Hundreds of children stuck in emergency accommodation in Birmingham after fleeing violence at home will receive a little extra help this Christmas thanks to the Freemasons.

The organisation has donated £7,500 to the Buddy Bag Foundation, which provides back packs filled with home comforts to children forced into hotels and B&Bs by domestic violence.

The foundation recently issued a challenge to businesses across the Midlands to help pack 30 bags each after it emerged that hundreds of children had been stuck in temporary accommodation for months amid the coronavirus crisis.

A rise in domestic violence meant that refuges were full and the only alternative was to put families up in hotels and B&Bs.

When members of the Royal Arch and Warwickshire Freemasons heard about the challenge – and that there were so many children who faced spending Christmas in temporary accommodation – they stepped in to help.

Volunteers packing during lockdown at Ian Hazel Funeral Services Mere Green
Volunteers packing during lockdown at Ian Hazel Funeral Services Mere Green

They donated £7,500, enough money to fund 300 bags, along with 350 teddies, saving the organisation another £1,200.

Karen Wiliams, CEO of the Buddy Bag Foundation, said she was delighted with the donation.

“It is beyond our wildest dreams,” she said. “This means we can help as many children as possible, and all in time for Christmas. The Freemasons give thousands of pounds to charity every year and we are overwhelmed with their generous donation to the Buddy Bag Foundation.”

Rod Hinton, spokesman for the Royal Arch and Warwickshire Freemasons, said: “When we heard that so many children were facing Christmas in such difficult circumstances we had to help. We hope we can help bring a little comfort to these children over the festive period.”

Karen said some of the bags had already been handed over to Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid who would be distributing them to children affected.

The Buddy Bag Foundation was founded in 2014 and since then has provided almost 30,000 bags to children fleeing violent situations.The charity provides back packs filled with home comforts and treats to help offer a little support to children fleeing domestic violence.

To find out more, to sign up for the Buddy Bag Challenge or to donate, visit buddybagfoundation.co.uk.

Karen Williams, Buddy Bag Foundation CEO, with, from left, Howard Smith, Philip Hall and Rod Hinton from the Freemasons
Karen Williams, Buddy Bag Foundation CEO, with, from left, Howard Smith, Philip Hall and Rod Hinton from the Freemasons