VULNERABLE children have a chance to make happier memories thanks to a new project from youth charity SMASH.
The project, Memory Makers, will initially match 12 adult volunteers with 12 children during their final years of primary school, who together will help to develop the child’s interests and hobbies, allow space and time for listening and providing undivided attention and support them through their transition to secondary school.
Lyn Hartman and Hilary Horan, who both have extensive experience of working with vulnerable children, founded the new project through SMASH after seeing the positive results achieved with teenagers.
With local authority services stretching to meet the demands of an increasing number of vulnerable children, Memory Makers aims to support those youngsters who need it.
Lyn said: “If you can add something to their lives, you can add a bit that gives them positive memories, then they can hold onto that when something goes wrong or they have a bad day at school or see or hear their parents shouting. “It can keep them going until the next time you see them and give them that one-to-one attention they need.”
Guided by the child’s interests, the Memory Maker will share simple but meaningful experiences with the child, helping them to build up special, positive memories to take with them into the future.
Hilary said: “We carry our childhoods with us all our lives, so our early memories are important to who we are as adults.
“For some children those special times are being lost because of bereavement, family breakdown, domestic violence or parental illness. Memory Makers will give these vulnerable children something special each week to help build a store of positive memories.”
The new project will also help to answer calls for more work to be done by SMASH with vulnerable children under the age of 13.
Rob Chappell, project manager at SMASH, said: “This is a really exiting step for SMASH. We already know how powerful a supportive relationship with a trusted adult can be. The Memory Makers project will allow us to work with children much earlier and help them to form positive memories and attachments before they hit their teens.”Memory Makers is now recruiting for volunteer adults who will need to commit to up to two hours weekly or fortnightly to carry out activities such as visiting libraries and museums, trying out a new sport, learning a card trick or painting a pot.
Volunteers will need patience and experience to help the child develop their life skills and be an effective mentor, and in return the project will provide support, training and cover expenses.
To find out more call 01793 729748 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.smashyouthproject.co.uk.