A SCHEME to improve the support and services on offer to young people from Scotland’s Forces families has been given the green light thanks to a £40,000 grant from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

The three-year National Youth Participation Project, run by the Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET), will host participation events and work with partners across Scotland to help children – including those with disabilities or from vulnerable families – overcome some of the issues associated with growing up in a military family.

The programme will be informed by the issues raised during a series of “Teen Talk” events held in 2017, where more than 100 secondary school pupils from Service households shared their thoughts on the challenges they faced, including a lack of stable education, losing touch with friends, not seeing deployed parents and moving to different countries.

RCET chief executive Colin Flinn explained: “The feedback we received aligned with independent research which recognises military lifestyle can come at a price. It can undermine friendships, impede academic performance and personal development.Left unchecked, this can last long into adulthood.

“What this research and our young people are telling us is [that] there is a clear need to improve the services and support available to them. They want their voices to be heard and it’s why we have decided to launch this three-year national youth participation project.”

The five-figure support of The Soldier’s Charity will allow RCET to recruit a youth participation project manager to get the scheme – which will target 12-24-year-olds – off to a flying start.

Barney Haugh, the charity’s director of grants, said that ABF believes that supporting young people from military families is vital for their wellbeing, adding: “We are delighted to award this grant to help combat some of the issues and challenges that children from Army families can face.”

In addition to recruiting its new project manager, RCET is appealing for volunteers to be trained to implement the initiative. If you are interested in getting involved, contact RCET to register your interest or visit the charity’s website for more details.

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