Half term at the refuge was packed full of Halloween activities including face painting, baking and a visit from a few spooky animals. Below are some quotes from staff members and volunteers who helped out during the week.

It has been lovely seeing families from all of our refuge spaces coming together. So has been so nice seeing families socialising, with both children and mums having fun!

Happy Children = Happy Mums!

The families in our refuges have had to leave home because of domestic abuse: home wasn’t a safe place to be. But naturally, we see “children missing their home comforts, toys, school and friends etc. This can make mums feel conflicted and even guilty about the difficult decision they had to make to leave that unsafe home. Activities like these are so important in refuge as it helps children to settle in, offers mums and children much needed fun together, and helps strengthen relationships between mum and children

– Sophia (Children & Young People’s Independent Sexual Violence Advisor)


We also had Alethea, from our Young Leadership Programme, volunteer to help out throughout the week! The programme aims to provide young people with opportunities to gain experience in a professional work setting; enrich their CV and interview skills, and build their communication and leadership skills.

We asked Alethea to write about her experience at the refuge over the half term:

I had a fabulous week of activities at BCWA refuge this half term!

It started on Monday morning when The Animal Man came in to show us all some of his animals. He brought in loads of different ones, from snakes to cockroaches to owls and (my favourite) the pac-man frog. The kids loved being able to stroke the animals; some were even brave enough to hold a snake around their necks!

From Tuesday to Thursday we had a range of different craft activities where the children could get creative with paints, glitter and pens. We even decorated biscuits at one point.  It was lovely to see how each of them showed their personalities in the things they were making. They also seemed to enjoy making a mess, especially at the Halloween breakfast on Tuesday when I think more chocolate sauce went on the table than the pancakes. However, it was great because although it got quite messy at points, many of the older kids (and even some of the younger ones) stayed after to help clear up.

The big event of the week was the Halloween Party on Friday. There was a bouncy castle, ball pit, tables full of party food and all the kids came in fancy dress. We’d decorated the atrium the day before so the whole place looked party ready. I think one of the highlights was the face painting that was on offer, and the kids had an amazing time having their faces painted as well as trying it out themselves painting some of the staff. It was fabulous to be able to put something like this on for the families, and it looked like they all really enjoyed it. I know I did 🙂

Here are some photos of what they got up to over the week: