Our ‘A Bed for Every Child’ campaign has been running since 2016. This programme aims to ensure that each child across the borough has a bed of their very own. Recent figures, according to End Child Poverty, revealed a shocking 20 per cent of children in Bromley live in poverty. Sadly, we regularly hear from our referrers about families where children do not have a bed of their own – instead, they are sleeping on the floor, the sofa, or sharing a bed with another family member.
We believe every child is entitled to a bed of their own – a comfortable, functional bed with clean, warm bedding. Giving a child their own bed increases the chance of a better night’s sleep, which can, in turn, lead to improved concentration and performance at school. There are also benefits to a child’s health and wellbeing, and it is known that sleeping alone reduces the risk of sexual abuse. Not only this but it raises a child’s sense of self-esteem to have their very own belongings.
Giving a child a bed really is so important, but it costs approximately £305 to do so. It might sound like a lot for a bed, but for us ensuring the families we work with feel safe has to be our main priority. We provide a bed with in-built storage, so the child has somewhere to keep their belongings, and we also provide the mattress, duvet, pillows and bedding. In addition, we work with a firm with whom we have developed a trusted relationship with over the last two years who deliver and install the bed, as families often aren’t equipped with the tools to do so themselves.
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss other ways we can work together.
Sam’s needs first started appearing around 12 months old. His first birthday came and went with no words. By 18 months he developed PICA syndrome (obsession with non-food objects – Sam’s was threads and fluff). He was still non-verbal, and on top of everything else we discovered that he had undetectable levels of IGF-1 hormone (essentially he was not growing at all).
He was continuously trying to kick and bang his head on everything. Walls, his cot, baby gates, the floor, basically anything. These were sensory seeking behaviours, as well as his only form of communication to showing us he was upset or get our attention. He would wake 5-7 times a night, slamming his head into his cot without any other noise. Most of the time there was no calling out or crying to alert us he had woken.
Quickly we realised that we had to change something. We got baby monitors, my husband stayed up till 2am to watch for him to wake. Me, being the early riser at 6am, I had to start sleeping in his cot with him to try and prevent further injuries. Unfortunately, he was still silently waking and I was unable to prevent it 100%.
Our options were limited. We could not switch to a floor bed because he would shred and eat the carpet, or hurt himself on the walls, radiator, and door. We couldn’t replace the carpet with hard flooring or he would hurt himself on that as well. We couldn’t wrap his cot with material and padding because he was still the size of a 12-month-old and unsafe. Our most viable option was to find a specialist bed with soft walls.
After battling with our local authority for months and multiple refused referrals to the home equipment team, our Bromley Children’s Project case worker found two charities who could possibly help. Brighter Beginnings, and another called New Life. Unfortunately, Brighter Beginnings did not have enough funding to cover such a costly bed at the time. We then thankfully secured a loaned bed from New Life. As we approached the end of our 6-month loan we were still experiencing rejected referrals from the LA. The bed was collected, and our life instantly changed back to a nightmare. The injuries, the sleepless nights, worrying about how to afford one of these beds ourselves.
A few weeks went by, and the most amazing thing happened; I got a call from Brighter Beginnings. They had been gifted enough funds and wanted to cover the cost of his bed. The relief was overwhelming. There was finally a long term, permanent solution. The gift of this bed has been the life-line our family needed. It’s provided a safe space for our son to sleep.
Sam is now approaching 3 1/2 years old. Since the bed was delivered, he has not had a single night time or nap time injury.
Brighter Beginnings has been our light at the end of the tunnel. We are even more grateful to those that have donated to them, in order to make a life changing difference in other children’s lives and ours. Thank you is such a small phrase compared to the emotions we have behind it.
(Written by the parent of A Bed for Every Child recipient)