“Bereaved Forces children have already lost one parent, so they are always on high alert and the fear of losing another parent is a far more prevalent”

Why virtual events have been so powerful in recent months

Scotty’s Little Soldiers founder, Nikki Scott, talks about why the charity’s support is so important and why virtual events have been so powerful in recent months

For hundreds of bereaved Armed Forces children, up and down the country, the last few months have been incredibly difficult. For them, the fear brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic has been heightened, with many fearful, having already lost one parent, that they may lose another.

This week we speak to Nikki Scott, the founder of bereaved Armed Forces children’s charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, who, over the last few months has been instrumental in providing its beneficiaries with the support they need. The charity has helped by providing both mental health and wellbeing support as well as virtual activities and events to help provide some much-needed relief.

“For our members”, said Nikki “they have already lost a parent, so they are always on high alert and that fear of losing another parent is far more prevalent.”

We’ve all had a lot more time on our hands over the last few months, which for the children we support can be emotional as they find they have more time to remember and little to do to take their mind off things.”

During lockdown, the charity has found its virtual events to be one of the most impactful elements of support. It is because of this that they are planning a virtual festival in September to encourage the children to forget about the worries and anxiety that the Coronavirus outbreak has brought.

“The virtual events we’ve hosted over the last few months have been so powerful for many different reasons” said Nikki, “for the children, the events provide them with the opportunity to see other Scotty’s families, they reinforce the community network and act as a reminder that they’re not going through this alone. It also gives the children the opportunity to just let go and enjoy themselves. It’s such a worrying time for everyone, and for our members it’s so important that they have the opportunity to relax and enjoy being children.”

“Our parents have also found the events beneficial”, Nikki added, “we’ve found them to be the best way for families to engage with us. We know it can be difficult to ask for help, but we’ve found that after each event we’ve done, parents have got in touch to say, ‘that was great, could I please ask for your help with this?’. Many parents have also contacted us afterwards to say how powerful they found it and how it made them feel part of a team, all tackling the same thing together.”

Scotty’s plan to host its Virtual Festival in September, around the time the children are expected to return to school. “We’ve chosen this date for a reason” said Nikki, “we know that our members will be feeling anxious about returning to school, especially having had so long off. We thought by hosting it early in September that it would help open the door to being in contact with other children again, but also give them something to look forward to.”

The festival activities have been designed on two different levels both for the children to enjoy but also crafted to ensure every child will benefit from it, helping to build their confidence and self-esteem. It will take place over Zoom, meaning it is easy for members across the UK to join.

Ahead of the event, Scotty’s plan to send each member a festival pack which will include everything they need to make the festival special. “This is really important” said Nikki, “we know that all members love receiving Scotty’s mail through the post, and every time they see the Scotty’s sticker their faces light up. We want the build up to the event to be just as exciting and it also reminds them that people are thinking about them.”

Your Local Paper has joined forces with Scotty’s Little Soldiers to help raise as much money as possible to make the festival an event to remember. Money raised will to go towards filling the festival packs for the members and the more money we raise the more Scotty’s can put in these packs.

Nikki added: “Our members have already gone through so much, we want to give them something special they will remember from this year, and we need your help to do that. We are looking to Your Local Paper readers to help make this event extra special. Every festival pack will be delivered to our members and will include a note to say this has been possible thanks to Your Local Paper readers.”

Your Local Paper has kindly started the appeal with a generous donation of £250. If you’d like to make a contribution, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/ylpscottysvirtualfestival or text YLPFEST to 70085 to donate £5*.

Cheques are to be made payable to Scotty’s Little Soldiers with the reference ‘YLPFEST’ on the reverse, or you can donate over the phone by calling 0800 092 8571.

* Texts are charged at £5 plus one standard rate message

 

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