Melanie Kendrick, co-founder of the Dabby Project, reveals the inspiring initiative for UK Service children…

THE time that a parent goes away on deployment can be a difficult one for young children.

It’s hard for many to understand why daddy or mummy has had to go away. Having a “friend” during this time, even for only a month can take a child’s mind off what is happening in real life – Dabby and Wills are that “friend”.

Dabby Project 2The Dabby Project was set up in the United States by Robin Curling Owens at the start of 2013.

A military child herself, she knew how difficult deployments can be and wanted to make things easier for military children in America. Robin came up with the idea of Dabby – a knitted doll that visits military families while a loved one is on tour.

In April this year, the Dabby Project became international – and now UK military children can host Dabby or her British cousin, Wills.

On becoming a host family for one month, you will receive Dabby or Wills, a personalised letter, a diary to fill in and a memory stick on which to store your photographs.

These are returned at the end of the period ready for the next host family. Adventures are shared on a Facebook page – The Dabby Project UK – allowing families to follow Dabby’s adventures. If you are interested in becoming a host, go to our Facebook page or email

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