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Project information

Children's Therapeutic and Play Den

We would like to create a dedicated play and theraputic space for children affected by domestic violence living in refuge. Here, vital support work will take place to support children dealing with issues such as emotional trauma, loneliness and anxiety, and help them just to be children again.

January 2017 - December 2017

Charity information: Birmingham & Solihull Women's Aid

Birmingham & Solihull Women's Aid logo
  • Need


    Statistics show that in 70% of cases where women are abused, children are directly abused themselves. Children miss a 'normal' childhood, forced to grow up with far more responsibility than a child should, often being the carer for their mother or siblings.
    Ed, 9 years, took on the responsibility of cooking and caring for his two siblings, making sure they got to school as he was petrified that they would be separated.
    Children's life chances are significantly curtailed.


    We will create a vital play and therapeutic space at our new refuge in Birmingham which has no such space or facility. Specialist Children’s Workers will run sessions to help children to come to terms with what has happened while they are in refuge, and move forwards confidently. This will help them to find a voice, build their self-esteem, independence, address anxieties, interact with others to recognise they are not alone, and also, have fun.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Children are able to speak about and make sense of their experiences of abuse.


    » One-to-one sessions with a specialist Children's Worker to understand and address each child's individual support needs.

    What success will look like

    Each child will have a dedicated needs analysis against which we will continuously monitor progress. We will track changes in their ability to speak/understand their experiences

    Aim 2

    Children are able to vocalise fears and risks, and feel safer.


    » One-to-one sessions with a specialist Children's Worker to understand and address each child's individual support needs.
    » Children's Worker will support the child to develop their own safety strategies and identify trusted people who they can turn to if needed.
    » Group sessions bringing children together so they can recognise they are not alone.

    What success will look like

    Through bespoke activities such as scrapbooks, an emotion tree and mood maps, diaries and one-tone chats.

    Aim 3

    Children are able to have fun and participate more actively at school and in their communities.


    » Confidence and self-esteem building exercises are encouraged by the Children's Workers, taking small steps in a safe environment.
    » Shared play with other children in refuge.
    » Shared activities in the Children's Den and trips locally which build the child's confidence.
    » Homework clubs and holiday clubs in the Children's Den to support numeracy and literacy.

    What success will look like

    Keep a log of observations and comments to monitor changes in levels of confidence, the ability to speak out and taking risks. We will also record all anecdotal evidence.

    Aim 4

    Children have more positive family relationships which have often been fractured by the abuse.


    » Family support sessions in the Children's Den to re-establish strong mother-child bonds and talk about what has happened, moving forwards.
    » Shared mother-child and sibling play supported by the Children's Worker in the Children's Den.

    What success will look like

    We will gather evaluation from children, and from mothers regarding their perceptions of developments in their children through questionnaires, meetings and comments.

    Aim 5

    Children have improved educational performance as they are able to focus more.


    » Homework clubs and holiday clubs in the Children's Den to support numeracy and literacy.
    » One-to-one sessions with a specialist Children's Worker to understand and address each child's individual support needs.

    What success will look like

    We will gather feedback from schools, levels of engagement in lessons, interest and willingness to learn and be involved in activities at school.

  • Impact


    Children feel safer and are more resilient; they can focus on the future and their interests and positives; mother-child communication is stronger including boundaries and routines.
    On leaving refuge, our Floating Support workers track and support families as needed; we receive schools feedback; and service user feedback from wome and children once resettled into the community.


    Women coming into to refuge may be suspicious of therapeautic support and may feel concerned about their children taking part in shared play activties with other children.
    We always fully explain the support process and the difference that it can make. We never undertake any activities without the mother's permission and understanding. We involve mothers in play sessions and shared play. Women can immediately see the difference the therapeutic and play work is making, and are fully supportive.


    We will provide quarterly bulletins with comments from the children, photographs of work undertaken in the Children's Den, images of children's artwork and writing, and a full report on activities and numbers worked with.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £57,130

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £12,850 Ground works Concrete strip footings, trenching and pipe work for services like foul, water and electric
      £31,420 Supply & install of building Supply and installation of the building including all materials for example doors and windows.
      £12,860 Plumbing & Electrical Supply and installation of all sanitary ware and internal pipe work.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid £30,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our fifth refuge where we would like to develop the Children's Den is in the west of Birmingham. It is situated in a fantastic location with excellent public transport links and great local ammenities such as local parks, a swimming pool and library. However, the women and children living in refuge often need to slowly build their confidence in accessing these, and do so within the safety of the refuge.


    This project will work with children aged 0-16 years affected by domestic violence, living in our new refuge in west Birmingham. Due to the nature of refuge, they will come from across Birmingham, and from all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. The project will also help women through building family relationships and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the entire family unit.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid has been supporting women and children affected by issues of violence and abuse for over 35 years. We are the leading provider of support services in the West Midlands. We have delivered specialist children’s work in our refuges for over 20 years. Evaluation of our children’s support work in refuge has shown that 90% of children report that they feel much more confident and happier, and sharing experiences helped them to address issues of isolation and blame.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Children's Worker

    Our specialist Children's Workers will deliver a full programme of play and therapeutic work in the Children's Den.

    Refuge Manager

    The Refuge Manager will oversee all of the support work, and ensure all health and safety compliance of the Children's Den and activities.

    Refuge Worker

    The Refuge Worker will undertake the family's support work against a full needs analysis ensuring their support needs are met.

    Maintenance Worker

    Our Maintenance Worker will ensure that the Children's Den is well-maintained.

Living with domestic violence (DV), the anger 10 year old Tom felt manifested in every aspect of his life. At school he was consistently in trouble, playing truant, associating with older children, and leading to anti-social behaviour.

Tom's story is just one way DV impacts children