Severn Trent Searches hosts the Giving Tree for Christmas

The Severn Trent Searches team has been busy collecting Christmas presents for children who have fled their homes due to domestic abuse.

Our head office in Nottingham has been a Giving Tree Collection Point for the KidsOut charity. This means that employees, as well as local businesses, have been able to leave a Christmas present for children seeking safety in a refuge. The presents are stored securely in the office before being distributed to the children during the holiday season.

Amber Allen, Operations Manager, explains: “When a child and a parent is forced to escape their home because of domestic abuse, they’re literally running for their lives, so they often won’t take any possessions with them.

“In many cases, they don’t have access to money either. On top of the trauma they’re already experiencing, Christmas can hit them doubly hard.

“Every year, Severn Trent Searches does something for the local community at Christmas. For example, we’ve worked in homeless kitchens in the past. But this year, we wanted to do something to help make Christmas a little easier for these children.”

Why KidsOut?

Every 30 seconds, a domestic abuse-related call is made to the police, but less than 24% of domestic abuse crime is reported*. That means by the time you’ve finished reading this article, the police will have received around eight calls.

The KidsOut charity says that 20,000 children flee domestic abuse to seek sanctuary in a refuge every year. This statistic is something that feels personal to Amber.

She says: “Somebody very close to me was forced to run away from their home as a child because of domestic abuse. After a spell in a refuge, they were eventually taken in by their grandparents.

“That’s why I feel a personal connection to this charity. I wanted us to do something that could mitigate the horrible circumstances these children find themselves in through no fault of their own. Even if it was in the tiniest of ways.”

The Giving Tree in Nottingham

The Severn Trent Searches Giving Tree has already received hundreds of Christmas gifts, and Amber chose to donate a Disney toy as requested by one of the children.

She adds: “The generosity of employees and locals has been amazing. For example, the local branches of TSB – Clifton and Eastwood – donated a whopping 170 presents. There were so many gifts that we were starting to run out of space!”

Samantha Johnson, Fundraising Executive from the KidsOut charity, now has the presents from the Severn Trent Searches Giving Tree. She said: “On behalf of us all at KidsOut, I want to say thank you for the extremely generous donations you all made towards our 2023 Giving Tree Appeal.

The toys donated enable KidsOut to provide every child living in a staffed refuge in the UK with a Christmas present.

Christmas is an extremely tough time for families escaping serious domestic violence, both emotionally and financially, compounded by the fact that they are isolating away from family and friends.

The children have experienced significant trauma and fled to the safety of refuge or safe house, often with only the clothes on their back.  Many mothers struggle to provide the essentials, let alone presents for their children.”

Give to a virtual Giving Tree this Christmas

If you’re not local to Nottingham, you can still donate a Christmas present via the Giving Tree online shop. By doing this, you’ll be helping to make sure a child of domestic abuse isn’t forgotten about at Christmas.