The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (AFCFT) are providing SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity with a grant of £90,000 to support children in serving military families who have a disability and/or additional need.
The £90,000 grant was awarded to SSAFA in April 2020 and will allow SSAFA to provide serving military families who have a child with a disability and/or additional need with ongoing specialist and peer support, advice and respite.
SSAFA will aim to improve their wellbeing, reduce isolation and loneliness, and support and empower them to remove barriers to family life that they face on a day-to-day basis.
In many military locations, resources for children with additional needs and disabilities are often not accessible. Children who are denied the chance to experience new activities and make friends are at risk of low self-esteem, social isolation, and poor mental and physical health.
The charity will support these families through a number of services including, Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum (FANDF) and their Short Breaks scheme.
The FANDF provide families and individuals with an opportunity to discuss ways of ensuring that both children and adults with additional needs and disabilities have access to the best support available.
A biennial conference is held together with local events and the FANDF have also produced the Additional Needs & Disabilities Guide for families.
In addition, SSAFA’s short breaks scheme provides activity breaks for members of the Armed Forces and their families who have a child with a disability and/or an additional need.
The breaks include activities such as horse-riding, kayaking and bush craft, allowing military families to enjoy precious time together in a safe and nurturing environment. The activities allow children’s confidence to grow and provide parents with vital breathing space.
Sir Andrew Gregory, Controller at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said: “This significant and generous grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust will allow us to support even more military families with a child who has an additional need and/or disability. The Covid-19 lockdown has been difficult for all; those challenges are magnified for such families. This project will provide them with improved holistic end-to-end and long-term support to counteract the day-to-day barriers they face in terms of having a ‘normal’ family life.
“Both our Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum (FANDF) and the activity breaks we run for them – known as ‘Short Breaks’, will allow these families to access specialist support to improve their overall wellbeing, as well as reduce the isolation and loneliness they often face.”