Family Fun Day
Over 100 bereaved British Forces families, from across the UK, came together this month, in the first ever family fun day, held by children’s Armed Forces charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers.
The private event, which took place at Hinckley Rugby Club in Leicestershire, was held exclusively for the children the charity supports and gave them and their families the opportunity to meet other families who had also experienced the loss of a loved one.
Throughout the day, children of all ages were treated to an array of activities, from an inflatable assault course and bouncy castle to a climbing wall and a ball pit for the younger ones. Social activities and games were put in place so that the children could mix and make friendships. They were also encouraged by the entertainers to join in and take part, which gave parents the chance to chat to other family members and share experiences.
The event, which was supported by The Annington Trust and the Veterans Foundation, also gave families the opportunity to talk to health professionals, including children’s bereavement charity Winston’s Wish, where they had the opportunity to share any worries or concerns.
Founded by war widow, Nikki Scott in 2010, Scotty’s Little Soldiers was set up in memory of Nikki’s husband and father to her two children, Corporal Lee Scott, after he was killed while serving in Afghanistan. The charity’s mission is to support all children who have lost a parent while serving in the British Armed Forces and help them smile again.
Nikki said: “The family fun day offers much more to our members than just a day out, it provides a support network and the opportunity to mix with other children who have gone through a similar experience. Making friendships is so important and having that safe space to explore grief and embrace healing is vital. I know from talking to some of the families on the day that new friendships were made and many felt part of a family-type environment again, something that they missed from being part of the military community.
“In the future, I would like to develop this event into more of a therapy, counselling type event where children are able to share and learn coping skills through the games, crafts and other activities in a fun and supportive environment such as at the family fun day.”
One Scotty’s family member echoed Nikki’s thoughts, she said: “It is great to meet other families and to see the children so relaxed and their anxiety at bay, which for me made the journey worthwhile, it was also great to speak to a health professional face to face in such a relaxed environment.”