Written by Kat Osborn, Chief Executive Officer of Safe Families
At Safe Families we believe no one should feel alone. Facing life alone is hard, and when you feel there is no one there to support you it is a scary place to be. Therefore, at Safe Families we offer support, hope and belonging to improve the lives of those in our communities.
Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions. When you are lonely the feeling of shame and fear leads to a negative cycle which can have serious consequences. Evidence also shows that a positive mutual relationship with even just one other individual can begin to reverse that negative cycle as people feel that they are connected and accepted. That is how we at Safe Families truly understand belonging – when you feel fully seen, heard and understood.
This is why Safe Families partner with nearly 40 Local Authorities across the UK to support isolated families, children and care leavers who feel they have no sense of belonging. Families Like Chloe, Chloe is an 8-year-old girl, she loves her family and wants to live in a happy and loving home. The problem is her mum misuses drugs, and although Chloe loves her mum, she knew that it was not safe for her to live with mum.
Social services also felt it wasn’t safe for Chloe or her 2 sisters, so they asked her dad to care for them, the problem is dad had not been that involved in his daughters lives and he didn’t think he would be able to care for them, he wondered whether they would be better off being in care. However, he also knew that Chloe wanted to live with her family who she loved. This was when dad met Safe Families, we explained that there were people in the community that would love to support him and his girls, we knew he could be a good dad with some support. So together we came up with a plan.
A couple had the 3 girls to stay once a month, the girls loved going to stay, they were able to bake and play at the park. This also gave dad a break, so he could recharge his batteries.
Another couple visited the family in their home, dad was able to go out for a pint with the male volunteer, and chat about how things were going and the challenges they were facing.
Chloe’s dad has said “…the support has been excellent and initially I didn’t think I had the capacity to care for my girls, however I have become stronger, well and confident. I know there are people who can help me, and that I can be a good dad.”
Find out more about Safe Families here