for giving hope and a future to the children who need it most
No child should face life's struggles alone
Thanks to you, they don't have to
In 1867, Baptist preacher and writer, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, was inspired by his faith to found an orphanage in London, offering vulnerable children care and education. Today, his work continues through Spurgeons Children's Charity.
The way in which we support children and families has changed enormously over 150 years.
In our latest Impact Report, you can read about the breadth of Spurgeons' work and the positive impact we make daily to thousands of young lives. Thank you for being a vital supporter of this work.
''Spurgeons has helped me overcome things I didn't know I could overcome'' - Wolverhampton Young Carer
Spurgeons services delivered
Together for Families
general family support provided by communities
Cutbacks have made it hard for some parents to access general support around caring for their children and helping them to develop. What's missing is a local friendly space where parents can spend time with their babies and children, safely share their experiences and concerns, get ideas and reassurance, and make supportive friendships.
Together for Families (T4F) is an innovative project, where T4F staff based at Children's Centres partner with churches and community groups to bridge that gap.
Churches speak of T4F's wider benefits:
''It enabled us to reach different families...it was great to feel part of something bigger than one church, to share ideas and realise we're doing things well!''
a little extra support to help dads be good fathers
Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings and, as they grow older, have better social connections*.
But fathers don't often get the support they need. ''Men can find it hard to get help with being a parent - we can get left out at home,'' says Ben, one father from Peterborough.
To help dads like Ben, Spurgeons provide Saturdads, a regular Saturday morning club in Peterborough for fathers and male caregivers.
Around 250 dads and more than 400 children have benefitted from Saturdads since it began.
*Rosenberg and Wilcox, The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children, 2006.
Spurgeons' Saturdads programme was a finalist in two categories at the 2019 Children & Young People Now Awards.
more intensive support for parents with higher needs
Around 1 in 3 children in the UK live in poverty* and 1 in 10 are 'in need'**. Poverty has a negative impact on children's mental and physical health and education - it can even shorten their lives.
We want to protect vulnerable children, to intervene at an early stage to support their families before the impact of poverty takes hold.
The 20 Children's Centres we run across the UK are focused on areas of higher deprivation. Through them, we work one-to-one with parents of more vulnerable under 5s (often alongside other agencies).
*Department for Work and Pensions, 2019
**Office of National Statistics/Dept of Education, October 2019.
Prison-based Family Support Services
making prison visits less daunting
Having a father in prison can be very traumatic for children; the pain of separation and the anxiety involved in visits to a large building with uniformed officers and tight security can be a huge burden.
The experience can drive children of prisoners to develop behavioural problems and ultimately get involved in crime themselves (63% of boys with a parent in prison go on to offend)*.
It's also hard for the parent in prison - often they don't see their children grow up, and find it really challenging to reintegrate back into the family on release.
Naomi Webb, Family Services Manager at HMP Norwich says:
'Prisoners may be allowed an occasional Family Day or Children's Visit. Dads aren't allowed to move around on an ordinary visit, but on a Family Day we organise activities for them to do with their children.''
*This figure is quoted in The Importance of Strengthening Prisoners' Family Ties to Prevent Reoffending and Reduce Intergenerational crime, Lord Farmer, August 2017 (MoJ).
helping fathers and children separated by imprisonment
Losel et al found that ''positive family relationships and frequent contact during a prison sentence leads to positive resettlement outcomes.''*
Spurgeons' pioneering project Invisible Walls, launched in 2011 with funding from the National Lottery, aims to support this journey. By working closely with the prison, fathers and their families, and Probation and Children's Services, we ensure that prisoners and their families are seamlessly supported from imprisonment to release so that the transitions are far from less traumatic for parent-child relationships**.
*University of Cambridge 2012 - Losel, Pugh, Makson, Sousa and Lanskey
**Risk and Protective Factors in the Resettlement of Imprisoned Fathers with their Families
Giving Young Carers a voice
Census data identifies 173,000 young carers in the UK (2016), though BBC research projects up to 700,000, or 3 times as many, have caring needs that are yet to be identified.
These young people are caring for a family member with an illness or disability.
They have to grow up too fast - the need to balance their caring responsibilities with school leaves them little time to have fun with their friends.
Spurgeons support around 800 young people aged 8 to 16 through our Young Carers services in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
Spurgeons' Jackie Benton who manages the Young Carers programme in Birmingham says:
''Life has thrown so much at these young people, but they are remarkably resilient and capable, and have so much potential.''
Spurgeons' Young Carers programme was a finalist in two categories at the 2019 Children & Young People Now Awards.
protecting girls at risk of harm
There are at least 60 county line drugs operations in Birmingham. Because boys are more likely to be targeted by police, gangs are now increasingly targeting girls and young women to transport weapons and drugs.
BeLeave was set up by Spurgeons and the Birmingham Police and Schools Panels in 2017 and funded by KFC and Comic Relief. It helps girls and young women aged 8-18 who are in danger of such criminal exploitation to recognise risks and make positive choices.
Jag Basra who leads on BeLeave says:
''It's a 12-session programme with four strands. Firstly, each girl has one-to-one meetings with the same caseworker - that continuity is important because, as she learns to trust them, she will start to express her needs and our caseworker can tailor their support.''
Separated Parents Information Programme
helping parents see conflict through a child's eyes
Parental separation can have a devastating impact on the children, who are often the last to know.
The Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) is a 4-hour course developed by CAFCASS* to help parents and caregivers understand the emotional impact of conflict on children.
Spurgeons delivers SPIP to 3,000 parents a year.
One father who did the course shared a practical tip he'd learnt from the course:
''I will start using my daughter's photo as her mother's profile picture on the phone - so when I get a text, it will remind me of the reason we communicate.''
*Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) is a non-departmental, non-governmental public body in England.
an holistic approach to addressing domestic abuse
1 in 7 children and young people have experienced domestic abuse (DA)*. It can leave psychological scars that last a lifetime - but most DA support is too little and comes too late.
Survivors say they want earlier intervention, more support for their children and help to recover and move on with their lives.
Norwich Connect was developed and funded by SaveLives to meet these needs. Support is tailored to individual families, looking at the victim, perpetrator and children in balance, and involves multiple co-ordinated agencies (including police healthcare providers and social workers).
95% of external professionals trained now feeling more confident to respond to domestic abuse victims following Norwich Connect training.
88% of external staff members trained in Culture of Engagement state they are more confident in working with domestic abuse perpetrators.
*Radford, L. et al (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today, NSPCC