Scotty’s Little Soldiers has been providing integral care to bereaved Forces children and young people across the UK since the charity was founded by war widow Nikki Scott in 2010. The charity has identified the need for its beneficiaries to have additional support with education and personal development and this month (June), thanks to funding from the Veterans’ Foundation and BFBS The Big Salute, Emma Peppercorn has joined the team to provide this much needed extra level of support.
Emma’s arrival at Scotty’s couldn’t be timelier. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused massive disruption to education, so Emma will be on hand to offer support to the Scotty members that have been most affected.
Scotty’s support is divided into four distinct programmes: The ‘Smiles’ Programme offers the children the opportunity to smile again through a wide range of fun activities and gifts. This includes holiday breaks, group events, special experiences and gifts at difficult times of the year. The ‘Support’ Programme aims to assist with the more emotional side of bereavement and includes access to professional counselling and a family support network. The ‘Strides’ Programme is designed to help with the charity’s beneficiaries’ personal development and includes a range of activity and educational grants. And the ‘Springboard’ Programme is being introduced for 19-25-year olds and focuses on providing mentoring and career placement opportunities.
Emma will be taking responsibility of the Strides and Springboard programmes and will be working hard to help bereaved service children fulfil their full potential, by providing guidance and opportunities around education, vocational training and employment. She will also be helping them to develop essential ‘life skills’ and supporting their transition into adulthood and independence.
Emma brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously worked for Cambridgeshire County Council as their Project Coordinator for East Cambridgeshire and Fenland, supporting young people aged 13-19 to improve their social mobility and opportunities for the future. Emma has also supported 3rd sector organisations to launch projects and engage young people to become part of their local community. Prior to that Emma was a Young Peoples’ Worker where she assisted vulnerable young people who required specialist support.
Emma’s first focus in her new role will be on supporting Scotty’s vulnerable young people whose education has been affected by missing school as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic. She will be reaching out to members in year 6 whose SATS have been impacted and to year 11 and year 13 leavers to offer immediate support with their next steps and transition. Those in year 10 and 12 will also need extra support as they face their exams next year. These young people already cope with a number of challenges as a subsequence of losing a parent, so this extra pressure causes additional concern for them, which Emma can hopefully make a little easier.
Until now, Scotty’s has supported children who have lost a parent who served in the British Armed Forces up until the age of 19 but, as highlighted by Ofsted, the national best practice around vulnerable children recognises that these young people should be supported until the age of 25. Scotty’s therefore believe its beneficiaries still need help as they reach adulthood. It is a time where their parent’s absence is prominent, and they don’t want to lose the “Scotty family” they have come to rely on. The Springboard Programme is specifically for these young adults (aged 19 –25) and Emma will now be there to support them.
Emma will also be working with younger teenagers and assisting them with educational grants that will help them strive.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers founder, Nikki Scott, said:
“We are so delighted to have Emma on board. For a long time, we’ve felt the need for this extra support. Grief hits at different times in life and it is often triggers like exam pressures or feeling uncertain about the future that can making missing your parent even harder. We’re so grateful for the support from the Veterans’ Foundation and BFBS The Big Salute which has enabled us to finally make this happen.”
Nikki continued: “The timing of Emma joining couldn’t be any more crucial. We’ve identified that the education of 125 of our members has been directly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and we’re so glad that Emma, with her expertise, is able to get straight on with giving them help and advice to alleviate some of the pressure.”
“I’m so excited about becoming part of the team at Scotty’s Little Soldiers. I have found my passion in supporting young people and developing exciting new projects and I am so pleased that I can use the skills and knowledge from my previous roles to help supported bereaved British Forces children. I’m looking forward to launching Springboard for our 19-25yrs and supporting our Strides young people. I can’t wait to get stuck in and start delivering outstanding support.”
Veterans’ Foundation CEO Major General, David Shaw, added:
“The Veterans’ Foundation is delighted to co-fund the new Co-ordinator Post which has been filled by Emma. She will, no doubt, help Scotty’s Little Soldiers deliver even more benefit to bereaved children of members of the Armed Forces. We have been especially impressed with the way Scotty’s has developed different support for the children as they grow up and enter adulthood.”