What we do
Friends of the Family works with families and children who are overwhelmed by family life. We offer friendly support and guidance to help them overcome the challenges they face.
Why we do it
We are a small independent charity, established over 20 years ago. We work in Winchester and its surrounding villages.
Our aim is to improve the life chances of local children and families, who are struggling and unable to cope with day-to-day family life.
Our purpose is to offer a safe and nurturing environment where children and their families can learn to help themselves and focus on building a healthy family life for the future.
Our guiding principles:
- we facilitate the emotional, social and physical development of children from struggling families
- we help parents to help themselves by discovering their own strengths and further developing a range of parenting and life skills
- we respect and offer sustained emotional support to families, which complements the provision of other local services.
“Before we had a Friends of the Family volunteer we had little support with the problems that our child has and the impact that has on our whole family. We feel greatly more supported and have received a lot of beneficial advice. We are truly grateful for all the support we receive from our volunteer.”
What we offer
Our approach is based on getting involved early in the life of a family that is experiencing difficulties, in order to improve their family outlook. The unique support we provide to families and children aged 0-13 years is delivered through four key areas of work:
A group offering mums and their young children a twice-weekly professional support service
One-to-one counselling service offering reassurance to men who are struggling with their role as a parent
Weekly counselling sessions offering complementary support and guidance to parents who are engaged with our other services
We work closely with other local family services. Families and children are referred from a range of organisations: Hampshire Children’s Services, health visitors, social workers, police, GPs, mental health workers, local schools, the prison and other charity support networks.
The difference we make
Families we work with frequently tell us the positive impact Friends of the Family has had on the lives of their children, the parents and family life as a whole.
Regular surveys of families using our services show that:
- struggling families are less isolated and parents feel more confident in their parenting skills
- family relationships are more emotionally stable
- children feel supported and become more confident to develop social skills that improve their life chances
- struggling families are empowered to be part of their wider community.
*Survey of 5s to 13s Befriending families