Lou McGrath Matthew Offord

MPs moved by children’s paintings from Sir Bobby Charlton Centre

Thirty-six paintings by children receiving art therapy at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre in Jordan were on exhibition in Parliament last week.  By all accounts, they made a lasting impression on everyone who saw them.

The paintings were shown in the Upper Waiting Hall, which MPs walk through regularly to reach committee rooms. Many of the country’s top decision-makers were able to spend a few minutes between commitments, seeing life through the eyes of children who have lost their homes, their families, and often much more.

The paintings typically depict the personal stories of the artists, often in graphic detail. But many, especially those painted in later stages of therapy, depict hope for the future and a better life. Several MPs voiced their appreciation for the opportunity to see the works.

“Very moving Parliament exhibition of paintings by children traumatised by war in Syria receiving #PTSD artwork therapy at Sir Bobby Charlton’s Rehabilitation Centre, Amman,” tweeted Neath MP, Christina Rees.

Shadow Minister for International Development Dan Carden was inspired to call for more funding for programmes like the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre.

“This exhibition has certainly helped to bring home to MPs and Peers the terrible consequences of conflict on young minds,” he said. “Some of the paintings are harrowing, yet some also show that these children still have hope for a future without war.

“I would like to call on the Government not to let down these, and all other children living through conflict. We need to see a new funding programme from the Department for International Development to provide long term support for those whose lives have been scarred by conflict and in particular by explosive violence.”

Sponsoring MP Matthew Offord received a personal tour from Find A Better Way CEO Lou McGrath on Wednesday, and had a chance to talk over the paintings in of the exhibit in detail.

“I was pleased to sponsor this exhibition in Parliament of paintings by Syrian child refugees recovering from PTSD at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre in Jordan. To us, explosive violence against civilians is abhorrent, and for these children it has marked their lives forever.”

The paintings are available for online viewing, along with biographies of the nine artists, here.