This year we have continued with our focus on getting alongside each one of the precious children and families referred to us; taking time to listen and encourage and to enable fun and friendship in the midst of challenges faced.
We so enjoy getting to know each one of the 78 children and 46 parents we have continued to work with this year. Along with building new relationships with 7 families referred from a local hospital. Feedback from families and referrers helps to capture the impact in individual lives, of ongoing support through outings and our volunteer team.
This Year 64 Children 22 Outings 22 volunteers.
Each holiday 46 Children 4 Outings 14 volunteers
Our outings programme continues be a primary way we support well-being in the children, including an invitation on an outing each holiday, a family party and two residential weekends for different teenage groups. A few parents have accompanied their children on family outings, and have enjoyed participating, but for the majority this would not be possible due to ill-health, disability or work.
Notice of Appreciation received from a family - outings for 3 children over 10 years
“We would like to convey our deep appreciation and gratitude for the assistance and support you have extended to our family in particular and the wider community at large over the years that you have engaged with us. Our life would not have been the same without your intervention and kind dedication. Much appreciation to your team; your tireless efforts, attention, love and assistance has had a significant impact on our children and family life in a very positive way. Our children have not missed out on the fun and activities that others take for granted. You have given them a chance to enjoy their childhood, something we have not been able to do as we hoped, due to disabilities and caring roles. More importantly you have given our children a sense of belonging and aspiration and social responsibility”.
We received 7 new referrals this year. New families are frequently referred in times of additional pressure, caused by ill health, disabilities, domestic violence, unsuitable temporary housing or financial hardship such as when no recourse to public funds.
We have been able to help all of the new children and young people start accessing outings straight away and spend time listening to parents and minimise the sense of isolation.
Referrer at Homerton Hospital writes:
“I would also like to make you aware that all the clients I have referred to you I have spoken with recently and all speak so highly of the opportunity to have alongside U work with their children. Your resource is such a benefit to me in my role; to be able to refer to a service which does not demand that the parents have to share their HIV status with their children. The service you give also presents as very sensitive and personalised care. Thank you again for all that you do.”
Regular volunteer visits
A proportion of our volunteer team continue to visit children regularly. Providing a safe supportive friendship and opportunity to engage in activities locally on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. A social worker recently reflected that the young person prioritising seeing her volunteer, demonstrated the strength of the relationship the volunteer has established with the child. A volunteer who has gone above and beyond to continue consistent visits when the child moved out of area due to going into foster care. Another volunteer spending extra time supporting a young family through the arrival of a new baby.
Another Parent reflects:
"Thank you so much for the time you've been supporting us. The journey hasn't been easy but you have made it so worthwhile. I appreciate it so much, there is no way I could give back everything we've been given and how good it has been for my boys".
We greatly appreciate the support of all the churches, individual donors and grant trusts who give to make the work with families possible. We are grateful for the provision of ongoing and grant funding from MacDonald Family Trust, Yapp Charitable Trust, Mercury Phoenix Trust towards maintaining our core services to families and Magic Little Grants award for active outings.
Following digital archiving of our records, we were able to reduce our office space and associated costs to make more of our income available for direct services and salaries. The regular donors base remained strong, supplemented by income from two campaigns run to coincide with local giving ‘local hero’ and ‘grow your tenner’ campaigns designed to help small charities campaigns to reach new donors.