Tuesday 30th June 2020
Charity, Little Troopers, has launched a new initiative to support military children as they move home to a new posting.
Little Troopers Letters is a free pack that encourages children to exchange letters with one chosen friend who they are particularly sad to be leaving behind. Each pack contains two letter writing kits – one for each child – with letter paper, envelopes, pens, pencils, stickers and badges.
The pen pal scheme has been designed to ease the anxiety that some children feel when moving home and to celebrate and nurture the close friendships often made between military children. Writing about and sharing feelings and experiences on paper is known to support children’s wellbeing, in addition to helping them practice their reading and writing skills.
Louise Fetigan, founder of Little Troopers, comments: “Lots of military families are used to moving home frequently but that doesn’t mean it gets any easier. On the one hand, it makes military life an adventure, but we also hear first-hand how some children find moving home challenging. Usually the hardest part is saying goodbye to old friends, especially given the close bonds often made between families on the patch.
“That’s why we have created the Little Troopers Letters pack. Children can give their friend one of the letter kits as a goodbye present and they can both look forward to keeping in touch. The packs will support children’s literacy skills and hopefully boost their wellbeing at the same time – we all know how exciting it can be to get a personal letter from a friend in the post. We’d love it if the scheme helped children start the habit of a lifetime and maintain lifelong friendships with others who have shared in their childhood experiences.”
According to the 2019 Tri-Service Survey around a quarter of Army and RAF families, and one in eight Navy families, move home every year. Little Troopers will release over 80 packs per month with the scheme initially running until the end of 2020. The packs, which are aimed at children aged 5+, will be available for British Armed Forces families and funded by the charity apart from a small postage fee. Families can apply for a pack on the Little Troopers website but are asked to only apply if they are being posted within the next six weeks to ensure the packs benefit children who are moving imminently.
Little Troopers Letters is the latest initiative from the registered charity which offers support and resources for all UK military children and their families. The charity’s other initiatives include a free birthday card scheme, a free story-recording app called Little Troopers Treasures and a range of online support and resources to help families cope with separation and other challenges unique to military life. The charity also runs an ‘At School’ programme with unique resources to help teachers better understand the challenges of military life and to support children in education settings.