About Little Troopers
Little Troopers is a registered charity supporting all children with one or both parents serving in our British Armed Forces (regular or reserve). These children face unique daily challenges due to their parents career choice especially when they experience repeated separation of varying lengths of time from their serving parent(s) due to exercises and operations plus moving home and school frequently due to service requirements.
As a charity we ensure all Little Troopers have fundamental resources available to help ease and aid any separation period, it is important to us that support can be reached self-sufficiently from wherever military children are based, that initiatives are in existence to keep serving parent and child connected when miles separate and that there is a community celebrating how special all the Little Troopers out there really are!
Our charity was first created back in 2011 and since that time has grown, changed and become the much loved military children’s charity and vital support toolbox that now exists.
A small charity with a big heart doing the very best for all the children of our British Armed Forces
About Louise Fetigan
Louise our founder herself served in the British Army and saw active service in Kosovo. Her husband is a serving soldier who has undertaken seven operational tours of duty since their daughter was born in 2003. Louise is passionate about helping all the Little Troopers at home through the anxiety of deployment, the process of moving home and school frequently and keeping parent and child connected having experienced first hand the impact it can have.
What we do...
As a charity our main objective is to support children with parents serving in the British Armed Forces, regular or reserve. At the core of what we do are our values;
We are Supportive and Welcoming
We strive to be supportive to all British Armed Forces families, regardless of their situation, the only eligibility criteria is children must have a serving mummy, daddy or both in the regular or reserve British Army, Royal Air Force or Royal Navy. All families will be given a warm welcome and encouraged to join the ever growing Little Troopers community.
We are Passionate and Committed
The charity was formed back in 2011 because a Little Trooper needed support and there really wasn’t anything out there specially for forces children, the passion behind the founding of the charity is evident in all that is undertaken and achieved, so much is done with so little. The charity are committed every day to ensuring children are not disadvantaged due to their parents chosen career and the daily challenges that come with military life.
We are Accessible and Dynamic
British Armed Forces families are living in all four corners of the world, we aim to ensure everyone feels included and can access the support we provide quickly, easily and in a self sufficient way. The shape of the British Armed Forces is consistently changing and we, where possible, try to react to that by being as dynamic as we can be for the good of all the Little Troopers.
We are Honest and Approachable
First and foremost honesty is of vital importance, we are transparent in how we operate, within the charity is a wealth of experience of the military. Approachable is something we must be to enable us to support and provide what is needed, it is so important to us that you, our families, can come to Little Troopers when you need us most.
We have created a community for all British Armed Forces families; service, rank, location, military accommodation or private, married or not… none of these factors matter, what bonds everyone is that the children have serving parents. We recognise the unique daily challenges children can face when a parent is serving and we aim with our initiatives and resources to ease and aid separation periods, be it one month or nine months we will be there to support through that time.
Once a Little Trooper, always a Little Trooper....
Hear from some grown up military children
“Sunny days, exploring and having fun on a married quarter patch is how I would describe my childhood, although my Mum would agree, she would also say I was at times an anxious child who would worry. You see my father spent 27 years in the Royal Marines and was deployed to many conflicts, often places he couldn’t tell us. We even had letters and pictures returned as the mail could not reach him. My Mum said I worried from the age of seven when my Dad went away and would have panic attacks and sleepless nights that would result in numerous visits to the Doctors and chats with the school.
As an adult now, I don’t remember any of it. I remember Dad being away, but that was more the homecoming and the excitement of it. Nothing beats making banners and waking up to Dad being downstairs waiting for us to join him for breakfast.
As a Mother now to a “Little Trooper”, I have never been more grateful to my Mum for the consistency, love and nurture I received from her. Our daughter Kiki, is now 11, and she suffers with some anxiety and tearful nights when her Dad is away, something I feel incredibly guilty about. As a mother it is my job to heal her, help her and comfort her, but she ultimately wants us back as a family. My Mum always comes up trumps when I call her. She always brings me back to Earth.
I don’t remember the tears, tantrums, and refusal to go to school, I only remember the good. The friendships, – military children have such strong connections, the sunny days climbing trees, my Dad coming home, the time together as a family after a deployment…. and that is what Kiki will remember.
For any parent of a child who is having a tricky day due a deployment or a move, please don’t beat yourself up, be kind to yourself. These experiences will shape them, but in the best way, and ultimately they won’t remember it, just the good times. Little Troopers are spectacular children, there are no others like them. They are kind, resilient, caring and unique children.
I’m Kirsty and I’m married to Ian who has been in the army for four years. We have two boys aged 4 and 1. In the picture I’m 9 months old and in my second house in Chatham. We were about to move to Brunei.
My Dad left the army when I was 16; in that time I did 9 moves, 1 abroad posting and 2 school moves.
The best part of being a military child was the friendships. The patch was like one big family. We’d spend all day in and out of each other’s houses playing. When Dad was home life was very normal and in many ways it was an idyllic childhood. The hardest bits were definitely separation – either from a serving parent, family or friends. I spoke to my Dad just once during his 6 month tour in Bosnia. Even as a young child you are aware of the danger. But your friends knew how you felt and how to help.
The constant changes were unsettling. It’s hard to see the burden of managing this fall on one parent too. I think my sister and I grew up quickly when we realised Mum had to manage everything alone.
I look back at my childhood fondly. But my sister and I had parents who recognised the challenges we faced.
What I would say to any military child is ask for help. Your feelings are a normal response to your circumstances. Don’t struggle with any big feelings alone.
To parents I’d say that children are very resilient. But listen to their worries and always validate their feelings. Prioritise contact and connection with serving parents and friends.
Being a service child is hard, but no child is immune from difficulties. Often they become adaptable, independent and creative people directly because of their experiences.
“In 2012, my mum was on tour in Afghanistan, for the second time. This time it was six months, and I was eight years old. I was not worried, I was not scared, it was a normality for me. My parents managed to show me the excitement of her going away, such as going on a last day trip with my mum to Chessington theme park, her coming back for my birthday, my grandma coming to live with us and of course, in my experience, receiving the blueys.
One of my cherished memories of when one of my parents was on tour was when it was my first year of being at a boarding school, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had new friends, a new lifestyle and I felt at home. However, my favourite part of that school year was when I was playing in the school garden with my friends, the house mistress would call for me to say that I have post, and I knew that it was a bluey. So, I would sprint across the garden with joy. Then it took me five long minutes to open the letter, though the excitement and happiness never faded.
This photo is from that tour when my mum surprised me with coming home. “
My father was in the Army, he retired when I was 17. We moved around more when I was younger; I think I had 4 different primary schools before I was 7 years old. I remember living in Germany and Northern Ireland then, when I was 10, my parents moved to The Netherlands; and that is when I started boarding school.
Living abroad and going to boarding school gave me, I feel, the best of both worlds. I had stable friendships that have continued to this day and I also experienced other cultural perspectives. The nice hot Summer holidays abroad were a bonus.
When my husband was offered a posting to Italy, and our daughters were 6 and 3, we leapt at the opportunity. Experience of life abroad has hopefully given them similar confidence to take advantage of their own overseas opportunities.
I noticed that when our daughters were younger, it was simpler for them to make and form new friendships, and that it is noticeably harder as they get older. Remembering how hard it was to stay in contact with friends, I have encouraged them to take advantage of technology and social media platforms. These make it so much easier to continue their friendships. We always tried to catch up with close friends whenever we came back to the UK for visits; for both the girls’, and my own, benefit.
Do you have questions?
We want to hear from you! If you have any questions about our charity and the support that we offer do get in touch
Awards won By Little Troopers
Over the past seven years we have been very lucky that the work of Little Troopers and Louise Fetigan, our founder, has been recognised with various awards. These awards are so humbling and mean so much and best of all it raises awareness of Little Troopers and the challenges faced daily by the children of our British Armed Forces.