This Sunday is International Day of Families, a day declared by the United Nation to promote awareness of issues relating to families, and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.
We spoke to Family Lives Chief Executive, Jeremy Todd. Family Lives is one of the country’s leading family support charities, with over 30 years’ experience providing emotional support and practical advice to families across the UK. Over one million individuals came to the charity last year, via their free helpline, face-to-face groups and individual support services. Here’s what Jeremy had to say about the import work they do.
Family Lives is a national charity with over three decades of experience helping families tackle the changes that are always a challenging part of life. We recognise that many people play active roles in raising children, from dads and mums, uncles and aunts, grandparents, stepparents and non-resident parents.
We are here for all families and improving the lives of children sits at the heart of what we do. We provide support to families through online advice and forums, on the phone or in person. We engage with over 2 million families a year. 58% of our helpline callers are single parents and 36% of callers have a combined annual income of below £15,000. We know that life can be complicated, and we support families every step of the way. Whatever a family is experiencing, from postnatal depression, toddler tantrums, schooling issues, teenage aggression, bullying, mental health issues, imprisonment or divorce, we provide a wide range of services to suit.
We recognise that the best way to support families is to provide professional, non-judgmental support and advice in a way that all members of the family can access freely. We provide this through our 24 hour helpline, extensive online advice and forums, befriending services and parenting/relationship support groups. Nearly all of our services are accessible at no charge to parents and you can contact us 365 days a year.
Volunteers are the backbone of Family Lives and they empower us to maintain and diversify the ways in which we support families and parents throughout the U.K. In fact, the majority of our services are volunteer-led and families tell us that our volunteers offer a vital source of empathy, guidance, understanding, advice and support. Alice told us recently “Having a befriender saved my life” A volunteer shared with us that: It’s a real privilege that someone feels they can talk to you, trust you and share with you what’s happening in their lives.’ Another long term volunteer stated ‘Befriending has helped me to understand things from another person’s life as well as learning more about my own.’
Family Lives is proud to offer services to every member of the family, whatever their needs and all our support is tailored by our understanding of families and the issues that affect them.
Please help us to continue supporting families by visiting http://www.familylives.org.uk/support-us/fundraise/