Vulnerable children and young people helped by Barnardo’s Cymru will have colourful and comfortable surroundings when they call in for future support sessions, thanks to a team of volunteers from IKEA.
Staff from the Swedish furniture giant’s Cardiff Bay store travelled to Barnardo’s Better Futures service in Pyle with enough furniture, pictures and toys to transform counselling rooms, a music room and art room.
It was part of a national partnership with Barnardo’s which will see IKEA organise makeovers and other special events for the charity over the next three years.
Sharron Wareham, Barnardo’s Cymru’s Children’s Services Manager, said: “IKEA have gone above and beyond what we expected. They really listened to what we asked for and have completely altered the feel of the rooms. Children have commented that the rooms feel warmer, less cluttered and calmer.
“Practitioners say the children appear to relax and feel more comfortable now that we have furnishings that represent a more welcoming and homely environment.”
A high percentage of the children supported by Better Futures have experienced significant trauma.
Sharron said: “Building trust and establishing a positive relationship is crucial to any successful intervention to support recovery. The environment is crucial in helping them feel safe enough to process past hurts. The makeover of our therapeutic rooms will really help children feel welcomed and safe.”
Sue Brammer IKEA Cardiff Home Furnishings Advisor, who helped plan and implement the makeover said: “I was thrilled to be part of the week. I really believe that where children are concerned we have to do whatever we can, whenever we can to help. Barnardo’s do amazing things with relatively limited resources and to be able to be part of that as IKEA and share our expertise and make a difference means the world.”
IKEA will be involved in similar projects across the UK with a particular emphasis on the young carers who Barnardo’s support, children and young people who have significant caring responsibilities for parents or siblings.
Hege Sæbjørnsen, the company’s Country Sustainability Manager, said: “Together with Barnardo’s we have an amazing opportunity to deliver a long-term positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable children and young people in society through sharing expertise and resources, leveraging our unique skills and scale, and more traditional fundraising.”