The Charles Plater foundation trusted in the issues that we identified and funded us to start making a difference to some of the most wonderful, fabulous children in our city. Below is a short blog from the project leader Linda Harle – “ Leading and supporting a team of dedicated engagement workers is not just rewarding but a privilege. To see on a daily basis the impact of the work we are achieving is just mind-blowing and at times overwhelming. To know that you are part of something that is making a real difference to the lives of so many people is truly humbling.
The work we do and the outcomes we are achieving for families came from my passion of wanting to have more of an impact within the communities which we worked. All of our work has value and a place but I felt there was something missing, something more we could be doing. This is where and when the Brighter Futures project became more than just an idea. Now in our 3rd year and having worked with hundreds of families seeing the success and outcomes the project is truly amazing.
Supporting a team who are working alongside children and their families is an amazing role, we get to see young people grow, develop and overcome difficult challenges. We are based in the local community of Clase, but our engagement workers travel to many different schools, and homes (well, gardens and door steps really!).
During a typical week, each engagement worker will meet with around 20 children/young people, visit 5 different schools (not including digital sessions!), and make at least 5 doorstep visits/deliveries of resources.
When we begin supporting a young person, we will complete an assessment with both the child and the caregiver separately. The results of the assessments alongside listening to the family’s needs help direct which intervention to apply. For instance, if anger issues are highlighted, after building the initial rapport, we can build a plan of sessions to cover understanding emotions & resiliency skills.
If the parent and the child are struggling to bond, then we can implement a “relationship-based play” intervention, where parents and the child both participate to build such nurturing skills.
Moreover, if anxiety is presented as the current issue in the young person (which is ever more prevalent since Covid-19), we can facilitate an overcoming anxiety programme, which is a set 6 week intervention, involving techniques of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Neurolinguistics Programming, Mindfulness and Eye Reconditioning Therapy.
On the other hand, if families are struggling with housing, financially or with employment, we can help by signposting them to other services (including Faith in Families’ own “Inspiring Futures”), contacting relevant professionals to improve communication between services and families, and delivering donations.
Such interventions help empower the children and families we support to manage stress & challenges with new learnt skills in resiliency. When we see the young people practising new ways to feel okay when they aren’t feeling so good it is amazingly inspiring, as we get to witness the bravery and strength each child has within them. “
At the start of the pandemic the project was supporting 47 children; this increased to 146 families providing over 2,410 hours of direct intensive therapy work and weekly check-in sessions. We also facilitated two seven week self-esteem support groups engaging with 8 children in each session providing 112 hours of collected support. With support from Children in Need we delivered 140 care and wellbeing activity packs that were delivered to the community for the start of summer and during Easter we provided 30 families with food hampers and outdoor activity packs.
Thanks to the pilot funding we have now secured three years funding from other funders to develop and expand our reach post the pandemic. We are now working across many areas of Swansea supporting hundreds of children each week. Thank you for believing in us and believing in the future of our children.
August 17, 2021
Borderlands is a Christian charity supporting asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants in the Bristol area.