Keeping Families Connected

A charity with bases in Bootle and Southport which offers the opportunity for children from separated families to spend time with parents or other family members has been supported by the Steve Morgan Foundation.

The Child and Family Connect charity is two years into a three-year grant of £22,512 which is being used to support the salaries of two part-time workers and rental costs at the two centres.

“Child and Family Connect contact centres in Bootle and Southport offer the opportunity for children from separated families to spend time with a parent and / or other family members they no longer reside with,” explains Support Manager Karen Gibbons.

“Without the contact centres many of these families would remain estranged and the children would not benefit from contact with both parents. 

“The centres often also provide the opportunity for children to stay in contact with grandparents and other extended family members.

“Funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation has allowed the charity to continue this work, and we are immensely grateful for that support.

“As a small charity competing for funding with more high-profile charities, grants such as those received from the Steve Morgan Foundation allows us not only to continue with the work we do, but also allows us to plan more easily in the knowledge that we have three years of secured funding. 

“Without these centres many of these families would not be reunited.”

The charity supports children under the age of 16 although the majority are under seven.

At the time of the Steve Morgan Foundation agreeing to provide the grant, there were 94 children attending the Bootle centre and 77 the one at Southport.

Procedures are in place to regulate the contact time and ensure that visits run as smoothly as possible, and the sessions are reviewed by volunteers, parents and the children themselves, if they are old enough.

Families can also be signposted to receive additional help from organisations such as Relate, or parenting courses and various online sources.

While sessions can sometimes be emotionally harrowing, the charity reports that 90% of families do manage to move on constructively and the ultimate ambition is to encourage the families to resolve their differences and arrange further meetings themselves.

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