Hannah and Jacob’s story

Many of us have found it difficult to stay at home for such prolonged periods of time. However, there are some children and young people who are forced to spend many more hours in homes that lack the basic essentials and comforts most of us take for granted. They are more isolated than ever before, with very little to distract them from their troubles, or to keep them focused on positive activities. Parents are seriously worried for their children’s wellbeing and for their ability to keep up with education.

By Pixie Parker · June 11, 2020

We are committed to helping children, families and young people get through this health crisis and to recover. Our Chances for Children grants still provide up to £2,000 worth of support, and we can release that in stages, to help with their most immediate needs, but also ensuring that families and young people have a real chance to get back on their feet over the next year.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions we are no longer funding any activities outside the home. However, there is a lot we can do to make homes a safe, healthy, and more comfortable place for children, families, and young people:

  • £20 provides books or toys for children who do not have any to keep them entertained during the lockdown.
  • £50 provides emergency essentials for the home, such as cooking items.
  • £75 provides a desk so a child can do their schoolwork, in a house that is otherwise bare of furnishings.
  • £400 provides a laptop so children can keep up with their education and provide entertainment for the family.

Buttle UK is already experiencing a large increase in demand. We saw a 49% increase in applications in April compared to the average monthly rate across the whole of the previous year. Even as lockdown is slowly easing across the country, we can see children such as Jacob and Hannah, are still facing many challenges because of social distancing. (Please note names have been changed to protect personal privacy).

Jacob aged 10 and Hannah aged 5, witnessed their mother, Iris, being hurt and abused by Hannah’s father many times. However, it was not until Iris found the courage to leave him and flee to her mother’s house in late 2019, that she fully understand how much it had affected not just her, but also the children. Jacob is only now starting to work through his anger, and Hannah is very clingy to her mother.

Iris and her children were waiting for social housing when COVID-19 struck, and the UK went into lockdown. This has meant staying with Iris’s mother for much longer than expected. Now that lockdown begins to lift, they have finally been awarded a flat through social housing.

Through our Chances for Children grants we help a lot of families fleeing domestic abuse get a fresh start. A lot of these families face similar issues in trying to set-up their new home. When you flee domestic abuse, you often must leave most of your belongings behind. However, the flat you will be given is typically unfurnished, missing even basic white goods. Domestic abuse will also frequently involve some form of financial control, limiting someone’s ability to work, or running up debt in their name and this can leave few resources to start fresh in a new home.

COVID-19 has only made things more complicated for families trying to take this important step forward. It is harder to access support services due to social distancing. Employment is particularly difficult to acquire right now, and without being able to regularly attend school, being stuck in a house without even the essentials, is harder than ever. Even as schools begin to re-open, not every child is able to safely return. Hannah and Jacob are continuing to stay home due to health issues that Hannah suffers, which put her as high risk.

Our Chances for Children grants provide a package of support to help children and their families with some of their urgent needs during this crisis. Iris requested help with some key bits of furniture, so we provided beds for the kids, a chest of drawers, desks and a sofa. We also helped with towels, sheets, and some new clothing for the children. As part of our package of support, we also aim to support children’s education and wellbeing, so we provided a tablet along with books, games and toys for both Hannah and Jacob. Finally, due to how challenging the current situation is, we have awarded a small emergency fund, to help cover expenses during this challenging time.

This grant is very typical of what we have heard from support workers are the biggest stresses effecting families, children and young people during lockdown including:

  • Replacing white goods and home furnishings
  • Electronic goods/laptops/tablets etc so that children can complete online schoolwork (one mentioned some children are doing work on their phone)
  • Internet access for education and for reducing isolation
  • Stationery and books
  • Food
  • Items to keep children entertained
  • Help with utilities
  • Clothing

Since April we have awarded over 600 grants to help children and young people cope with this crisis thanks to the generous support of all our donors.