Over 50 children from Army families at MOD Stafford were presented with medals on last week after the youngsters finished an activity book, designed to help the mental health of children from military families.
The book, ‘The Adventures of an Everyday Explorer’, was jointly designed by 16 Signal Regiment and Big Happiness Experiment, an Aldridge-based organisation that delivers mental and emotional resilience workshops and programmes to schools, parents, children, families and community groups.
Five hundred copies of the book and activity packs, supported by an online platform and aimed at military children aged from six to twelve, were recently distributed to families at MOD Stafford.
The book covers issues highlighted by families at the military base and includes photos and drawings produced by Army families with characters based on some of the families at MOD Stafford.
The book project was the brainchild of Captain John Kennaugh, 16 Signal Regiment, who received a Meritorious Service Medal after the children’s medal parade.
Captain Kennaugh said: “We know that having children who are happy massively helps with alleviating stress on any parent. For our soldiers, it’s especially important that their children can mentally help themselves when needed. This could be the stress caused by coronavirus and not being with friends at school, the uncertainty of moving house, area and school or dealing with a parent who has been deployed overseas on operations or exercises.
“This book has really helped to strengthen the children’s mental health and resilience by enabling them to process the ‘big feelings’ that arise in these stressful situations. It has made the children feel more supported and less excluded from social circles.
“We are committed to supporting our families with day-to-day stresses and moments of crisis. We were careful to ensure the book encompasses cultural differences given the significant number of Nepalese families that live on camp, with parents serving in the Queen’s Gurkha Signals.”
The medals were presented by Brigadier AJ Smith, Commander of the Army in the West Midlands, Lieutenant Colonel Pete Brunton, Commanding Officer 16 Signal Regiment, and Theo Clarke MP (Stafford).
The medals were bespoke miniature medals made of metal and displayed the dandelion, the emblem of the military child, and the word Strength, a key theme running through the book.