The idea of the St Michael's Starter Kits are to give families we support items that will help them improve their family's life. This could be educational toys for the children, a microwave or freezer to help with cooking or furnishings to improve their living conditions. Parenting on a budget is a challenge for anyone but it is especially difficult for the families we work with.
We are looking to our supporters to help us fund these Starter Kits.
Here are some stories from our work which show how our Starter Kits will help us build relationships and help families find the motivation they need to change their lives.
Jenny is supported by our young parent practitioners
Jenny’s 20 and from Streatham. Her dad tragically and suddenly died when she was a teenager leaving her alone. Soon after she fell pregnant. Struggling to cope with her grief and a new baby, Jenny was told by social services to come to work with one of our young parent practitioners. Anthea has helped her find a new flat and furnish it, meaning she and her baby now has somewhere to call home. Jenny's now got somewhere safe to bring up her daughter and somewhere she can feel proud to live.
We are now working hard to get her help with her mental health and to rebuild her confidence. We want her to know she’s got someone she can trust, someone that’s fighting her corner.
Ben and Karli are supported by our young parent practitioners
Ben and Karli were having a terrible time when we first met them. They met as teenagers living in Brixton and Karli became pregnant with Ben’s baby. Ben had arrived in the UK from another country as a small child and was taken into care. He’d been let down by the system and was fighting to remain in the UK with his young family. He couldn't work and had no access to public funds and Karli wasn’t working. Their story is complex and their needs were high.
Our young parent practitioners helped them with their legal battle, while finding them clothes and equipment for their baby and flat. Ben won his court case and can now live and work in the UK. He is currently working hard to support his new family.
Zara and Mark both have learning difficulties and came to one of our Family Residential Assessment Centres
Zara and Mark both have learning difficulties and a new born baby they love and desperately want to prove they can look after. They have been sent to one of our Family Residential Assessment Centres by the courts to see whether they are capable of looking after their child.
Neither is working and they have been struggling to make ends meet.
The majority of the families we work with in our centres are from deprived backgrounds and many of them are care leavers like Zara. On leaving our centre a St Michael's Starter Kit could support them to keep making nutrious meals on a budget by providing them with some kitchen equipment.
Katie was a care leaver who stayed at our Family Residential Assessment Centre
Katie is a care leaver. We first met her four years ago when she was 16 and staying in our special teenage mums assessment centre. That time she lost her baby because she couldn't show that the baby would be safe with her. It was a heart-breaking time for her. She desperately wanted to keep her second child. With support from our team which included teaching her parenting skills and budgeting, she showed amazing commitment and left 12 weeks later with her baby.
Financially Katie was very stretched and she didn’t have family to turn too. A St Michael's Starter Kit could have helped take off the pressure by supplying her with baby equipment and some educational toys to help with bonding and play.
How our Starter Kits could help parents in our centres
We work with many parents like Zara, Mark and Katie in our Family Residential Assesment Centres. Many need our help with the most basic of provisions. We look to support them by showing them how to budget and plan meals. We explore with them the challenge and the reality of parenting on a limited budget. With this in mind, we also support them to use local food banks to help them make the most of the money they’ve got.
Often the parents we work with don’t have the option of support from their families and have had traumatic childhoods themselves. We want to give them the tools they need to put their child first.
How our Starter Kits will help young local parents?
All our young parent’s stories are different. All their stories are moving. All the issues they face as young parents are sadly similar.
- Young parents are struggling to afford London rents in the areas where they have friends and family
- They feel judged and misunderstood.
- They struggle to find work that fits around childcare and a salary so they can pay for it.
- They are more likely to be on low paid zero-hours contracts.
By helping parents like Jenny, Karli and Ben we are making sure their children have the best start in life. Our Starter Kits just part of the support we can offer them. Please help us to help more young parents back on their feet.
What's in a St Michael's Starter Kit?
For all our families a small gesture like a Starter Kit, which could include cooking equipment, educational toys or if we were able small items of furniture or white goods, as these items are also often lacking but all can have a powerful impact. Such a simple practical gesture is a kindness to parents that can also help build trust. It will give them with the start of something, something that they can build on for their children and themselves. Our aim is to make sure their children don’t suffer the same way their parents did.
How can you help?
There are three ways:
- If you can donate some money towards our packs that would be wonderful. You can do this via our donate page or text HIYA10£10 to 70070. You can also sign-up for our supporters newsletter to find out more ways of helping.
- If you are a professional working with young mums and dads in Lambeth please refer them to us for support. You can also sign-up to our mailing list.
- If you are looking to get a family assessed, please consider sending them to one of our centres where we work hard to get the best results for the children. Click here for a referral.