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Forces children ask for a helping hand through tornado of change

Gary Seath 12 months ago


When parents leave the armed forces it can feel like a tornado for children, who have put their lived experience at the heart of three short films to enhance empathy amongst civilian audiences.

Working with Forces Children Scotland, and Effervescent UK, the films creatively express feeling anxious about what lies ahead, being lost and alone in a new place, and powerless in the face of change when making the change from military to civilian life with their families.

Because civilian peers, educators, professionals, and decision-makers can all relate to these feelings, it is hoped they can find common ground to enhance empathy and encourage them to welcome veteran families to civilian life, of which over 220,000 presently live in Scotland.

12,500 children from the armed forces community presently receive local authority education provision in Scotland; many have told the charity that experiences, like making the change from military to civilian life, are simply not on the radar of civilian audiences.

While some make a smooth change to civilian life, it can prove a worrying, overwhelming, and disorientating experience for others, often leading to moving school and home, whilst feeling an acute sense of loss concerning identity, community, and friendships.

Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and ABF: The Soldiers Charity, the children involved in the project hope to encourage civilian audiences to visit a co-produced website landing page to find out more about what they can do to help alleviate these feelings to welcome them into their new civilian lives.

Sophia, aged 15, was involved in the working group, whose family made the transition to veteran status last year in the Scottish Highlands.

“It’s so good knowing that sharing my experience has delivered something that makes it clear what it feels like to change from military to civilian life and encourage civilians to do something to help make things easier for young people in the future.”

Laura Falconer, Chief Executive Officer at Forces Children Scotland, said:

“We are very proud of the work children have put into making these films a reality – from sharing their varied experiences so openly at a seven-day residential to working throughout the process with Forces Children Scotland and our project partners.

“We hope the films will help people understand what some challenges can be for some children when their parents leave the armed forces and inspire others across Scotland to learn more about how they can help.”

Editors Notes:

Campaign landing page: Tornado of change – Forces Children Scotland

For more information please contact Gary Seath, Marketing, Communications, and Development Manager at:

Images available upon request.

About Forces Children Scotland:

  • Forces Children Scotland works directly with children and young people from serving, reservist, and veteran families across Scotland.
  • We co-produce projects, services, and campaigns to overcome unique challenges to mental health and wellbeing, education, learning, and much more.
  • We deliver life-changing experiences which build confidence, develop new skills, and forge friendships through shared experience and a sense of belonging.
  • We support educators and professionals to better understand lived experience and enhance practice to meet their unique support needs.
  • We provide financial support to families when needed most and help children and young people dream big and pursue positive futures.