We have been working with Julie* and her 4-year-old son Billy since last year. When we first met Julie, she was isolated and unhappy in her flat. Her son who has special needs was only in nursery a few hours per week, and Julie desperately needed a break. Julie had been through the care system and had experienced significant loss in her own life. Though exhausted and feeling hopeless, she was doing an incredible job in difficult circumstances.
We introduced Julie and Billy to one of our volunteers, who started to take them out during the day. Sometimes the volunteer would host Billy in her house to give Julie a break for a few hours. In an especially difficult time, Julie relapsed back into drug use for a few months, but we stayed in touch and reengaged with her when she was stable again.
In the months that followed, a team from Safe Families helped Julie move into a better flat, helped her decorate, access specialist nursery provision for her son, and engage with a local church. On Julie’s birthday, our volunteer took her out to celebrate and handed her a birthday card. ‘This is my second birthday card,’ Julie said. Her only other card had come from the staff at the Safe Families office.
When experiencing such loneliness and isolation, a simple birthday celebration can make a huge difference. Julie is now expecting her second child, and we are helping her manage appointments and will put a plan in place to offer support once the baby’s born. We’ve seen an incredible transformation in Julie over the last 12 months. It’s a testimony to the love and dedication of the amazing Safe Families for Children volunteers.
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*Names have been changed to protect the family’s identity.