Welcome to another instalment of the Children and Families Blog!

This section is detailing how troubling refuge life can be for children and how mental health conditions within children is something we all need to take seriously.

The majority of children who come into refuge have escaped or are trying to escape a potentially life threatening and/or terrifying situation.

This ultimately impacts upon their self-esteem and confidence levels. Furthermore, they are moving far away from the home they know to move into a strange giant house that is full of noise, they have to leave their friends, their school, their clubs and any family members. This in turn also massively affects their emotional wellbeing and causes further fear and anxiety. This is most definitely seen in refuge and straight away we work to rebuild those self-esteem levels in order for them to have a safer and brighter future.

Through our work we have most definitely seen a massively positive increase in the children's emotional wellbeing. We have seen anxiety reduce due to feelings of security and safety, we have seen low mood begin to improve due to genuine feelings of happiness and kids finally be able to act like kids due to no longer needing to fill that protector/adult role for their mother.

Some of the work that has played a part in these changes includes a program called The Butterfly Program. This program is a 6 weekly program aimed to change an individual’s sense of self and increase their feelings of self-worth. It is a very interactive group which hopes to empower those involved to make better, more independent choices for their future. Pieces of feedback from this program include one client stating "the course has helped me; I can do what I put my mind to. It helped me realise that I am strong by taking that step to come here in the first place and show my children that they don’t have to ever put up with someone who doesn’t treat you right. It’s given me the opportunity to be assertive without being aggressive, knowing my self-worth and I am not a failure”. This piece of feedback was compiled by a mother and daughter team, aged 13 and 34.

Another key part of these changes in the children and parents include our weekly Active Sport sessions. Every week a fun and interactive fitness instructor visits the refuge and leads an outdoor sports day. These sessions encourage the family to bond on an intimate level through team work and play therapy. This is also a session that all ages are be involved in and even our single clients with no children love to join in as well as the staff members.