Meet Matilda, a Forum Member of Military Youth Voice Scotland who shares how being part of our Youth Participation Programme has benefitted her:

The youth forum has opened doors and opportunities that other group organisations wouldn’t necessarily provide. We all share a common understanding of each other’s life experiences and come together on a regular basis to talk about our struggles. Thanks to the Youth Forum, we have gained friendships that will last a life time.

We all have different experiences and outcomes from the tri-service. Mine has been unique to me and our family. It has given me an opportunity to talk and learn about others, how their coping strategies work, learn how what works for me can also work for someone else, and how sharing my experiences may help someone else and could continue to improve our supportive community network.

We regularly meet together as a forum and help one another become stronger individuals. We know that no one is judged and no one will be left behind no matter what their background. United as one, we as a forum provide a youth voice for our community and share our struggles whether, it be coping without a parent who is on deployment or coping with our forever changing education and the demands that come with it. For example, exam times are hard enough especially without the support from a whole present family which can be particularly daunting. Moreover, moving homes and changing schools are other examples of a daunting experiences. However, with the trust and support from fellow Armed Forces young people who have experienced similar challenges, we have conquered this and come out the other end as stronger and more determined individuals.

I would like to thank the forum for the all the fantastic opportunities offered, from helping me find my voice through being able to share my own life experiences and by giving me the the opportunity to represent the forum and talk in public at the RCET conference in Edinburgh last year. I also want to say thank you for the experiences we’ve had through the residential trips and the phenomenal activities we took part in while there. Because of the residentials, I have been able to meet many friends from all over the country and have expanded my circle of friends which I will be forever grateful for. I now have fellow military friends who share the same connections as me and we can completely understand each other’s worlds.