A fresh look at support for bereaved Forces young adults

Scotty’s Little Soldiers supports children and young people aged 0 – 25 years following the death of a parent who served. The charity is re-shaping its Springboard programme aimed at young adults, in the knowledge support for bereaved 18 – 25 is as crucial as it is for young children.

After Scotty’s Little Soldiers was founded in 2010, the charity supported bereaved Forces children from the moment they joined, following the death of their military parent, until their 19th birthday. However, the team at Scotty’s soon identified that just because someone turns 19, doesn’t mean they aren’t still struggling with the grief associated with their parent’s death. So, in 2019, once funding allowed, Scotty’s introduced the Springboard programme, specifically designed to support bereaved Forces young adults, aged 19 – 25. Now the charity has re-shaped the Springboard programme and changed the age to 18 – 25, ensuring as soon as a young person reaches adulthood, the support they receive is suitable for their developing needs.

Scotty’s Founder, Nikki Scott, explains:

“We recognise that turning 18 is a huge milestone in a young person’s life. They may have finished their education journey, they might be joining the workforce, starting training, further education or looking to start a family of their own. Scotty’s wants to be there to support them on their next chapter, particularly as it’s a time where the absence of their parent might feel as apparent as ever.”

Emma Peppercorn, who leads the Springboard programme, says:

“The Springboard programme previously started at 19, but, having looked into this carefully, we’ve acknowledged that by reducing the age to 18, the programme will align with many external bereavement services and strengthen signposting opportunities. Plus, when a young person turns 18, they legally become an adult, so it feels right we should treat them like an adult too.”

The Springboard programme is designed specifically for bereaved Forces young adults with the objective of providing 18–25-year-olds with life skills to move forward, career opportunities, as well as the chance to mentor younger bereaved Scotty members.

Members over the age of 18 who join the Springboard programme will be known as ‘Springboarders’ rather than ‘Scotty members’ and will receive support with securing education placements, assistance with getting into employment, general information and guidance, access to a range of grants and the opportunity to get to know other bereaved Forces young adults.

Nikki added: “Assessing the Springboard programme and changing the age range to provide more relevant support is a really positive step forward. We know how huge the impact the death of parent is and we are working hard to ensure we provide the best support we can offer.”

Scotty’s offers support to bereaved Forces children and young people aged 0 – 25 through four family programmes. The Smiles programme focuses on fun and community, the Support programme looks after emotional health and wellbeing, the Strides programme helps with education and development and the Springboard programme is specifically for young adults ages 18-25.

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