When lockdown hit suddenly in March 2020, home schooling was thrust upon millions of families across the country. For many this was manageable, if a little inconvenient. Some families however faced an impossible situation, but thanks to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity’s partnership with Sailors’ Children’s Society, Royal Navy families most in need were supported through this difficult time.
Sailors’ Children’s Society has been supporting disadvantaged children of seafarers living in poverty for 200 years this year and when the schools closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Society received a large number of distress calls from families in need. The rapid transition to home schooling was fraught with challenges and adjustments for most families, but some naval families in financial difficulty were left to educate their children at home without the necessary equipment to do so.
“With no computer in the house, the children couldn’t access their education as educational provision moved online”, explains Deanne Thomas, CEO of Sailors’
“Parents were not in a position to purchase a computer and fund the additional electricity and heating costs incurred by having the family at home throughout the day.”
Needing to move quickly, Sailors’ Children’s Society reached out to the RNRMC, with whom it had successfully collaborated over the course of several years. With a COVID Hardship Fund already established, the RNRMC was able to provide an emergency grant to Sailors’ Children’s Society, enabling it to supply 67 home computer packages to naval families in need throughout the UK, who would otherwise have struggled to finance this outlay.
“We quickly formed a working relationship with PC World to enable home deliveries to individual families within a few days, so that any disruption to educational learning was kept to an absolute minimum”, said Deanne.
“This allowed the children to once again access their lessons, complete their school work and not get left behind. The computer also provided the family with access to many sources of online support including Sailors’ Children’s Society Facebook community group which we updated on a daily basis with emotional and practical assistance.”
RNRMC funding also allowed Sailors’ Children’s Society to provide a weekly grant to families in need to help with heating and electricity costs, which had increased due to the demands of home schooling.
“Without the support from RNRMC we would have struggled to provide this additional support during these unprecedented times”, said Deanne Thomas.
The difference that the support made to the lives of these Royal Navy families was evidenced best by the heartfelt messages sent in by parents and children:
“My name is Delaney and I just want to say thank you for the computer. My mum has been trying to get enough money to buy me a laptop, but this is more than a laptop - it is a big laptop!”, said one grateful recipient.
“I really appreciate this kind gift so that I can do online schoolwork and keep up my education”, said another “I am so lucky that there are caring people like you out there, who help us.”