We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded funding from The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to build resilience and improve wellbeing with military families and communities.
We are more than military spouses, parents, children we are human beings and who we are matters. Mental fitness is as important as physical fitness and advances in neuroscience mean we understand so much more about how to look after ourselves psychologically.
There are many benefits of military life; seeing more of the world, meeting new people, being part of something that makes a real difference in the world. Along with the benefits, as in all aspects of life, there are downsides, feeling isolated from your extended family and friends, regular moves, lack of independence. Having the time and space to remember who you are within the world, and have that sense of self is key.
Raise Resilience in a Military Context
Our programme has been designed to support families to develop the skills, and knowledge using strategies drawn from the science of resilience. Raise Resilience starts with personal resilience, how to look after yourself, building self-awareness about what might be getting in the way, and helping parents notice what is going well and your strengths as a parent.
The programme provides resources that can be used at home and in the community to enable children to learn the ideas in a practical, fun way. You teach your children things like how to cross the road and how to tie their shoelaces, this course will help you teach them to learn how to deal with uncertainty and develop resilient competencies.
This funding will enable us to reach 900 parents in the military community. The programme has been designed specifically for military families and will offer different date and time options to make it as accessible as possible. The first course will start in January 2022, the 2nd in March and the final in June.
The second branch of the project will focus on a Train the Trainer model. We will seek out those who are interested and select up to 28 individuals to become community champions, from various locations across the military community.
Support from the Military Community
We had support from General Deakin, MOD Schools Social Worker Kim Harrison and Gary Margison DCYP, The Chief of Staff of RNAS Culdrose, and Wellbeing Lead Gibraltar who all endorse the need for parental and child support. Many military families have home-schooled for more than a year in isolated communities and have reached a point of burnout.
Dr Iain Wood supported our application, noting an alarming increase in mental ill-health that they are currently not equipped to support. Feedback sessions with serving personnel, spouses, and children based in Gibraltar, Italy, Cosford, London, Defence Academy, Stafford and Falmouth highlighted a clear yet alarming need for wellbeing support, particularly for spouses and children. Many highlighted a pressing need for help which is inaccessible due to location and/or military-driven limitations. Strong feelings raised that boarding children have been forgotten.
Wellbeing has been dramatically impacted due to enforced separation from family and grave concerns were raised about the long-term mental fallout from COVID-19 for all, especially as many already felt isolated, overlooked and in transition. Military families overseas stated they often feel cut off and unsure of where to find robust wellbeing support which is where Bounce Forward’s project will address need.