A NEW initiative between RAF Lossiemouth, 39 Engineer Regiment and Moray Council has secured £370k in charitable funding, to establish a dedicated support network for Forces children in the region’s schools.
The cash has been awarded to Moray’s Dandelion Project by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund, which supports the Armed Forces community.
The project seeks to ensure that all forces children have the right conditions and environment in their school setting to thrive, no matter what challenges their serving parent’s military commitments may generate.
A dedicated team of staff will be employed to provide in-school support for Forces children.
Bespoke training will be provided to enable school staff to better understand the complex nuances of service life. The project has been financed for three years by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and aims to create a positive and proactive attitude towards supporting Forces children in the region.
The detrimental impact service life can have on children is well documented through academic research and local-lived experiences, which have seen significant drops in attendance and wellbeing during periods where a parent is deployed on operations.
Sarah Riley-Evans, the lead for all of RAF Lossiemouth’s external engagement, and who applied for the grant on behalf of Defence and Moray Council, said: “This is the single largest Armed Forces Covenant grant received in Moray to date, and reflects the ambition of the Dandelion Project, and the enduring partnership we have developed with Moray Council.
“I am excited at the potential this innovative project creates for all Forces children in Moray to have the right conditions they need to bloom and grow strong.”
Station Commander of RAF Lossiemouth, Group Captain Jim Walls, said: “I am delighted that the hard work of my team, building relationships and forging close partnerships with Moray Council and local schools has resulted in this success.
“As I prepare to pass on the duties of Commanding Officer to my successor, I am heartened to know that Forces children across Moray will benefit from the lasting legacy created by this partnership.”
Moray Council’s Business Support Team manager for education, Lindsey Stanley, said: “Integrating children of military families into what – for many – is a different education system presents challenges. This charitable grant will be a massive boost in the support that we can offer.
“We have been working closely with RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks for many years to ensure families have the best experience while they are posted here; this award recognises how well we work together as partners, and the importance to us of our relationship with the military community.”
Commanding Officer of 39 Engineer Regiment, Lt Col Jamie Stuart, said: “I have been struck by the commitment already shown by local schools to supporting the Forces child, and we are delighted to be part of this initiative which will build upon these foundations and create a toolbox of resources and training to empower Moray’s educators.”
The chief executive of the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund, Melloney Poole, said: “We are pleased to support RAF Lossiemouth under our Removing Barriers to Family Life programme.
“Working in conjunction with schools and military bases will allow them to push for policy changes where needed, in support of military families who may be experiencing significant and emotional life events.”
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