Did you know that April is the official month of the military child? It’s a time of year when we invite people from outside the forces community to take a moment to think about the many thousands of children who have a parent (or in some cases, both parents) serving in the British Armed Forces. Many people don’t realise there are, in fact, around 100,000 military children in the UK, across the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, and reserves.

A key supporter

As the founder of the charity Little Troopers, I have been championing military children since 2011, and BM has been one of our biggest supporters from the very start.

Wendy Bartlett, is a founding trustee and Director. Wendy and BM have supported us on our journey every step of the way for the last 13 years. From mucking in at our summer camps and fundraising events, to hosting fundraising dinners, Christmas donation drives, and helping us to secure corporate sponsors, we are hugely grateful to BM for all their support. Wendy has also been a guiding voice as a trustee, as our small charity has grown to support thousands of military families every year.

Why do military children need support

Why do military children need support? A question you might be asking – I often get asked this question – is why do military children need charitable support?

Military life can be a great adventure for children, bringing with it the opportunity to travel the world and meet new people, but a transitory life also comes with its challenges. Having a parent deployed on military operations for months at a time is understandably hard. And moving home and school every few years, saying goodbye to old friends and having to make new ones, is never easy, no matter how many times you have to do it.

Personal experience and initiative

I know about these challenges first-hand. I served in the British Army until 2012, and my husband has just completed a 24-year career. Our daughter (who is now at university) really struggled with some of the day-to-day realities of being a military child, and when I looked for support, I found that it was lacking. I decided there was a need to set up a new tri-service charity to support any child who has a parent serving in the British Armed Forces, both regular and reserve.

Empowering military children

Our charity’s goal is to ensure that military children never feel alone. We want children to know they are part of a special community of young people who have a shared experience and that support is available whenever they need it and wherever they end up living. That consistent support is of great comfort to forces children who can lean on our charity in times of need, share their stories with other military children, and feel proud of their identity as a little trooper. We truly believe that given the right support, military children can use their childhood experiences to become more confident and resilient adults.

Tailored support at home and in school

Through our resources, programmes, events, and initiatives, Little Troopers supports children at home and in school. Nearly 1,000 schools now use the Little Troopers at School programme, and tens of thousands of military families have used our resources and initiatives at home including our separation packs, birthday cards, wellbeing videos, and Little Troopers Gazette newspaper.

Expanding support

In the past two years, the charity has expanded further, introducing a Therapy Programme for children of all ages, which is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, and a deployment club called All Together, offering residential breaks for teenagers and other activities for younger children. None of this would be possible without the support of our funders, corporate sponsors, and fundraisers.

Thank you

On behalf of all military children out there, a huge thank you to everyone at BM for your unwavering support and enthusiasm. Showing military children that you understand their unique life experiences and care about their wellbeing, really does make a huge difference.  You can find out more information about all Little Troopers’ projects and initiatives here

Louise Fetigan, founder of the charity, Little Troopers

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