Volunteers thanked for extra efforts to help families

By Barrie Hudson - 28 July 2020

CommunityHealthCharityVolunteering

A charity working with vulnerable families in Swindon has won praise for going the extra mile during lockdown.

  • Safe Families volunteers agreed to work with 72 Swindon families but took on 20 more

    Safe Families volunteers agreed to work with 72 Swindon families but took on 20 more

Southampton-based Safe Families works with local authorities across the country to support families who are isolated or otherwise struggling.

Swindon Borough Council is among those local authorities, and the charity agreed to help 72 families.

It later added 20 more as part of the Compassionate Swindon, the joint effort by the borough council, Voluntary Action Swindon and Volunteer Centre Swindon to help those left in need by the covid crisis.

Councillor Mary Martin, the council's Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We commission Safe Families to work with 60 families in Swindon and the charity has been doing a great job. 

"Our Children’s Services staff have been really impressed with the calibre and commitment of the volunteers coming forward to support some of our most vulnerable families.

"Even with all the challenges covid-19 has presented, Safe Families is still managing to support our families through phone calls and face-to-face visits while following social distancing and adhering to current Government guidelines.”

Safe Families Volunteer Manager Shirley Baxter said: "We're a national charity but we work with local authorities, and we've been talking to Swindon Borough Council since April of last year.

"The council refers families to us who are struggling or isolating or just need some some sort of encouragement and support.

"We will match our volunteers with a family for about six months.

"In normal times they might be meeting up once a week, but during covid we have been doing it on the phone. Families set goals that they want to work on and our volunteers support them in that.

"The support might be helping with a child to give parents a bit of a break. Some volunteers host children for perhaps one weekend a month.

"One of our aims when we were set up was that we would like to see a reduction in the number of children going into care.

"If we can give families some encouragement and support, that can stabilise things."

The charity's website is https://safefamilies.uk/

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