Trip to Woburn Safari Park for our Women's Refuge residents

Residents and children from our Asian Women’s Refuge (SAWR) joined residents and children who have moved on to our second stage refuge for a day trip to Woburn Safari Park recently.

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At the refuge we provide an annual summer trip and a winter trip for our residents. After consultation with residents during a house meeting regarding this year's trip they asked to go to Woburn Safari Park as some had never been to the zoo before.

We were very fortunate to have the majority of the trip funded through the ‘Healthy living project’ and the transport, funded by SAWR, was provided by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (who the refuge is a member of).Their drivers were all volunteers so we were able to arrange the transport at a discounted rate.

At SAWR we recognise that people who come into the service have fled very difficult circumstances and often suffer from trauma. They have usually been heavily controlled and restricted from engaging in activities that is not permitted by their abusers. A mothers relationship with her children also often suffers which can result in a poor mother/child bond.. Children who come to us are often withdrawn, reserved and sometimes have behavioural and/or attachment issues. The aim of providing the trips is to improve their mental health and well being, social interaction and build on their self-esteem and confidence.

At the zoo there were lots of talks and shows which our residents enjoyed watching, including an elephant talk and a bird show. These activities were educational and especially interesting for the children who found out and learnt a lot about animals.

Everyone had fun travelling together in the mini bus, they enjoyed the safari ride and taking lots of photos.

Residents’ said they enjoyed spending time with other residents and sharing a picnic and the mum's in the group told us that they were able to spend quality time with their children which made them feel closer to them. The women also commented how happy they felt seeing their children smiling and playing as children should. Some had never been out before so it helped develop their independent living skills as they explored their new surroundings.

Overall the feedback indicated that it was great to have fun and forget about problems for a while so the trip enabled them to take away some good memories.

All in all it was a great day, for everyone!