Scotland’s Armed Forces Children’s Charity

The Royal Caledonian Education Trust is delighted to announce it has appointed Edinburgh Napier University graphic design student, Heather Fletcher, to join its Forces Life Project Team.

The charity has received funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Trust to work with children and young people, from serving personnel and veteran families across Scotland, to co-design a board game and accompanying comic book to help raise greater awareness about life in an Armed Forces family.

Heather will explore the unique experiences of our young people and channel their creativity to co-design a bespoke board game to enable them to become a force for change and help civilian friends, teachers and fellow professionals better understand what it’s like to be an Armed Forces young person today.

The Royal Caledonian Education Trust chose to work with Edinburgh Napier University because of its gold-standard work in support of the Armed Forces community, through the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant, and it’s reputation for supporting young people overcome unique challenges to pursue higher education pathways.

The charity launched a recruitment campaign with the university’s Student Placement team and six students, from their School of Creative Industries, grasped the opportunity to meet the project team, which comprised staff and young people, and deliver a presentation pitch to showcase their creative talents.

Heather will begin immediately, through virtual means, and plans are in place to bring the project team to Edinburgh Napier University later this month to participate in a series of face-to-face creative workshops. The young people will also stay over within the student halls and participate in activities which serve to inspire academic aspiration.

Having concluded the administrative formalities, we caught up with Heather to ask her a couple of questions about her appointment as Creative Consultant for the Forces Life Project:

What inspired you to apply for the role?

“I applied for this role because, when I read the project brief, I loved the idea of creating a game board which will allow people to sit as a group or a family to play and open a discussion about personal experience. I like how it can open conversations for people to hear each other’s stories but also educate one another. I think it is a great opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another through different ideas, skills, experience, and opinions.”

Tell us how your creative skills and experiences will help develop our Forces Life Project?

“I recently completed a placement with The Kelpies and helped to co-design merchandise for their visitor centre, which helped me gain confidence in pitching my ideas to clients. I also learnt a lot about keeping organised and working to strict deadlines within a team. From my placement I learned the importance of research and empathising with the needs of the target audience.

“Throughout lockdown I have also gained experience with branding, creating logos for clients as well as winning a packaging design competition for CanOwater. This has allowed me to develop more confidence as a designer and explore different artist styles and approaches to help fit a brief and communicate effectively with a client.

“Therefore, I hope to take these creative skills, experiences and, most importantly, confidence into working with Armed Forces young people, through the Forces Life Project.”

What do you hope to achieve through the project with our children and young people?

“I would love to create a collaborative board game which enables individuals to come together and share their experiences in a safe space. I think it is beneficial to have more awareness about the positive and challenging experiences that someone may face, and I hope the board game and comic book helps create communities to make sure people feel more comfortable knowing they are not alone.

“The Royal Caledonian Education trust is here to make positive changes in peoples lives, and I believe I can help make an impact by channeling the creativity of Armed Forces young people to enable them to become a powerful force for change, through the Forces Life Project.”

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