“I think it’s a really easy way of expressing God’s love to people.”
Having previously studied child psychology, Aly worked as a nursery nurse and nanny so she was really excited when she first heard about Safe Families for Children and how people get involved supporting struggling families.
After Aly and her family did the volunteer training she supported a mum of three who was expecting another child. Mum needed some help with the children to allow her to get to natal classes, so Aly was able to mind the children while Mum had her class.
Later Aly and her daughter took turns supporting sisters whose mother was in hospital with mental health problems. The girls were being looked after by their relatives but their relatives were running out of annual leave during the school holidays to look after them so they ended up spending a lot of time on their own.
“We just treated them to the normal things kids do during the school holidays!” says Aly. “It was lovely and nice because the girls felt they could open up to us. They could share their feelings – the anger, the tears…
“It was the highlight of their week when we’d pick up them. Otherwise they’d just stay in bed doing nothing. Six weeks holiday is a long time when on your own.”
Now Mum’s come out of hospital and is back home. The extended family and school are still offering support and Safe Families has been able to close support, leaving Aly with fond memories of picnics in the park, pizza making, swimming, and days full of fun.
Most recently Aly supported a young mum, the same age as her daughter. Mum had been living rough and hadn’t really made friendships. The young mum was therefore keen to make a lasting friendship with someone she could hang out with. So the two women started a coffee and cake diary, trying a new shop or café every week.
Aly explained that previous to Safe Families support, “Mum had never gone out and had someone listen to her and give her quality time.”
Mum has been doing really well, so well that social services and Safe Families have both been able to step back knowing that Mum is thriving as a mum and a person.