Members of Lichfield and District Soroptimists led by club member Jen who is currently a serving Police Officer, recently visited Lichfield Football Academy to deliver a Healthy Relationships and staying safe online presentation together with a Buddy Bag packing activity.
The presentation to 40 young men aged 16 to 18, all learners at the academy, was on a wide range of topics around Healthy Relationships and staying safe online, with the aim to educate those attending about the law and empower them to make future safe choices that will have a positive impact on themselves and on any future interactions and relationships they may have with women and girls in their future, hoping that they will carry this learning and message forward becoming role models for others in their future actions.
After the presentation current club President Nancy spoke to the group about Buddy Bags and how domestic abuse impacts on children. They were asked to imagine what it is like for a small child finding themselves in a Domestic Abuse shelter and how these bags provide the essentials, such as pyjamas and toiletries for their first night there, but also importantly some comfort by way of a story book and a hand knitted teddy bear.
We were touched with the care taken by the young men in packing the Buddy Bags with the items and the consideration taken in selecting a Bear to be put into that bag, something to bring a child comfort in a time of emotional uncertainty.
A touching moment happened as one of the young men expressed his thoughts in regard to the child who would receive the Buddy Bag, “I’ll just give this one a kiss” as he kissed the Bear on the top of its head as he passed the packed Buddy Bag to the Soroptimist member collecting the packed bags. That expression of empathy left the Soroptimist member receiving the bag lost for words.
As a reminder of the Healthy Relationships Learning the young men received a hydration bottle to take away with them as a reminder of the session, printed with the keywords of Respect, Safety, Health, Consent.
We are grateful to Lichfield Football Academy for their support, and we will return in the Autumn of 2022 to deliver “Healthy Relationships” to a new cohort and to pack more Buddy Bags.