Scotty’s Little Soldiers’ virtual Coffee Mornings and Grab a Glass Gatherings have proven to be of great benefit to parents concerned for their bereaved Forces children
Lockdown has seen Scotty’s Little Soldiers adapt the support it offers to meet with the current needs of bereaved Forces families. One of the ways the charity has done this is to launch virtual events for surviving parents and guardians.
Head of Support, Bev Townsend said: “The regular drop–in ‘Coffee Mornings’ and ‘Grab A Glass Gatherings’ have proved to be a real source of support to families. It is a safe place for parents and guardians to connect and support each other through this incredibly tough time. The virtual video calls are held twice a week but there is no pressure to join every time, you simply just drop in as and when you like or feel the need too.”
Rachel, mum to two Scotty members said: “I find the chats a useful informal way to meet other Scotty parents. It’s also taking time out for “me” during these strange times which is so important!”
Claire added: “I am new to Scotty’s so was a bit nervous about joining a call especially with not knowing anyone. I didn’t need to be. The moment I logged on I was welcomed with open arms and included in the conversation. Even with a mad house and barking dog they made me feel part of the family and understand all the challenges.”
All the details and links to the private chats are on the charity’s private online portal called ‘The Members Zone’. Families simply log on to access the link to join the Zoom video calls.
Scotty mum Carol said: “Don’t worry if you can’t figure out Zoom; your six-year-old will help you! Even if you don’t know the others on the call, it’s a nice distraction…just light–hearted banter. So take the plunge and join a call. Even if you are somewhat shy like me it really doesn’t matter. Scotty’s is always there for us but here the focus is on the adult rather than the child. It all helps keep us sane during lockdown so that we can be stronger for our kids.”
Bev continued: “It’s a big step to take for some parents but I would strongly recommend dropping in and seeing what it is like. It’s very relaxed.”
Sarah, who is mum to a Scotty member said “Of course I was so nervous about joining in but the ladies made me feel really relaxed. I didn’t talk much but it was nice just to sit and hear some different conversations. Now I’ve got past that initial nervous feeling I will definitely do it again.”
Kirsty, who has two daughters supported by Scotty’s added: “The virtual ‘coffee mornings’ and ‘grab a glass gatherings’ gives me a chance to make time for myself. Trying to juggle work, home school, looking after our animals and family doesn’t leave a lot of time for me at all.”
The virtual events are key for keeping parents and guardians feeling connected and engaged.
Founder Nikki Scott commented “Many of our bereaved forces families were already dealing with incredibly tough challenges before the outbreak of the coronavirus so it is important as a charity that we encourage families to talk and stay connected. We are part of a very strong community and the virtual events are a brilliant way of keeping that community very much alive and help families to support each other through this. We are hoping to continue running these events even when lockdown has ended.”
Sarah, a teacher in Norfolk and mum to a Scotty member agreed with Nikki and added: “I really look forward to the Scotty parent chats. It reminds me that, in the midst of isolation, I am still #scottyfamily. Nothing is on (or off!) the table for discussion. I was nervous before I first joined in, but afterwards I suddenly realised how much I had needed that cup of tea and a chat.”
“I always look forward to ‘Grab a Glass’ on a Tuesday, gives me a bit of ‘me’ time with other members that know exactly what I’m going through and especially in these uncertain times. I’d love for this to carry on after lockdown,” added Laura, mum to two Scotty members.
Scotty mum Ruth also added: “Informal friendly chats, during this time of social isolation, home schooling and all the other jobs on the list!! It’s great to see and hear another adult and make new friends with others who are experiencing lock down like you. We are all just muddling through in our own way. Kick back, relax, pour a brew or raise a glass and have a laugh. No make–up required!”
Scotty’s virtual ‘Coffee Mornings’ are held every Thursday at 11am and the ‘Grab A Glass Gatherings’ are held every Tuesday at 8pm.