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Welcome back!

Posted 13/9/2021

 

Happy September!  I hope you’re all well and have had a lovely summer? My family and I didn’t really get too far this year but we managed to have lots of lovely local days out! We are really so lucky here in North Yorkshire to have so many beautiful places on our doorstep. It’s also been nice to feel we are back to some level of normality but at the same time I’m very aware things are not quite 100% and we are still having to be careful. I’m keeping everything crossed for the year ahead!

So as I mentioned in my last blog prior to the summer hols, Nickie has sadly (for us!) left the post of Service Children’s Champion for the Catterick area. That just leaves me for now, though we are very hopeful that funding will be approved soon for a second SCC to be appointed. In the meantime, Catterick schools please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any advice or support – I’ll do whatever I can to help.

Which leads me nicely in to what I can offer in schools this year! It’s the same as ever, with 1:1 wellbeing sessions and group sessions available. I am hoping to continue the Five Ways to Wellbeing, Wellbeing Warriors and Anxiety Workshops which have all had a really positive impact on those pupils who accessed them last year. I am able to send links for the virtual Anxiety Workshops as well as deliver them in person. Please do be aware that as it is currently just me, working Mon-Weds, I will have to work on a first come first served basis with schools and also limit my time to 6 weeks in each school. As much as I would absolutely love to fit you all in every week it’s just not possible!

I have also been working on our annual Service to Remember which I am very excited to announce will be back live in the Cathedral again this year! We have some lovely VIPs who have confirmed their attendance as well as some gorgeous contributions promised from schools across North Yorkshire. We are keeping numbers down this year in the Cathedral but the good news is the wonderful Cathedral staff are able to live stream the Service so anybody who wishes to tune in will be able to do so from the comfort of their home/office/classroom!

The theme for the Service to Remember artwork this year is ‘100 Years of the Poppy’ to tie in with the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion. When coming up with the theme last year Nickie and I were inspired by this beautiful, heart wrenching poem written in 2015 by 10 year old Bethany Molyneux after she lost her Daddy during his service in the Royal Navy: Why Do You Wear a Poppy Beth? - YouTube      

We asked schools to send us:

  • Photos from your Service children which represent “why I wear the Poppy” – for example a photo of you with your Serving parent or guardian, or a relative who fought for our country in the World Wars/more recent conflicts
  • A large piece of poppy artwork that will stand out in the Cathedral! This could be a large cardboard poppy, poppy bunting, a poppy flag – please feel free to be creative!

I will be sending a follow up email about the artwork soon but please send me across anything you have as soon as you can!

On the theme of Remembrance, I have been contacted by Mr Robin Taylor from Ripon Cathedral, who is setting up a Remembrance Exhibition there this year. He is keen to include the Service child’s voice in this and has asked me to help in collecting some information from North Yorkshire’s Service children.

Remembrance is a time to reflect on those who lost their lives for their country in the World Wars, but it’s also a time we can use to consider how Remembrance is relevant to us today; there are over 3 and a half thousand Service children in North Yorkshire alone, whose lives are shaped by their military experiences. Some of these children might have parents in the military who fought in the Iraq or Afghan War, more recently they may have helped with the COVID-19 effort, or even with the very recent withdrawal from Afghanistan.

I would very much appreciate it if any Service children could fill in this very short questionnaire and return it to Robin Taylor ASAP.

Questionnaire: Service children questionnaire Email to: robintaylor@riponcathedral.org.uk

The completed case studies booklet from the Festival of Friends project is here and ready to view! It is absolutely gorgeous and contains some wonderful examples of supporting Service children in schools. Festival of Friends Case Studies Booklet

The first SFSG of this academic year is on Tuesday the 13th of October via Teams.  If you would like to be added to the SFSG distribution list please let me know.

I hope the first week back has gone well for all schools and I wish you all a lovely year ahead!

Jess

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