This summer has been a real stretch in terms of trying to meet the needs of the numerous referrals that have came in. It reinforced that families really struggle to care for their children over the long break. The Teesside team would like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to the Tyneside volunteers who were able to step into the gap and carry the load of their sister region. You were absolutely brilliant!!
There have been a number of highlights this summer… one of which is we responded to our first referral in Darlington. In fact, our youngest Family Friend, only 20 years old, came alongside a 12 yr old who had recently and unexpectedly lost her father. During the last school term, the 12 yr old had access to a school counsellor but had had no support during the holidays until our young volunteer stepped in.
A family struggling to look after their children due to illness, asked for some hosting support. Unfortunately, this need was not met but one family offered to be Family Friends and to take the children out to the beach with their own children. The mother was overwhelmed with this generous offer and cried with thanks. The children were SO excited they woke up at 6am in anticipation of the arrival of the volunteer family! A fantastic day was had by all with some really special memories.
Another story is of an isolated mother in desperate need of hospital treatment but could not make appointments because no-one was able to care for her children. This summer she had an urgent scan and was so grateful to the Family Friends that took her children out to the local park that she bought them flowers.
Some of these families need on-going support beyond the summer holidays and it would be our greatest joy if we could meet their needs. As in recent communication, we are desperately in need of a significant increase in volunteers. Some of our existing volunteers have friended or hosted multiple families, and where we appreciate them going the extra mile, we don’t want them to burn out. If you are able to bring along potential volunteers to the upcoming Volunteer evening event, we would be delighted to welcome them.
Continued heartfelt thanks to you all from your Safe Families for Children Tees Valley Team