Award-winning children’s charity expands into Somerset

Safe Families for Children, which works with councils to support vulnerable families and reduce the flow of children into care, has unveiled expansion plans to work with Somerset County Council.

The charity has secured a £120k grant from the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts to expand its work from Southampton, Bournemouth and Hampshire further along the South Coast to South Somerset and Mendip where it will work with Somerset County Council to support vulnerable families.

Safe Families for Children, which aims to prevent children from needlessly having to go into the care system, has seen 91 families supported in the South Coast since the charity began accepting referrals from local authorities in mid 2015. During that time, 226 children benefitted from the charity’s volunteer support. In partnership with Somerset County Council, from April Safe Families will support 72 families in Somerset over the next 18 months, benefitting an estimated 178 children.

Families are supported by volunteers from the local community who have been recruited and trained by the charity in one of three ways: 1) Host Families look after a child for a couple of days to a couple of weeks, 2: Family Friends befriend and mentor parents through difficult times and 3) Resource Friends supply a wide range of goods and services the family needs.

Keith Danby, Chief Executive for Safe Families for Children, said: “We are thrilled about the expansion into Somerset which will enable us to help more struggling families. The generosity of Lord and Lady Sainsbury will make a huge difference in getting families the support they need, when they need it. Everyone has a part to play in reducing the breakdown of the family, whether that’s through generous donations, prayers, volunteering, or other kinds of support. Safe Families is a community-based solution to a community-based problem. It’s just people helping people.”

For those interested in finding out more about volunteering with Safe Families for Children, there will be open information evenings on 29 January from 7:30-9:00pm at East Chinnock Village Hall, BA22 9EQ and on 7th February 7:30-9:00pm at Peter Street Rooms, Peter Street, Shepton Mallet BA4 5BL.