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2 July

Art packs and gardening materials for families at North Devon Women's Refuge

Many of our Community Connectors across the region have been distributing activity packs to families with children, funded by the LiveWest crisis and hardship grant programme, to help them be creative and engage with each other in lockdown.
art and gardening materials

One Community Connector, Ali Knight, said: “I thought sending out activity books and pens was a good way to engage vulnerable families and show that we cared about them. We also sent out a covering letter that explaining how they could contact us for help.

“I recently contacted the Women’s Refuge in North Devon to ask if I could also send packs to the children who were staying there.”

The refuge offers vital support services for families and single women who are fleeing in crisis due to domestic abuse and need a safe place to begin their move on after leaving an abusive relationship. Residents have their own room that they share with their children and the rest of the living is communal (bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, TV room area and laundry facilities). There is access to a playroom and an outside space for families to use. 

Ali adds: “After talking to support workers at the refuge they said they would ideally like some art supplies or gardening provisions. We realised that children would have substantially more value from the gift if we bought a big extensive art pack, rather than providing them with individual activity books and pens. 

“So I managed to put together a large activity pack for them, which included acrylic paint, water paint, paintbrushes, card, pipe cleaners, collage supplies, scissors, pens, plain and coloured card of different sizes, coloured and patterned paper.” 

Ali then got Guy Braga, Community Connector involved, as he is great with green projects. He came up with some ideas and delivered some gardening and nature materials to the refuge for use in their outside space. 

Guy said: “I took along a variety of items for families to enjoy, including strawberry and vegetable grow bags, mini watering cans, plant pots for growing sunflowers and a lavender plant.

“I also bought a bug catching pot with an integrated magnifying glass for the children to catch spiders and things, inside or out, and see them close up. The Lavender plant is strongly aromatic and attracts bees and other insects.

“There is a bug book which includes stickers that they can use to stick on the correct habitat picture page where those bugs live… or just stick them on their own things if they like the sticker!”

Rhianne Osborne, Children and Young People’s Worker at North Devon Against Domestic Abuse, said: “The art and garden resources arrived on Friday! The art equipment is one of the most used resources at the refuge. We not only use it for recreational purposes but also for sessional work and therapy.

“LiveWest’s donations will make a huge difference to the lives of the families and children that come to us and the work that we are able to do with them. Thank you very much!”

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