A SCOTTISH charity established to support and educate children orphaned or families made destitute through loss or injury of a father serving in the Napoleonic wars celebrates its 200th anniversary next month.
The Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET), then known as the Caledonian Asylum, was founded on 14 June 1815 by the Royal assent of King George III.
To coincide with its bicentenary, RCET has produced A National Institution of the Scottish Nation A Retrospective: 1815 – 2015, which documents the history of the Trust.
Compiled and written by the Trust’s chairman Malcolm Noble, the 48 page retrospective features anecdotes, illustrations and photography, which tells the story of how the charity endured two world wars, evolved and adapted to events of the time and continues to support Armed Forces children and young people to the present day.
RCET continues to fulfil the aims of the original charter by providing education support for children of Scottish serving and veteran families in need.
Last year RCET dispersed in excess of 250 grants to cover the cost of clothing, after-school activities, school trips, and other expenses to families on low incomes or living with disability and ill health.
As well as providing grants to Armed Forces families and links to other Service charities, RCET has a very active education programme which helps professionals and organisations in Scotland to recognise and support young people experiencing difficulties in school – particularly in the lead up to and during deployment.
RCET also promotes good practice and professional development and invests in research, conferences and other collaborations to support Armed Forces children. The group is organising and attending events across Scotland during its bicentenary year to raise awareness of the support it provides.
On reaching the milestone, Malcolm said: “It’s an incredible achievement to have succeeded in meeting educational needs of Armed Forces children as they have changed over 200 years.
“We started as a London Scottish charity, we extended our activities north of the border early in the present century and the time has now come to relocate to Edinburgh.
“This will enable us to work more effectively with schools, military communities and local authorities in every part of Scotland. The Trust couldn’t have survived 200 years without the loyalty of its supporters and as we move forward that need has never been greater.”