Charity and business pull together for children’s mental health

Bovington Academy, Dorset was the lucky recipient of some serious benevolent activity last month when SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, joined forces with construction company BJF, Vivo Defence Services and BFBS, to deliver a ‘Listening Ear’ cabin at the school to enable children to have a safe space where there is always an adult on hand dedicated to listening to the concerns of the child.

For children of Army personnel, it is commonplace to move schools many times, even during primary school years, meaning that they may find resettling difficult. This, combined with the impact of a parent regularly being deployed away from home means that an extra level of pastoral care is often needed.

The situation can also be difficult for the civilian students, who must cope with their friends leaving them when their families are relocated.

Lowry Stone, Head of Pastoral Care at Bovington Academy said:

“We’ve always dreamed of a space which acts as a place of safety away from the noise of the playground. To have a good friend you need to be a good friend. This project teaches children that they always have someone to turn to.”

The project included developing a part of the playground and building a cabin where children can go to find a kind and compassionate listener.

Willow, a pupil at the Academy said:

“If we are worried about something we have somewhere to go to talk about it. In break time there is always someone there to listen if something is upsetting you.”

Military broadcasting network, BFBS joined SSAFA in providing the funding necessary for the project, whilst BJF carried out the work at cost.

Geoff Phillips, Head of FM Projects (South West) at BJF Group said:

“We are passionate about giving something back to the communities in which we operate and to our key clients such as the MOD.”

Because of the military presence in the area, Bovington Academy has a majority proportion of service children in attendance.

Joby Rimmer, Commanding Officer of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment and Governor of the school said:

“Service children go through so much, and I am delighted that this initiative has been supported across the board.”

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