A New Psychological Toolkit for Armed Forces Children

The Naval Children’s Charity are thrilled to be launching ‘Doing Distance’ – a psychological toolkit for armed forces children, to help them navigate the challenges that come with service life, particularly around separation and mobility.

Whether you are a parent of a military child, or a supporting adult from their school or local community, this new psychological toolkit has been specially designed to help support your armed forces children. This toolkit has been compiled with the help from the team at ‘Bear Us In Mind’, a group with over 30 years’ experience working directly with families around separation and loss.

The Naval Children’s Charity’s aim is for these resources to help military children and their supporting adults to navigate the highs and lows of service life. These tools will help with the processing of the challenges experienced by children and young people and enable them hold on to special memories. All these resources will be available to download for free.


Clare Scherer MBE, from the Naval Children’s Charity, said:

”We could not be more grateful to Julie Stokes and the Bear Us In Mind team for their generosity in allowing us to adapt and use this amazing toolkit.  We really think it will bring help and support to lots of our families as they deal with some of the challenges that come with life as a service family.”


The ‘Doing Distance’ toolkit can be found here.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

As International Women’s Day is being celebrated across the globe, here at the Naval Children’s Charity we would like to celebrate things a little closer to home. Last month our Chief Executive Officer, Clare Scherer, went to Buckingham Palace to receive her MBE from The Princess Royal, in recognition of her services to Naval families.

Clare received the award as part of His Majesty Charles III’s inaugural ‘Birthday Honours List’. 

“I am extremely proud and delighted to be the recipient of this award. It truly is an honour and I am deeply grateful to HM The King,” said Ms Scherer.  

First working with the NCC as a consultant in 2008, Clare was appointed CEO in 2018. 

During that time, the charity has undergone a successful re-brand, commissioned extensive research into the stresses on the lives of military children in the UK, and produced a suite of resources that help Naval families cope with deployment, grief and mental health. 

“The [MBE] award is in recognition of my work supporting Naval families and, in reality, the award is for my entire team of staff at the NCC,” says Clare.

“They are the ones who work closely with our families, children and young people, ensuring that their needs are met in a compassionate and meaningful way and I would like to commend them for the dedication and passion they bring to the Charity.” 

At the NCC, we believe that to be the child of someone who is, or has been, in the Naval Service should be a positive and enhancing experience – something to be borne with pride.  

As such, over the next few years, the NCC is expanding its ‘Life Chances’ programmes; offering all Naval children new experiences which will give them the skills to thrive in their future lives and careers. 

Clare added: “We are excited to be developing our support to all our Naval Children, not just those where there is crisis driven by disability, illness or significant financial hardship.  

“Many of our children and young people are impacted by their parents’ service in the Royal Navy and we look forward to providing them with resources and opportunities to help them cope and enable them to thrive, helping them to be the best they can be.”

Congratulations once again, Clare Scherer MBE.

Songs for Naval Children by Naval Children

Last summer we teamed up with Never Such Innocence, the fantastic children’s charity that provide tools for young people to reflect on the realities of war and conflict by nurturing them through the arts.

As a collective, we invited naval children to take part in a series of virtual song writing workshops with singer-songwriter Otto. The purpose was to write a song by naval children, for naval children. It soon became apparent during these workshops that a second song was forming, one specifically for the Submariner families.

After hours of writing, both songs were ready to be recorded. We then invited the young people to join us in London to record the songs at Hackney Studios, allowing a little extra time to see some of the sights!

Katie Salarie, CEO of Never Such Innocence commented on the day of recording:

‘It was amazing just watching nothing become a full entire song. What is great about it, it’s children from across the UK, they can come on zoom, have this experience, get to know one another, and then get to meet. It’s such a special opportunity for them. As they move to different posts, they may even see these friends again. That’s what makes it so special, music and the arts bringing people together.’

The recordings were a fantastic success, and we are over the moon with the finished products that our young people created from scratch. The are both below.

The ‘Navy Song’ and the ‘Submariners Sea Shanty’. We hope that you enjoy listening to them as much as we enjoyed watching them being created!


Month of the Military Child

Celebrating Month of the Military Child

Does your child go to a school with fewer than 10 military children? If so, we have a special opportunity for your child’s school!

Each April we celebrate the Month of the Military Child (MotMC) – a time to recognise the important role that children play in the military family. This year we are partnering with charity Never Such Innocence to offer 4 schools the opportunity to have a day of poetry or art workshops relating to MotMC. This is a great opportunity for your child’s school to participate in this programme and let their military children be recognised.


To nominate your school please fill out this form by February 22nd. If your school is chosen, we will inform you by February 26th.

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

Design a Ship of the Future Competition

Our Talented Winners


Sam Davie

William Almond

Alfie Ward

Our ‘Design a Ship of the Future’ winners have now all received their prizes – Their individual designs transformed into Lego Ships, with thanks to our friend at Bricks by Design. Sam, William and Alfie are all proud as punch, and deservedly so. Thank you to every single child that entered our competition, it was such a hard task to pick only three winners as there were so many truly fabulous, detailed and creative designs.

Once again, huge thanks to our talented friends at Bricks by Design for bringing these creations to life!

Details of our next competition coming soon….

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