Veterans’ Foundation Awards Scotty's With a Generous Grant
Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a national charity that provides integral care for children and young people who have lost a parent who served in the British Armed Forces. Through this difficult time caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, the children, who already face a number of challenges, have never needed support more. With fundraising events cancelled, the charity’s income is under pressure, so a generous grant from the Veterans’ Foundation couldn’t be more welcome.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers was founded by war widow Nikki Scott in 2010 after her husband, Corporal Lee Scott, was killed in Afghanistan, leaving behind two young children. The charity does lots of things to support its members, including providing access to the very best health and wellbeing care, offering outstanding development opportunities through a range of activity and educational grants, and putting smiles back on those brave faces by providing respite breaks, organising special events, posting them birthday and Christmas presents and remembering the anniversary of their parent’s death.
The current situation caused by Coronavirus obviously means the holidays and events can’t happen at present, but the children need to feel supported and part of a community more than ever. It’s a difficult time for everyone and particularly children, isolated away from friends and extended family. However, for Scotty’s Little Soldiers’ vulnerable beneficiaries, there’s an increased likelihood that the pandemic will negatively impact them. They have already suffered many of the recognised early negative life experiences that challenge children’s wellbeing; this includes parental loss, PTSD, financial hardship, educational and familial displacement and ‘young carer’ responsibilities for surviving parents as well as potentially siblings experiencing similar trauma. If unmitigated this can have the most serious long-term negative impact on self-confidence, relationships, academic attainment and ultimately future life chances.
In recent weeks, Scotty’s Little Soldiers has adapted to the current climate and is using modern technology to arrange exciting virtual events and activities to engage with its members, ensuring them that in uncertain times such as these they are not alone. The children have also all been offered a six-month subscription to Disney+, provided by Scotty’s, to ease the boredom whilst they are isolated at home. And the charity has offered an increased level of emotional support to a great number of families who are struggling to cope with added pressures.
As with the majority of businesses, organisations and other charities, Scotty’s Little Soldiers is feeling the financial strain of the current crisis. A large proportion of the charity’s regular fundraising streams such as public events and challenges have been cancelled, meaning grants are vital to being able to continue supporting vulnerable children.
The Veterans’ Foundation was set up to help fund charities and other charitable organisations that are helping serving and former members of the Armed Forces, and their dependants, who are in need, so they were quick to offer their support to Scotty’s Little Soldiers. The generous grant of £17,958 has been given to Scotty’s Little Soldiers with the specific purpose of alleviating problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Veterans’ Foundation CEO Major General, David Shaw, said: “Unfortunately, vital military charities such as Scotty’s Little Soldiers find themselves under financial pressure due to the restrictions imposed on engagement during the pandemic. Therefore, the Veterans’ Foundation is delighted to be able to provide a grant to Scotty’s Little Soldiers, so it can continue its life-enhancing support through these difficult and challenging times.”
Nikki Scott, founder of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, said: “We are so grateful to the Veterans’ Foundation for this incredibly generous grant. The current pandemic is causing so many problems for families all over the world, but I’m finding it particularly heart-breaking to see the impact on bereaved British Forces children who already have so much to contend with. I set up the charity ten years ago because I could see the negative impact my husband’s death had on our children and I wanted to help other kids in the same situation. Never has the support we provide felt so vital as it does now.”
Nikki continued: “Fundraising is obviously low at the moment, so this grant from the Veterans’ Foundation means so much to us. It will help us to support our beneficiaries through this difficult time and beyond. Thank you so much.”
Scotty’s Little Soldiers is run by a team of eleven people, currently supporting 396 children across the UK. With such a small workforce, Furloughing the staff isn’t an option, as every employee plays a key role in continuing to provide the families with the help they need. This is why funds from organisations such as the Veterans’ Foundation provides a lifeline in these challenging times.