Safe Families for Children UK
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Christian Charity reaches milestone after helping 5,000 children across England

Sat 17 Mar 2018
By Eno Adeogun

A Christian charity is celebrating seeing their volunteers improve the lives of 5,000 children across England.

Safe Families for Children, which aims to prevent children from needlessly having to go into the care system, has been working in England since 2013.

Keith Danby, chief executive of the charity said in a statement: "The increase in children becoming 'looked after' is recognised as a growing crisis by many in the care sector. It's generally agreed that some urgent action must be taken.

 

"We believe that volunteer support from the community can go a long way to stabilising family situations in times of acute stress or dysfunction. We've seen so many families benefit from having community support and respite when they are at their wits end."

Government statistics reveal that as of March 2017, over 25 per cent of children in need were assessed as being in a family in acute stress or dysfunction.

The charity recruits and trains volunteers who support children and their parents/carers.

Rev Amanda Digman of The Churches of St John the Baptist, Carlton and Colwick said: "We decided to get involved with Safe Families because we live in an area where there are people with needs. It's difficult to know how to access those who need the help and Safe Families helps us find them.
 
"Although I'm really busy, I think if we can all help and chip in a little bit we can work together to make society better. Just to help people to move forward and not be stuck. We've all been in a place where we need some help.

"If we learn to give help, we can learn to receive help. And that lets everyone know that it's okay, we all need help at times."

The charity currently recruits volunteers in three areas - host families who are able to look after a child for anywhere between a few days to a few weeks, family friends to befriend and mentor parents through difficult times and resource friends to supply a range of goods and services depending on what the individual family needs.

Safe Families for Children
Sarah Owens and children

 

Mum of two, Sarah Owens fell into depression and found help through the charity who matched her with a volunteer who meets her to have a chat over a coffee while the children enjoy soft play.

"I'm completely different now," Sarah said.

"I feel like my old self's back. It just gives you a break from the monotony of your routine, I suppose. It's somebody to talk to.

"I haven't met all the volunteers but I assume they're the same. You're not getting judged and they're sitting there letting you waffle away. It gives you that bit of rest to fight another day."

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