I honestly felt I was going to end up losing the plot.
When the children’s mother went back to her abusive partner, little Jenny and Charlie were looked after full-time by their aunt who had three older children of her own.
“All contact stopped with Mum right at the beginning of the 6 weeks holidays. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. We had just moved house, so I was trying to unpack and pick up the pieces. I couldn’t go anywhere because I had the house to sort out. All sorts needed doing and putting away. There wasn’t a lot of time to spend with the kids. Charlie was angry at the time because of what happened and not best behaved.
“It also came out that my daughter had been assaulted a few years back and I needed to spend time with my daughter. I just wanted one weekend. I wanted to concentrate on my daughter who needed me without being interrupted by Jenny and Charlie. My daughter needed me and I couldn’t give her my time, what with Charlie playing up and the house move and everything…I just felt like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. If things had come one at a time I’d have dealt with it but it all came all at once. I couldn’t cope. I needed a break from Jenny and Charlie and they needed something as well. They were used to going to Mum’s on the weekend and now there was nothing.”
“It was through social services that we heard about Safe Families. It was a Godsend! It took a couple of weeks to get going but it was a huge, huge help. It gave me that breathing space that I needed. It gave my daughter and me a chance to have time together; we couldn’t talk with the children around. We just needed that one to one. I just needed one night, and I got more than that with Safe Families.
“Every other weekend the Host Family, Diane and Rob, would have them for the day and once a month they’d sleep over. Any extra days in between they’d phone and say, ‘Can we take kids out for the day?’. They’d go to the play factory, walks, outdoor activities, sometimes to their home to play with their children.
“Diane and Rob, are so welcoming and homely. There was just something about them that I clicked with right away.
“The support helps the kids too. Charlie’s behaviour is better.
“If it hadn’t been for Safe Families I don’t know what I would have done. It worked out brilliantly. We still have a relationship with our Host Family. One of my young ones now, he’s actually out with our Host Family today. We’ve carried on that friendship after the support officially ended after 6 months. They’d built up a relationship with the kids and said it’d be a shame to drop all contact. It’s been ideal, perfect. Really, really good. They’re an absolutely lovely family as well.
“I wouldn’t have survived if hadn’t been for the Host Family. I cannot commend you enough. You’ve given me my sanity back. I got some of ‘me’ back.”
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