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Service Children and Young People - HWIE HUB


A child or young person whose parent, or carer, serves in the regular armed forces, or as a reservist, or has done at any point during the first 25 years of that person's life can be described as a 'Service Child'.

The everyday experience for service children can present many opportunities but may also pose many challenges to overcome, at home, within society and, of course, at school.


Plymouth Armed Forces Covenant (AFC)

The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge by the nation to ensure those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society. Plymouth City Council recognise the contribution and sacrifice made by the members of the Armed Forces community.

AFC Children, Young People and Families Theme Group

The group convenes a diverse range of supporting organisations, partners and, of course, representation from Plymouth's young people and their families. 

Reducing barriers to learning is a key aim that the Children, Young People and Families theme group work to achieve through raising awareness of the challenges faced by service children, increasing identification of service children and supporting schools to develop their pastoral support for this group of learners.

This group meets at least three times per year and is one of four sub groups of the Plymouth Armed Forces Covenant.


Challenges for children and young people in service families

A special project has taken place in Plymouth to ensure the children of service families have their voices heard.

It was started by the City Council's youth participation team after members of the Military Kids Club (MKC) Heroes expressed concerns that schools did not always understand their specific needs.

Part of the film focuses on the cycle of deployment. The film was officially launched in June at the Armed Forces Covenant meeting and will now be shared with schools and children's service providers across the city with the aim of opening up the conversation about how children of service families can be better supported.


Sources of advice, guidance and support

Forces Connect South West

Forces Connect South West is a developing partnership that provide services and support to the military community. The initiative has been established with Funding from the MOD Covenant Trust Fund and it aims to improve the experience of the military community.  To help them access, better understand and navigate all public services as well as support them during their transition on leaving the services.

View the Forces Connect South West website

Veterans Gateway

Information, advice and support for veterans and their families. Available 24/7 (0808 802 1212), they state that they are also the first point of contact for all welfare needs (from healthcare and housing to employability, and more).

View the Veterans Gateway website

Children's Education Advisory Service.

The Ministry of Defence's (MOD) Children's Education Advisory Service (CEAS) provides Service Families with information and support regarding children's education. CEAS advise on education options in the UK and overseas.

View the Government website or email


Aggie Weston's is here to help serving members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and their families. They provide pastoral support around the country, and enable families to stay connected through projects.

View the Aggies website


SSAFA (Soldiers', Sailors' & Airmen's Families Association) exist to relieve need, suffering and distress amongst the Armed Forces, veterans and their families in order to support their independence and dignity.

View the SSAFA website or email

The Royal British Legion

View the The Royal British Legion website or email

Improving Lives Plymouth - Veterans and Family Hub

The Hub provides social activity, peer support and mentoring, casework, support for carers, and works with a range of organisations in the city to shape better pathways to employment, mental wellbeing, welfare, housing advice and financial information.

View the Improving Lives Plymouth - Veterans and Family Hub website


Shout is a crisis text support service for people in the military community who are struggling and need immediate support to get through a crisis.

View the SHOUT website or text CONTACT to 85258

Naval Families Federation (NFF)

A range of information regarding Education, Admissions and Appeals, Wraparound Childcare, Continuity of Education Allowance, Moving Schools, Overseas Education, Pastoral Support and Service Pupil Premium, Primary and Secondary Education, School Holiday Activity Camps, Special Educational Needs and Disability, Teaching Resources, Term Time Absence, Parental Absence, Further Education and Lifelong Learning, University and Higher Education, Domestic Abuse, Parenting and Divorce.

View the Naval Families Federation website

SCiP Alliance

The Service Children's Progression (SCiP) Alliance is a partnership of organisations focused on improving outcomes for children from military families. It is funded by the Ministry of Defence.

View the SCiP Alliance website

Thriving Lives Toolkit

Underpinned by rigorous research and thoroughly tested in school, the Thriving Lives Toolkit provides schools with a framework of 7 principles through which to reflect on their practice and a 3 tier set of CPD resources.

View the Thriving Lives Toolkit website

Army Families Federation (AFF)

The Army Families Federation (AFF) is the independent voice of Army families and works hard to improve the quality of life for Army families around the world - on any aspect that is affected by the Army lifestyle.

View the Army Families Federation (AFF) website

Royal Air Force Families Federation

The RAF Families Federation provides an independent voice for all personnel (single, married or in a partnership) and all of your families. They work to improve quality of life for the RAF family around the world - at work or at home.  This could include resolving problems with access to education or healthcare, for children and young people; sorting out problems with accommodation, benefits, and visas; helping military spouses find meaningful employment.

View the Royal Air Force Families Federation website

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) - Armed Forces

MHFA training courses teach people to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support. MHFA won't teach you to be a therapist, but it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis - and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.

View the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) - Armed Forces website

Reading Force

Reading Force are passionate about using books to bring Forces children and families closer together. The shared reading initiative encourages families to read, talk, and scrapbook about a book, improving communication and enriching relationships with books and each other - one page at a time.

View the Reading Force website

Little Troopers

Little Troopers is a registered charity supporting all children with one or both parents serving in our British Armed Forces (regular or reserve). These children face unique daily challenges due to their parents career choice especially when they experience repeated separation of varying lengths of time from their serving parent(s) due to exercises and operations plus moving home and school frequently due to service requirements.

View the Little Troppers website

Armed Forces Education Trust

The Armed Forces Education Trust is a charity working for children and young adults whose education has been compromised or put at risk as a result of parents' past or current service in our Armed Forces. The grants they give make a difference to young lives, helping improve their educational opportunities or supporting special skills or talents.

View the Armed Forces Education Trust website

Defence Discount Service

Defence Discount Service provides those in the Armed Forces, Veterans and the Defence Community with discounts both online and in store. The Defence Discount Service also allows small and large companies to get involved with offering a discount and encourage companies in local areas to offer discounts to the Armed Forces Community.

View the Defence Discount Service website

Plymouth Military Wives Choir

The Military Wives Choirs is a network of 72 choirs based across the UK and in British military bases abroad. Military Wives Choirs provide a head-start for women in the military community to make new friends, connect with local communities and learn new skills in a fun and supportive environment.

View the Plymouth Military Wives Choir website or call 0207 463 9407

Home Start

Home-Start is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. They are there for parents when they need help the most, because childhood can't wait.

View the Home Start website

Kings Camps

Kings Camps is part of the Kings Active Foundation and they exist to get children active, having fun and learning together. Sports and activity camps are available to children and young people aged 5-17 during school holidays. Kings Camps provide activity camps exclusively for children from Royal Navy families at 10 UK Royal Navy establishments from Cornwall to Helensburgh. Places are subsidised by the RNRMC to make camps affordable for as many families as possible.

View the Kings Camps website

Military Tuesdays - Skills Launchpad Plymouth

Led by Plymouth City Council, in alignment with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and working in city-wide partnership, Skills Launchpad Plymouth has been supporting both young people and adults alike to navigate their options during and coming out of the pandemic and is now expanding delivery to include a specific focus on support for military service leavers, veterans, those serving and their families. 

View the Skills Launchpad Plymouth website

Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare

Providing accessible support services that strengthen and enhance the resilience and resourcefulness of Naval Service personnel, their families and communities.


Royal Navy Community Organisation, Plymstock

This organisation provides support for service families in Plymstock. This includes support such as youth groups, family support groups, parent & toddler sessions, pre-school and creche. Service families are given priority, and ex-service people living in the local area can join as honorary members.

Call 01752 406680

At Ease

At Ease offers information, advice, advocacy and counselling services to Members of the Armed Forces and their families. These are sometimes especially needed by Members of the Armed Forces aged 16-18 years old.

View the At Ease website or email

The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust

The RNBT gives help, in cases of need, to serving and former Royal Naval ratings and Royal Marines other ranks; they are known as Primary Beneficiaries. We also help their partners, children and some others connected with them. Our beneficiaries are known collectively as the RNBT Family.

View the The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust website or email

The St John and Red Cross Defence Medical Welfare Service

An independent charity providing medical welfare to the armed forces, veterans and their immediate families when they are receiving treatment in hospital. Practical and emotional support ensures that no one goes through the worry of illness or injury alone.

View the The St John and Red Cross Defence Medical Welfare Service website or email


Togetherall is a mental health support services that provides: anonymous, round-the-clock online support with trained counsellors, a supportive community, including forums for safe conversation, free resources to help you improve your mental health. All armed forces serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families can access these services at any time.

View the Togetherall website

Naval Children's Charity

The Naval Children's Charity help around 2000 children directly each year and many thousands more through their resources and work with communities and other organisations.

View the Naval Children's Charity website

Scotty's Little Soldiers

Scotty's Little Soldiers is a national charity dedicated to supporting children and young people who have lost a parent who served in the British Armed Forces. The charity provides assistance to hundreds of bereaved British Forces children around the UK. Support offered to the children includes access to professional bereavement counselling, fun activities such as holiday breaks and group events, gifts at important times of the year and personal development assistance through educational grants.

View the Scotty's Little Soldiers website


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This page was last updated on 9 February 2023

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