The Berkshire Freemasons have made a significant contribution of £60,000 to Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA), greatly aiding the charity’s efforts to support children affected by domestic abuse. This substantial donation will fund BWA’s Expect Respect project, which focuses on providing both group and individual support to children and young people. This initiative is crucial in helping them understand and process their experiences, fostering the development of healthy relationships in the future.
The Expect Respect project, shaped by material from Women’s Aid and research findings, addresses the multifaceted impact of domestic abuse on children. This impact is not limited to mere observation; it deeply affects their cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. Issues such as disengagement at school, confidence struggles, anger, and behavioral challenges are common amongst these young victims. BWA’s specialized team works to help these children and young people resolve conflicts, create safety plans, and enhance their self-esteem, addressing domestic abuse issues in a secure environment.
The funding will enable BWA to provide an additional 480 individual support sessions, averaging between six to ten meetings per child or young person. This increased capacity is aimed at making a significant difference in their mental health, well-being, self-esteem, confidence, safety, and their ability to form healthy relationships.
This grant, which is the largest for this quarter from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), is part of the Freemasons’ continuous support for the charity. The MCF is funded by Freemasons, their families, and friends from across England and Wales. BWA’s operations include running five refuges in Berkshire, which can house up to 40 women at any given time.
BWA’s work extends beyond immediate relief; they provide ongoing support to victims for periods ranging from six months to a year. Annually, around 4,500 people receive some form of assistance from BWA, with services available to women, men, the LGBTQ community, and all sectors of the community in need.
The CEO of BWA, Alexandra Simpson, expressed deep gratitude for the generous support from the Berkshire Freemasons. She emphasized the crucial role of BWA in offering a safe space for young people to share their experiences and receive necessary support and advice. Gerry Preston, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire Freemasons, highlighted the importance of their contribution to BWA’s project. He acknowledged the lasting impact such experiences could have on young people and the need for them to receive appropriate care to move forward, underscoring their commitment to ensuring a safe and positive childhood for these individuals.