17 September 2017
The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children is delighted to announce an extension of its partnership with Refuge, the domestic violence charity, to support more children who are victims of domestic violence.
The Foundation has provided Refuge’s outreach community workers with mobile Bright Space resources to provide enriching play opportunities for children of all ages, when their mothers are accessing outreach services in their communities.
The Bright Space in a Bag was developed in partnership with Refuge which, in 2016, supported nearly 7,500 women and children; 6,000 of whom accessed Refuge’s outreach service, either by attending a meeting in an office or somewhere confidential and discreet in the community.
A top concern of Refuge is to ensure that, whenever possible, when an abused woman meets with her advocate to disclose or discuss the abuse, her children are not exposed to re-living the experience. Children are supported by a Child Support Worker, usually within sight of their mother. Resources are often needed to engage the children so that they can play and have fun, which gives their mothers the time and space to receive one-to-one support.
The Foundation’s Bright Space in Bag resources provide age-appropriate toys, books, puzzles, games, art supplies and equipment for children to enjoy with their Support Workers. Ten crates of resources have been provided to Refuge’s Support Workers across London, with backpacks, so that resources can be selected to suit the ages of the children being supported during each visit. It is hoped that the programme can be rolled out to other domestic violence services throughout the UK, should the programme pilot with Refuge be successful.
A team of volunteers from Bright Horizons’ Client Relations Team spent a day organising and packing the resources. Refuge’s chief executive Sandra Horley CBE says: Refuge is incredibly grateful to the Bright Horizons Foundation for its wonderful support. With as many as one in five children in the UK witnessing and experiencing domestic violence, it is essential that children are given the support and resources they need to overcome their experiences of abuse. The Bright Space in a Bag kits supply our child support workers with age appropriate resources to use with the children with whom they work. Given many children who escape violence come to our services with no more than the clothes they are wearing, this thoughtful kind gesture means a great deal. Thank you. “
Tracy Wilkes-Green, the Foundation’s Bright Space Manager said, “We are delighted to be extending our partnership with Refuge in this way, and helping to support significantly more children who are victims of domestic violence.”
About the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children
Set up in 2005, the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children is a registered charity whose sole purpose is to help children and families experiencing disadvantage and crisis, as a result of domestic violence, parental imprisonment, child abuse and ill health. Our Bright Spaces are indoor and outdoor play environments in homeless shelters, domestic violence refuges, refugee centres, child protection interview suites in police stations, hospitals, hospices and visiting areas in prisons. They provide children with the opportunity to play, learn, build positive relationships and heal from trauma in a place of safety.
Refuge opened the world’s first refuge in Chiswick, West London in 1971. Since then it has grown to become the country’s largest provider of specialist services for women and children fleeing domestic violence and other forms of abuse. On any given day Refuge supports 5,000 women and children. In September 2016 Refuge was named The Charity Times’ ‘Charity of the Year’ with an income of over £10 million.