A new three-year youth participation project, which aims to improve support and services for children and young people from Armed Forces and veteran families living in Scotland, is being launched by Scotland’s Armed Forces Children’s Charity, the Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET). To help with the launch of this new project, The Soldiers’ Charity has awarded them a grant of £40,000.
RCET Chief Executive, Colin Flinn explains, “Last Autumn, we held a series of Teen Talks events which brought over 100 high school pupils from Armed Forces and veteran families together to share their experiences and tell us about the challenges they face. Lack of stable education, friends moving around and losing touch, not seeing parents when on deployment, moving to unfamiliar countries, different educational systems, civilians not understanding their challenges, scary deployments and not knowing if and when a parent was coming home – were just some of the issues our young people highlighted.
“What this research and our young people are telling us is there is a clear need to improve the services and support available to them. They want their voices to be heard and it’s why we have decided to launch this three-year national youth participation project.”
During the first year of the project, RCET will be rolling out participation events in locations such as Edinburgh, Kilmarnock, Helensburgh, Moray, and Leuchars. There will also be a particular focus on identifying and encouraging participation from children and young people from hard to reach groups, including children with disabilities, children living in vulnerable families and children struggling with mental health. Therefore, the charity will be offering places on a new outward-bound programme for young people from more vulnerable families who may lack the self-confidence and esteem to join the project.
Director of Grants, Colonel (Ret’d) Barney Haugh CBE, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity said, “ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is very happy to be supporting the RCET National Youth Participation Project, as we believe that supporting young people from military families is vital for their wellbeing. We are proud to support soldiers, veterans and their families in times of need, so are delighted to award this grant to help combat some of the issues and challenges that children from Army families can face.”
Colin Flinn said, “This is a terrific sum of monies which means we can start recruiting immediately for a project manager who will engage with children and young people from Armed Forces and Veteran families across Scotland to identify the issues that are important to them; as well as determine how they would like to participate in the Programme and the partnerships that will need help us achieve our aims.”