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 concurrent separation really hard to deal with.
I was a soldier and my husband was also a serving solider in the British Army. Our daughter, Madison, was seven years old. We had gone through numerous overseas deployments and postings since she was born – Kosovo, a Cyprus UN tour, Canada, Iraq and Afghanistan. Add onto that countless field exercises and I think we calculated in those first seven years her daddy had been away accumulatively 4+ years of her life.
I left the military when Madison was still small and by the time she was seven 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 her daddy away from home often and for long periods.
Madison’s 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 seven and I’m sad because I can’t see or speak to my daddy when I want.’
There was a need for a new charity that would address these issues and be there to support ALL military children who have one or both parents serving in the British Armed Forces.
What has evolved is an amazing community for all British Armed Forces families, regular or reserve and a special charity that aims to be here for military children, whenever they need our help and wherever they are living in the world. 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.
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.
We are also there to support military children through some of the other challenging aspects of military life – moving home, moving school, saying goodbye to old friends and making new ones, living unaccompanied… the list goes on.
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 an adult and my husband has now left the Army but while are now living on civvie-street, it continues to be so important to me that no military family feels like we did back in 2011.
My promise to you is that I will continue to champion military children so that their unique way of life is recognised and their voices are heard. My inbox is always open to listen to your worries and needs and we will continue to evolve and shape our small charity to be as supportive as possible and to benefit as many military children as we can.
Thank you so much for your support.