There are small but brilliant initiatives that grow like Topsy into forces for great good. We are delighted to present one such project, Little Troopers, a charity for forces children separated from parents, started by Louise Fetigan, a mother who served in the Army and whose husband is often away on exercise or deployments. We take our collective hats off to Louise for what she has achieved.
Little Troopers is a registered charity supporting all children with the parent(s) serving in the regular or reserve British Army, Royal Navy or Royal Air Force. It is the first tri-service, children’s charity specifically supporting the unique daily challenges faced by UK military children, of whom there are over 120,000.
British Armed Forces families can be repeatedly separated for varying lengths of time for many reasons; it might be operations, exercises, courses or other service commitments. Whatever the reasons, Little Troopers ensures that, no matter where they are based, British Forces families have access to the tools and resources they need to remain connected and bonded throughout any separation, for however long it lasts.
We help service children explore the place where the absent-parent has gone, and help them feel more in control and included in-spite of being separated so that they remain more connected. We also and help by offering a “distraction” to their current family situation, as well as providing the comfort and support of a secondary community where others understand what they are experiencing.
As a charity Little Troopers provides fundamental resources to ease and aid periods of forced separation between serving personnel and child; Separation Packs, Send a Hug kits, Crafty Little Troopers, Little Trooper of the Month and a whole host of downloadable activities are available from the website www.littletroopers.net Parents can use the “Parents’ Section” which has lots of advice and also printable certificates to give to children who have been brave during a separation period. And then we have our Birthday Scheme; sign up your Little Troopers to receive a personalised card and badge on their birthday.
The charity’s Little Troopers Treasures is an initiative helping to ensure that no serving parent misses a bedtime story again. The app allows a parent to record a story capturing their face, audio and the book pages…wrapped up with love and which the child at home can instantly watch and listen to. The initiative also provides various tools for families to stay connected even though often separated by thousands of miles, including printable diaries, activities and the ability to record messages for special occasions.
Louise Fetigan founder of Little Troopers says: “While there isn’t the obvious fear associated with a deployment to an active war-zone at the moment, thousands of military children are still experiencing long periods of separation from their serving parents. The repeated time apart from the family due to courses, exercises and other commitments still has many effects on both the children and their parents and continues to be a challenge even though it isn’t making the headlines right now. Our aim is to be there to provide vital support to these families before they reach a crisis point.”
In 2017 Little Troopers launched a brand new project called Little Troopers at School, the project has expanded throughout 2018 and now lots of resources are available for all school across the UK to help education settings support the military children within as best as possible. More being launched by the end of 2018 including much-needed resources for secondary schools.
One happy Little Trooper!
Naomi lives in her own home with her husband and two girls. Naomi’s husband Steve serves as a Chef on one of the Royal Navy’s Destroyer Ships. He’s been deployed twice in 2 ½ years missing two Christmases and the birth of his first child Meredith.
Naomi said “Having to explain again and again that Daddy isn’t coming home yet is heartbreaking. And they’re so little I have to explain quite frequently! At times Meredith gets quite tearful and can’t explain why. We make sure to spend time talking about what daddy does at work and how much he loves us.”
The family keep in touch via emails most of the time as unfortunately Skype is nearly always a disaster. Naomi discovered Little Troopers recently and uses several of the resources and took the girls to Lapland UK, she adds “The separation pack, in particular, is brilliant! It has lots of ideas for the children to countdown, and things for them to send out to daddy too. Having a map and stickers is a great activity too. Our girls are nuts for stickers!”
The Little Troopers calendar
Finally, every year we run a competition for military families to share with us their Military Moments to compile a beautiful calendar of precious moments giving a glimpse into the realities of forces life. The 2019 calendar is now available and can be ordered for £9.99 here: https://www.freewebstore.org/littletroopers/PRE-ORDER_2019_Little_Trooper_Calendar/p1281576_7596610.aspx
The calendar is historically a really lovely campaign that is a competition to bring together some lovely images of military families the general public might not necessarily see otherwise, we have hundreds and hundreds of entries and we choose 12 winners to produce an A4 calendar for general sale, the 2018 calendar will be our sixth charity calendar. We launched the campaign for entries in August and then go out to the press with the winners in October, the calendar can be pre-ordered from the end of October. Attached the cover from last year and flyer.
We have always experienced some great press for this campaign too both in print and online, below a couple of the links from last year;
As we did last year we are offering business’ we have previously worked with or with a military ethos the opportunity to sponsor one of the 12-month pages for just £175 (front page £250) the page will display your logo, website and annotate the sponsorship collaboration. If it would be something that you’d like to be involved in with Little Troopers, please do contact us. Look forward to hearing from you.
Find out more at www.littletroopers.net or on Facebook: littletroopersathome Twitter: littletroopers_