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Charity brings service teenagers ‘all together’ for deployment club

04 November 2022  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

Nine Richmond School service students recently took part in a residential break at the Marrick Priory Outdoor Education Centre.

Organised by the charity, Little Troopers, a total of twenty-four military teenagers from North Yorkshire, who all have parents serving in the British Armed Forces, were brought together for the weekend as part of the charity’s All Together deployment club.

Across the weekend, the teenagers participated in many outdoor, teamwork activities such as climbing, archery, abseiling and high ropes. They also came together for a group therapy session, where they explored some of the challenges that military life can bring and learnt new ways to cope with uncertainty and change.

The weekend ended with a surprise visit from Little Troopers’ ambassador and professional rugby player for Doncaster Knights, Thom Smith. Thom grew up as a service child and is a presenter on the Little Troopers’ SQUAD podcast, a podcast aimed at service teens. The Yorkshire teens chatted to Thom over lunch and listened to an episode of SQUAD together.

Louise Fetigan, founder of Little Troopers, says: “Each year, thousands of military children have a parent, or in some cases both parents, deployed for months at a time and this can be a really hard time for those left at home. Our Little Troopers All Together project brings these children together so they can benefit from talking to peers going through a similar experience.

“This was our first All Together residential weekend and it was wonderful to meet so many amazing young people from Yorkshire and to hear about their lives growing up in the Armed Forces community. Parents have told us that their children really benefited from the weekend and have made new friendships.”

Mr Birdsall, Richmond School and Sixth Forms Service Children’s Advocate, said: “The students who attended the All Together residential at Marrick Priory had an amazing time. They were grinning from ear-to-ear when I picked them up!

“It was a great opportunity for them to meet other service teenagers from outside their own social network and many of them gained new friends for life. Being able to spend quality time with like-minded service students who also go through the same challenges as themselves is invaluable. It aided them to know they are not alone and gave them the chance to reflect and learn new ways to cope with the uncertainty and change that they face.”

Rory Wilkinson, participant of the All Together residential said: “I really enjoyed the weekend at Marrick Priory. It was lovely spending time with some of my military friends and meeting and making new friends within the local area who are going through what you’re going through. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the outdoor activities and a big highlight was meeting and chatting to rugby player Thom Smith.”

The Little Troopers’ All Together project has been made possible thanks to generous donations from the Veterans Foundation, the Prince of Wales Charitable Fund, the Henry Sale Foundation, Greenwich Hospital and HDH Wills.

Little Troopers is a registered charity supporting children who have parents serving in the British Armed Forces. The charity has a range of resources for both parents and schools to use with service children of all ages. The charity has also recently received funding from The National Lottery to launch a Therapy Programme which will provide one-to-one bespoke therapy sessions and group sessions for service children in need of additional support.

For more information visit Little Troopers


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