Wishing you all a Wonderful Christmas

The past few weeks have filled us with joy, attending several homecoming events watching families be reunited in time for Christmas. We are aware however, that this hasn’t been the case for all families and with that in mind, please do remember that we offer all naval children free resources to help cope with having a parent away.
Our office will be closed from the 21st December to the 2nd January and the team is looking forward to some time off to recharge their batteries after an incredibly busy 2023. However, we know that many of you will be struggling at this time of year, for many different reasons.
Please contact your local authority or the NHS on 111 or www.111.nhs.uk if you need support during this period. If you’re struggling with your mental health, reach out to The Samaritans either through their website or their 24/7 helpline 116 123 (freephone). Mind’s website has some brilliant resources for managing your wellbeing.

With times still being a financial strain for many, we were thrilled that V2 Radio, the local commercial station for Sussex, asked their listeners to take part in a toy appeal, of which we were a beneficiary. As you can see from the picture above, we received an incredible number of gifts that will make Christmas morning a little more special for some of our young people.

Speaking of our young people, we are delighted to have teamed up with Over The Wall, a UK based charity for children and young people with health challenges and disabilities to discover a world of mischief and magic.
They provide a safe place to step outside of comfort zones, establish friendships and build confidence through meaningful and exciting activities and we have secured 8 places at a selection of different camps next year. We are inviting applications from children and young people aged 8-17 years, who are currently experiencing health challenges or have finished treatment in the last 3 years. Also, the invitation is open to children and young people aged 8-17 years who have a sibling (0 – 17 years) who is currently experiencing health challenges or has finished treatment in the last 3 years. Pop to our Facebook page for more details.

And the opportunities for our young people don’t stop there. We have been extremely lucky and have managed to secure some more voyages with Tallships Youth Trust!!!
The available dates:
February 13th -17th for 12–15-year-olds. The voyage is Portsmouth to Portsmouth
March 25th –29th for 16–25-year-olds. Again, the voyage is Portsmouth to Portsmouth
October 13th–17th October for 12 – 15-year-olds and again it is a Portsmouth to Portsmouth Voyage but as this falls in the Scottish half term,  we will be providing transport from and back to Glasgow. SPACES ARE LIMITED, so email your expression of interest to us and we will send an application form to you.

We are also launching two new projects in January so look out for more details.  With Leaders Unlocked we want to hear from you – we are looking for young people between the ages of 12 and 25 (with a particular focus on Portsmouth, Plymouth, Somerset and Helensburgh – so we can see what life is like for the different strands of the Royal Navy) with the aim of exploring what your lives are really like – and along the way work with you to develop your leadership skills for the future.  This exciting project will help inform us how to find the best opportunities for our Life Chances programme – so we can make a real difference in your lives. The application process for this will be launched in January so look out for details.

For those of you who are interested in the cultural and creative industries we will also be launching a Digitally Mediated Creative programme – Your Creative Future.  If you want to know more about what a career in the Arts or how to turn your creative side into a career and you are aged between 14 and 25 then this could be for you.  You will hear from Mentors in different Creative roles and get 1:1 support to look at opportunities for you.  Places are limited to 30 so look out for how to apply.

Well, all that is left is for me to say is that on behalf of everyone at the Naval Children’s Charity we wish you all a Wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Best wishes,

Clare Scherer MBE
Chief Executive Officer, Naval Children’s Charity

Our growing team, offering more support

As requests for help and support increase within our community, we are pleased to be able to expand our team to meet the growing needs.

Earlier this year; the fabulous Allison Donnelly joined our Caseworker team, based in Helensburgh, Allison has expanded our physical reach by around 500 miles or so, offering support for Naval Families in and around Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute which is the town closest to HMNB Clyde (Faslane).

Allison herself is a Naval wife, her husband has been serving as a part of the submarine service for over 20 years. She understands first-hand the frustrations and worries families face when their loved ones are deployed.  Life in a “tin can” as its often referred to really does come with its difficulties. It can be difficult for all involved to adapt to long sea deployments, added with the unknown of where they are and when they will be home, often dates can change at the very last minute and extend without notice. Seas Patrols vary in length and type depending on the class of Submarine, with some deploying for nearly a year. Understandably families are often left unsure when they will next see their husband/wife/partner/son/daughter, left behind having to navigate everyday life. It’s important to ensure that families left behind are supported and know who to turn to.  The Naval Children’s Charity understand that emergencies can occur and are on hand to assist families with child related grants, we also have resources aimed at children to make deployments and time apart more bearable.

Based in the Charity Support Hub in Churchill, Allison has been busy engaging with families offering support, guidance, and grant opportunities as per the Naval Children’s Charity’s 5 Pillars of Support (Health, Wellbeing, Security, Education and Life Chances). Working remotely as part of the Casework Team, Allison has vast knowledge of all things Scottish and can offer advice relating to benefits, school systems and relocation should any of our families have any concerns regarding these.  You can contact Allison here

More recently; In fact, just a week ago, we welcomed Karolina Kubica to the NCC family. Karolina graduated in International Relations with specialisation in global security and children in conflict areas. She has gained valuable experience working with the Armed Forces Community throughout her work at SSAFA helping serving personnel, veterans, and their families in a time of need. She is passionate about supporting those with no voice – animals and children, advocating for children with learning difficulties and disabilities. Based in Plymouth, Karolina will be an Outreach Caseworker for the Southwest region, hot desking at both the Gordon Messenger Centre in Lympstone and the China Fleet Club in Saltash.

Ahoy there: We would like to welcome back all our young people that took up our offer and joined a Tall Ships voyage over the summer months. In total 40 of them took to the seas, had an amazing adventure, learnt some valuable life skills and made some lifelong friends. We are over the moon with the feedback we have received so far and are looking forward to doing it again next year. Remember, we offer many opportunities like these, and we will be announcing two new ones in next month’s newsletter.

Celebrating Forces Families Awards: On a final note, if you know of our work and have personal experience of how we help our Naval children, we ask you kindly to spare just a few minutes nominating us for the ‘Military Family Charity of the Year’ Award.  Thank you in advance.

Best wishes,

Clare Scherer MBE
Chief Executive Officer, Naval Children’s Charity

Not all heroes wear capes – October Newsletter

I would very much like to start this newsletter with some big Thank you’s.

We are so lucky to have some wonderful families, teams and organisations fundraise and volunteer for us, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone for their efforts. Be it knitting Rabbits and Penguins for us to send out to our young people struggling with a parent’s deployment, running the Great South Run or entering the next London to Brighton Bike Ride to raise funds and awareness for our Charity, we genuinely can’t thank you enough.

However, earlier this month one fundraising effort was particularly poignant. One of our beneficiaries, Hector and his family hiked 5 miles to celebrate his 5th birthday. Considering that doctors didn’t expect Hector to be walking by this point due to the extent of his hydrocephalus, the fact that he managed to hike 5 miles along the Cornish Coast path to raise money for us is simply incredible and very humbling. Thank you, Hector!

Strike a Pose: Here at the Naval Children’s Charity we will soon be refreshing our website and with that in mind we are looking to reflect the wonderful diversity of our community visually. We are calling out to all serving and veteran Naval personnel, including our wonderful Marines, Reserves and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, with children and young people aged up to 25 to come to one of our three up-coming photoshoots. These will be taking place in Portsmouth, Plymouth and Scotland.

We’d love to celebrate the children and young people from our community and create some exciting new content for all our communications, so if this is something of interest to you, please contact us

Careers and Apprenticeship: For any of our young people currently undecided on their career path, we have great news. The Forces Employment Charity is hosting a Career Change and Apprenticeship Show next month.

The Forces Employment Charity provides life-long and life-changing support for UK Armed Forces veterans and their families and bridges the gap between this community and employers in the civilian world.  This event is designed to give young people who have parents/carers who have served/are serving, the opportunity to explore the different employment and careers options available to them in Andover and the surrounding areas. You can find more information here.

Helping Hands: For the October half term many eateries are offering some wonderful discounts for families. If you pop along to our Facebook page you will find a list of all the generous restaurants and cafes offering free children’s meals or meals for just £1.

Best wishes,

Clare Scherer MBE
Chief Executive Officer, Naval Children’s Charity

Does your child have special educational needs?

Does your child live with a disability?

If the answer is yes then it’s very possible that you are feeling worried, overwhelmed, isolated, confused, frustrated…the list could go on and on! Even if everything is currently going well for your child, you may feel that you would like to gain deeper understanding of how to support them or maybe there is an issue where having some different strategies could make life at little easier?

Whatever your situation, no matter what the need or disability, navigating the world of SEND (special educational needs and disability) can feel, at best, challenging, at worst, impossible, so it can help to know where to go for support, information, and guidance.

There is lots of support out there, but it is difficult to know where to go. Every English Local Authority has a duty to publish the services they provide for children with SEND via a Local Offer, so if you google your Local authority and Local Offer you should find this page. As part of their duty the Local Authority also need to provide a SEND information, advice, and support service (SENDIASS). The details for this will also be found on the Local Offer.  There are also many organisations that can provide support with your child’s specific needs or disability or for particular challenges you may be facing however despite all this available help families tell us   it can still be really difficult to know where to start or how to navigate through the system to find the right assistance.

That’s why the Naval Children Charity is partnering with KIDS to offer families support via their KIDS Family Support Online SEND Family Support . Drawing on KIDS experience of supporting children/young people with disabilities and their families for over 50 years, this support is only a phone or video call away.

KIDS Family Support Online provides you with a variety of support options depending on your situation and what you need. Via the website you can book a free initial consultation which allows you the time to talk about your situation and the support you are looking for. A follow-up email, with the detail of the support that can be offered will then be provided. Once you are happy to go ahead, KIDS will make you an online appointment with a member of their specialist team. As part of the partnership offer with Kids, the NCC may be able to support you with the costs of the ongoing specialist support depending on your circumstances, so it is important you let them know you are a Naval family (Serving or Veteran, RN, RM, Reserves or RFA).  They can then refer you to us for assessment for funding.

If you would rather email than speak on the phone you are very welcome to do so via the SEND Family Support.

KIDS are there for whatever your need may be, for example, assistance with benefits applications, working through the complexities of an Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or emotional support relating to one issue or your whole situation. If they cannot help, they will help you find someone who can.  To access SEND family support please contact https://familysupport.kids.org.uk/ and quote NCCKIDS010

To find out more about how the Naval Children’s Charity can support you and your child please contact our Neurodiversity Lead, Cheryl Owens Cheryl.owens@navalchildrenscharity.org.uk


HRH King Charles III – Coronation Day – 6th May 2023

The Naval Children’s Charity is proud to have been supported by the Royal Family for many years, both HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and the late Queen, HM Queen Elizabeth II, were Patrons for many years.  We wish HRH King Charles III and Her Majesty Queen Camilla a long and happy reign.

This is how we celebrated MOTMC and a massive thank you to everyone that got involved

April is the Month of the Military Child, this is a wonderful initiative that both celebrates and brings awareness to, the experiences of military children across the UK.

To celebrate this month, we ask our Naval Children to send us in videos telling us about the positive impact being a military child has had on them.

Well, we asked, and you certainly delivered, we had so many wonderful videos sent in that we have made a little montage of our favourite bits. Have a watch…

Thank you so much to all who took part.

Crown fit for a King – Design a Crown Competition

Welcome to the Design a Crown competition, where children get to showcase their creativity and design skills! In honour of the King’s Coronation on 6th May, we’re calling all young artists to join in the fun and participate in this exciting competition.

How it works: We’ve created a design template for you to add your designs to. All you need to do is let your imagination run wild and create your own unique crown design. It’s that simple! Once you’re happy with your design, snap a picture and send it to us with your name, age, and address.

And what’s the best part? Every participant will receive a special commemorative gift for taking part in the competition! It’s our way of thanking you for sharing your creativity and supporting the King’s Coronation.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your pencils, markers, or paints and start designing your crown. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

How it submit your designs:
Submit your designs to the address below
or submit your designs on our dedicated competition page

Naval Childrens Charity,
311 Twyford Avenue

The MOD have launched a new Service Pupil Support Programme through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

The MOD through their Armed Forces Families Fund (AF3) have launched a new Service Pupil Support Programme through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.  Specifically supporting Service pupils aged 4-18 years, this programme will focus on those pupils from currently serving families and will support them along their educational pathways.

Schools, academies sixth form colleges, Further Education colleges and local authorities can apply. Full eligibility details are available at https://covenantfund.org.uk/programme/the-service-pupil-support-programme/

The programme will award grants of £5,000 to £80,000 to one-year projects that meet one of three priorities.

  • Closing the gap in attainment between Service and non-Service pupils, using data led evidence.
  • Addressing the needs of Service pupils with additional needs through early identification and intervention using a collaborative and coordinated approach.
  • Identifying and addressing the needs of small cohorts of Service pupils within educational settings.

Your project idea should offer good value for money.  This funding is for stand alone, one-year projects. The AFCFT would anticipate that most grants awarded will be around £40,000 or less.

Supporting Service pupils across the UK

Sonia Howe, Director of Policy and Communications at the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, said: “This programme offers opportunities to access funding for both schools who have large numbers of Service pupils on role, and also those with small numbers. By working together as clusters of schools, those Service pupils based in less military heavy areas can also benefit.”

There are lots of useful resources to our website to help you get started with your application.

The application deadline is 5pm on 31 May 2023 and they’ll expect successful projects to begin from September 2023 in line with the new academic year.

We have been awarded a grant by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust for our ‘Thriving through childhood and beyond’ project

The Naval Children’s Charity are delighted to have been awarded a grant by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust for their ‘Thriving through Childhood and Beyond’ project, which will be delivered in partnership with The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance to bring tri-Service benefits for all Armed Forces families with children in early years education or higher education.

It builds on the Alliance’s earlier work which developed the Thriving Lives Toolkit; widely used to support improved educational outcomes for Service Pupils in primary and secondary education.  It will develop and share further toolkits for younger and older age groups; and ensure wide reach throughout the UK.  It will develop a coherent quality standard for the entire sector and create a rigorous evidence base for police and practice development.

Clare Scherer, Chief Executive of the Charity said: ‘We are deeply grateful to the AFCFT for their support of this important work.  For children whose parents have made the choice to serve in the Armed Forces there can be a number of challenges.  It is vitally important that we find ways to support them and extending the SCiP Alliance’s Thriving Lives Toolkit to those all-important early years and into further and higher education will strengthen that support significantly.

Thank you to Stowe Family Law in Portsmouth for choosing to support us this year

We would like to say a huge thank you to Stowe Family Law in Portsmouth for choosing to
support us this year. Their donation will make a big difference to the children and young
people we help, particularly at a time where rising food, fuel and energy costs are putting
even more of a strain on vulnerable families. Thanks to their help we can deliver tailored
support quickly and where it is most needed to help prevent many families from falling further
into crisis.
“Stowe Family Law are proud to support the Naval Children’s Charity with a donation to help
support children and young people in need. We would wholeheartedly encourage other local
businesses to get involved and contribute in any way possible.” – Stowe Family Law

About Stowe Family Law in Portsmouth
Stowe Family Law in Portsmouth are an experienced team of divorce lawyers and accountants
with a strong record of achieving success for clients across Hampshire. Their family law
solicitors provide an excellent service in order to resolve disputes, meaning you can put your
complete confidence in their family law team.