Grants prevent Haven Project closing its doors

A charity that supports parents who have had children removed from their care has been able to stay open thanks to the Steve Morgan Foundation.

The Haven Project was founded by Paula Fairbrother (pictured), a social worker based in Liverpool, in 2011 and has worked with many families where there have been serious concerns about the safety and welfare of the children. 

Although the children’s welfare is understandably the priority, Paula saw the devastating loss, fear and shame that many parents experienced when their children were removed from their care.

The Haven Project works with families to try and address the issues that led to the children being permanently removed from their care to try and prevent history repeating itself.

However Covid-19 had a ‘double whammy’ impact on the charity as it hit a major fundraising initiative and left users feeling more isolated.

Paula explained: “We were about to launch our 400 Friends campaign where we were trying to find 400 people to give £10 a month so we could continue our vital services. However that went on hold because of Covid-19 and hit our cashflow.

“Also because of social distancing parents were stopped from having any face-to-face contact with their children who were going through the court system. Instead they had to rely on Zoom calls.

“This caused a lot of extra anxiety and added to the feeling of isolation. As one young mother put it in a text to us: ‘Thank you…if I didn’t have you to talk to, I would lose my mind.”

The charity contacted the Steve Morgan Foundation and were given two awards of £2,680 from their Covid-19 Emergency Fund to allow them to keep their doors open.

The Steve Morgan Foundation has previously given £54,000 to the Haven Project to fund a project worker post over three years.

The emergency funding enabled them to carry on supporting the charity’s most vulnerable users rather than being furloughed.

Paula said: “We had some cash reserves but not enough to get through the whole financial year. That’s why we’re so grateful for the support we’ve received from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

“We have been able to reduce isolation and help maintain people’s mental health through regular phone calls, group video chats, doorstep home visits and wellbeing walks in local parks. 

“We have also provided individualised support where needed, for example securing a nursery placement two days a week for one family under the vulnerable children scheme, enabling them to continue caring for their three-year-old son. 

“As restrictions lifted we were able to accompany a mother with learning difficulties to her parenting assessment sessions, providing her with eight hours of face-to-face support as directed by the court.”

Paula said there were lots of reasons why children werepermanently removed from the care of their parents, including domestic abuse, drug and alcohol misuse and mental health problems.

“We know that one in four Mums who have a child permanently removed will go on and have more children removed from their care,” she said.

“It can be generational. What we try and do is provide support to tackle the issues to break the cycle. Thanks to the Steve Morgan Foundation we can keep providing that support.”

Jane Harris, director of regional funding for the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “The Covid-19 Emergency Fund is all about keeping charities open so they continue to support the most vulnerable members of society, which is what the Haven Project does.”

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