30 bereaved Forces families have enjoyed precious time together thanks to the support from two military charities – Families’ Activity Breaks (FAB) and Scotty’s Little Soldiers.
FAB organises Families’ Activity Breaks for families who have experienced the death of a loved one who served in the British Armed Forces. Families are eligible if a child is aged up to 18 years old. The FAB camps have been running since 2009 and offer an adventure for all the family and a welcome break to meet and socialise with others who have experienced a similar bereavement.
This year, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved Forces children and young people, teamed up with FAB and provided specialist bereavement support as part of FAB’s 2021 camp programme.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers supports children and young people (0 to 25 years) who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces. Scotty’s services include guidance to parents and carers, access to professional child bereavement support, personal education and learning assistance (including grants) and fun activities such as holiday respite breaks and group events. These are all designed to remind the children and young people supported by Scotty’s that they are not alone.
This summer’s FAB camps took place in two locations – Coverack in Cornwall at the end of July, and Newlands in the Lake District at the beginning of August. Families that attended were able to enjoy an adventurous holiday experience, encouraging self-confidence, resilience and peer support, whilst having fun. Activities included kayaking, archery, high ropes, climbing, canoeing, quarry jumping and mountain walks. The team from Scotty’s also organised bereavement activities and gave them an opportunity to talk about and remember their loved one, in a safe and nurturing environment.
After the FAB camps, a number of families commented on their experience:
“This was our first FAB camp. It really opened our eyes and helped us. It was great to be around other families that really understood how we feel.”
“FAB pushes you to test your boundaries in a good way with trying new experiences. It gives you tears of laughter that you thought were lost, it creates an extra family that you didn’t know existed. The support you get from volunteers to other families who have gone through or going through what you have is a support that not everyone can understand, but thanks to FAB we now have this.”
“Truly life changing experience. We will not feel alone again. We came away with a forever family not just friends. My boys felt normal again.”
Karen Tait MBE, CEO of FAB, said:
“It’s amazing to know that bereaved Forces families can come together and feel united. FAB has organised camps every summer since 2009, but, last year, due to Covid, it didn’t happen, so it felt great to be back this year. We had the added bonus of working with Scotty’s and it’s been fantastic having them on board to provide specialist bereavement support. The families had a brilliant time and most importantly were reminded they aren’t alone.”
Lorna Vyse, Scotty’s Little Soldiers’ Childhood Bereavement Practitioner, said:
“Working with FAB this year has been great as together we have supported many bereaved military families. There was lots of fun and a lot of laughs, and a few tears too. It was a privilege to observe families meeting together and offering mutual support to each other.”
How to get involved
- Families – Join FAB’s mailing list (Send a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the title “Join Family MailingList”) for details of upcoming events and camps. Applications for 2022 camps will be opened early in 2022.
- Volunteers – Join FAB’s mailing list (Send a blank email to: email@example.com with the title “Join Volunteer Mailing List”) for details of upcoming events and camps. Applications for 2022 camps will be opened early in 2022.