‘Imagine if your whole world changed in a day. Imagine having to leave everything you own and everyone you know.’
That was the message that was running through my head as I drove to my warm, safe home after a fabulous fundraising event. And I just couldn’t imagine it for me, an adult, let alone a child.
But it happens. Every year 48,000 children need emergency accommodation in the UK. And the number’s rising.
Children fleeing violent situations often have to leave home quickly, without the chance to collect basic items, so arrive in emergency accommodation with just the clothes they are wearing. Leaving behind their friends, family and all their toys and belongings.
The dash to safety is that fast. Many children are moved in the middle of the night and arrive at a refuge with nothing.
The fundraising event was for the Buddy Bag Foundation. It’s been created in the UK by Karen Williams, who was inspired by an article about The Alannah and Madeline Foundation in Australia, which has delivered more than 60,000 Buddy Bags to children in emergency care.
What is a Buddy Bag?
A Buddy Bag is a backpack that contains all the essential items a child needs, such as toiletries, pyjamas, socks and underwear. They also include comforting items like a book, photo frame and a teddy bear. Things they can call their own, no matter where they go.
Different bags are made up for babies, children and young people, girls and boys.
Each filled Buddy Bag costs £25 to prepare. Not a lot when it helps restore a sense of safety and security into a child’s life during a traumatic time and is one of the first steps to recovery. Providing these children with a few essential items helps make the transition into emergency care a little easier.
How you can help the Buddy Bag Foundation
Make a donation. A regular donation is a great way of supporting the Foundation, with every penny going towards helping the children. Or a one-off donation.
- £5 helps provide toiletries to put in our Buddy Bags.
- £15 helps provide toiletries, underwear and pyjamas to put in our Buddy Bags.
- £20 goes a step further to help the children. Not only does it allow us to pack essential clothes and toiletries but also things like Teddy bears and books to help entertain them.
- £25 gives one child a complete Buddy Bag.
Fundraise. However you want to do it, however much you make, it all helps. The Foundation has put together an A-Z of fundraising ideas to give you some inspiration.
Volunteer your time. This could be helping to pack the bags, or supporting the charity in other ways.
Join the Buddy Bag Brigade. If you’re a business owner, this is a fantastic teambuilding exercise for your staff to take part in a local community project, helping to fill the Buddy Bags at venues across the UK.
Nominate the Foundation as your charity of the year. Again, this is a great one for businesses.
Donate a product or service. These are auctioned off to raise funds. You can also donate wholesale or bulk items for the bags themselves.
The Buddy Bags are stored at children’s service centres that work with children who have been victims of domestic and sexual abuse. They can then be handed to children when they are placed in emergency care.
Congratulations to Karen for all she’s done in starting the Buddy Bag Foundation. They hope to secure sponsorships and donations from large businesses to reach their target of delivering 20,000 buddy bags by 2020.
Sad that it’s needed but wouldn’t it be fabulous if all children in crisis received one…
Find out more..