A new Bright Space opens in West Yorkshire

Bright Horizons Foundation for Children today opened a Bright Space with West Yorkshire Police.

The new Bright Space has been installed in the Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) suite at Holmfirth Police Station. It will help to reduce stress for children and adult survivors of child abuse who are giving evidence.

This is now the 88th Bright Space that the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children has opened and it's the 17th that has now been installed in a police authority ABE suite. It's the second Bright Space that West Yorkshire police authority have incorporated after a first one opened in this region in 2019. Delivering this particular Bright Space has been made possible through a combination of fundraising initiatives in support of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children and through a generous £2,000 grant from The Morrisons Foundation to the charity.

Oliver Coates, detective inspector at West Yorkshire Police, said: “This new Bright Space is not only a wonderful room for children to play in, but it also creates a place where they can connect with other children, their family, and supportive adults who can provide needed services. In an atmosphere of safety and trust, children and adults are able to make better decisions, regulate their emotions, and provide important emotional support to each other. Being able to offer a safe environment ensures they are not overwhelmed whilst giving evidence and means they get a fairer opportunity of achieving justice.”

The Foundation and its volunteers have transformed two rooms at Holmfirth Police Station to create homely and welcoming environments, which include comfortable seating and soft furnishings, and an extensive range of high-quality resources, art and craft supplies, games, relaxation toys and books. Bright Spaces are supported and sustained by Bright Horizons employees, led by an employee volunteer referred to as a Bright Space Connector. Connectors are volunteers who take the lead managing the relationship with the authority where the Bright Space is located. Fiona Stewart, nursery manager from Bright Horizons Leeds Day Nursery and Preschool and Rachel Finan, nursery manager from Moortown Day Nursery and Preschool have been instrumental in setting up this new project with West Yorkshire Police and will help to sustain the Bright Space moving forward.

Tracy Wilkes-Green, the Foundation's Bright Space Manager says, “We are delighted to have opened this new Bright Spaces for West Yorkshire Police. We hope it will positively impact the vital work across West Yorkshire to keep vulnerable children safe and supported. Trauma in childhood affects children's physical, emotional, and intellectual growth and development. Bright Spaces are designed to help. Safe, enriching, and nurturing play environments in domestic violence refuges, homeless shelters, child protection interview suites and prison visiting areas, provide children in crisis the opportunity to heal from trauma through play.”

For more information about the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children and the work that it does then please visit here.