A charity founder has told how virtual events have proved a “powerful” distraction for bereaved armed forces children during months of lockdown.
Nikki Scott, of North Lynn-based Scotty’s Little Soldiers, said the pandemic had heightened youngsters’ fears but the charity’s variety of online events had helped to provide much-needed relief.
The charity has teamed-up with Your Local Paper to stage its first Scotty’s Virtual Festival in September for the hundreds of youngsters it supports nationwide.
“For our members, they have already lost a parent, so they are always on high alert and that fear of losing another parent is far more prevalent,” said Ms Scott.
“We’ve all had a lot more time on our hands over the last few months, which for the children we support can be emotional as they find they have more time to remember and little to do to take their mind off things.
“The virtual events we’ve hosted over the last few months have been so powerful for many different reasons for the children, the events provide them with the opportunity to see other Scotty’s families, they reinforce the community network and act as a reminder that they’re not going through this alone.
“It also gives the children the opportunity to just let go and enjoy themselves. It’s such a worrying time for everyone, and for our members it’s so important that they have the opportunity to relax and enjoy being children.
“Our parents have also found the events beneficial, we’ve found them to be the best way for families to engage with us.
“We know it can be difficult to ask for help, but we’ve found that after each event we’ve done, parents have got in touch to say: That was great, could I please ask for your help with this?”
Ms Scott said September had been chosen for the event to help ease the anxiety of returning to school and as something to look forward to.
YLP and Scotty’s needs to raise £3,500 to pay for fun-filled festival goody bags, which will be posted to families.
“We know that all members love receiving Scotty’s mail through the post and every time they see the Scotty’s sticker their faces light up.
“We want the build up to the event to be just as exciting and it also reminds them that people are thinking about them,” said Ms Scott.
“Our members have already gone through so much, we want to give them something special they will remember from this year and we need your help to do that. We are looking to Your Local Paper readers to help make this event extra special.
“Every festival pack will be delivered to our members and will include a note to say this has been possible thanks to Your Local Paper readers.”
Donations will pay for items such as T-shirts, glow sticks, face paints, glitter tattoos, bunting and banners to create a festival atmosphere at home.
Donate at www.justgiving.com/campaign/ylpscottysvirtualfestival or text YLPFEST to 70085 to donate £5 (texts are charged at £5 plus one standard rate message). Send cheques payable to Scotty’s Little Soldiers with the reference YLPFEST on the reverse or call 0800 092 8571.