Unipart Dorman is proud to have the charity ‘Scotty’s Little Soldiers’ as its supported charity for Q3 2016. The charity provides opportunities for armed forces children who have lost a parent in action such as holidays at one of its Scotty Lodges and by providing gifts or special experiences to help get these kids through the tough times.
The children of servicemen and women do have a bit more resilience than their peers as they are used to seeing Mummy or Daddy go away, sometimes at short notice and often for an indeterminate time. No matter how much preparation you put in though, it is always a massive change to little lives saying goodbye to a parent. These days, doing things like recording bedtime stories on an MP3 player before you go away and the huge advances in keeping in touch via FaceTime and Skype mean it is less stressful (although some left at home parents would disagree when a 3 year old wants to listen to the whole bedtime story instead of a bit each night). They can’t replace the big hug after a skinned knee or talking about what they did at school, but they do go a long way to keeping the bond between parent and child alive.
And then of course there is always the homecoming to look forward to. The long wait for mummy or daddy to walk off the aeroplane and sweep their children into their arms and the obligatory donning of their hat for the cute picture. There will be tears of joy or with very young children a quizzical look of “who is this person picking me up and swinging me around, so happy to see me?” It could even be a time when fathers first meet the son or daughter born whilst they were away on tour.
Then comes the period of post operational leave which will mean too many trips to fast food outlets than is good for them, holidays away and the special parent and child bonding moments that always involve plenty of hugs and the exchanges of “I love you”.
But what if the parent has come home before their comrades in arms? Returned in a flag draped casket with full military honours? The pain of young lives shattered by the loss of a parent isn’t exclusive to armed forces children but it can involve so much more than the dreadful grief and sadness of loss. On top of the heartbreak, service children will probably have to suffer a huge amount of upheaval, they may need to vacate the family home where it was provided by the military or to simply move closer to the essential support of Grandparents. This will mean a new school and new friends to make in a place where military culture is perhaps less understood. This and so much more disruption must be borne by a small child who just wants mummy or daddy back to make it all better.
‘Scotty’s Little Soldiers’ provides access to professional bereavement counselling and as these children can perhaps no longer rely on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’, a range of grants to help with the child’s personal development to cover things like the cost of after school activities, driving lessons and even University tuition fees.
The charity also supports hundreds of bereaved British Forces’ children across the UK, many of whom are still very young and will rely on the activities offered by Scotty’s for years to come.
There will be a range of fundraising activities with the emphasis on the fun part of fundraising planned across Unipart Dorman in the coming weeks and we hope that you will support us in raising much needed funds to help put a smile back on the face of a child who has lost a parent in the service of our country.
You can also provide donations via our JustGiving Page. JustGiving sends your donation straight to Scotty's Little Soldiers and automatically reclaims Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer, so your donation is worth even more.
More information on this worthwhile charity is available at http://www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk/.