Our office in Durham has been getting very busy…
To give you an idea of how things are scaling up we helped 101 families in our first year (2013) of operations, and 101 families in the first 6 months of 2014, so we’ve doubled our capacity to help families in need.
As well as helping more families, we’ve been focusing on how we can become even more responsive to cries for help. If we get a call about a family in crisis we don’t want them to have to wait a week to receive the help they need, we want to get support in place as quickly as possible.
At the moment only a small proportion of the calls we get are ‘emergency’ calls, but when we go get them we take them very seriously. Last week a health visitor called from the home of a family in one of the big towns in the region. She had called round to visit this single mum to check up on the development of her 3 year old daughter. She quickly identified that the mother was completely ‘at the end of her tether’. Mum was in a real state and could no longer take care of the child. Immediate respite was needed, for the sake of the child and the parent.
The Safe Families team immediately sprung into action working out a profile of the type of volunteer that would be needed to assist – we needed a Host Family, reasonably local, someone who wouldn’t be working another job but available there and then. A few names were suggested and from there we began making calls.
Within very little time at all a wonderful volunteer from the local Catholic church agreed to take the child. This lovely grandmother who now lives alone has impressed us all with her compassion and hospitality towards children in need. All in all it took 3 hours from receiving the call to the little girl being dropped at the volunteer’s house by a social worker. She stayed 4 nights and was picked up this morning to return home having had a really special break with her ‘new granny’!