Home Charity Berkshire Freemasons donate £60,000 to help domestic abuse charity’s work with children

Berkshire Freemasons donate £60,000 to help domestic abuse charity’s work with children

by Peter Wells

A CHARITY that supports people who are victims of domestic abuse will be able to help more than 80 children thanks to Berkshire Freemasons.

Berkshire Freemasons have donated £60,000 to Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA) for the project which will help youngsters who have experienced, witnessed or suffered as a result of domestic abuse in their family homes.

CEO of Berkshire Women’s Aid, Alix Simpson, was delighted to accept the very generous donation from W.Bro. Gerry Preston, the former Provincial Grand Charity Steward who arranged the donation.

The funding supports BWA’s Expect Respect project which provides group and individual support to children and young people, helping them understand their experience and feelings and ensure they build healthy relationships for the future.

It has been devised from material provided by the charity Women’s Aid after research showed that children do not ’witness’ domestic abuse they experience it, and the impact can have

lifelong consequences for them, encompassing cognitive, behavioural and emotional effects including disengagement at school, struggling with confidence, anger and behavioural issues.

BWA’s team of specialist workers support children and young people to resolve conflicts, safety plan and enhance their self-esteem tackling issues of domestic abuse in a safe and contained way.

The funding will enable BWA to deliver more of this support with an additional 480 individual sessions – between six and 10 meetings per child/young person – making a difference to their mental health, well-being, self-esteem, confidence, safety and ability to form healthy relationships.

The grant from Berkshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

It is the largest this quarter from the MCF, and continues support for the charity, which has five refuges across Berkshire, housing 40 women at any one time.

Women who seek help were often living with their perpetrators and struggle to access housing, sometimes having to move from place to place to escape the abuse.

After successfully engaging with a victim of domestic abuse, the charity supports them for a period of between six months and a year.

In all, 4,500 people are helped annually in some way by BWA. The charity also offers assistance to men, LBGTQ and all sectors of the community in need of their services.

BWA CEO Alexandra Simpson said: “We’re extremely grateful to the Berkshire Freemasons for their generous grant supporting children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse.

“We’re working with young people who have experienced this in their own home: their lives have often been disrupted, with many finding it difficult to rationalise why it has happened and process their own feelings around it.

“BWA offers a safe place to share their experiences and get the additional the support or advice they need.”

Berkshire Freemasons’ Gerry Preston – its Assistant Provincial Grand Master – said the group were delighted to be able to help the charity with its ‘hugely important’ project.

“These are experiences that can stay with young people all their lives and they must get the care they need to move on,” he said.

“Children only get one childhood and we want to do everything we can to make it as safe and positive as possible.”

Anyone who needs support and help from BWA can log on to: www.berkshirewomensaid.org.uk

This article also appears in Reading TodayBerkshire Masons donate £60,000 to help domestic abuse charity’s work with children – Reading Today Online (rdg.today)

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