Tilly’s donation is transforming young lives

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A woman with a young child

All illustrations by Laurel Molly. Find her on Instagram @laurel_molly.

The Early Years Project run by Bristol Refugee Rights (BRR) provides a safe and happy space for children and their parents. Our community is supported by a skilled and experienced staff team and dedicated volunteers. There is a crèche where parents can leave their children to play safely and happily whilst they access vital services support. There is also a parent support group and a team of Family Support Workers. As the vast majority of our parents and children are new to the UK with no family or friends, this project provides essential assistance to those in need. Many of us are familiar with the African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. It’s easy to take this for granted, but for parents and children seeking sanctuary, the village is what is missing.

The support of volunteers enriches the Early Years Project by ensuring that every child receives undivided attention. These volunteers notice things, give encouragement , and they show patience and care. Our volunteers are like family members to some of our children and their parents, providing reassurance and a warm and welcoming presence. Tilly, who began volunteering with BRR in 2015 and has remained closely involved ever since, explained that being able to contribute to the life of a new mother, newly arrived in the UK and with no family or friends, felt very important to her. Reflecting on her time volunteering with us, she said that she always hoped that within her ‘Welcome’ role, she would be able to help a parent feel lifted, not alone and that their child was important. By talking with parents, sharing a meal with them, chatting to them about their child – simple things – she wanted to help that parent feel valued and part of a community. That they mattered.

When Tilly inherited some money, she decided that she wanted to make a donation to the Early Years Project. Having worked with children for years in her own career, she knew that the work being done was hugely important. When asked why she wanted to donate to the Early Years Project, she said:
“These children, they’re the next generation. For each parent, their sense of selves and their child’s happiness – it means everything. I remember that, even with my own children, I’ve always felt that you are only ever as happy as your least happy child. So what the children of asylum seekers can gain through the Early Years Project will make a huge difference to them, but not just to the child, to their parent as well. Everyone benefits when you invest in children.”

Tilly’s generous donation will help Bristol Refugee Rights to continue to fund this hugely important project, which is unique in Bristol. We are so grateful to her for generosity.

If you are inspired by Tilly’s example and would like to support a specific area of our work, please get in touch: . If you would like to find out more about leaving a gift in your will to our charity, please visit our website.

By Anna Burness