Celebrating during periods of deployment

Separation is part and parcel of military life. Naval families often face longer periods of deployment, resulting in missing landmarks such as Father’s and Mother’s Day or birthdays. Here are some tips for celebrating during periods of separation. Continue reading

Knitting the family: mummy and daddy dolls help children’s wellbeing while parents are on deployment

At Crofton Hammond Infant School in Fareham, Hampshire, the teachers identified a recurring issue, impacting the children’s wellbeing. 

In July 2019, 32% of the school’s pupils were from Armed Forces families, with the majority of those parents serving in the Royal Navy. The staff observed that high numbers of these children were suffering in their parent’s absence, affecting their engagement and learning. 

As per The Children’s Commissioner’s 2018 Kin and County report, primary school children can suffer from ‘sadness, worry and general unease’, due to the short- or long-term deployment of a parent. 

The teachers decided to implement a ‘deployment package’, that would help children adjust to a period of separation. 

Drawing inspiration from our ‘Knit the Family’ initiative, the school decided to create a special set of dolls for each family. 

A proficient knitter created bespoke dolls in the likeness of a child and their parent. Following a successful implementation, the scheme was extended to include civilian children whose parents worked away during the week. 

Many parents reported that the child and doll were inseparable, and that the children were overjoyed to see their doll doppelgängers out on deployment with mummy or daddy. 

Staff observed a positive impact on the pupil’s wellbeing and readiness to learn, while many parents reported a greater sense of community within the school. It has also raised awareness within the children to be sensitive around a peer when their mum or dad is on deployment. 

A Year 1 teacher at Crofton Hammond Infant School said: 

“One child, who found it particularly tricky that her dad worked away Monday to Friday, just pops her ‘Daddy Doll’ in the front of her jumper when she comes to school and consequently, she can cope a lot better, and her learning has really improved.” 

You can read more about the school’s deployment packages by downloading the report. This case study was provided by the Service Children’s Progression Alliance, a charity that strives to improve educational outcomes for children and young people from Armed forces families.   

We’re always on the lookout for knitters to volunteer their skills. We’ve found that a version of mummy or daddy, or the protagonists of our short stories, The Time Rabbit and Time Penguin, can help children struggling with separation profoundly. Please visit the fundraisers & supporters page of our website to find out more.

New book for when mums go away, Henry and the Time Penguin

Our new book is here! Henry and the Time Penguin was written especially for mums who have to go away. You can email us for a free copy at book@navalchildrenscharity.org.uk Remember to give us your name and address and let us know if you want the Henry book for mums going away or the Zoe book for dads going away.

First Annual Meeting Trinity House March 2020

Earlier this year we held our First Annual Meeting as the Naval Children’s Charity and launched our new brand. Several of our families that had received support from us in the past travelled up to join us and shared their stories with those present. We are hugely grateful to them for this and will be sharing the videos of their stories with you all shortly. The Chairman, Alistair Sheppard, and the Chief Executive, Clare Scherer, gave those present an overview of the origins of the charity and our plans for the future.  

Our thanks go to Trinity House for the use of their beautiful building, Chamberlain’s of London for the delicious food and Farr Vinters for the champagne. If you would like to know more about us please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

We have been supporting Naval children since 1825, nearly 200 years, when the first orphanages were opened in Portsmouth and Chatham and then as the needs of our children have evolved and developed over the years we have changed and evolved and developed into the Charity we are today. We hope that we are going to continue to develop and make impact into our children’s lives as we go forward. Families come to us for help and we respond quickly and with compassion to their unique challenges so that we can deliver what they need.

If you think we could help you please do get in touch either by using the form on the website or by contacting us directly by email caseworkers@navalchildrenscharity.org.uk or by phone 023 9263 9534

We have created a short video with highlights from our Annual Meeting at Trinity House, March 2020. Click to watch.