Domestic abuse charity get almost £500k from Big Lottery Fund grant

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Families First Bedfordshire has been awarded a grant of £491,793 over three years by the Big Lottery Fund.

This grant will pay for a brand new, innovative service for women and children living in Bedford Borough called Horizons.

Over the three years the project will support 330 mothers and 138 children aged 0-14 who have been exposed to domestic abuse, substance misuse and/or mental ill health.

In addition, an estimated 489 additional children will benefit from the support their mother receives.

Services provided will include one-on-one play therapy for children, a counselling service, group based recovery programmes and a range of universal services aimed at tackling social isolation, learning new skills and improving emotional bonds between mothers and their children.

‘Horizons’ will also draw together other organisations working with women and children in a similar capacity in Bedford Borough to support the development of the project.

Families First Bedfordshire has partnered with the University of Bedfordshire to support the evaluation of the Horizons project.

Senior lecturer in psychology Doctor Antigonos Sochos and researcher Doctor Jacqui Hart will play an important role in how the services provided through Horizons will evolve over the three year period.

Dr. Sochos, said: “I am delighted that Families First Bedfordshire received funding for this important project. Many vulnerable families will now receive the support they require.

“I am also very happy that the research centre for applied psychology will have the chance to assist in the project.

“Families First Bedfordshire, also known as Goldington Family Centre, has been operating as a charity in Bedford for over 30 years.

“Our mission is to provide an empowering, community focussed service which enables families to thrive and have positive outcomes for today and tomorrows generations.

“The liberty domestic abuse programme has been delivered in Bedford Borough for over 13 years and in that time has empowered many women to re-gain control of their own and their children’s lives.

“Horizons will enable us to expand our expertise into other areas whilst providing a broader service encompassing support for children also affected.”

Michael Howe, CEO of Families First Bedfordshire, said; “We are thrilled to be given the opportunity to continue and develop our specialist services at the charity.

“Working with women, children and young people who are experiencing challenging circumstances in their lives is something we feel very passionately about at Families First.

“We know there is a real need in Bedford for this service and cannot wait to get started.”

The charity are holding a launch event for the project on October 24, at 10am.

Local communities, organisations, professionals and the press are welcome to attend.

Please contact admin@familiesfirstbedfordshire.org.uk to register attendance.