We believe that children thrive best in
For children whose childhoods may otherwise be defined by risks and problems, often with multiple professional involvement, the space, trust and support to just be, can often succeed where more risk orientated approaches have made limited headway.
Chances to feel successful
Creativity & expression
Real human relationships
Making safe mistakes
Our approach focuses on transforming children's stories about themselves and their worlds to bring about lasting changes in resilience and emotional health.
We build engagement through the concept of therapeutic adventures - exploring nature, caring for animals, taking safe risks and the excitement and power of overnight, or longer, residential trips away from home. We emphasise creative arts, cooking, game playing and story telling alongside other relational styles of interacting. Like therapeutic adventures, they capture children's imaginations and facilitate the beginnings of building positive relationships in ways that feel containing, safe and accessible for children who are not used to exploring their inner worlds. Once children feel listened to and affirmed, they can be supported over time to explore who they are, and who they would like to be.
The need for our projects:
Experiencing disadvantage, trauma or harm within childhood, damages emotional health.
We know from research that in an average class of thirty 15 year olds:
-A third are likely to have seen their parents separate
-Nearly a quarter will have been bullied
-One in five may be self-harming
-One in ten may have a diagnosable mental health disorder
Sustained exposure to feelings of separateness, not belonging, fear or shame are fundamentally bad for children. Future life chances are impaired across education, relationships and mental & physical health.
Our volunteers work hard to help children feel special, wanted and important. They are alongside them through difficulties and this accomplishes important psychological tasks. Namely, demonstrating to children that they are worthy of love and helping them manage the outward effects of often powerful underlying feelings of shame, separation or difference.
For many of these children their worth has been explained to them in a different way. Defined as "in need", "challenging" or "at risk" they have come to see themselves as failures, bad or wrong. Our approach sees children as children. We believe in finding their potential and intrinsic worth, affirming it, and intervening early to provide children with experiences of feeling safe, heard, recognised and proud. In doing so we strengthen childhoods over the long term and support children to thrive despite adversity. We build resilience and begin to rebuild damaged emotional health.
Ultimately we are about real human relationships - putting people with people to unlock potential. And matching safe, warm and fun adults with the kids who need it.
We think of emotional health as being the capacity to appropriately recognise and manage thoughts, feelings and impulses; our sense of who we are in the world and how we relate to others; and our responses to social and psychological challenge.
We think of resilience as being inner resources, self beliefs, social confidence or other elements of psychological armour that help us manage or adapt to stressful, anxiety provoking or frightening situations. Individuals with better developed resilience tend to suffer significantly less long term impact arising from experiences of trauma or adversity.