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Happy February!

Posted 18/3/2020

Happy February – I hope Storm Ciara wasn’t too awful for you – just got Storm Dennis to weather now!  Fingers crossed all the storms have blown out before our Armed Forces Day in June – I could do without another Storm Hector!

January was a very busy month for your Service Pupils’ Champions, I have a feeling the rest of this academic year is going to be the same!

We had our second Festival of Friends Area Co-ordinators training session at the start of January.  Training, which was delivered by Matt Blyton, centred around the SCiP Alliance’s ‘Thriving Lives Toolkit’ which the Festival of Friends co-ordinators will pilot in their schools and feed back to the SCiP Alliance on how useful it is.  The toolkit aims to help schools identify how well they’re doing at supporting Service children and the areas where improvements could possibly be made, Jess and I thought it looked really useful!

Jess, Beccy Dixon (Service Families Liaison Officer in York) and I have all attended Festival of Friends Network meetings in our areas.  It is so wonderful to see representatives from different schools working together and inspiring each other!  I am really excited to see how the individual Festival of Friends projects develop, I can only speak for the projects in the Catterick area but they sound really exciting!

The Festival of Friends inspired our Adopt-A-School project, which we are working closely with the Garrison on.  The aim of the adopt-a-school project is to promote positive relationships between the military and the local schools, we have asked regiments to adopt a school and then work closely with them to support that school with events and projects.  Response from the Garrison to the project has been really positive and enthusiastic, we’re now working on connecting schools with regiments.  We’re excited to see this project develop!

January saw the first Service Families Strategy Group meeting of the year, the SFSG is a really useful forum for representatives from schools, NYCC and the military to share information.  The next meeting will be held on Friday 24th April 2020 and will be chaired by the new SFSG Chair, Angela Campbell from Le Cateau Primary School – you’re very welcome to attend!

Jess and I continue to support children in schools, we have both been delivering ‘All Set’, a 5/6 week programme written by the Early Help service which encourages positive relationships.  We have also been offering 1:1 support to children, referral forms are available if you would like to refer a service child for this support.  The Anxiety Workshops have been refreshed, incorporating new research on anxiety and are still free!  Please contact us for more information or to arrange workshops in your school.

Jess has been working closely with NYCC on the county-wide VE Day celebrations – we’ll be in touch soon with more information!  Finally, I’m really excited that our Armed Forces Day for Schools event will take place again this year.  Despite being allowed to invite more children and young people this year, spaces were all allocated within two days of the invitation emails being sent!  Planning is underway - it promises to be another amazing day!

Keep an eye out for the new Dandelion Blog, the first issue features the Service to Remember at Ripon Cathedral from the point of view of some of the children who took part.  It should be published after half term….

Stay warm & safe!


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