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Time 4 Children

Time 4 Children

Time 4 Children is a Mid Sussex-based charity providing a listening ear for children when they are going through emotionally times in their lives.

The charity is passionate about improving the emotional wellbeing of young children and offers the most important ingredient for children’s emotional wellbeing – listening and time.

Giving children the time and space to be listened to, reduces children’s anxiety, improves their self-confidence, self-esteem and increases their emotional resilience.

Time 4 Children believes every child should have someone to listen to their thoughts, feelings, worries and anxieties when they are struggling to cope with the many pressures placed upon their young shoulders in today’s fast paced adult world.

From small beginnings in 2005 supporting just a handful of children, Time 4 Children now helps more than 55 primary school age children each year by giving them the one-to-one emotional support they need.

More than 750 children throughout Mid Sussex and Crawley have benefited from the support Time 4 Children has given them. Most children have between 15 and 20 sessions although some need children may need more, depending on their individual needs.

Children’s sessions take place in schools to reduce disruption to education and children from harder to reach families can be helped.

The charity has a team of highly trained volunteers who support the children, and all volunteers are DBS checked and have regular training in Safeguarding Children.

Time 4 Children is now recruiting for its next volunteer training course which starts in September and would love to hear from anyone who is interested in the type of work the charity does.

Vicky Chalmers, the charity’s founder, said: “We do not provide counselling or play therapy, we are there to provide emotional listening support, giving children one-to-one sessions in a calm and emotionally safe space. Play is a child’s natural language to explore their own thoughts, feelings and experiences.’

“In the child’s sessions, he or she is able to explore and make sense of their worlds by using small world families and furniture, animals, worry dolls, puppets, soldiers and a sand tray, or arts and crafts to express themselves. Our volunteers are trained to use reflective listening skills, which is the key to enabling children to speak freely about whatever they choose.’

“The volunteer quietly reflects on the child’s facial expressions and body language as well as reflecting on whatever the child chooses to play with, create or talk about. Every child has his or her thoughts, feelings, worries and experiences listened to and acknowledged. Closure of sessions is planned carefully and sensitively with every child over several sessions, so as not to create feelings of loss.”

At a time when emotional help for young children is hard to find, Time 4 Children is needed more than ever. Time 4 Children’s ethos has always been to provide a free service for children. The charity has to raise all funds itself in order to carry forward their ethos.

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By Georgia Lambert

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