‘The Lamps are Going Out’ a project created to support Service Children from the Trust’s Force for Change programme

February 28, 2022

The Lamps are Going Out‘ was a creative-arts project, working with military families & veterans. Designed and run by ‘Stories Outside’, and awarded a £8,500 grant from the Trust’s Force For Change programme, to help raise confidence and aspirations of Service Children. The project used creative activities and themes of remembrance to deliver an engaging project to service children from Armed Forces families; many of whom had a challenging time in Covid related lockdowns.

Becky Steel, (Researcher and Engagement Officer within the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services at UCLan) military spouse, tells us
“The occupational demands of military life that are common across the Armed Forces means that many military families are affected by high levels of mobility and frequent family separations. For service children, the experiences that go along with military life have a major influence on shaping their childhoods and family lives. The demands placed upon the serving person in military families mean that adopting a child-centred approach is very difficult and so as a result, the voices of service children are seldom heard.”

The aim of the project was to celebrate the contribution of the force’s community with a theme of animals who have received the Dickin Medal, to honour the work of animals in World War II. Stories Outside created an immersive, visual puppetry workshops that tells the stories through the animals’ eyes but also include the perspectives of service children, so they can reflect on what they have learnt and skills they have developed.

There are currently 1,032 children from military families in Lancashire and Stories Outside were able to work with many of them.

Becky Steel concludes by saying “Through the power of creativity, service children were able to mobilise their imagination and find new ways to talk about aspects of their lived experience that are otherwise difficult to articulate”

Partners include: Army HQ and welfare, the University of Central Lancashire, Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council