It is a red-letter day for Safe Families for Children, who celebrate providing 2000 struggling families across the UK with support.
The charity, which aims to prevent children from needlessly having to go into the care system, has now helped 2000 families, benefitting an estimated 4882 children. Families are supported by volunteers from the local community who have been recruited and trained by the charity. The young charity has seen skyrocketing growth, from supporting 96 families in 2013 to supporting 813 families last year and a projected 1094 this year.
Safe Families partners with local authorities to give struggling families help and support during difficult times. To date 4882 children and 2015 families have been supported across the UK.
Chief Executive of the charity, Keith Danby says, “The difference that can be made in the life of a family, in the life of a child, is always motivating. Safe Families is a community-based solution to a community-based problem. It’s simple, just people helping people, but early intervention is key to helping families and preventing situations from escalating to such a point that a child has to be taken into care.”
Banin’s life was turned upside down after her youngest son, Zayd, was diagnosed with leukaemia unexpectedly just after his 2ndbirthday.
Without family in England, Banin didn’t know where to go for support.
“We weren’t eligible for support because our income level was too high. But we didn’t want money, we wanted support. We spent three months going back and forth about support.”
Zayd would become sick without warning and need to be rushed into hospital.
The school liaison asked the council to refer Banin to Safe Families for Children. With her husband working away part of the week, Banin was anxious being alone with Zayd in case something went wrong. A Safe Families volunteer named Judith was put on call in case Zayd suddenly fell ill and someone was needed to look after the children.
“What calmed me down was knowing that if I had to run to hospital I could call Judith and she would come and care for the other two”, says Banin. “That was a godsend, I was really panicking about that. If I’m stuck in hospital I can call Judith and she can come over and take care of the other kids.”
The kids are now in a routine and Judith helps with keeping Zayd on a feeding schedule before his chemo treatment so Banin can take the other children to their activities. If one of the children fall sick, Judith can step in to take Zayd out of the house so he doesn’t catch an infection.
Zayd is still on chemo. He and the family will face another two years of uncertainty while he finishes his treatment. But the year of intense treatment, being in hospital every single day, is over. There’s less stress in the house, and Judith is only a phone call away.
“I can’t imagine what would have happened is Safe Families hadn’t been there,” says Banin. “To be honest, I’d have had a nervous breakdown. Until Zayd was in maintenance, for sure.
“Now I can sleep at night.”