Scotty's Little Soldiers founder celebrates newborn and 10th anniversary for charity
Soldiering On column by Nikki Scott (founder of Scotty's Little Soldiers), Friday, January 3, 2020
This year is a real milestone for me and the team at Scotty’s Little Soldiers. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since we set up the charity.
Back in 2009, my husband Lee, who was serving with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, was killed whilst on patrol in Afghanistan.
Our kids Kai and Brooke were just five years old and seven months. Telling Kai his daddy wasn’t coming home is by far the worst moment of my life.
I was at a loss as to what to do and nine months after Lee’s death my cousin convinced me to take the kids on holiday. Whilst we were away, I saw Kai smile for the first time since losing his hero.
It had been so hard seeing my kids suffer and it made me realise that there must be so many other children out there in the same situation that needed an opportunity to smile.
I decided to set up a charity to support bereaved British Forces children. It’s not something I knew anything about, but I was confident I would learn along the way.
I knew immediately that I wanted to name the charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers after my husband – Corporal Lee Scott.
The charity was officially launched in 2010 with the help of my brother Stuart Robinson.
The first thing I wanted to do was to raise money for a holiday home so that we could send families on respite breaks. I knew from personal experience the importance of getting away from it all.
In 2011, after lots of fundraising, we managed to finance a holiday home in Great Yarmouth – our very first Scotty Lodge. I also donated some toys and I decided to send them to the kids on their birthdays – a tough day for a child missing their parent.
We started off with 10 members and two of them were Kai and Brooke. Now, 10 years on, we have supported hundreds of children.
Last year alone we supported more than 400 children. The help we offer has also increased as the charity has grown. It’s a tough journey through life for kids without their parent and grief hits at different times.
We’ve learnt a lot by listening to the families we support and try to respond to their needs.
We are here to offer health and wellbeing support and we also provide them with development opportunities, as well as giving them a chance to smile by inviting them to fun events where they meet other kids in the same situation.
We do our best to make the children feel constantly remembered and supported by their Scotty family.
We’ve got an exciting year ahead and the team at Scotty’s are busy with lots of fundraising events, a development in our support programme and lots of other activities with our members. Over the coming months I’ll keep you posted what we are up to.
I must admit that I personally am not quite as hands on with the charity at the moment, although I’m still supporting from afar.
Last weekend myself and my second husband Joe welcomed our baby daughter Dani to our family (8lb 6oz), so I’m currently taking a bit of time to enjoy her.
I’m lucky to have a small team to ensure the Scotty children are all well looked after, while I look after my own!