Children who arrive at emergency care refuge centres in the West Midlands are now receiving Buddy Bags stocked with essential items, thanks to a new foundation set up to support children at one of the most vulnerable stages of their lives.
The Buddy Bag Foundation was set up by Derbyshire entrepreneur Karen Williams in January this year, in response to the rising number of children in the UK who enter emergency care after fleeing violent situations at home.
“Currently over 48,000 children require emergency care in the UK each year,” Karen explains. “Children who arrive in emergency care often come with nothing but the clothes or pyjamas they are standing up in. At this point their whole world has been turned upside down, so you can imagine how daunting this period of their lives must be, especially for very young children.
“Restoring a sense of safety and security into a child’s life during a traumatic time is one of the first steps to recovery. Our Buddy Bags are something a child can call their own, no matter where they go. Tailored across a wide age range from new born babies to teenagers, they contain all the essential items a child needs straight away, such as toiletries, pyjamas, socks and underwear. They also include comfort items, such as a book, a photo frame and a teddy bear.”
Karen came up with the idea to set up a Buddy Bag scheme in the UK after a visit to Australia in 2014, where a similar scheme has delivered over 50,000 buddy bags to children arriving in emergency care across Australia.
“Starting in the West Midlands, our aim is to deliver 20,200 Buddy Bags to 300 refuges across the UK by 2020. To help support this aim we are looking for companies who would like to get involved in a community project. They can do this by either sponsoring Buddy Bags in their local area, by donating funds to help pay for the items we put in the bags, or by donating their time to help us fill the bags.
“We’re always on the look out for help from individuals too, so if anyone has any spare time, skills or items we can use, or cash to donate, all is welcome. For more information please contact us.