Fantastic Response to KidsOut and Direct Line Group’s Coronavirus Relief to Domestic Abuse Victims

Over March and April 2020, KidsOut launched its “KidsIn” initiative in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. With the generous backing of the Direct Line Group, the charity provided £50 worth of food vouchers to 3,200 families self-isolating in women’s refuges and over £100 worth of brand-new toys to 5,362 children in refuge. The majority of these families and children will have suffered from domestic violence before entering refuge.

The KidsIn initiative has had a transformative impact on the children and families self-isolating in emergency refuge accommodation. Generally, mothers and children arrive at the doors of a women’s refuge with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The vouchers provided for their local supermarket has enabled mothers to purchase essential goods and groceries, alleviating some of the financial pressures that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak.

Similarly, the toy boxes, have had a dramatic effect on the way children in refuge are experiencing the pandemic. Social distancing measures have compounded the extreme isolation many of these children already face, with most living through this crisis restricted to a single room with their mother and siblings. The toys have provided comfort, with each toy box being designed to promote social and educational development along with family bonding. Toys and activities such as board games, arts & craft kits, puzzles, and books will keep children occupied, entertained and engaged while staying indoors. These new possessions will help children cope with the trauma they have faced before coming to refuge and go a long way to preserving their long-term mental health.

The response from the children on receiving emergency food:

“Full tummy happy. We want to try every fruit and veg that’s out there”. Harpreet, age 8

“Getting good treats and something nice has been good. Mummy was happy too.” Ellie, age 5

“I love that I can have fruit and a treat”. Riley, age 10

Quotes from mothers:

“During the time that we received the food vouchers I was struggling financially to buy essential groceries, but the weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It helped me to feed my kids without worrying.”

“Knowing that there are people who help and support you and are there for you during difficult times in your family’s life has made a huge difference for us.”

“There have been days where I have hardly eaten as I’ve worried for what I will be able to feed my son for the next day.”

“When you’re always on a budget you tend to stick to what you know, so with the extra help, my family have been introduced to new foods and it’s such a relief to know I haven’t had to say no you can’t have those biscuits or that piece of fruit because we couldn’t afford it!”

“I am very honoured to be a recipient of this scheme that has saved my son and I.”

“What a relief it is to have help with food especially when you are in emergency accommodation, have children and are pregnant.”

“The voucher helped me and my child a lot to buy all our needs for over a week, including personal hygiene products and it was very helpful for my child especially to have some of the vegetables and fruits his body needs at this age.” 

Refuge Key Workers:

“It was a breath of fresh air especially for our new families who moved in last week with practically no money for food.”

“This has been an amazing donation for our families at a time when it has been so desperately needed. Thank you.”

“This is invaluable support to be able to give to families, especially at this time of increased financial burden, stress and worry.”

“A huge thanks to you and Direct Line for these vouchers. At a time when everyone’s food bills and needs are greater.”

A questionnaire was conducted with all mothers in order to evaluate what impact the provision of food vouchers has had on the children and families. The above table shows the percentage of respondents who strongly agreed or agreed with the statements on the left.

On receiving a box of brand new toys the children told us…

“This is my best day ever” Kai, age 5

“Is this all for me!?” Zainab, age 4

“It’s like Christmas” Thomas, age 7

“I love my doll set and the bedroom we made for her.” Ruby, age 9

“I’ve always wanted to do magic. I love my cushion too. Stroking it calms me down.” Jaspal, age 12

“I love my new sloth teddy so much and I have made bracelets with my sister and mum for some of the people that live with us in refuge” Aleksandra, age 8

Refuge mothers express their gratitude:

“The toys were a very exciting gift at a time of great need, not only due to the change of environment, the emotional upheaval of our family situation but also due to the confinement rules. In this time also of financial need, the donations of toys and the supermarket vouchers were a comforting reminder that we were being supported by the community.”

“We had a brilliant family night staying up late as a treat to play Monopoly and it was great fun. Lovely memories.”

“My daughter was overwhelmed with everything in the box especially the Lego as that is her favourite. It was a wonderful emotional surprise for all of us to see her so happy, and it made my daughter feel like it was Christmas. Words cannot describe how thankful we are.”

Refuge Key workers responses:

“The toys have not only entertained the children, it has shown them that they are cared about, which is invaluable.”

“The amount of wonderful products was incredible and really ensured that during this pandemic we were able to spread happiness by giving families boxes of toys and activities. It really made such a difference for them, one child even cried with happiness.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the children so happy. One young person who received a toy box was in tears because they love art and crafts and another family have said they are really enjoying playing games together as a family for the first time in a long time.”

“This has made such a difference and really lifted moral in the whole refuge. The children were so excited and were beaming as they received them. One of our boys aged 10 open the box and was literally jumping with excitement as it had his favourite game monopoly, which he had to leave behind when fleeing! He since reported to me that he’s beat his mum in a game!”

A questionnaire was conducted with all mothers in order to evaluate what impact the provision of Toy Boxes has had on the children. The above table shows the percentage of respondents who strongly agreed or agreed with the statements on the left.