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Happy April!

Posted 23/4/2021

Hello everyone and happy April! I hope everyone is enjoying the lovely Spring weather we’ve been having. I know we still need to be taking precautions and being sensible, but I am so excited to be able to get out and about with the kids, seeing family and friends and able to do more things outdoors as the weather gets nicer! Better times are in sight!

A few weeks ago I spoke to some parents of children I am currently working with in schools to check in with how they were doing at home. A lot of the pupils Nickie and I work with 1:1 have a parent on deployment, so a few of those parents were spouses left at home with their partner working abroad. This is a situation I also find myself in at the moment - my husband Dan is currently in San Diego for a 3 month Out Of Area (no, I’m not speaking to him…!)

It’s already so difficult to manage solo, holding down the fort while the children are missing mum or dad, but this past year has made things so much tougher for those military spouses with partners away. I am lucky in that I have family nearby and so have a network I can rely on for childcare and my support bubble. Some parents I spoke to live 100s of miles away from their family and support networks and have found dealing with deployments extra tough.

Even now the restrictions are lifting, I urge anyone who works with Service families or children to check in with how things are going at home – is mum/dad away? How are you all coping? There can be the attitude in the military of just cracking on with things, being strong, not asking for help. It’s the lifestyle – it’s what we signed up for! But sometimes it’s nice to hear look we know it’s rubbish, and we understand it’s not easy. What can we do to help?

Nickie and I are also of course always on hand to provide 1:1 support for any children struggling with a parent on deployment. Little Troopers is a great website for resources Home - Little Troopers , and we also have a “Loss and Separation” information sheet with ideas for activities and useful links to support coping with deployment etc which we can send out on request.

Nickie and I have been really enjoying our Five Ways to Wellbeing sessions online and we have had some fabulous feedback from our first two groups! We are very excited to take these sessions live this term! We will be delivering the sessions together and in person, so we are able to take a full class of students – they don’t all have to be Service kids! We are booked up for the next 5 weeks but please do let us know if you feel that any of your Service pupils would benefit from these sessions. We feel the Five Ways to Wellbeing is best suited to Y5, Y6 and secondary school students.

Our Anxiety Workshops are still available for use in schools:

KS1 Anxiety Workshop – Max Can’t Sleep (5-7 year olds)

Max is a happy boy – that is until bedtime when he can’t sleep.  The video tells Max’s story and introduces the tools he uses to help him overcome his anxiety.  There are lots of opportunities for children to get involved in Max’s story, to talk about their anxieties and try the stretches and breathing exercises that help Max.

KS2 Anxiety Workshop – Caveman Bob (7-11 year olds)

This workshop aims to help children understand where anxiety comes from, why it makes us feel the way it does and what we can do to help us feel less anxious.  There are lots of opportunities for children to get involved, talk about anxiety and try the stretches and breathing exercises suggested.

Please contact me or Nickie if you would like the links and information packs for either of these workshops.

The Festival of Friends project will be concluding with an exciting virtual awards ceremony on the 30th June. All schools involved are working hard on their individual projects and we are really looking forward to seeing the outcomes of all these fantastic projects.

The Festival of Friends committee organised two competitions for students to participate in, with the chance of winning some amazing prizes, I hope you were able to submit some entries!

I was sent over some interesting information about a new Armed Forces covenant grant which may be of interest to some of our Armed Forces communities or schools! Please see the below info:

This programme awards grants of up to £10,000 for community projects that reduce isolation and promote integration; supporting post-Covid recovery in local Armed Forces communities affected by isolation.

Project will need to fit under one of these two main themes:

  • Empowering Armed Forces communities to become more engaged in their local area.
  • Providing opportunities for isolated members of the Armed Forces community to take part in activities that improve general wellbeing.

Round 2 – if you apply by midday on 2 August 2021, you’ll receive a decision in late October 2021.

Round 3 – if you apply by midday on 19 November 2021, you’ll receive a decision in late February 2022.

Full programme information and guidance at https://covenantfund.org.uk/programme/armed-forces-covenant-fund-force-for-change-programme/

The Never Such Innocence Project would love to host some poetry or song writing workshops in aid of April being the Month of the Military Child. If you would like to arrange a workshop, please contact Katie Salari ks@neversuchinnocence.com

Finally, the SFSG met on Tuesday 20th April at 9.30.  Minutes will be distributed next week, please let us know if you would like to receive the minutes or attend the next SFSG meeting and we can send further details.

Jess

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