PACT launches new domestic abuse programme in Berkshire

FAMILY support charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is extending its work with families affected by domestic abuse by launching new courses for young people in Bracknell.

PACT has been running its innovative Bounce Back 4 Kids programme for primary school aged children and their parents who have been victims of or witness to domestic abuse in Berkshire and Oxfordshire for the past seven years, helping hundreds of families to break the cycle of domestic abuse.

The charity has now secured three years’ worth of new funding from local churches to deliver a similar programme in Bracknell to help young people and their non-abusing parent to recover and move on positively with their lives following domestic abuse.

The Recovery Toolkit is an eight-week course aimed at secondary school aged children. A 12-week course will run concurrently for their parent. Evidence shows outcomes are strengthened if both the parent and their child attend concurrent groups, however, we know that this isn’t always possible. The content in both groups is still valuable and we would welcome any young person or adult that wishes to positively move on from traumatic experiences.

The programme, a nationally-accredited scheme that will be delivered by trained PACT community support workers, will feature interactive group sessions looking at topics ranging from how to handle difficult feelings to how to foster healthy relationships and trust. It aims to help young people understand the impact of experiencing domestic abuse, develop practical coping strategies and techniques and to help increase their confidence and self-esteem.

Natausha van Vliet, Director of Business Development at PACT, said: "We were thrilled to secure funding to run The Recovery Toolkit for the first time as we have seen the positive impact that BB4K can have on younger children and their families, and we are acutely aware that there is just as much need for this kind of support for young people too.

"We know too well that the experiences of young people living with domestic abuse are likely to influence the way they see themselves and the world around them. The Recovery Toolkit aims to help them to come to terms with these experiences and to develop positive lifestyle and coping strategies. By also engaging with their non-abusive parent the programme ensures that families learn to support each other and move forward together."

PACT's other community project, Alana House, which supports vulnerable women, is also working in Bracknell for the first time through its new Building Family Bridges project which is funded until 2020. This programme, which aims to help women turn their lives around by helping them to access education, training and employment, is also available to women in Wokingham and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Jan Fishwick OBE, Chief Executive of PACT, said: "We are very grateful for the funding we have received to enable us to extend our vital work supporting vulnerable families and women. We know the need is there, and we know what a difference our BB4K programme and our Alana House service can make to people who need this support. I would encourage anyone who thinks they may benefit from these services to get in touch to find out more.

Referrals are now being taken for The Recovery Toolkit groups due to start in January and April 2018. For more information or to make a referral email jeanie.herbert@pactcharity.org, call 0118 402 1749, or see www.bounceback4kids.org. To find out more about Alana House and its Building Family Bridges project, including how to access support and details of activities on in your area, please see www.alanahouse.org or call 0118 9217640.