Celebrating how an amazing volunteer can change a family’s life #volunteersweek

We are thrilled that we now have over 200 approved volunteers serving vulnerable families across the Black Country with over 100 churches involved. If you would like to be Safe Families, we are always thrilled to welcome new volunteers contact Helen on 07387417210, helenhoarle@safefamiliesforchildren.com. We love bringing families in need into community.

Our team has also expanded with the addition of Sam Knight as our new part time family support Manager which means we now have four staff. Thank you so much for everything you do. We are excited that the work is growing, and we have been encouraged to witness the work of volunteers preventing children from entering the care system and many families welcomed into caring communities. Below is just one story of many which shows the difference you are making by supporting Safe Families. The story was captured by Helen Pryor-Andrews one of our family support managers after talking to Fiona and her family whose names we have changed to protect their identity.

Hello, my name is Fiona and I’m 8.

My mum and dad used to fight.  One day my dad had a knife and mum had to call the police.  We had to run away and now I can only see him if there is someone else there as well. Mum got a new boyfriend and had my little sister, Edie.  She’s nearly 2.  Then last year, mum got cancer and had to have an operation.  When she came home from hospital, my step-dad said we couldn’t live with him anymore and we had to leave.  We didn’t have anywhere to go.  We had to live in a place called a hostel.  It was a very long walk to school and back and mum is often very tired. Mum isn’t very well and she sleeps a lot.  She has to take tablets and when she takes them she sometimes gets sick.  The tablets are called chemotherapy.  I thought my mum would get better in a few months.  But then I heard my grandma talking to someone and she said that mum was going to die but I don’t know when.  She’s still my mum and she still takes me to school and cooks the tea.  Maybe grandma has made a mistake. 

I sometimes get really angry.  I had to leave a lot of my things behind when we moved and I hated it.  I have a few nice things now but my little sister messes with my stuff and I shout at mum to keep her away.  Sometimes, I tell my mum that I don’t care if she dies and that makes her cry.  I do care.  I’m just frightened and angry.  Who is going to look after me and Edie?

A few weeks ago, just before Christmas, mum told me that I would have to be patient as we didn’t have anything and she didn’t have much money.   I was so angry.  My friends would all have presents and a tree and I was stuck in the stupid hostel with just mum and Edie.  Grandma doesn’t live near us and sometimes mum is too poorly to go on the bus to take us to see her.  I decided to ignore Christmas and pretend it was just another day.

Then, one day, mum had a visit from a lady while I was at school.  The lady was from something called Safe Families and she came back the next day when I was there and brought another lady called Hannah.  Hannah said that she had little girls as well and one was nearly the same age as me.  Hannah said that I could go and play at her house sometimes when mum isn’t feeling well.  She was really nice and she brought me a little present which her daughter had made.

A few days later, I came home from school and there was loads of food in the kitchen.  Mum said that the Safe Families lady had been and brought us lots of food for Christmas.  We still didn’t have any decorations, so it didn’t feel like Christmas.

Then, the next day I got home from school and guess what? We had a Christmas tree from the Safe Families lady!  We didn’t have any decorations but our social worker got some money for us and we went shopping and then decorated our tree.  I felt much better.

On Christmas Day, when I went into the living room, there were so many presents waiting for me and Edie I couldn’t believe it.  There were even a few presents for mum!  The Safe Families lady had told some people that we couldn’t have Christmas this year and they bought us lovely things.  In the holidays, I got to go and play at Hannah’s while mum went to hospital.  And I went to Hannah’s church children’s group.  It was brilliant and there were lots of children and not too many prayers.

Mum has told me that another lady and her husband are going to come and see us.  They have got 2 spare bedrooms in their house and this means if mum is ill and has to go to hospital, Edie and I can go and stay with them and not have to go into foster care.  I don’t want to go into foster care.  The people have also said that if mum is poorly and can’t look after us, she can come with us so she can rest but we don’t miss her.

Last week, we moved house again.  It’s brilliant and it’s close to school so I don’t have to walk for MILES.  We have a table and a little sofa and a fridge.  I don’t have a bed yet and me and mum and Edie have to sleep on the floor.  We don’t have any proper plates either!  But the Safe Families lady has been to see us and is going to bring us things for our house.  I might even have some curtains and paint for my new bedroom. 

I don’t like to think about mum being ill and I really hope she doesn’t die, but the social worker is helping us and we have some new Safe Families friends now.  Mum doesn’t cry as much because she can phone people up if she’s sad and they will visit and talk to her and help her when I’m at school. 

This is the story of just one local family in the Black Country who Safe Families and our amazing volunteers are working with.

 

We would like to learn more about your experience as a volunteer. @WeAreBCR @DudleyMBC

Please tell us about your volunteering experience, how you are supported and the ways in which you are valued.  We would love you to tell us by completing our online survey.  You do not need to leave your contact details if you prefer not to, but we would really appreciate your feedback.  Thank you 🙂

4 of 5 great reasons to volunteer #tuneintuesdays

Volunteering can help you boost your own motivation to go further in life and try new things.  Lots of people all around the world support communities, not-for-profits and charities that they have an interest in.  volunteering is rewarding and it will help you step outside your comfort zone, tackle new challenges and meet people you wouldn’t otherwise.

Let’s connect and see where we can go

Good morning.  I think that spring may be on the way, as the sun is finally shining in Brierley Hill.

I’m looking at re-running my popular training sessions – ‘Volunteers and the Law’ and ‘Tools to manage volunteers effectively’ – you can find our more info about the course content by following this link  If you would be interested in attending could you please drop me an email to eileen@dudleycvs.org.uk as I have to have a minimum of 10 attendees to make hiring a room worthwhile.  Normally we charge £10 for the ‘Volunteers and the Law’ which is a half day and £30 for the ‘Tools to manage volunteers’ as it’s a longer session and we need a more comfortable room [which costs a little more, but is better]

Also I am thinking of starting up a monthly catch up session for local volunteer managers and moving it around the borough. Nothing formal, just a catch up over a cuppa in Halesowen, Brierley Hill, Dudley and Stourbridge, so there would be three a year in each area, but anyone can come to any of them. I was thinking that if I moved it around people who would struggle to attend would hopefully have a local venue to come to. Do you think this is a good idea, helping volunteer managers feel more connected to other people in the same role?  Would you be interested in hosting a session? Please drop me an email to eileen@dudleycvs.org.uk