proud to support soldiers, veterans and their families in times of need, so are delighted to award this grant to help combat some of the issues and challenges that children from Army families can face.”
Looking ahead for this project, we hope to make many exciting changes including creating a representative forum where Armed Forces young people can start meeting regularly and making progress towards raising awareness of their needs to decision-makers and influencers. Through this we aim to give Armed Forces young people their first opportunities to air their views about the services and developments about the services that they want, need and deserve.