Since 1996 the Honeypot Children’s Charity has been working to enhance the lives of young carers and vulnerable children aged 5-12 years old. They do this by providing residential respite breaks at Honeypot House in Hampshire or Honeypot House Pen Y Bryn in mid Wales; Honeypot also provide on-going outreach support throughout a child’s formative years. The children's charity gives young carers a break from demanding and stressful responsibilities at home and provides a safe, nurturing environment where children at risk can develop their full potential.
Where did it all begin?
The Honeypot Children’s Charity was founded in 1996 by a business woman who was keen to help out vulnerable children in inner city areas by providing them with a well-deserved holiday. This soon expanded to include young carers because at this time there was no UK charity devoted to providing ongoing respite to children who had to take on additional responsibilities at home.
Honeypot now help young carers and vulnerable children aged 5-12 years old. The children they work with are from homes with extreme social, financial or emotional challenges, often involving abuse or neglect. Many of the children who go to Honeypot are caring for a chronically or terminally ill loved one, or have a parent with drug, alcohol or mental health problems. Some will have been in a caring role from as young as 5 years old, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which puts them at high risk of depression, anxiety, absence from school, social problems, isolation and poor mental and physical health.
What services are available through Honeypot?
A child’s journey with Honeypot begins with a holiday at Honeypot House, either in Hampshire or Wales. Both properties are set in several acres of beautiful land with many activities for the children to enjoy. The houses can accommodate up to 12 children at any one time. Activities such as riding a bike, learning to swim, going to the beach, or just playing freely in the fresh air without the need to worry are often experienced for the first time.
Through informal play and organised activities, Honeypot encourages children to interact socially with their peers and develop personal skills that will support them throughout life. Following their initial holiday, each child will return to Honeypot for a repeat weekend visit each year until they are 12 years old. The charity also maintains contact with each child throughout the year with birthday cards, photos, newsletters, Christmas presents and Christmas parties.
The Honeypot Playbus also visits children in their own communities up to three times a year. It is a specially adapted bus offering an exciting and safe environment where children can learn through play and informal educational activities. Through its mobility and responsiveness to need, the Playbus is also able to reach those children who have been referred to Honeypot by social services, but have not yet had the opportunity to visit Honeypot House.
It is this programme of long-term, personalised and consistent support that gives hope and encouragement during these very challenging and formative years. By supporting the Honeypot Children’s Charity is to give the gift of time and space to these children. They will learn new life skills, which are crucial for their own personal development, build strong friendships and create lasting childhood memories, which they will cherish for years to come.
Tyler started his caring role at 5; he is now 7 years old. Dad gave up his job to be the registered carer for mum, who has severe multiple sclerosis (MS). As a result of this, Tyler cares for mum after school, giving dad a break. Tyler’s caring role includes helping mum out of the shower, drying and dressing her and generally being available to take on anything required in his household, which he does either before school, after school and during the weekends.
The situation at home affects Tyler as providing dad with emotional support and helping mum with day to day tasks leaves him emotionally and physically drained. This has had an impact on his school performance and his ability to make friends with other children. Indeed, he is socially isolated spending all his time indoors, and as a result, he doesn’t have time to make friends, socialise, enjoy care free play with all the joys of being a child. Furthermore, with both his parents not working, income is severely restricted at home, which deprives the family from not being able to go out or enjoy treats as a family.
Tyler attended Honeypot for the first time during the summer of 2015. By attending respite breaks at Honeypot House in Hampshire and making new friends with other children who are facing similar situations, Tyler gradually grew to become a more confident little boy and enjoyed mixing with other children his own age, playing and do all the things that children do. The time out gave him a chance to make the most of his one chance at childhood.
His caring role has made very mature for his age and he has taken on the 'older brother' role of the group at Honeypot. He also earned a certificate for befriending Honeypot's lovely guinea pigs which live in the house at Hampshire. As a result of all of these new experiences, Tyler returns home, refreshed, relaxed and inspired, with a broader outlook on life and a renewed hope for the future.
How can children receive help from Honeypot?
Honeypot works with children between 5 and 12 years of age who are young carers or vulnerable children. This means they either have a significant caring responsibility for a loved one at home, or live in an area of extreme deprivation or are at risk of harm or abuse.
In order to be supported by Honeypot, each child needs a referral from a child care professional. This can be a teacher, doctor, social worker or police officer. The charity has a special form which needs to be filled in, and sent back to their specialist team. You can ask for a form by calling the number below.
Once Honeypot receives a completed form, they will carry out a home visit with the child to find out about their likes, dislikes, and how they can support them best. If you know a young carer or a vulnerable child who you think would benefit from this support, please get in touch. You can call their Children’s Services team on 02380 890002.
If you'd like to support Honeypot Children's Charity there are a number of ways to do so. You can donate via their website or organise a Bumble's Big Breakfast in order to raise some money. Check out Honeypot's website
for more information!
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