The Heart Yard Therapy House
Kids Company’s Heart Yard is a therapeutic sanctuary in the heart in South London where the most vulnerable children receive intensive emotional and psychological support. From the outside it looks like a plain Victorian house. Inside it is a house of love and healing where our staff apply expertise gained through decades of learning from and listening to vulnerable and traumatised children, in order to help them and their carers overcome the unimaginable abuses they have suffered.
As well as providing a range of therapeutic interventions, the Heart Yard’s beautifully tended garden, family kitchen and nursery playroom offer respite, peace and comfort, as well as laughter and fun. For many of the children who come to the Heart Yard it is the first time they have experienced a ‘normal’ home environment.
The warm and intimate setting allows us to closely interact with the children and their carers in a way that fosters trust and openness, helping to facilitate the healing process. The family-type space of the Heart Yard allows us to offer positive, social activities such as cooking and eating together, children’s yoga classes (currently led by one of our children!) and a weekly club for girls aged between ten and twelve. Our art room doubles as a study space, and the treatment rooms provide a secure, private place for those who need time alone.
It is our aim to help every child grow beyond their pain and hurt and go on to achieve remarkable outcomes.
We aim to achieve these outcomes for every child:
• Reduced emotional distress, as traumatic memories are addressed and their potency reduced through therapeutic interventions.
• Separation between ‘now’ and ‘then’, so that the influence of traumatic memories on daily functioning is reduced.
• Increased resilience, leading to children proactively engaging with their environment, rather than shutting off.
• Reduced violence either to the self, through self-harm, or perpetrated against others.
• Reduced agitation and increased calm, enhancing children’s ability to self-soothe and so enabling them to participate more meaningfully within society.
• Improved physical health due to reduced physical and emotional stress: more consistent sleep patterns, better diet, reduced levels of depression and hyper-vigilance.
• Enhanced ability to learn: as children’s preoccupation with managing the effects of trauma reduces, they become better able to engage with education.
• Reduced substance misuse: as children process their traumatic experiences, the need for self-medication through substance misuse is diminished.