Family Gateway supports whole families who are living in poverty or disadvantage and struggling to bring up their children on very little money. Their pilot prevention project worked with primary schools in the area, (with whom they are already engaged), to deliver a range of workshops and support groups to parents, children and young people to improve their physical and mental health, using their Barefoot Professional model to increase participation and engagement.
Case and feedback
The one to one support provided for our pupils by Family Gateway is a huge support to our school. The children clearly enjoy having someone to talk to who is not close to them emotionally. Our children sometimes find it hard to talk to parents or teachers who they feel might ‘judge’ their behaviour and react differently towards them throughout the day.
Here are some of the things the children have said:
“Aimee just listens to me and I feel much better when I have talked to her”
“She just gets me you know?”
“Well it’s kinda like having someone there you know, who listens about you being like naughty? Then not actually telling you off or nothing. That is really cool cos I’m always getting told off”
“I wish she was here every day so I could just talk to her before I go off on one”
Some of our children come from very difficult, chaotic households. There is no service to refer these children to. In school we do our very best to thrive these children as much as we can but sometimes it just takes that outside person who will be able to listen to and get through to our children. Aimee excels at this. She is an asset to Family Gateway. There is a clear change in the behaviour of the children once this support with Aimee has started, the children appear calmer and therefore more ready to learn. This has a knock on effect on the rest of the children in class who also are free to learn in a calmer classroom.
Aimee also has a support group with some mothers from our school. The mothers absolutely love this group. They have all gelled together with the help of Aimee who is a calm, approachable, understanding person they can all turn to for advice but who also encourages them to advise and support each other which is clearly working. The mothers have said it’s like having therapy every week and they literally cannot wait for the sessions.
In a nutshell, the support we receive from Family Gateway in the form of Aimee Perry is invaluable.
Received from Jackie Young – Lead Teaching Assistant
(Designated Safeguarding Lead Family Support Manager)
Denbigh Primary School)
Case and Feedback
“Family Gateway has helped me so much during the lockdown whilst I have been stuck at home with three children. They have helped me with food since these three think I have a never ending amount of it, and emotional support when I have been feeling down. We have a group chat for the people who were doing the mental wellbeing course and it’s been amazing in trying to stay positive. It really makes me believe we have a nice community in Howdon”
“Would like to say the help from Howdon Hub for the lockdown has been incredible. I have seen more families looking happier nearby since and have heard no friends complain of having no food, since Howdon hub set up the fund to help feed the vulnerable. It’s helped me find a routine with feeding the kids healthy meals, be less stressed and helped me financially”.
“Also, the mental health group on WhatsApp has really helped, it’s something I can reach to when I am feeling overwhelmed and low”.
“Also you have been amazing when I felt overwhelmed. Where the doctors did not help with my mental health, you got me in touch with the social prescribing service. Although I haven’t phoned them during this, it showed me that somebody cared. I am so grateful to have a family worker who understands me and understands the kids going back to school / nursery during this time would make my anxiety sky high. Other professionals may not have taken that into consideration”.
“The difference has been huge and I can’t imagine coping this well without Howdon Hub in the community.”
“What can I say about Family Gateway? Such a lovely and supportive team. Lockdown has been a challenge for us all and Aimee has been amazing at putting everyone before herself and making sure myself and my family are okay and aren’t going without. She is constantly checking in and makes sure that we know she is only ever a phone call away. I have had a few challenges not only during lockdown but I am confident to say without Aimee I would not have been able to get through this strange time. She is one in a million, a true asset to Family Gateway”
“Who would have thought attending a mental health and anxiety group would lead to added support throughout this pandemic. We have received cooked meals for our children and hampers to help us stay indoors and stay safe. I am forever grateful; this has helped us out a lot. Thank you to the delivery drivers too putting themselves at risk so we can stay safe. The staff always go above and beyond and put us before themselves. I miss popping in for a cuppa”.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Aimee who has always made me feel like I am not alone and always makes sure we are all okay. If we need anything she is there as a support, a family worker, a mental health worker and more importantly like a friend with a friendly ear who is there for us. Aimee has set up a little support group for us and is always asking if we are okay and we know no matter what, day or night, she is there for us. Thank you so much Family Gateway, we wouldn’t be able to get through this without you all”
(Feedback from parents receiving support)
CCG07- Parents Mental Wellbeing Group
Mum referred herself into the Mental Wellbeing Support group after seeing it advertised on the social media page for Denbigh Primary School where her son attends.
When she first started the group she was suffering from anxiety and depression which, she admitted, was causing her to lose her temper with her children, resulting in her shouting at them to try to resolve situations rather than dealing with them in a calmer way. This led to her four year old son imitating this behaviour, and with him becoming verbally aggressive towards his parents and his younger brother.
Mum didn’t know how to cope with her emotions and was struggling to motivate herself to complete even the daily tasks that she needed to do for herself and to support her family. She was socially isolated and told the FE that she didn’t have many friends since she had her younger son, and would instead spend her time in the house, only seeing her children and her husband.
Mum attended the four face to face sessions that we had within the community centre where the group were given information on common mental health issues, the signs and symptoms, and were given coping strategies they could use. Although she was at first quiet in the group, she soon became more comfortable and became an active member of the group, sharing her experiences and discussing her concerns openly with her peers.
Each week the group were set tasks to complete at home and Mum completed each of these with enthusiasm and was extremely open in feeding back to the group when discussions were started.
Since the group was unable to take place as a face to face session, a WhatsApp group was created in order for the group to continue to get the support that they needed. Mum has become a vital member of this group; often offering advice and support to other parents who have concerns or are going through a difficult time. She has also been introduced to a new group of mothers who are struggling with their mental health and has also become a peer support mentor for their group.
She now has a range of coping strategies that she can use when she is feeling anxious, is able to manage her emotions, but most importantly is able to identify when her mood is changing so that she can seek the support that she needs.
She has restarted her business which she previously had to close due to her lack of motivation, and is now rebuilding her customer base and pursuing her career whilst also looking after her family.
Both of her children’s behaviour has now improved and she feels more confident dealing with any conflicts or challenging behaviour that occurs.
One to one support
Child A (10 years old) was referred for one to one support from the FE due to him being unable to manage his mood and control his emotions.
His Grandmother, who he was very close to, had been undergoing treatment for cancer and was extremely unwell, whilst his mother was spending most of her time out of work caring for her mother and helping her to appointments etc.
He had begun to become verbally and physically aggressive towards his mother and sometimes towards staff in his school, and did not feel comfortable talking to the teachers in depth about his situation at home.
The FE started working with the boy in school once a week and began by introducing fun activities to get to know each other. They played games, they talked about his love for theatre and they drew pictures together; all whilst having conversations about what was going on. He began to feel more and more comfortable and felt he was able to open up to the FE more than other people, and began talking openly about how he was feeling.
The FE found out that the boy felt pushed out (due to his mum being busy and also a lack of contact with his father), lonely and scared for his Grandmother’s health. So the FE and the boy worked together to come up with some coping strategies for when he was feeling low, including a scrapbook he could draw/write in, breathing techniques, using a stress ball, colouring in sheets provided by the FE and regular chats together.
The FE was able to feedback these strategies to Mum and it was agreed between the group that the best way to deal with the child’s anger was for him to take ten minutes to cool off before mum tried talking to him, rather than them both becoming annoyed with each other and it turning into an argument. Mum agreed to this plan and it was put into place immediately, with both mum and son reporting that this worked well and diffused what could have been a very volatile situation on more than one occasion.
Staff at the school, Mum and the FE noticed a positive change in the child’s behaviour and attitude, and the change in his wellbeing was noticeable for everyone to see.
|Family Gateway Contact Information|
|Telephone: (0191) 643 7955|