Working with almost 50 local authorities across the UK, Safe Families’ ground-breaking volunteer-led support is helping churches to step-up and be part of the solution to the increasing isolation felt by families and the high numbers of children going into care. The charity has supported 20,000 children from over 8,500 families in total and helped reduce the number of children going into care by between 9 and 16%.
For the last 8 years the charity has helped around 36 families per year. Church volunteers support families through befriending, hosting, and the provision of practical resources. The charity’s support is now tripling thanks to a new contract with Manchester City Council and Benefact Trust funding.
CEO of Safe Families, Kat Osborn, said: “The need is huge in Manchester and there is a growing care crisis with rising numbers of children in care and early help services being cut, the picture is the same across the country. Safe Families has a model that works; having effectively demonstrated the ability to reduce the flow of children into care, to sustain families in the community and to increase the sense of hope and connection that families have; ultimately enabling them to flourish and feel more secure.”
A £50,000 grant from our Community Impact Grants programme
will help to fund the expansion of Safe Families into Manchester. This will enable a greater capacity for the charity to work with local authorities, churches, and local volunteers to provide support and community to families who are overwhelmed by life’s circumstances.
Kat Osborn continued: “Facing life alone is hard, and when you feel there is no one there to support you it is a scary place to be. These church/family relationships bring hope and practical help; they encourage, they provide the support of a good friend, neighbour, aunt or grandparent that many of us would take for granted and without whom our own stories could look very different.”
A further Benefact Trust grant has also enabled the production of a new resource that Safe Families are launching UK wide.
The Belonging Course
is a 6-session, free, high quality video resource course designed to help churches and their members to think about how they can tackle the issue of loneliness and offer belonging.
The course begins by exposing loneliness and the ways it can affect us all. Then over the next five sessions, explores the transformative power of offering belonging. It explores how individuals and churches can foster a sense of belonging with each other, and within their communities, it challenges us to invest in relationships while maintaining our own wellbeing and preventing burnout.
A grant of £90,000 across two years will enable this resource to encourage and empower churches to offer belonging and build a sustainable course for years to come.
Andrew Bass, Senior Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “We’ve built a strong relationship with Safe Families over the past few years, and have been lucky enough to witness and support their incredible growth. Their work is enabling families to stay together and thrive, in a safe and supportive community. It is a privilege to help fund their continued expansion, and their new Belonging Course which will equip churches to do more to address mental wellbeing and isolation in their communities.”