Buttle UK Impact Update
We are about to mark a year of responding to the global health crisis caused by COVID-19. We are extremely grateful to all those supporters that have helped us deliver £4.5m in grants since the beginning of the crisis.
The way I described receiving a grant to somebody the other day was like being given a whole new start after such a horrible few years. It’s like deleting bad memories to make room for new happy ones.
While we could not have guessed the extent to which this crisis would impact the UK over the past year, we are deeply grateful that so many of our supporters immediately thought about safeguarding the most vulnerable children and young people in our society, who were already facing enormous struggles with poverty and crisis before COVID-19 added to their problems.
Thanks to this generous support, Buttle UK has been able to help more than double the number of children and young people we reached in 2020 when compared to the previous year (see our Impact Report for 2019-2020 for comparison). This spending has been spread all across the UK, increasing the number of families and young people we have helped in every region and nation.
We have continued to see high levels of need across all three core groups for Chances for Children grants – children impacted by domestic abuse, children in kinship care, and estranged young people. We have also been able to give more grants to families who have experienced other types of social crisis applying within the ‘Struggling Families’ category. At the same time, our boarding programme has held strong, despite the challenges with school closures over this past year.
Some readers will be aware of the increased pressure on domestic abuse services over this past year. This core group has historically represented just over 50% of our grant giving. However, with the pressures the crisis has put on these highly vulnerable families this has increased to over 60%.
A big thank you. The grant me and my child very kindly received has made a big difference to both children and myself. The children are able to deal with their anger much better due to having the trampoline to bounce on. They are interested in eating healthier now too due to having kitchen equipment to cook fresh health meals and they also love baking nice yummy treats. We are able to look up recipes from the laptop we received too. They are also able to do their homework much easier now which helps us all and is less stressful. Thank you again we really appreciate it
The biggest change in our grants over the past year has been on the items and activities that we give. In previous years, we have supported children, families, and young people to participate in a wide range of activities outside of the home from swimming lessons to football training, theatre classes to gym membership, art-based therapy to family days out. This year has required us to hold off on these activities and focus on providing activities and items that can be used within the home.
We have spent four times as much on IT equipment; three times as much on home appliances; seven times as much on educational toys and books; and three times as much on home furnishings. In contrast we have seen a 40% decrease in our spend on art, sports, and leisure activities.
Receiving the laptops was such a relief, this meant my children could access and complete their school work without stressing about getting even more behind. They managed to catchup on missed work which made them feel so much happier, also allowed them to access help and support and speak with family and friends via video link. It has made a huge difference having them.
Ultimately though, what really brings home the impact of what Chances for Children grants have been able to accomplish this year, thanks to the support of our donors, are the stories from children, families and young people we have reached.
Sarah (aged 10), Jeremy (aged 5) and Scott (aged 4) have been through a particularly difficult year. Their father was often emotionally abusive to their mother Susannah, but one night things escalated suddenly, and he stabbed her. The police were called in and it took 5 hours to safely get all the children out of the house.
The family has relocated to a different region of the country and is trying to set-up a new life and heal from this very traumatic experience. Sarah is very closed off about the experience, while the two younger children are confused and scared by what happened and report having nightmares about it. Additional difficulties have been created by the current pandemic, which has slowed down their move, made it more difficult to access services and to settle into a new school.
Thanks to your help, our Chances for Children grants are helping Sarah, Jeremy and Scott get the help they need to heal. You supplied a laptop and tablets so the children could do their online lessons. The children also needed new clothes, so you have funded those items as well. The family also requested craft supplies as all the children love to be creative and wanted some fun activities to pass the time. New bedding was needed for all the children, so you also provided this. Once the crisis has passed, we have also offered to continue to help the family access extra-curricular activities, to support them as they settle into their new community and make new friends.
We want to say thank you again for everyone who has supported us this year, and to all of those who have stayed connected to our work. This is, sadly, still much to do to help the most vulnerable recover from this crisis. But we have an incredible community of supporters, who are working together with us to accomplish this.