Last Christmas, my one-year-old daughter and I were invited to a Christmas party at one of Hestia’s domestic abuse refuges. I hadn’t been working with Hestia long, but knew already of the profound importance of their refuges to those escaping domestic abuse.

Although my daughter was one of the youngest in the room, the other children still welcomed her to play games with them and the refuge support team. Fully in the Christmas spirit, they were about to play ‘Pass The Parcel’, a game many of us would’ve played as children. However, for those living in the refuge, this was the first time they had played. 

I always assumed it was a given that children would be able to play this game during their childhood. I had taken for granted the times I had played it as a child, never imagining that other children would miss these opportunities.

It made me realise that this Christmas would be a first away from their usual traditions - away from their home and without the toys they would have played with every morning after school. 

It opened my eyes and made me understand that children are the hidden victims of domestic abuse. They witness it. They hear it. Sometimes, they experience it directly.

The thought of a mother and her one-year-old, just like my daughter and I, having to leave their home broke my heart.

As part of the service that Hestia provides in our refuges, children are given the support necessary to help them recover from the trauma of domestic abuse through a dedicated Children & Families Worker. Their time spent together can allow a child to open up and begin to process what has happened. These staff members are crucial to getting the family back to a structured life; they help get children into a new school, help with homework as well as listen when they need to talk.

Hestia relies on donations to provide a dedicated Children & Family Workers in a refuge.

That is why my daughter and I took part in the 5km Charity Walk for Peace. The walk allowed my daughter and I the chance to raise money, all of which will be used to support the women and their children that I met at that Christmas party.

This year’s Charity Walk for Peace was held at Windsor Great Park, with over 4,500 participants. The atmosphere was wonderful and I am very fortunate I could share it with my daughter. Although it was a 5 mile walk, she may have got the occasional piggy back from mum! 

For the walk, Hestia was proud to partner with Sperry Marine with a team of staff who also raised money for the women and their children in our refuges.

The grand total raised was £4,400 and Hestia is honoured to have been chosen by Sperry Marine as their charity partner.

I am also incredibly proud of my daughter who stayed awake during the route (OK, maybe not the whole route)! It’s safe to say she slept like a baby that night.

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