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Sultan launches ‘Little Legs Library’

CHILDREN from the Merritime Nursery were treated to a story time and a visit from the Gruffalo at the launch of The Little Legs Library at HMS Sultan.

The Commanding Officer, HMS Sultan, Captain Jo Deakin OBE and guests from local government, service charities also came along to welcome the new library service at HMS Sultan, which has been developed for Service families.

The Little Legs Library, within the Learning Development Hub Library, will provide parents and carers an area where they can come and take out children’s books so they can read bedtime stories to their children, or bring their children in and find time to simply enjoy reading with them. With Service personnel on courses for up to 2 years, having a library on base, where they can choose books, will help them remain connected to their children when they are away from home, by reading to them via a video call, promoting bonding and ensure that parent doesn’t miss out on all the ‘good bits’.

The Library also includes a newly created space where parents can engage in reading and some creative activities with their children, after school, weekends and during Sultans main leave periods, when not being used by trainees for study.

The project has been possible thanks to donations from organisations including Reading Force, Aggie Weston’s, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the Gosport Discovery Centre.

In addition, Aggies have provided further funds to create a sensory zone for children with Autism or Special Educational Needs, and will be organising story times and helping RN personnel on base to record a bedtime story for their children through the Storybook Waves programme so their children can listen to them while they’re away.

Project lead, HMS Sultan Resettlement Coord, Hayley Duncan, who is also a veteran and a Naval spouse said: “Periods where one parent is away from home can be really hard, especially on younger children who may be missing mum or dad or the parent who is away from them on training. This new facility will provide them with the opportunity to integrate more and strengthen those all-important bonds.”

“It will also provide additional support to those who are looking after the day-today care of the children and an environment where they can mix with other service families. We are so grateful to everyone who has made this special project a reality. I’d also like to mention Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) Rebecca Burch who’s support was invaluable.”

The LDH is a ‘one-stop’ service for advice on all matters relating to Resettlement, Personal Development, Vocational Training or just learning a new skill for pleasure. In addition, it provides a  focal point for Establishment personnel to come for advice and guidance on matters such as: access to courses for elective learning, including GCSE, Functional Skills and distance learning; funding for education and resettlement activities; Specific Learning Difficulties and the use of the Personal Development Record.

PICTURED BY PEPE HOGAN: The CO, HMS Sultan, Captain Jo Deakin OBE joins with youngsters for story time at the launch of the Little Legs library.