A day in the life of a DART Facilitator

The Domestic Abuse Recovering Together (DART) programme supports mothers and children following experiences of domestic abuse.

The programme helps mothers and children to reconnect, gives them the opportunity to talk about their experiences in an open and safe environment, as well as providing them the tools to learn to communicate and rebuild their relationships.

DART is a 10-week programme where mothers and children (aged 7-14) meet for a two-hour group session each week. Let’s look at how Sam (Family Support Worker) spends her day as a DART Facilitator.

Planning and preparing for a DART session

Sam and the other DART Facilitators are incredibly passionate about makings sure that families enjoy each session and get as much out of them as possible; planning and preparation are a vital part of running the programme.

9am – 12.30pm: Sam and the team really look forward to running the DART programme and to welcoming families back each week. The day starts by going over what they will be doing during the day’s session, making sure they have what they need for the day, and revising what the session will involve.

The team then concentrate on planning for the following week’s session. This takes a lot of discussion, looking at the families involved to plan activities ensuring that they are suitable for everyone attending and checking that there are no triggers for anyone, which is why their planning is so meticulous.

After the planning is completed and documented, the team prepare for the session by setting up the space, gathering resources and preparing snacks ready for the session to run smoothly.

A DART session

12.30pm – 2.30pm: The session kicks off with a welcome and an overview of the topic to be covered that day. This is followed by feeding the children – they love their snacks!

The first activity involves group work with everyone attending the session before a short break for a much-needed cup of tea.

A day in the life of a DART Facilitator

The group is then split into two – a group for the mothers and a group for the children – where they complete activities before coming back together for the end of the session.

A lot of different topics and activities are covered throughout the programme and one of our favourite sessions is week 4 where we begin to explore feelings. We start off by completing a joint activity with the mothers and children working together to create a life size body map. We then explore how different feelings can impact on our body and mind, and how these might feel to each of us.

Later, the group splits and the children use art to further explore feelings and to create their own feelings painting using a spinning technique. In the mothers group, we explore some case studies around how children might be feeling, behaviours associated with those feelings, and how mothers can respond to our child.

The group re-joins at the end of the sessions for some games.

After a DART session

After the session is over, the team clear away and have a debrief meeting to discuss how they felt the session went and to raise any concerns the facilitators might have. This enables the team to amend any planning or to discuss ways to support individual families.

A note from Sam

The day itself is tiring, but it goes very quickly. I personally feel extremely proud to be one of the DART Facilitators, and to be part of such an amazing programme and team. To see families spending time together and watching relationships blossom – not just between mothers and their child, but between the group as a whole – is heart-warming and I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of their journey.

I hope the families get as much out of the programme as myself and the other facilitators do.

More information about DART

To find out more about DART, please download our DART leaflet.

If you would like to discuss a referral to the programme, please contact us by calling 01623 683 250 or email [email protected].