CHILDREN caught up in the nightmare of domestic abuse are being handed a bag of goodies by a foundation set up to brighten up their lives.
The Buddy Bag Foundation was set up in January by Karen Williams, a former director of the CTI Group, after she visited her son in Australia and witnessed the work of the charity The Alannah and Madeline Foundation.
Inspired by the work of the organisation, which at the time of her visit in August 2014 had delivered more than 50,000 ‘buddy bags’ to children in emergency care, Mrs Williams set up her foundation which is the only one of its kind in the UK.
Buddy bags contain essential items such as socks and pyjamas as well as things that can bring comfort to a child such as books, photo frames and a teddy bear. They are delivered to refuges including those in Burton and South Derbyshire.
Mrs Williams, 54, from Linton, said: “We only launched back in January but have been overwhelmed by the response to the appeal. People have donated their money, their skills and time.
“Often these children arrive in the middle of the night and are relocated with nothing.”
“The essential items make a real difference and it helps fill them with a sense of security and allows them to know that someone is caring for them.”
The organisation is hoping to secure sponsorships and donations from large businesses to reach its target of delivering 20,000 buddy bags by 2020.
Any money which is raised in Burton will be put back into providing buddy bags for children in the town.
Mrs Williams added: “If we could get sponsors on board that would be great. Ideally we would like everything in the bag sponsored by a company. The more companies involved, the more difference we can make.”
Nationally more than 48,000 children require emergency care each year, many leaving home without a chance to collect any belongings.
Mrs Williams told the Mail that simple things such as a photograph frame can help a child deal with the situation.
She added: “I met a mum and two children at a refuge, and the children were devastated as they had to leave their puppy behind. You can’t understand what children go through. We offer the photo frames so they can put a photograph in.”
Refuges in Burton and South Derbyshire recently benefited from the scheme with 30 buddy bags being delivered. Mrs Williams added: “I am in a fortunate position in which I have got the time to set up this foundation and I feel I can give back and look at the bigger picture.”