The Buddy Bag Foundation - Co-op Local Cause

The Founder of the Buddy Bag Foundation says the charity is needed more than ever after the country was forced into lockdown by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Karen Williams had the idea in 2014 to produce ‘Bags of Love’ to children who are victims of abuse in the homes they are growing up in.

The Buddy Bag Foundation was created in response to the rising number of children who enter emergency care after fleeing violent situations at home.

And Ashby Co-op has been supporting the charity in its work this year as one of their charitable causes.

By providing these children with a few essential items, they are helped make the transition into emergency care a little easier.

To support children in this situation, a Buddy Bag has been created to provide comfort when all else has been removed.

This is a backpack that contains all the essential items a child needs.

They include toiletries, pyjamas, socks and underwear. They also include comfort items such as a book, a photo frame and a teddy bear.

The Linton-based charity says a Buddy Bag is something a child can call their own, no matter where they go.

But Karen says that lockdown has highlighted the problem with cases of domestic abuse on the rise due to restrictions caused by Covid-19.

“Domestic violence figures have increased massively during lockdown and so we’re seeing an even greater demand at the moment,” she said.

“We had to respond and looked at different options.

“We weren’t able to pack any bags during lockdown, we use community halls and they’ve been shut. We contacted women’s refuge centres - we only to deliver to them - and they requested craft boxes for the children instead.

“And through the funding of the Co-op, we had some resources delivered and we’ve delivered 700 craft boxes during lockdown which has been brilliant.

“We’ve been engaging with the community who’ve been knitting toys for us - some of the them have learnt to knit!

“And in the last couple of weeks we’ve been doing the bags again, 720, but with a limited number of volunteers. There are children still in lockdown and we are continually packing our bags. The need is greater than ever.

“The Co-op asks for causes to provide funding, we applied and we were successful.

“What I love about the Co-op is that they’re very community based.”

The Buddy Bag will also include a postcard addressed to the Foundation so children can write to let us know how their Buddy Bag has helped them and to say thank you.

Karen said: “I set a goal in 2015 to deliver 20,200 Buddy Bags by 2020 and I’m pleased to say we smashed that 12 months ago. We have packed 27,000 bags for children now. One hundred per cent of the money raised goes into supplying the bags.”

For more information on The Buddy Bag Foundation click here.