The life-changing impact of BBC Children in Need funding

children-in-need-logo-1Cyfannol Women’s Aid receives funding from BBC Children in Need to run a mentoring programme for boys aged 5-16 who have experienced domestic abuse.

The project aims to help boys with behavioural challenges to manage their feelings. We see great outcomes in terms of children finding their strengths and making positive changes.

This is one child’s story:

David* had seen his mother being physically and emotionally abused by his father and had frequently intervened to try to protect her. He had witnessed her being strangled and knocked unconscious. His father had drug and alcohol misuse issues and was very unreliable. Social services had been intermittently involved with the family for a long time.

David had emotional and behavioural difficulties at school: he often had temper tantrums, struggled to concentrate in class, had difficulties with friends, lost confidence easily and was easily scared. David could also be angry and violent towards his sisters and Mum.

David’s Mum and teacher asked for David to be matched with a male mentor, as he found it difficult to trust men. David and John* met once a week for a year. Together they did activities such as swimming, playing football, visiting museums, castles and community farms. As the mentoring relationship was established, John worked hard to improve David’s self-esteem using solution-focused approaches. They set three goals for the year together: to make a scrapbook with photos of all the things they had done together, to try five new sports, and to get to the top of five castles. David fed back that he enjoyed all the activities he and John did together, describing his mentor as “a really cool person”.

At the end of the mentoring year, David’s mum reported that David was “much better” and explained that life at home was calmer and more peaceful. The school reported a dramatic change in David’s behaviour. They descried him as more relaxed, more able to talk, less volatile and a lot happier. His confidence had improved as well and he was better able to cope with criticism and get along with other children. An assessment of David’s behaviour before and after the mentoring showed that he had moved from abnormally difficult behaviour to a level very much within the normal range, with almost no behavioural difficulties at all.

David has benefitted greatly from having fun away from his problems and experiencing new activities and challenges. His life has improved dramatically: he is engaging positively at school, has good friends and has a much better relationship with his mother and two sisters.

We are only able to run this programme thanks to funding from BBC Children in Need, support from our project partner Chance UK and the dedication of our fantastic team of volunteer mentors. If you would like to know more about the programme or becoming a volunteer, please contact us on 01873 859011 or email

*Please note that names have been changed to protect confidentiality.