Supporting Children

Children

Our childhood stays with us throughout our lives, and at Body & Soul we’re committed to ensuring that children have the foundations to build a resilient future. We work with children from across London and the UK who live in challenging circumstances or have experienced trauma in their early lives. Our approach brings us closely together with families to ensure our youngest members achieve personal and social growth and positive change through access to a uniquely nurturing and validating environment.

One floor of our building is devoted to our OFSTED-registered children’s centre. This purpose-designed space communicates safety and understanding, yet is constantly evolving into new imaginative worlds to match the monthly theme. Our experienced multi-disciplinary team of teachers, therapists and volunteers provide educational activities that are tailored to the group and appropriate to the age of each child. Their skills are always directed at making everyone feel a part of the session, recognising many of our children experience isolation and struggle with friendships and relationships.

All of our programmes are directed at early intervention. The effects of trauma and adversity can often remain unnoticed in many children. Body & Soul recognises the risk of ‘latent trauma’ emerging later in life and the value of addressing it at the earliest possible stage. Through our extensive experience, we understand the life challenges that lie ahead for our children and the experiences that can instil the self-esteem, resilience and skills that can become the protective factors.

body-and-soul-adventurers

Adventurers

Adventurers is our service for children under 10 years old living with or closely affected by HIV. It runs throughout the year every Tuesday and Thursday evening, 4.30-8.30pm. We have space for 35 children every session (including 9 spaces for 0-3yrs). Our long-established programme helps equip children with the emotional and academic skills they need to cope with day-to-day life. The aim is for children to feel valued, secure and loved.

Every week a new theme brings an exciting and stimulating experience that engages children in imagination, positive risk-taking and creativity. Our resident play therapist and music therapist provide additional targeted interventions and Theraplay trained staff provide integrated learning to support emotional regulation and attachment.

The majority of our children don’t know about their (or their family members’) HIV status, so we work with families to prepare the groundwork for a full understanding of HIV in their lives.

The BaSe

The BaSe group is for children aged 10-12 who are aware of HIV within their lives, whether they are positive themselves or a close family member is positive. It really is the first and only service of its kind. The BaSe runs throughout the year every Tuesday evening, 4.30-8.30pm with space for 24 children.

The aim of the Base is to help children become equipped to manage the transition into adolescence with a strong sense of self-identity.

body-and-soul-the-base

With HIV still new to BaSe members, we prioritise children’s understanding of issues around HIV, to give them the confidence to live their lives free from shame, and most importantly to develop friendships with others who have similar experiences. The Base provides a safe environment in which to ask the questions our young members may not feel comfortable asking elsewhere.

The BaSe uses a wide range of group-based projects, providing dance, music and drama as vehicles for expression and learning. The programme has exclusive use of a fully equipped basement space features table tennis, table football, punch bags for the energetic, computers and a professional recording studio.

Members also benefit from Family Therapy and Dance Therapy and the support provided by trained peer mentors from the adolescent service, Teen Spirit.

body-and-soul-young-explorers

Young Explorers

Young Explorers is a therapeutic service providing focused support to children aged 8-12 adopted from the care system. All children attend an introduction programme and then go onto join the monthly Explorer Saturdays.

Young Explorers is a safe, consistent place for children to explore their own identity and new experiences that can help them navigate their everyday world. For many children, Young Explorers is their first positive group experience, often finding school and outside clubs unable to meet their needs.

The team provides a structure and programme that promotes a sense of safety, allowing children to feel ready to try new experiences. Every member is matched with a group that shares a key interest, whether that be Active, Creative or Nature Explorers.

Unlike many other services on offer, membership of Explorers continues beyond the initial 4-week programme. For children who have difficulties with attachment, we believe services should provide a healing experience that occurs through a new lived experience, one that provides consistency, structure, enjoyment and mastery.

Every Young Explorer day blends together Dance, Music and Theraplay therapies into a programme that builds on children’s strengths. Together with a range of physical challenges, circle time, team games and creative projects, Young Explorers is an environment where a sense of achievement can begin to flourish.

Young Explorers is linked to our other Adoption programmes: The Parents Place for adoptive parents provides a monthly open therapeutic group and runs at the same time as Young Explorer days and Teen Spirit is the adolescent group supporting adopted teens (see Teen programmes).

aa-milne-quote
exit