The Little Troopers Blog


First anniversary of our Therapy Programme

We are so excited to celebrate the first anniversary of our Therapy Programme. One year on from securing the funding from the National Lottery, we are providing support for individual little troopers, groups and families.

Louise, founder of our charity, said “The celebration of the first anniversary is a bittersweet one for me. My brother Mark, who passed away at the end of March, helped to secure the funding for this project. I know he would be so proud of what we have achieved in 12 months.

“Having listened to families in my community and through the charity, I knew that this service was desperately needed. When I received 58 121 referrals in the first 24 hours it was confirmed. Recently we have started to hear back from families on the impact the support has had.”

Jack’s story

Jack is 7 years old and his dad serves in the special forces. Jack’s Dad is regularly deployed overseas, usually at short notice and sometimes on consecutive assignments. The nature of his job means he rarely gets to speak to his dad while he’s away, which put strain on their relationship.

Despite the pressures of deployment, Jack and his family were settled in one location until summer 2022. That summer the family were posted to the other end of the country. Jack had to move home and school for the first time.

Jack found the move incredibly upsetting and stressful. He began to get angry and have tantrums about the smallest things and cried for weeks. Jack’s Mum approached the school for help and was referred to the SENCO team. However, she felt that Jack needed support that was specific to military life and she didn’t know where to turn. During this time, a nursery worker from Jack’s brother’s nursery, mentioned the Little Troopers Therapy Programme.

Support that Jack received

Jack and his family were put in touch with a therapist from The Owl Centre. Mum says: “The Therapy Programme has been amazing and I am so thankful that the nursery mentioned it to me. Every week Jack would look forward to his session. It made him feel special that his feelings and experiences were being acknowledged and heard. The therapist went out of her way to get to know Jack and make the sessions more personal.

“I think it made a real difference that the sessions were face-to-face. Jack got to know the therapist and could be more vulnerable and share his feelings. The sessions have made him feel proud about being a military child. I think they will help him cope with change in the future.”

Jack received help as part of the 121 therapy programme. We have just reopened the 121 referrals. This programme is open to children from 4- 18 years old. If you have a child who you feel would benefit, please complete the individual referral form here.

Group Therapy sessions

The Therapy programme also offers group therapy sessions. The one-off group sessions are aimed at military children Year 7 – Year 11. They will be delivered in person by a qualified Owl Centre psychotherapist. They can visit local youth clubs, cadet units, community centres, after school clubs and other community groups. Group leaders are able to apply for a session for up to ten military children here.

Parent video series

Recently, we also launched an online video series that parents can use with their children. The parent video series is freely available to all military families. In each of the three videos, therapists from The Owl Centre cover information, practical advice and activity ideas. Some of the content is also part of the bespoke in-person programme.

Each video has downloadable activities that families are encouraged to print-out and complete together at home. The three topics covered are: having a parent away; moving home and school; and nurturing resilience as a military child. For more information and to watch the videos, click here.

Securing the future

Louise adds, “While it can be heart breaking reading the referral forms, I am so proud of the impact that the Therapy Programme is having. We’re currently working on securing further funding so we can continue to provide the support that is clearly needed.”

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