The Royal Caledonian Education Trust has received funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to work with children and young people, from serving personnel and veteran families across Scotland, to develop a board game and comic book resource to raise greater awareness about their unique experiences to civilian peers and professionals.
The Forces Life Project will enable Armed Forces young people to become a force for change, channeling their creativity to develop the board game and comic book resource to explore and discuss many of their unique positive and challenging experiences to civilian peers, classmates and education professionals across Scotland.
The inspiration to develop the project came from a series of creative workshops delivered by Dekko Comics which Armed Forces young people, from the charity’s Military Youth Forum, attended. The sessions encouraged the young people to work in small groups to explore creative ways of expressing their unique experiences in an Armed Forces family.
Many positive experiences, such as an opportunity to travel, absorb a range of cultures and meet a greater diversity of people, compared to civilian peers, can enhance their development as young adults, who can be equipped with a unique sense of determination, resilience and confidence to realise their potential and pursue positive futures.
However, the deployment and uncertainty concerning loved ones, living with a family member with life-changing physical or psychological wounds, regular relocations and disrupted friendships can present many unique challenges to Armed Forces young people, impacting on mental health and wellbeing, education and learning as well as so much more.
Research carried out by the Royal Caledonian Education Trust indicated 45% of over six-hundred Armed Forces young people disagreed with the statement that their teachers understood what it is like to have or have had a parent in the Armed Forces. Similar findings were also collated when asked about civilian peers and awareness of additional positive and challenging experiences.
Emily is a member of the charity’s Military Youth Voice Scotland Forum, who participated in the creative sessions with Dekko Comics and will join the project team for the next year. For Emily, the importance and purpose of the Forces Life Project is clear, and she has called on greater numbers of Armed Forces young people to come forward to join her to get involved in the project.
“The Forces Life project will teach civilian friends and teachers what it is like to be a forces child and they’ll be able to better understand how it feels when parents have been deployed and so much more. If there’s more forces young people out there who want to get involved in the project, I hope they seriously think about joining us to help raise awareness.”
The Forces Life Project will adopt a co-production approach to enable Armed Forces young people to fully contribute their unique experiences, creativity and voice to shape the concepts and design elements of board game and comic book as well as promote the resource to schools and wider community settings which engage with young people across Scotland.
The Board game and comic book resource will launch in February 2022 and the Royal Caledonian Education Trust has issued a call to young people, from either a serving personnel or veteran family in Scotland to join the Forces Life Project to contribute their experiences and creativity towards the development of the board game and comic book resource.
Laura Falconer, Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Caledonian Education Trust said:
“At the Royal Caledonian Education Trust, we are committed to taking a children’s rights-based approach and work directly with Armed Forces children and young people across Scotland to ensure their unique experiences and voice shape all aspects of our work.
“The Forces Life Project provides an exciting opportunity for Armed Forces young people across Scotland to work together to contribute their unique experiences and creativity to design a board game and comic book resource which will make a significant impact to help civilian peers and professionals better understand what it is like to be an Armed Forces young person today.”