Project information

Playing the Way to Recovery

This project will provide Play Work for children who live in Solace’s refuges after witnessing domestic abuse. It will help children engage with others in a positive environment, breaking their sense of isolation and creating a sense of fun that is key to their recovery and longer term resilience.

April 2018 - March 2019

Charity information: Solace Women's Aid

Solace Women's Aid logo
  • Need


    In 62% of cases of domestic violence children and young people who witnessed it have also been harmed directly, with 60% feeling to blame and 52% having behavioural problems (source: Safelives, 2014).

    Children can be traumatised by their experiences, feel isolated and blame themselves for the abuse. This causes different behaviour and health issues and a disrupting relationship between the child and their non-abusive parent. These can escalate into adulthood, impacting the child's whole life.


    Solace will provide Play Workers in our refuges, to help children to use play to work through the abuse they have experienced. The Play Workers will be trained to provide emotionally intelligent play and in recognising warning signs of trauma in children. They will support the children and establish trusting relationships.

    The Play Worker will also work with the mother/carer to help them understand the impact of the violence/abuse and how play can assist in re-building the relationship.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To help the children develop positive and trusting relationships with their mother and other adults


    » To work individually with the mothers/carers and children to develop activities for them to do together to rebuild the bonds

    What success will look like

    Both the mother and child provide formal feedback at the end of each session to tell the Family Support Worker what they have learnt.

    Aim 2

    Break the sense of isolation experienced by children when they leave their old life for the refuge


    » Organise group events during school holidays to recognise important occasions such as birthdays or Ramadan etc

    What success will look like

    Informal feedback throughout their time at refuge and, if appropriate, the child will fill out an exit questionnaire about how the sessions have helped them change.

    Aim 3

    To create a sense of fun at this hard time in the children’s lives, helping them recover and move on


    » The Play Worker runs regular groups ( often weekly) with the children where they are inspired to be creative and given a chance to talk in a safe way

    What success will look like

    When mothers/carers and children leave the refuge they will fill out an exit survey including questions about their children’s progress with the Play Worker

  • Impact


    The children who engage with the Play Worker will be better able to recover from their experiences, develop positive, healthy relationships and rebuild their lives. This will enable them to recognise abusive behaviour and walk away from it in future, breaking the cycle of abuse. We will demonstrate the success though the exit survey and through changes in behaviour.


    We had a grant to carry out this project in our refuges during 2016, but currently have no funding for the Play Workers for the next year. We will only be able to provide Play Workers in refuges to the level funded through donations to this appeal.


    Donors will receive two reports; one 6 months after the project has started, in October 2018, and another when it finishes in April 2019. They will contain data, quotes and case studies from the mothers/carers of the child or young person and feedback from the staff working on the project.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £13,500 Play Worker To provide 1350 hours of care to children in refuges
      £625 Games and Art Supplies Equipment for the constructive play work
      £625 Intepreters Support for people whose first language is not English
      £672 Training Ensure our staff are trained to the best of their ability
      £1,875 Staff Support To ensure that are staff are supported to provide the best possible care
      £2,703 Additional Costs Any outstanding costs for the service
  • Background


    The Play Workers will work part time our refuges across 4 boroughs in London; Haringey, Camden, Barnet, Islington, Enfield and Lambeth.


    The Play Workers will work with 277 children and young people throughout the year across the boroughs.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Solace is a leading independent charity working across London. We have more than 40 years’ experience of supporting survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, and have gradually strengthened our specialised support for children, young people and their mothers/carers in refuges. The service has already shown hugely positive outcomes in terms of safety, recovery and emotional welfare in previous years.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sandjea Green

    Senior Manager for Barnet, Enfield and for our family and children’s services across London.

    Jools Ramsey

    Senior Manager for Lambeth and Camden, and she will support the development of the service in her boroughs.

    Sharmeen Narayan

    Senior Manager for Haringey and Islington, she will support the development of the service in her boroughs.