Dear Kids Matter supporters,
It’s as if the whole nation has breathed a collective sigh of (tentative) relief. The Prime Minister has asked us to play our part and take personal responsibility if we are to feel the warmth of freedom on June 21. We have a map and, at Kids Matter, we are daring to dream.
Our Facilitators will look forward to the ease of conversation offline and personal interaction with the parents and carers they have been supporting for months. Kids Matter families will feel relief at the prospect of children at school and movement outside of home, and children will feel the joy of games and play with special friends. As a team, we look forward to welcoming those who have joined us from behind a screen with lunch around a table. And as we imagine a time when a hug and a handshake are as normal as breathing, we remember that children have suffered; that as lockdown eases, families facing disadvantage will merely shift from heightened chaos to a lesser version thereof…but chaos nonetheless.
In a final word as Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield said, “…the crisis has brought home the importance of schools and other local institutions in a child’s life, as well as highlighting the impacts of deprivation and abuse that has remained invisible for years”. But there is hope! We want to be the glue in the lives of these children; to wrap our arms around them in support and love. By helping their mums and dads to be confident, competent parents, we are giving children a better chance at thriving in life.
Facilitator Spotlight: Coralie Duckworth
This month, we acknowledge Coralie Duckworth, the epitome of love-in-action, for her positivity and perseverance in the wake of Covid. Read her story below…
Hi from Yeovil in Somerset!
Introduced to Kids Matter three years ago, I quickly signed up to train as a facilitator and was really captivated with the training that followed. With a background in both Further Education and Early Years I am not easily impressed, yet I was! There is an essential beauty to the Kids Matter programme, in coming alongside parents who are struggling and holding up a mirror that focuses on the good and encourages them to understand the positive changes they can make for themselves. As Facilitators, we stand with them and bring hope. A phrase that often emerges by the end of the programme (and one I try to encourage) is, “I am a good mum” or “I am a good dad”.
Yeovil Community Church has a rich community support ethos with a diverse range of services, including a food bank that began in 1991 and Yeovil4Family – a support project set up in response to additional support needed by many families in our community. Most of my referrals come from Yeovil4Family although some come from Social Workers who have seen the impact Kids Matter has had on their clients.
Before lockdown I aimed to run one Kids Matter group per term. I am currently completing my first virtual programme although the parents are loath to finish as they have enjoyed it so much! Trying to fit a two hour in-person programme into one hour online has been tough – facilitating sessions with very vulnerable parents that like to talk…and the lack of cake, but we have persevered!
I would encourage anyone who is wanting to make a positive impact on their community to investigate Kids Matter, as you can absolutely see an amazing positive change in parents, families and individual children. This change is far reaching; not only evidenced in the immediate interactions within families but reaching forward into the future as children engage more positively with education and are better prepared for employment. The opportunity for children to reach their potential is improved.
Kids Matter brings hope into the centre of our families and through them, into our communities.
- We were pleased to roll out our 2020 Impact Report in January of this year, detailing the effects of Covid on families and children facing disadvantage, and how Kids Matter, despite many barriers, was still able to reach 508 children in need over the year by equipping their parents with the skills needed to build a strong family. Read our full report HERE for more details and stories of how Kids Matter made a difference in 2020.
- Those of you who follow Kids Matter on social media will likely be familiar with the #LittleGoodDeed campaign, brought to you by many of the nation’s most loved children’s charities. With limitations on family and social support networks and many public services and spaces closed, the campaign is an effort wanting to encourage people to do a #LittleGoodDeed for a parent or carer having a tricky time – to reach out, check in and ask what they need. To find out more, visit LittleGoodDeed.org.uk.
- Over 20 churches were represented at this month’s Taster event; it was wonderful hear about the amazing work they are doing to care for families in their communities, and to share our vision with them.
- Our next Facilitator Training is coming up in March – we are looking forward to good attendance and inspired, passionate individuals to run with our vision so that we can see the increased need met in the coming year!
- Last but certainly not least, we are pleased to welcome our new Operations Director, Vicky Neal, to the team. Vicky takes over from Katie Akhurst, who will move into a new and exciting role at Kids Matter.