Welcome to all of our new newsletter subscribers! We are pleased to be able to share stories of change in the lives of our Kids Matter families and to keep you up to date with news and events. It’s been an exciting month, with our first Facilitator Training of the year and The Big Quiz Night In (thank you to all who attended).
Our March training saw us welcome nine new Facilitators from eight partners (six new partners), ranging from Dudley in the West Midlands to London to the South West and then across the sea to Bulgaria.
On 25 March, we held our quiz night fundraiser – The Kids Matter Big Quiz Night In – and it went wonderfully. Over 170 people registered to attend and about 70 teams tuned in on the night. The aim was to enjoy a fun evening together, with Gemma Hunt hosting the quiz, and share our vision to equip parents facing disadvantages with competence, competence and community, enabling their children to thrive. We gratefully received over 30 one-off donations and saw a 50% increase in new Family Champions. Watch this space for our next event!
As lockdown continues to ease and we become more aware of the effects of Covid-19, the need for early intervention programmes to support parents facing disadvantage is rapidly growing. Our vision to see every child in need raised in a strong family is more critical than ever, and your support matters more than ever – thank you!
Facilitator Spotlight: Sharon Blyth
This month, we acknowledge Sharon Blyth for her perseverance, enthusiasm and unwavering dedication to the parents and families in her community. Read her story below…
Hi, my name is Sharon and I am part of the Kids Matter Team here at Holy Trinity, Barnstaple in North Devon. Living in the South West may conjure up images of fields, beaches and idyllic rural life but it is a place of contrasts and great inequality. We have several locations where free school meals are very highly subscribed to; prompted by this awareness of social need, I was very excited to find out about Kids Matter two years ago. I trained as a facilitator and passion for the programme has been contagious, as we now have three trained facilitators in our church.
We’ve run six groups to date, with parents often repeating the programme; I often feel like I’m repeating myself! We have tried to maintain contact with all the families we have worked with, and we let them know that we are always here for them – no matter how long it has been since we actually talked to them. We do this by sending cards, dropping off small gifts for occasions (like Easter and Mother’s Day) or simply to cheer them up. There is a keen baker in our team who makes birthday cakes for our Kids Matter families and we also enjoy putting together ‘family packages’ as a way of loving parents, carers and children in our community. Other opportunities to love our families present themselves when the church congregation donates things – like a TV or slow cooker (both of these have happened!) – and we offer them to families, and we also facilitate them accessing the Food Bank if they so need.
It is not easy being a facilitator. My heart has been broken by some of the stuff I have heard and sometimes I wake up worrying about the mums and the difficult lives they have had. But it is also so rewarding and so real. Walking alongside a family with a poorly child, a relationship breakup, mental health difficulties and problems with school – and much more – is such a privilege. We may not be able to break the poverty trap and unfairness of life but we can be people who shine a light of hope to families in our work. And above all, we can enable them to believe that they are good parents and their children are amazing.
Kids Matter dads in action!
As part of our learning at Kids Matter, we are reading Poverty Safari: Understanding The Anger of Britain’s Underclass by Darren McGarvey, who challenges us to come alongside people (rather than reach down from on high) in our efforts to action a fairer and more caring society. A challenging, thought-provoking read that inspires both introspection and change.
Keep a look out for our ‘Meet The Team’ #MondayStories videos on our social media channels each week to find out more about why we do what we do!
We loved these social media shout outs from our Kids Matter Big Quiz prize winners (see below); Jude’s Ice Cream, Montezuma’s Chocolates and Madlug were some of many generous companies that donated prizes in support of our event.
We are hosting a Taster event for those in the West Midlands who would like to hear more about the Kids Matter parenting programme and how your church/organisation could partner with us to support parents facing disadvantage in your community. See details below:
Check out our latest blog!