Safe Families UK
20 October 2020
Connecting for hope
“I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor and before that I was sleeping on the floor – no carpet, nothing.”
“I got so depressed that I went back to self-harming – I even attempted suicide. I couldn’t look after myself, let alone anyone else. Safe Families were amazing – they went above and beyond to make this house a home and make it perfect for Elijah, my baby.” Amber’s is just one of a growing number of families whose lives have been transformed. And Allchurches Trust has given Safe Families UK a grant of £280,327 over three years, giving them the opportunity to support and reconnect vulnerable families and help reduce the number of children going into care.
Safe Families UK is a Christian charity that works hand in hand with children’s services to link families in need with local volunteers who can offer much-needed help. Many of these volunteers are from local churches who provide vital support, especially at times of crisis. And their innovative approach has helped reduce the number of children being taken into care by up to 16%. Kat Osborn, CEO of Safe Families UK, explains: “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 take for granted and without whom our own stories could look very different.”
The funding from Allchurches Trust will enable Safe Families to grow its capacity and capability to work with churches across the UK. Currently, the charity connects over 1,000 isolated and vulnerable children, families and care leavers each year, with its network of over 4,500 volunteers from local churches. With the help of the grant, hundreds more at-risk families will be supported to stay together and thrive. And with the COVID-19 pandemic seriously affecting the ability of services to support children and families in need, this help has never been more important.
“Facing life alone can be hard,” says Kat Osborn. “When a family feels isolated, that there is no one who can help them, it’s a scary place to be.” That was certainly the case for Amber. Thanks to Safe Families, she now knows she’s not alone. Reflecting on the help she received moving to a new house, from two of the charity’s volunteers, she says: “I had amazing support. Rachel and Robert literally helped as much as they could. They didn’t leave until they knew Elijah and I had somewhere safe to sit, sleep and enough milk and bottles. It was just nice, because that’s what a normal person would have – they’d have family to help them move. I actually have somewhere now to call home.”