HMS Oardacious and Huggable Heroes

HMS Oardacious’ Submarine Service Mental Health Fund launches its "Huggable Heroes" initiative, aiming to bring comfort to children of Submariners.

As part of Month of the Military Child, HMS Oardacious is launching its new “Huggable Heroes” initiative in conjunction with a film highlighting some of the challenges faced by children with a Submariner parent. (Scroll down for film)

In the film, Sophie Fraser (Families Representative for the HMS Oardacious Management Committee) shares her experience as the spouse of a Submariner with two young children and explains some of the ways that HMS Oardacious is working with other organisations and experts to advocate for this unique community.  Sophie’s husband, Callum Fraser, rowed across the Atlantic in both the 2019 and 2022 HMS Oardacious teams, and Sophie has been intrinsically involved in the project since it was created in 2018. 

HMS Oardacious’ Submarine Service Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund is delighted to announce its funding of a pilot project purchasing 250 Huggable Heroes® vouchers for the children of Submariners currently assigned to Submarines . Huggable Heroes are cuddly toys printed with a photograph of their serving parent, aiming to help children deal with the challenges of separation during the deployment period.  During the trial project, those eligible will be contacted by the Royal Navy to provide more details on how to claim their voucher.

Sophie says: “Members of our organisation have each experienced many deployments and the impact these can have on Mental Health. As such, the team are incredibly passionate about being ambassadors for Mental Health and Wellbeing for both serving personnel and their families and that it is as important to support the families as it is the serving personnel within the Royal Navy. As such, one of the aims of the HMS Oardacious – Submarine Service Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund is dedicated to finding ways to support children of serving personnel who can have varying reactions to a deployment.  The Huggable Heroes® toys represent their parents and give children a tangible reminder of their parent looks like, so they can feel close to them even though in reality they’re a long way away. As we celebrate Month of the Military Child, it was the perfect time to announce the pilot project”.

Cdr Matthew Main, Marine Engineer Officer and Skipper of the HMS Oardacious 2023 Rowing Crew, explains the importance of supporting Submariner families.  “We’re trained for it, when we deploy we’re with other submariners who are literally in the same boat… but our families haven’t signed up for it necessarily, certainly the children haven’t.  Charities and organisations like HMS Oardacious are there to helping to look after your family and to support them through a difficult period.”

Sophie is joined in the film by Helen Mason, Occupational and EMDR Therapist and Co-Founder of The Submarine Mermaid Postal Service Project, a first of its kind project to support young children during submarine deployments where a parent, carer or relative is on deployment to contact the shore.  Helen’s involvement in the film highlights the importance of peer support and the resourcefulness of our Submarine family’s community. 

The HMS Oardacious – Submarine Service Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, supported by RNRMC, is committed to funding resources, projects and events that support the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Submariners and their families during the deployment cycle.  Deployment cycles are a challenging period for everyone involved, not just when the serving person is at sea but also in the pre and post deployment period and the Submarine Service places significant demand on the time of their personnel which can impact their ability to have a normal routine, even when the platform is alongside. The fund is always interested in requests for grants which can help reduce the Mental Health and Wellbeing impact of this part of Royal Navy life.

HMS Oardacious welcome grant requests, for more application guidance and eligibility criteria, visit

HMS Oardacious have a website, and can be found on Instagram, Facebook and X @HMSOardacious

Huggable Heroes® are an award winning toy, lovingly handmade in Norfolk, England.  The Heroes fit perfectly under little arms to carry around and they are small enough for older children to tuck into school bags.  Find out more at

Youth Voice Survey 2024

Tri-Service Youth Voice Survey 2024

Led by the Tri-Service Youth Voice Steering Group, this survey aims to gather the opinions of as many youth voices as possible. Whether you are addressing the challenges of frequent relocations, social barriers, accessing further education, or work opportunities, every voice matters. The survey is anonymous, ensuring young people may express themselves freely.  

The survey will capture military children’s perspectives, insights, and suggestions. After all, being a part of a Service family can have unique experiences and challenges. The voices of our military youth are vital in shaping the support services and initiatives provided to military families.  

Help us amplify the voices of our Armed Forces youth community by completing the survey today!  

Don’t miss out on the survey’s closing date, Friday 31 May 2024.  

If you want to be involved in your area’s youth voice, then please contact the MOD today 

Tech Camp

Engineering and Programming Camps

This coming summer, the Naval Children’s Charity are running a programme to help fund places at Tech Camp’s week-long residential engineering and programming camps for children aged 9-17. We are delighted to be able to offer discounted and, in some cases upon application, some further subsidised, places with the different courses offered by Tech Camp based near Winchester.

Campers choose a particular topic for the week with bookings open for four weeks from Monday July 28th to Friday August 23rd . There are lots of high-tech options from building robots and gadgets, to learning how to fly drones, operate 3D printers, and design computer games.  Uniquely, all campers get to take home the equipment they have built so the learning and experimentation can continue after camp finishes.

To see the range of courses on offer this summer, go to  If you’d like to apply for a funded position on one of these courses, you can find out more about how we are supporting families for this event and fill in an application form here.

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Military Families Charity of the Year

Naval Children’s Charity delighted to be awarded ‘Military Families Charity of the Year’

The Celebrating Forces Families (CFF) Awards highlight contributions and unwavering support provided by military families and its communities and celebrates the achievements of the UK’s Armed Forces support networks.

A performance by a combined choir featuring Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Voices of Armed Forces Children Choir and the Military Wives choirs opened the evening celebrations.

Forces champion and Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton MBE co-presented the awards alongside Forces News presenter Sian Grzeszczyk.

One of three finalists for, and the ultimate winner of, the title of ‘Military Families Charity of the Year’, the Naval Childrens Charity supports children from naval families, up to age 25, helping around 4,000 children and young people each year with grants in times of crisis or with significant issues such as disability/illness, resources to support mental health and wellbeing, and opportunities to enhance and improve outcomes through the Life Chances Programme. The charity puts children front and centre, staff have first-hand experience of service life, they understand, have empathy, and change lives every day.

Upon winning the award CEO of the Charity, Clare Scherer MBE said:

‘We are all absolutely delighted to have won this wonderful Award.  It is a true testament to the work of the Charity and the amazing Team who do so much to change children and young people’s lives every day.  It is a privilege to do what we do to support our Naval children but to be acknowledged with this Award means so much.  Thank you to the Judges, all those who voted for us and to our wonderful families who support their Serving and Veteran loved ones who do so much for us all.’