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North Yorkshire County CouncilNorth Yorkshire County Council

December Update

Posted 3/12/2020

Hello everyone and Happy December! I’m not quite sure how we got here so quickly?! And I don’t know about everyone else, but for my family this year the usual ‘Christmas rules’ are totally out the window – we bought a box of mince pies at the start of November, Christmas decorations have been up for weeks and Christmas songs have been blasting out continuously! We are so ready to get into the festive spirit this year.

As the end of the year rolls around, I imagine most of us are ready to write off 2020 and look forward to hopefully a better year in 2021. As much as this year has been difficult and unpleasant in so many ways, it has really made me re-evaluate my priorities in life and for that, 2020, I am grateful. And although I cannot deny I am fiercely looking forward to a time when we can visit family members in high-risk areas who we haven’t seen for months, and I can finally give my little niece a big squeeze again, I have been trying hard to focus on the few positives that have emerged from this year.

During lockdown, my kids were given so much time to ‘just be kids’ – exploring outdoors, being in nature, going for long walks and enjoying lots of time to play and be free! I have amazed myself at the amount of work I can produce in a two hour nap time(!) and I think we have all proven that working from home can be effective – something that I hope will positively impact the military in the future and allow Serving personnel more time at home with their families. I’m so thankful for all the extra time I spent with my family, though I may not have been feeling too happy at the time about juggling working, home-schooling and twin-wrangling…! But in spite of the challenges, this year has definitely brought us all closer together and has also given me a lot of appreciation for this beautiful countryside we live in – we are so lucky in so many ways.

Moving on to a little update of what we have been up to this past month – Nickie and I have been continuing our 1:1 support in a few schools which we are very much enjoying, though we are really missing some of our ‘regulars’ and hope to be with you again soon! We have also successfully begun our Wellbeing Warriors groups in some schools – the groups are great fun, they get children talking about their emotions, being kind to ourselves and to others and unique families – especially military families!

We have also been working hard making our Anxiety Workshops available online. We have now completed Anxiety Workshops for KS1 and KS2 that we are happy to announce are now available for schools to access!

We are so pleased that so many of you have already requested the links and resources for the available workshops and we look forward to receiving feedback. Please drop me or Nickie an email if your school is interested in the KS1/KS2 Anxiety Workshops.

The Remembrance Service for Service Children was very different this year with the usual big gathering in Ripon Cathedral not able to go ahead. Despite this minor hiccup(!) we felt it was important to continue this event by making it virtual!

A main part of our role as Service Children’s Champions is to raise awareness of Service children in our county; to understand their unique and often challenging lifestyle but also to celebrate the important work their parents or guardians do for our country. The annual Remembrance Service for Service children is a way to commemorate the fallen heroes of the War and at the same time show appreciation and be proud of their own ‘heroes’ at home!

I am absolutely delighted to report we have had record numbers of visitors to our website this past month, over 10,000 people engaged with our Remembrance service posts on Facebook and as of today we have 678 views of the entire Remembrance service video on our YouTube channel. Amazing!

This year’s theme for the Remembrance service was ‘Heroes’ which we felt was apt in not only commemorating the heroes of the War but also showing our appreciation for the heroes of this past year – the keyworkers. I am so proud of everybody who contributed and made this year’s service possible. We are so grateful to our wonderful VIPs who took the time to record messages for the Service children – your continued support is so appreciated. The children who contributed poems, prayers, hymns, music and artwork were absolutely fabulous and I don’t know one person who watched the entire service without getting at least a little bit of a misty eye! Thank you so much to everybody involved and to everybody who watched the Service and gave us such lovely feedback.

We would love it if you could please fill in this quick survey for us about the Remembrance Service. Because our roles are funded year on year by grants, it is really important we evidence the impact that our work has on supporting Service children in North Yorkshire and we really appreciate any feedback you can give us.

We have been asked by the ‘Wake Up North Yorkshire’ campaign to share this message with you. The campaign is continuing to encourage North Yorkshire residents to develop a healthy relationship with alcohol and prioritise their health. Research shows that over 45% of North Yorkshire residents increased their alcohol intake during lockdown, and parents were particularly affected. The campaign has asked:

 North Yorkshire parents we want to hear from you. Have you changed your drinking habits because of lockdown? Or do you plan on drinking less alcohol after lockdown? Fill out this short survey and you could be selected to win a £50 voucher https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/NYCCrecruitment/

Finally, the festive season is upon us and many kids are excited for the Christmas hols but for some Service children Nickie and I have seen recently, this year it is tinged with sadness as they have mum or dad away on a deployment over Christmas. BFBS Catterick is asking for Service children with parents away over Christmas to send in their videoed Christmas messages – an absolutely gorgeous scheme and something I’m sure children and parents alike will really enjoy the deadline for receiving these messages is Sunday 13th December.  Information is available here.

 

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Jess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                    

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