As 2018 draws to a close, before we all scatter to eat far too many mince pies, here is a roundup of what we have been up to in 2018!
What a year it has been. Every week we have read in the news about children’s centres closing right across the country and with one out of five children growing up in poverty, the need for effective interventions to support disadvantaged families to flourish is only growing. This is a key time for the voluntary sector to step up and step in to fill the gaps left by the statutory sector and we have certainly been busy playing our part.
Our prison team, along with our two partner churches, has run six programmes to date and reached 64 fathers, with amazing stories of changed hearts and improved family connections.
“This course makes me hold myself accountable when I find it hard to keep trying to build the relationship [with my kids] and feel like giving up. I can ring them, I can make the extra effort.” – Kids Matter in Prison, Dad
“Communication with my eldest daughter has definitely improved.” – Kids Matter in Prison, Dad
“The programme touched on all things important and relevant. No rubbish!” – Kids Matter Dad
We’ve trained a total of 32 new facilitators to run Kids Matter groups in the communities, bringing our total to 45 facilitators across 28 churches. Our facilitators have now run 46 groups in last 18 months and we never tire of hearing the quotes and stories coming through to us in our support and supervision sessions.
“These weeks have been a real journey for our family! My 4-year-old now says ‘I love you mummy’; he never used to do that before.” – Kids Matter Mother
“I was really proud of myself because when my daughter asked about her [absent] dad, I was able to be calm and fair instead of getting angry about him. That’s because of the discussion we had here last week.” – Charmane, Mother of 3
“I have really liked seeing how far I have come since I first did Kids Matter a few years ago. ” – Stacey, Mother of 3
Our team at Kids Matter has continued to grow, with three new partnership managers on board to recruit and support facilitators in London/SE, Norwich/East England and the SW, three new babies and wonderful new office space that we share with like-minded Message Trust in West London.
There are a host of exciting new opportunities that we are looking forward to pursuing in the New Year. We have a potentially great partnership developing In Bristol as we have been approached by the Family Sphere from Together for Bristol to deliver our Kids Matter programme in partnership with four children centres and local churches.
In the South West, we already have key churches running Kids Matter in Exeter and Plymouth. We are partnering with Plymouth Together to get Kids Matter running in the most deprived areas of the city. The local High Court Family Judge in Plymouth is also keen to see us partner with local family courts and social services, to have churches running KM as official providers for needy families before things become too entrenched.
We also have had interest from key churches in Leeds and Birmingham, so watch this space!
Phew, think that’s everything. Thank you so much for being on the journey with us this year. We have much to do. This is absolutely the right time for Kids Matter to reach families in the community, through the local church.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Dr Eli Gardner is a Child Clinical Psychologist who started Kids Matter in 2015 after 25 years of working in the Health Service. Do email her to continue the conversation: firstname.lastname@example.org