Membership Spotlight highlights the work of our member organisations and outline how other individuals and NGOs can support them. Below we shine the light on Forces Children Scotland. Below they discuss and highlight their co-developed projects and services to support children and young people from armed forces and veteran families.
Work of the organisation
Forces Children Scotland supports children and young people from armed forces and veteran families to realise their potential and thrive in lots of different ways.
We co-develop projects and services which help to better understand and overcome unique challenges when it comes to mental health and wellbeing, education and learning, isolation and loneliness, making important transitions, and much more.
We co-develop training and resources to help civilian educators and professionals to better understand what it’s like to be a forces child and encourage the adoption of a children’s rights approach to help meet unique support needs.
We co-develop campaigns that amplify the lived experience, transform attitudes, and champion meaningful change towards ensuring the voice of children and young people is heard in influencing and future policymaking.
We deliver youth forums and residentials across Scotland to provide life-changing experiences to develop new skills, build confidence, and forge friendships through a sense of belonging, shared experiences, and collective purpose.
We provide financial support when it matters most. We support young carers and students to realise their potential and thrive, we help families to overcome financial hardship and enable others to dream big and pursue positive futures.
Projects recently launched
Forces Children Scotland has recently launched a series of fantastic projects.
Given it is the Month of the Military Child right now, we were delighted to publish a celebration pack to help civilian educators and professionals to deliver sessions in schools to help peers better understand what it’s like to be a forces child today.
(Month of the military child – Forces Children Scotland)
Our Forces Life board game and comic book have been co-produced with young people to help civilian audiences to better understand their lived experiences, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and ABF: The Soldiers Charity.
(Forces Life Board Game & Comic Book – Forces Children Scotland)
Our Your Mind Matters Hub provides lots of mental health and wellbeing digital resources, which have been co-produced with and for children and young people from the armed forces community, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.
(Your Mind Matters – Forces Children Scotland)
We have worked with young people since last summer to co-produce a video-led campaign that will launch next month (May 2023) to help civilian audiences to understand what it feels like for children and young people when a parent leaves the armed forces.
The three emotive videos focus on feeling powerless in the face of change, lost and alone in a new place, and feeling worried about what lies ahead. A tornado theme weaves through these stories to reinforce the life-changing impact.
The campaign has several aims; however, we want to encourage civilian peers, parents, educators, and professionals to find out more about how they can help young people make the change to civilian life a little easier at school or in their new community.
We have delivered this project, thanks to generous funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and ABF: The Soldiers Charity.
(Campaign urges civilians to Listen Up! – Forces Children Scotland)
How can children and young people make their views heard to influence your work?
We strive to adopt a co-production approach underpinning all our work. This means we recognise the lived experience of children and young people from armed forces and veteran families as our most valuable assets – and we ensure their voice is at the heart of all our decision-making, via our process of co-production called, Combine Force. Our strong relationships with children and young people are vital in making things happen and are built upon a foundation of trustworthiness, safety, choice, collaboration, empowerment, and much more.
At the moment we are putting these values into practice through our work with young people to co-produce Forces Children Scotland’s influencing and policy strategy.
First and foremost, we listened to young people from the armed forces community, who feel seldom heard, and that their unique experiences, and how this can impact on their ability to realise potential and thrive, are not on the radar of decision-makers.
That’s why the strategy is about amplifying the lived experience of young people from armed forces and veteran families louder than ever before and encouraging decision-makers to listen to their voices when it comes to future policy-making.
We are really looking forward to launching our influencing and policy strategy this summer, which will deliver a series of specific calls-to-action to decision-makers concerning topics like education and learning, mental health and wellbeing, making the change from military to civilian life, and much more.
Co-production of influencing strategy gathers pace – Forces Children Scotland
How can other organisations get involved to support your work?
We warmly welcome organisations to come forward and join us to become a powerful force for big changes, across our five services, which include: youth participation; mental health and wellbeing; education and learning; policy and influencing; and family support.
Many big changes cannot be achieved by one organisation alone, and we warmly encourage organisations to get in touch to explore working in partnership with Forces Children Scotland to make incredible things happen for children and young people from armed forces and veteran families across Scotland.
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