Caring Is Sharing

This week is Kinship Care Week, highlighting an opportunity to thank and celebrate kinship carers, and raise their profile across the country.

One Liverpool-based charity, Kinship Carers, is now a year through a three-year programme of funding of £90,000 from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Kinship Carers, established in 1980’s and based at Ellergreen Community Centre, is a support organisation for carers – usually grandparents – who look after other members of their family – usually grandchildren, when their parents are unable to do so.

Where possible, the charity helps children live with carers from their family – due to many reasons connected with parents such as addiction, mental health issues, bereavement and imprisonment – rather than be taken into Local Authority Care.

Many of the carers are in their 60s or 70s, and have long-term health conditions themselves, making the support from Kinship Carers – in either providing advice or guidance, or activities for the children – vital.

“The impact of this funding will change the future of Kinship Care and how our families are supported,” said Project Co-Ordinator Pauline Thornley.

“Supporting us to campaign for change has not only enabled us to raise awareness but empowered our families to be heard.

“And strong relationships that will last a lifetime have been developed between kin carers and kin kids.

“Our project makes a difference both locally and nationally – we are truly led by our families and this enables us to deliver projects that are created for – and by – those families.

“Our families come to our project for support, but lots of them then become the supporters of others, with a real community developing strong peer support which continues much further.

“We see ourselves as the foundations from which other strong relationships are formed.”

There are so many positive case studies associated with the work of the Kinship Carers, including a 15-year-old boy whose parents were substance abusers, but, under the guidance of his Nan, has engaged with the charity and supported various activities.

Another grandmother, who had faced many family issues, has completed a Peer Mentoring course and used her experences to help others and support new families in feeling less isolated and stigmatised.

Kinship Carers meanwhile are also bringing together Local Authority Children’s Service teams to create a joined-up approach to be viewed as good practice nationally.

This has led to the charity hosting a meeting to showcase this project for the region of the North of England in Liverpool on October 23rd.

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