Bin bags

I opened the door to chaos.

Two foster carers, two social workers and two foster children. They piled in, bringing nappy bags, baby carriers, lunch coldkeeper bags, handbags, backpacks and briefcases. Bags everywhere. Bags fit for purpose. Bags for everyone.

They all talked over each other, babbling and organizing and whirling about. The baby needed changing, the boy had been sick in the car on the long journey. The social workers hadn’t met the foster carers.

I stood to one side, trying to ignore the requests for drinks, the hellos, the opening gambits for conversation. Because just inside the door was someone else. A frightened, rigid, silent little girl, all alone. She was the centre of it all – the reason we were all there – yet forgotten by the immediate demands and priorities of everyone but her.

Next to her was dumped a pile of three oddly shaped, split and squashed black bin bags.

Her bags.

I pushed through all the people, and offered her my hand. I kept my back to everyone; wishing i could make my shoulders wide enough to block out everything else that was happening in the room. I knelt down. We looked straight into each other; her eyes wide and seeking, mine as soft and as safe as I could make them. I led her to the stairs, and sat on the second step. I gently pushed an unruly curl behind her ear, and she made the move to sit beside me.

“It’s very noisy” I mouthed, smiling gently. She nodded.

“Is that your stuff?” I asked, tilting my head towards the crumpled pile. She shrugged.

“Shall we take your things upstairs to your room?”.

“They’ve lost my teddy” she whispered. And burst into tears.


Madlug believe that no child in care should carry their life in a bin bag. For every bag bought, they donate a travel bag to a child in care.


The BuddyBag Foundation supply bags to children who find themselves in emergency care after a traumatic incident