Ross Hendry, Spurgeons CEO writes:
As I write, many of the pandemic restrictions that have shaped our way of life since March 2020 have lifted. For most of us, life has returned to some semblance of normality. But that is not the case for some children and young people.
Those who were already facing challenges have had their problems exacerbated. They have had to study at home, away from their friends and relatives and their usual social life. Their families may have struggled financially, perhaps because of furlough or redundancy, which may have also led to strained relationships between parents. They may even have witnessed domestic abuse or lost a loved one to the virus.
Little wonder that there has been a significant increase in both the number of young people needing mental health support and the intensity and complexity of their need 1 . But most statutory services are overwhelmed and waiting lists for all but high priority cases are many months long.
We have seen the evidence as our face-to-face services have reopened.
For example, some young children are behind in their social and language development because toddler groups could not take place in person during lockdown. A young girl, visiting her dad for the first time in a prison where we provide family support services, became inconsolably distressed at being amongst so many people in the prison environment.
Spurgeons’ mission is for children to be able to have a hope-filled future, to grow and flourish and reach their full potential. This includes supporting them with their mental health.
So we are delighted to have recently acquired Fegans, another faith-based charity whose expertise is in counselling for children and young people and support and training for parents through their network of schools and pre-schools. Together, we have far greater potential to help more vulnerable children and young people than either organisation could alone.
Spurgeons and Fegans have much in common. Both charities were founded in the nineteenth century by men of faith who sought to express the love of Jesus by helping vulnerable children.
That heart for children and a desire to express our Christian faith through the work we do are still central today.
We also share an ambition to grow support across the UK for children that are facing significant challenges. The knowledge, skills, resources and commitment of Spurgeons’ and Fegans’ staff are one key element. Another is our partnerships with churches, who we will equip and empower to help the children in their communities to thrive.
The third vital strand is supporters like you. Through your prayers, the time and skills you give in volunteering, and your financial support, you enable us to go that extra mile so that every child we work with truly gets the opportunity to be everything God intended them to be.
About Spurgeons Children’s Charity:
Spurgeons is a Christian children’s charity founded in 1867 by Charles Haddon Spurgeons who set up an orphanage in London offering care and education to vulnerable children.
We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to live a happy and hope-filled life; that no child should face abuse, neglect or uncertainty.
Today, we serve around 20,000 children and their families through 45 services/projects in 17 Local Authority areas across England (Midlands, East, West, South and London). With more than 400 staff, 53 volunteers and thousands of supporters, Spurgeons deliver a range of support services, including:
- Health and wellbeing for Early Years
- Children’s centres
- Domestic violence/abuse support
- Young carers support
- Prisoner family services
- Specialist support for girls in gangs
- School counselling and support (through online provision)