We are delighted to welcome Louise Smith to Forces Children Scotland as our new Youth Participation Worker for Central Scotland.
Louise will develop a network of forum groups that will enable children and young people from serving, reservist, and veteran families to build in confidence, develop new skills, and forge new friendships by working together to co-produce impactful projects which amplify their unique experiences.
We met with Louise to talk about her hopes taking the role forward.
What attracted you to apply for the role?
“I have been an advocate for children and young people, especially those from the armed forces community, for many years. As a military spouse with children, I have seen first-hand the effects of deployments and relocations, including international moves, have had on my own children as well as the other families in the community. I have followed Forces Children Scotland for several years and I am excited to get started with a charity that not only offers valuable support but also gets children and young people actively involved in the process.”
Have you previously worked within the Armed Forces community?
“My previous role was with Armed Forces families in America, offering support and providing evidence-based workshops for parents as well as children and young people. This experience opened my eyes to the vast amount of support offered in another country and how we can do so much more for our children and young people in Scotland. While there, I also organised events and fundraisers for the children and young people in the local armed forces community, which brought families together and helped children meet others who were in the same unique positions. “
What unique experience can you bring to the role as a youth participation worker?
“During university, I focused on youth participation as well as support services available for Armed Forces families. I am passionate about empowering young people to become active participants in decision-making and encouraging them to advocate for themselves. This provides them with confidence, pride and can help build resilience. I have found getting children and young people to be creative, can help with communication and expressing how they feel, especially for those who may find it difficult to verbalise their feelings.”
What are you looking forward to with regards to the role and your future with Forces Children Scotland?
“It is an exciting time to join Forces Children Scotland with the rebranding and development in services. I am looking forward to getting more young people actively involved and offering support to those who may need additional support. It is not easy being a child in an Armed Forces family and unique challenges faced can often be overlooked. In my role, I am hoping to encourage, support, and build relationships where children and young people’s voices from the Armed forces community are heard and respected.”
Forces Children Scotland works with children and young people from serving, reservist and veteran families. If you would like to get involved or know someone who would like to get involved in central Scotland, please contact email@example.com