Finding strength in family


Funding from the Trust is supporting the Chichester Diocesan Association for Family Support Work (FSW) to reach out to vulnerable families in Sussex, helping them to overcome challenges and enjoy quality time together.

FSW is a charity working closely with children and families to provide practical and emotional support for those in need, helping them to get back on their feet.

FSW supports parents and carers who are experiencing very difficult situations by making home visits and providing friendly, confidential assistance. As well as home visits, the practitioners run a vibrant programme of play work to strengthen family units away from the stresses and challenges of daily life.

The programme includes messy play, toddler groups, holiday fun days, after school clubs and Lego therapy – building blocks towards more united families.

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A young single mother was referred to Gill by the local church. She struggles with poor mental and physical health and is very isolated in Rural Rye, with no family or support network. One of her main problems is public transport to and from her GP, which is very expensive. Gill and the church discovered the parish offer a free taxi scheme that she could join to make her life a lot easier. Gill is also helping her to make connections in the local area by linking with child and baby groups to reduce her loneliness and isolation. 

£3,700 Growing Lives funding from the Trust gave FSW the opportunity to grow their resources and provide good quality games, arts and crafts, SEN resources, books and school equipment suitable for children from a few months old to early teens, including those with additional needs or from minority groups. 

With the new resources in hand, FSW managed to engage with over 480 families in 2019-20, supporting 1,073 children to learn new skills and build relationships – the majority of children the charity works with don’t often encounter new experiences and opportunities.

A further Hope Beyond grant of £9,950 in 2020, enabled FSW to expand its support into Rye and the surrounding areas, which were hit extremely hard by Covid-19. The funding helped employ a Family Support Practitioner, Gill, who has helped many families in the area. 72% of people reported feeling less isolated as a result of Gill’s support and 67% of families reported an increased feeling of being able to cope in the face of difficulties.

Gill has not been able to setup and run sessions as hoped due to Covid-19, and the need for her support has been overwhelming. Looking forward to 2022, FSW is hoping to expand into the more rural areas of Rye to meet the need for support post-pandemic.

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