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TLC charity strengthens children’s programme

The Transformational Living Centre for Families provides mothers and their children with accommodation and support (File photograph)

The Transformational Living Centre for Families has embarked on a therapeutic initiative to boost support to children under its care.

There are 11 children, whose ages range from 1 to 14 years, living with their mothers at the centre.

Last weekend the charity started an eight-week project with a stable in Devonshire in which the children will be taught skills in grooming horses.

The stable’s owners will also provide academic support to the children, including assistance with their homework under the Amber’s Wings project, which was named after their late daughter.

Geraldgene Cann, case manager at the TLC, said: “The programme is therapeutic for our children.

“So they came to us and asked if we would like to partner with them and join their programme.

“They will be helping the children in terms of therapeutic stresses that they may have. Also, they will be helping the children with homework and taking care of the horses.”

Elaine Butterfield, chair of the board of the TLC, said: “The children will be thinking of how the horses feel and that opens the door for conversation.

“We assist the mothers so we to also have to think about the children.”

Children living at the shelter with their mothers are given psychosocial, developmental, behavioural and academic support.

The children are able to take part in empowerment and enrichment activities.

Ms Butterfield said three mothers, who were pregnant when they enrolled in the programme and took up residence at the centre, have since given birth.

She said the TLC ensured that they were provided with the necessary before, during and post pregnancy.

She added: “We had to give that support, take them to the hospital, be with them and just ensure they are OK.

“We are very blessed to have them — the babies are a blessing.”

Recently, the TLC celebrated one of the babies’ first walk.

Ms Butterfield recalled: “We helped the mom to get the baby to walk — we saw her walk for the first time and we all screamed.”

The charity’s goal is to provide a stable home environment for nine single mothers with up to 27 children.

In February, the charity started a tennis programme in which children aged 5 to 13 are taught how to play the sport on Saturday mornings.

According to its 2023 annual report, a total of 11 single mothers, most of them displaced from stable housing for three to five years, took up residence at the centre between February 2022 and March 2023.

Three of the women did not continue with the programme.

However, last March, adjustments were made to accommodate an additional family.

The centre stated: “Each family enjoys a private living space configured for their family unit, with access to a private bathroom. Common areas include a great room, dining room, kitchen, office, and garden.”

The centre is preparing to welcome a new cohort of mothers by mid-2024 and Ms Butterfield said the charity would provide support to the women even after they leave.

Ms Butterfield said: “Part of the collaborative work and case management work is to ensure where women are connected through agencies that provide the support. There will obviously be a period of case management post-graduation or after care support.”

She said there are other partner organisations such as the charity Home, the Family Centre and the Women’s Resource Centre which are available to assist the single parent families.

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Published April 18, 2024 at 7:50 am (Updated April 18, 2024 at 1:06 pm)

TLC charity strengthens children’s programme

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