The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children
Making a difference
Bright Horizons Family Solutions is committed to making a difference, not only in the lives of the thousands of children we care for daily in our nurseries, but also in the communities where we live and work. The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, founded by our parent company in the USA in 1999, is our way of putting that commitment into practical purpose where it is most needed.
What is the need?
We launched the Foundation in Europe in 2005, with the specific aim of helping families and children in crisis, living in temporary accommodation or fleeing from domestic violence for example. The need is great and the figures are shocking:
- One woman in four will experience domestic violence in her lifetime: in 50% of cases the children of abused women are also directly abused (Refuge)
- More than 90,000 homeless children in England are living in temporary accommodation (Why End Child Poverty Key Facts)
What can we do?
We work with local community agencies and our clients to create Bright Spaces©, rooms or garden areas in homeless shelters and temporary housing facilities where children and families can play, learn, have fun and most of all feel safe.
We know that many of our staff members are already closely involved in their communities and we support them by awarding Volunteer Grants to charities in which they actively volunteer. Additionally through our annual Make a Difference awards we recognise our employees who have made a difference in their communities and make a donation in their name to the causes of their choice.
Our staff teams, children and nursery families, together with our clients, work tirelessly to raise funds for and awareness of our Foundation. One of each year’s highlights is the Walk On series of family-friendly sponsored walks taking place in nurseries across the country every summer – rain or shine!
What difference does it make?
With the help of our Foundation supporters we really are able to make a real difference in the lives of children and families. Here is a story from just one of the 31 Bright Spaces we have opened since launching the foundation in 2005.
When we spoke to the residents at one shelter we asked the teenagers what they would like in their teen room - they said “a sofa” and “somewhere to do my homework”. We heard from the shelter team later how the Bright Space had brought some much needed peace into the life of one young girl:
“We had a 14 year old girl who would get in from school, make herself a cup of tea and go straight up to the teen room. She would sit on the sofa drinking her tea in total silence. She valued the peace and quiet and the room meant a lot to her as it was a place she could gather her thoughts and relax.”
Each year staff teams aim to bring a little seasonal joy and comfort to children sheltering in Women’s Aid refuges by distributing shoe boxes filled with age-appropriate gifts. Here is an extract from a letter we received from the mother of one of these children:
"Thank you for all the presents for myself and my children. It made me cry because it was nice to see my children so happy and excited when opening the presents. I have not seen them like this for a long time.”
That’s the story so far, and we hope to brighten many more lives in the years to come.
If you would like to support our Foundation for Children, or find out more, please visit our pages:
Facebook - www.facebook.com/FoundationforChildrenEurope
Twitter - https://twitter.com/BHFamiliesUK
Just Giving Donation Page - https://www.justgiving.com/bhfc
US Foundation for Children Website: www.brighthorizonsfoundation.org
Or contact Tracy Wilkes-Green, Foundation Manager, on 020 8342 1512