When I meet people through the charity work I do the first question is usually, why? Why did you found Little Troopers?
Simply; because my daughter at the time was really struggling, we lived in our own home not in military housing and she was finding long periods of separation concurrently really hard to deal with.
I was a soldier and my husband is still a serving soldier, we had at that time a seven year daughter, we had encountered Kosovo, Iraq, Cyprus UN tour, Canada and Afghanistan many a time before she was born and since, add onto that countless field exercises and I think we calculated in her seven years her daddy had been away accumulatively 4+ years of her life.
At the time we lived in our own home away from barracks, our daughter went to a predominantly civilian school and the Army had very little involvement in our lives at that time other than it took my husband and her daddy away from home often and for long periods.
Madisons change in behaviours were subconscious to her, she wasn’t aware they were a result of anxiety or worry as they were subtle changes; waking in the night, every night, twice a night! regressing to behaviours of a very small child…not dressing, not wanting to do anything alone, asking where I was going even if I was just leaving the room!
I searched and searched but couldn’t find the support I knew she needed, nothing child specific, nothing to distract my daughter from the worry of her daddy being in a war zone, nothing to explain her recent behaviour changes, nothing purely because ‘I am 7 and I’m sad because I can’t see or speak to my daddy when I want’
It is now eight years on from 2011 when the charity was first founded.
What has evolved is an amazing community for all British Armed Forces families, regular or reserve and what bonds everyone is the military. You don’t have to be married parents, you don’t have to live in military accommodation, it doesn’t matter what rank, regiment, base or ship you are, we are purely here to support children with serving parents, our Little Troopers at Home.
Military personnel go away for many reasons; operations, courses, exercises and to many locations all over the world, as a charity we ensure there are fundamental resources and activities to ease and aid a separation period and a community for all that is welcome and familiar.
Celebration is something I also try to achieve, we are all part of something really special in this military community and it can be such a positive experience for both for adults and children so it is important to me to celebrate being forces families with lots of our initiatives.
My daughter is now 16 and just sat her GCSEs, we moved back into military housing in 2013 adapting to changes that came our way, since that point we have moved three times and encountered various separations including a seven month Afghanistan deployment in 2018, I really am living and breathing this life with you. I continue to work hard every single day to grow this small but perfectly formed charity reaching as many military families as possible.
I really hope I will meet many of you as the journey continues to support Little Troopers everywhere.