16th Sep 2020
Here at FSW we have been very fortunate over the last few months. As the COVID-19 lockdown started so many of our friends and supporters stepped up to the mark with donations of cash, food, and messages of support and encouragement as we entered into a very difficult period of time. It was both amazing and humbling to be here in the office every day and see the generosity that was shown towards us and the desire to see our work continue.
We have been able to keep our food bank running and our Support Practitioners working; meeting with families on Zoom, Facebook Live, speaking on the telephone and even shouting from the street through windows 2 metres away! We have sent out food, paid fuel bills, helping families who have seen income drop due to redundancy or reduction in salaries as they were furloughed. There has been online bingo, craft bags and all manner of support and ideas given to the families to help them come through this strange and life-changing period. On the whole we have made it from March to September without major incident, and you have played a part in that.
However, we know that as the schools go back there will be more families needing support; as the furlough scheme ends there will be more redundancies; we know there will be more families needing FSW and that is why I am writing to you today. I am asking everyone we know if you would take that extra step with us so that we can maintain our current work and, more importantly, increase our availability for those who will need us for the first time in their lives.
When a family comes to FSW for support, in the early days our Practitioner will spend 5 hours a week working to support them. Over time this reduces down and may only be a phone call, or even an hour long meeting once a month. In 2019/20 it cost £1641 to support a family for a whole year. Could you help FSW reach more families by supporting us with a donation at this time?
£31 pays for the average family to receive one-to-one support for a week. £310 will allow us to support a family for 10 weeks. This support may be the difference between just surviving and starting to thrive. Maybe you would consider supporting us on a regular basis. A Gift Aid donation of £25 a month would pay for FSW to support a family for 10 weeks of the year; could you commit to this and help provide vital support to a family?
During lockdown our 11 Practitioners across Sussex have given intensive support to 194 families and a total of 459 children. As the schools reopen and problems come to light we expect this to increase and we really do need to be ready to meet that demand.
One of the families we supported during lockdown struggled as members of the family live with anxiety disorders and personality disorder. This was coupled with the parents agreeing to separate just before lockdown. Both parents were furloughed and father needed to shield. This created a quagmire of conflict, depression, aggressive behaviour and anxiety. It has been a challenge to keep this family stable as they cope with the pandemic and their separation but they have come through safely thanks to the support from FSW.
The gratitude from the families has been so strong over the last few months with one mum saying:
“I wanted to say I can’t thank Family Support Work enough for the help they have given me and my family. Being a single mum things have been difficult in the past. Just having someone to listen to your problems and help in so many different ways with electric, food parcels was a lifeline and pulled my family together through the struggles we have had. It has bought us closer together as a family and given us quality bonding time, thank you Family Support Work”
As we prepare for the autumn and winter months ahead, none of us can be sure what happens next, but we do know that we will be needed more than ever before. I hope that you will be able to support FSW and make a gift to ensure that whatever the future holds, FSW will be there to support the families of Sussex and make a real difference in their lives.
With many thanks for the time you have given in reading this.
Donate to FSW and help hundreds more children and families across Sussex.
£25 provides a day out in the school holidays for a family
£31 pays for a family to receive one-to-one support for a week
£130 pays for a family support practitioner for a day, supporting up to 6 familiesdonate now