It's always good to know you are making a real difference in people's lives. Here are some stories taken from the many families we serve (used with their permission) showing how we have helped hurt & broken families.
"Thank you FSW for making Christmas happen for us; without your support we simply would have gone without everything.
We are so grateful to the Councillor who put you in touch with us. You were so nice when you first came to see us 3 weeks ago and did not make me feel embarrassed, I was so worried, but needn't have been. You didn't seem to mind sitting in the cold, in my kitchen, listening to me pouring out my woe's. About me being unwell and not able to work, and not being able to have any benefits as my husband earns a few pounds too much. Its been awful and there doesn't seem an easy way out.
The children will be so excited when they see the toys and gifts they now have for Christmas which you brought. They are just right for their ages. The two of them were and still are expecting nothing as we can't afford anything, it will be such a surprise for them. We had said that when things are better we will have a celebration, we are so grateful to you for turning this around for us. I am so sorry that I got upset, I just can't believe that somebody has come to help us.
I couldn't believe it when you came again today with a fresh turkey for us, please say thank you to the farmer. The food hamper is full of such lovely things and the extra top up for the fuel card means we can cook the dinner and put the heating on again.
We are going to have such a brilliant Christmas thanks to you, I am so excited for the children. You have brought us enough food and help with fuel to help us swim a bit, we don't feel like were sinking anymore.
We really don't know how to say thank you enough, have a lovely Christmas and bless you and FSW."
From Mr and Mrs H and their two children
T a lone parent with a baby, moved to a village where she didn’t know anyone. She found the Family Centre, and was referred her to a FSW worker, who was able to give her the support and things she needed. T now has a network of friends, she has a part time job, and she regularly attends the Family Centre where she has joined the committee. As a result her self-esteem has grown.
LC, a mum with three children, was very depressed, and was suffering from ill health. She had gone through a difficult divorce, and she asked for support. A FSW volunteer was able to help her to prioritise her children’s needs, and as a result she started to give each or her children quality days out on Inset days. LC has become very aware of her children’s anxieties and is now giving them support, as well as getting help for herself.
JW was very depressed following a bereavement and she felt she was stuck in a rut. With support from FSW she managed to change her job, and she also got help for herself and her son to deal with their bereavement. She now has greater self-esteem and is interacting more with her neighbourhood. She has a better relationship with her son, and they have started to play together in their town band.
JR was struggling with her daughter’s behaviour and she didn’t know how to cope. A FSW worker was able to give the mum strategies, which she tried out, with the result that her daughter is now more compliant and she respects the boundaries her mum sets. JR has learnt to understand her teenage daughter better, and there are now fewer arguments at home and fewer problems at school.
AP had a son who had not been attending school for a year. As part of a multi-agency approach, FSW became closely involved with the family. Eventually the son returned to school, and his attendance at school improved dramatically. He was able to take his exams, and his teachers now expect him to do well in his exams.
A mum with two boys suffered from domestic violence at home. Her youngest son had been excluded from school for three months for impulsive behaviour. After FSW became involved, the son started at a new school, which he found very challenging, but with support from FSW to the mum and her son, he is now getting settled into his new school. The boy is now getting full marks for good behaviour, and he is doing his best to keep out of trouble. He now has boundaries and routines, and is coping better as a result.
A family from Rural East Sussex had not been able to have family fun days out for a very long time due to the difficulties around their 6 year old boy that has Autism. We arranged for them to go to Knowles Tooth for the day. When I spoke to the mother she told me they had an ‘amazing time as a family’. She said “as soon as we arrived I felt at peace. There is something about the place that I can’t put my finger on but I just felt all my stress disappear” She went onto to say “I took a book with me and for the first time in years I was able to read while my husband played with the children”.
Knowles Tooth had an impact at home too as dad decided to take a week’s holiday; something he has not done in a very long time.
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