Dan­de­lion Time, which helps chil­dren, is our char­ity of the year

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - NEWS - By Suz Elvey selvey@thek­m­group.co.uk @SuzElvey

Dan­de­lion Time, which works with chil­dren and young peo­ple who have ex­pe­ri­enced abuse and ne­glect, is the Kent Mes­sen­ger’s char­ity of the year for 2016.

Based in a house in West Farleigh, with its own farm and gar­den, the char­ity has been go­ing since 2003.

Dan­de­lion Time works with fam­i­lies, of­fer­ing both ther­apy and ac­tiv­i­ties to re­build bro­ken bonds be­tween par­ents, chil­dren and sib­lings and help young­sters gain con­fi­dence.

The char­ity was es­tab­lished at a small farm in Cox­heath by Dr Caro­line Jes­sel, a GP from Sut­ton Va­lence who found time and time again there was no ser­vice to re­fer her pa­tients to for non­med­i­cal help.

Ini­tially an 18-month pi­lot, it now sup­ports about 200 fam­i­lies a year, many of which in­clude chil­dren who have been ex­cluded from school.

Some of the peo­ple who walk through Dan­de­lion Time’s doors have been un­able to form proper re­la­tion­ships with their mothers due to the par­ent’s ad­dic­tion, while oth­ers will have been phys­i­cally, sex­u­ally or emo­tion­ally abused.

The char­ity, which mainly helps five- to 15-year-olds, spe­cialises in creative, ther­a­peu- tic ac­tiv­i­ties in­volv­ing work­ing with the hands, such as mak­ing soap, bak­ing, gar­den­ing, wood­work and play­ing mu­si­cal in­stru­ments.

Chil­dren can also care for the char­ity’s an­i­mals – sheep, don­keys, guinea pigs and more – and meet the cat and dog.

Psy­chother­apy, fam­ily ther­apy, play ther­apy and a ther­a­pist who spe­cialises in at­tach­ment is­sues and trauma are also of­fered. Peo­ple can be re­ferred by schools, GPs or so­cial ser­vices or sel­f­re­fer.

About 80% of the £350,000 needed to run Dan­de­lion Time an­nu­ally comes from char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tions and fundrais­ing and the rest is Kent County Coun­cil or Maid­stone Bor­ough Coun­cil money.

Dan­de­lion Time CEO Gra­ham Car­pen­ter said: “We are so grate­ful to have been cho­sen as the KM Char­ity of the year, which will help to recog­nise the huge needs and ben­e­fits of Dan­de­lion Time’s work with chil­dren and fam­i­lies.”

Find out more, in­clud­ing how to do­nate, at www. dan­de­lion­time.org.uk

Pic­ture: Martin Apps FM4178556

Char­ity work­ers at Dan­de­lion Time at Elm­scroft House, West Farleigh

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