“When my mummy or my daddy are away they still read me a story every night”
Aggie Weston’s Storybook Waves helps members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines maintain the link with their children by recording a bedtime story for them to listen to when a parent is serving away from home. Once recorded, trained volunteer editors add a soundtrack and create a personalised CD for each child so that he or she can listen to a parent’s voice whenever they want.
Reading Force and Storybook Waves teamed up in 2015 and since then children receive a Reading Force scrapbook and a copy of the recorded picture book, along with their special Storybook Waves CD and medal. This initiative continues to be supported by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and Annington Trust.
Ben Clubs are for children aged 5-8 from RAF families, as part of the Airplay youth support programme funded by the RAF Benevolent Fund
The Ben clubs on RAF stations nationwide enable children to engage in social activities, spend time with others from RAF families and gives them a chance to get used to being in a club before joining Airplay when they are older.
During 2018, a grant from the RAF Benevolent Fund has enabled Reading Force to be offered to several Ben Clubs children and families, giving a free book and scrapbook to each child. After the scrapbooks are completed, each child receives a certificate and medal for taking part. A special launch of the joint project was a storyteller event at the High Wycombe Ben Club.
“Spending time together is vital for all families, none more so than RAF families who face the daily challenges of military life. This Reading Force project is an ideal way to foster those relationships and ensure children stay connected particularly while parents are deployed.” Alison Wyman, Head of Welfare Programmes & Development, RAF Benevolent Fund
Every October, thousands of school children get dressed up in red, white and blue in support of the men and women of the Armed Forces
Red, White and Blue Day is an annual fundraising campaign for the three national charities responsible for the welfare of soldiers, sailors and airmen and their families, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, and The RAF Benevolent Fund.
School pupils can donate £1 and dress up in red, white and blue on a designated day in October every year, or hold cake sales and sponsored events. Red, White and Blue day is open to every school in the UK, as well as military schools based overseas, and registration is free to receive a welcome pack with lesson plans, stickers and other resources.
Reading Force offers its scrapbooks and resources to all schools with Forces families participating in Red, White & Blue Day
The national army charity has been a supporter of Reading Force since 2014
One of the early initiatives we worked on together was to design and produce scrapbooks and resources suitable for pre-school and KS1 children, to complement our signature scrapbook for older children. Little Ones scrapbooks have continued to grow in popularity.
Our charities’ joint aims are to reach and support Army families with young children, and for Reading Force it has been instrumental in helping us encourage a love of books for hundreds of infants, right at the start of their reading lives.
“We were impressed by the support Reading Force is giving those Forces families dealing with…
…the challenges of separation and by the simple premise that chatting about a book helps parents and children remain connected.”
James Hopkins, CEO of Annington Ltd