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 were supported through this difficult time.
Sailors Children’s Society has been supporting disadvantaged children of seafarers living in poverty for nearly 200 years and when the schools closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they 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 the new method was via online learning at home”, explains Deanne Thomas, CEO of Sailors Children’s Society.
“Parents were not in a position to purchase a computer nor provide the additional electricity and heating for the home school environment.”
Needing to move quickly, Sailors Children’s Society reached out to long-time partner, the RNRMC for help. With a COVID Hardship Fund already established, the RNRMC were able to provide an emergency grant of almost £25,000 to Sailors Children’s Society, enabling them to supply 43 home computer packages to naval families in need throughout the United Kingdom.
“We quickly formed a working relationship with PC World to enable home deliveries to individual families within a few days”, said Deanne Thomas.
“This allowed the children to once again access their lessons and complete their school work. 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.
Thanks the work of Sailors Children’s Society and agile funding from the RNRMC, Royal Navy children were able to continue their education at home, no matter how difficult their family’s circumstances were. The difference that the support made to the lives of these families was evidenced best by the heartfelt messages sent 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 child.
“I really appreciate this kind gift so that I can do online schoolwork.”, said another.
“I am lucky that there are caring people like you, who help us.”