News

Christmas Hampers – December 2016

During the week 12th December 2016, Family Friends teamed up with Furnish staff to deliver Christmas hampers to families we support. The Junior League of London had packed hampers full of food, toiletries, books and toys, with additional books provided by LAW Ltd. One mother said, ‘there were some really lovely gifts and I’m looking forward to wrapping them up for Christmas and giving them to my children.'

Volunteer Awards at Victoria & Albert Museum – November 2016

On 24th November 2016, the Volunteer Centre Kensington & Chelsea held Volunteer Awards at the prestigious Victoria & Albert Museum. The ceremony saw volunteers receive awards from the Mayor of The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea for the inspirational work they do within the community. Five of Family Friends’ volunteers who work in Kensington & Chelsea received 'Make a Difference Awards'.

Grove Trust gets to know Family Friends – November 2016

On 1st November 2016, members of The Grove Trust visited Family Friends’ offices to get to know more about our befriending and mentoring services. They spoke to both volunteers and families and found out how the work by volunteers helped the families to make positive changes in their lives. The Grove Trust also met frontline staff and our Trustee George Smith.

On 8th November Flora Taylor, CEO of Family Friends, gave a presentation together with an ex service user, to more Grove Trust members at an evening held at The Tin Shed on All Saint Road in North Kensington. In light of this The Grove Trust awarded Family Friends a grant of £45,000 across the next 2 years.

NCVO/Mentoring and Befriending awards Family Friends Approved Provider standard – April 2016

Family Friends has been reaccredited with Approved Provider status, the prestigious national quality standard for mentoring and befriending. The extensive assessment by NCVO/Mentoring and Befriending involved interviews with volunteers, families and staff as well as review of our policies and procedures. Family Friends demonstrated a high standard in every key area. Our project was described as having very clear objectives, being safe and effective, employing robust monitoring, best practice volunteer recruitment and extensive and fit for purpose volunteer training.

The nation's longest reigning Monarch – October 2015

Our Trustees Elizabeth Jack and Abi Pllana, attended a special Reception for representatives from local voluntary organizations that serve residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. The reception was held to celebrate The Queen becoming the Nation’s longest-reigning Monarch. 63 years of service. The event took place at The Mayor’s Parlour, Kensington Town Hall on 6th October 2015. Our trustees were greeted by the Mayor, Councillor Robert Freeman.

Garden Party at Buckingham Palace - July 2015

Family Friends were invited by The Queen to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 28 May 2015. The tea and cakes were delicious, the British weather held out and a wonderful time was had by all!

The Duchess of Cambridge visit - January 2015

London Live interviewed Family Friends’ CEO Flora Taylor during the visit from The Duchess of Cambridge

Volunteers, families and staff enjoyed a coffee morning at Family Friends offices with The Duchess of Cambridge on 19th January. Arriving at 10am, the Duchess was greeted by our Chair of Trustees, Elizabeth Jack. Elizabeth introduced our CEO, Flora Taylor, the trustees and our fundraiser, before giving the Duchess a briefing on the work of Family Friends.

The Duchess then joined other staff members, families and volunteers for tea and cake. Moving around the tables, The Duchess found out about how our invaluable volunteers became involved with Family Friends, and about the confidence that families have gained through working with these volunteers.

The Duchess of Cambridge visit - January 2015

Family Friends is delighted to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge will be visiting the charity on Monday 19th January. Her Royal Highness will get an overview of the organisation's work. She will then join a coffee morning to meet some of the network of trained volunteers who provide befriending and mentoring services, together with some of the families themselves.

Flora Taylor, Chief Executive said: "We are delighted that The Duchess of Cambridge is visiting Family Friends and meeting some of our volunteers and families. As a small, niche charity providing a vital service in deprived parts of West London, a Royal visit is a huge boost and will hopefully encourage more people to volunteer and support struggling families in their community."

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December 2016

Family Friends wins prestigious Queen's Award – September 2013

Family Friends has been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service after 20 years of supporting families across Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham. The Award is the highest national honour given to charities and volunteer groups across the UK and it has an equivalent status for voluntary groups as the MBE has for individuals. This year just seven London charities won the award and a total of 117 across the UK. The Award is overseen by the Office for Civil Society, in the Cabinet Office.

Flora Taylor, Chief Executive of Family Friends says 'we are thrilled to have won a Queen's Award. Our befriending and mentoring programme is delivered directly by volunteers to the families we work with, so they are vital to the charity. Good volunteers are our backbone. We thank all our volunteers for their wonderful contribution over the last 20 years'.

For information visit: www.gov.uk/government/news/queens-award-for-voluntary-service-2013-recipients-announced


Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund – May 2013

Family Friends has been awarded £180,000 funding from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund to extend the charity’s Child Befriending & Mentoring Scheme in Hammersmith & Fulham. The funding will enable us to work with 67 children aged between 5 and 16 years through our volunteer home-visiting scheme. Volunteers will provide a positive adult role model, will give help with academic work, support to achieve better health and to develop new interests through as arts and crafts and visits to museums and libraries.


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An Arabian Night at Leighton House – November 2012


On 29th November Family Friends hosted An Arabian Night at Leighton House Museum. The event raised an incredible £40,000 towards our work. Christies auctioneer James Bruce-Gardyne led an auction that included a signed Rolling Stones poster and tickets for the men's finals at Wimbledon. Guests included the Mayor and Mayoress of Kensington & Chelsea, Cllr Christopher Buckmaster and Mrs Anne Hobson. Thank you so much to our event committee, the many people who donated and bid for prizes, and to all of our guests for joining us. Also to our sponsors Datadial and www.Londondom.com

The Mentoring & Befriending Foundation awards Family Friends Approved Provider standard - November 2012

Family Friends has won reaccreditation of the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation's quality standard mark - Approved Provider. The process involved a review of our practices and policies by an assessor, who also interviewed parents, children and volunteers about our work. The report following the assessment stated 'Family Friends demonstrated throughout the Assessment that it is an effective, professional mentoring scheme. The staff demonstrated a high level of commitment and knowledge. The two Coordinators had previously been volunteers on the scheme which provided them with a unique perspective on Family Friends. The Assessor was particularly impressed by the clarity of the systems which are used to risk assess potential service users and to provide support for both volunteers and service users. The Assessor was very impressed with the calibre and enthusiasm of the two volunteers who were interviewed and the fact that the Trustees are actively involved in evaluating the effectiveness of the partnerships. Family Friends have a clear ethos on delivering realistic goals and supporting vulnerable families within a professional framework. In the view of the Assessor the scheme operates to a high professional standard and no points for development were determined. It is recommended that Family Friends should be approved for APS re accredition.'

datadialDatadial – April 2012

Website designers Datadial created a new website, free of charge, for Family Friends. The website gives a fresher look and contains more photographs, case studies and first-hand account from families and volunteers. It has an enhanced fundraising page and exclusive passworded section for current volunteers. Thank you Datadial for the great work you did!

Family Friends wins Lady Goodman Award (again) - June 2011

The Lady Goodman Award 2011 was awarded to Family Friends by the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Jullie Mills, at a presentation ceremony held at the Mayor's Parlour, Kensington Town Hall. This award is given to the Kensington & Chelsea charity which shows overall excellence in involving volunteers. Nominated for the award by volunteers, Family Friends was chosen unanimously from a number of charities by a panel of judges including Kensington & Chelsea Volunteer Centre, the RBKC Community Engagement team and Advice Now. The award was collected by Family & Volunteer Co-ordinator Louisa Cook on behalf of Family Friends and came with a cheque for £500.

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Independent Evaluation carried out of Family Friends - November 2009

The Rayne Foundation funded an independent evaluation by Charities Evaluation Services on the work of Family Friends. The report concluded that: 'Family Friends volunteer mentoring and befriending have helped families to achieve positive change in their lives. Overall satisfaction was high for all families. They praised the work of volunteers and support from staff. The top three outcomes for families were a) increased confidence and self-esteem b) feelings of improved mental wellbeing c) improved and/or new skills and abilities.'

For a copy of the evaluation email familyfriendsw10@btconnect.com

Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea visits Family Friends for Tea - August 2009


The Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Timothy Coleridge visited Family Friends on 14 August for a tea party also attended by two volunteers and six previously supported families. Thank you Hummingbird Bakery for the delicious cupcakes, Orlando Hamilton for the flowers and St. Helen's Food Store for the loan of their tea set.

Family Friends wins Volunteering Award - June 2009

Family Friends was awarded Excellence in Volunteer Management by the Lady Goodman Award for Volunteering 2009 by the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Timothy Coleridge. Family Friends' volunteers nominated us for the award and our practices and procedures were assessed by an adjudicator. The award was collected by Family & Volunteer Co-ordinator Maria Meska-Frowde on behalf of Family Friends.

Family Friends celebrates 15th Anniversary - May 2009


The Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, the Hon. Joanna Gardener hosted a party to celebrate Family Friends' 15th Anniversary on 13 May. The Mayor allowed the party to take place in the splendid Mayor's Parlour at the Kensington Town Hall. 120 people came including past families and volunteers, local organisations and trustees, and they were entertained by a Jazz Trio of trumpeter, keyboard and bass. In November 1993, Sheila Paget established Family Friends as a pilot scheme on the Lancaster West Estate. Her vision was to support families-in-need through early intervention. She established a network of volunteers trained to 'help families to help themselves'. Since then the importance of early intervention has been increasingly recognised. The service has expanded across the whole of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and in 2007 it extended into neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham.

Family Friends goes to 10 Downing Street - March 2009

Family Friends was one of 40 charities from across the country invited to attend a party at 10 Downing Street to celebrate mentoring and befriending. The reception was hosted by the Prime Minister's wife, Mrs Sarah Brown on 10 March. Services Manager Leonora Borg, Mentee Jordan and Volunteer Aleks attended on behalf of the charity. They received a tour of Downing Street and Jordan was complimented by Sarah Brown on how he was the smartest person there!

December 2008

The Mentoring & Befriending Foundation awards Family Friends Approved Provider standard - December 2008

The national scheme, set up by the Home Office, sets a benchmark for running mentoring and befriending programmes, by assessing the quality of their management and operation. The foundation reassessed Family Friends Approved Provider status and renewed it for another three years. The assessor said 'your programme meets the key management and operational requirements of the standard and is designed to deliver a quality service. The assessment confirmed the clear supervisory structure you have in place to support the project and your preparation process for participants. Your volunteers are appropriately screened and are then given relevant training and guidance, a careful matching procedure is in operation and on-going support is provided once the relationships have begun... May I take this opportunity on behalf of the Mentoring & Befriending Foundation to thank your organisation for its highly valued commitment to quality and to wish you further success in the development of your programme.' To visit The Mentoring & Befriending Foundation website click here.

Family Friends win Kensington Housing Trust Community Fund Award - November 2008

Family Friends won a Kensington Housing Trust Community Fund Award at a ceremony on 22nd November at the Hilton Hotel Kensington. Family Friends was recognised under the category Children & Young People for it's work with the 0-16 age group. Awards were given based on charities' abilities to demonstrate 'innovative, sustainable and worked in partnership'. They were presented by Councillor Paget-Brown and Chairman Stephen Duckworth on behalf of Kensington Housing Trust.

Family Friends wins new Volunteer Award - June 2008

The Good Practice Award 2008 was awarded to Family Friends by the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Joanna Gardner. Operations Director, Flora Taylor collected the award on behalf of the charity at the Kensington & Chelsea Volunteer Week celebration at the Sheraton Hotel, Knightsbridge. The Good Practice Award is given in recognition of outstanding good practice in volunteering. As part of it's nomination, Family Friends was described as ‘an exemplary example of volunteering good practice with many features that other Volunteering Organisations both locally and nationwide could learn from’.

A fun afternoon for Family Friends' families - May 2008

Family Friends' families enjoyed an afternoon of fun on 17th May. Children's entertainer, Dantastic, got everyone on their feet with his comedy routine which featured an enormous parachute and balloon crafting. Games and activities included face painting, jewellery making, beanbag throwing. Each child took home a personalised backpack containing games and books together with a guide to What's On in London in Summer 2008. The event was attended by 29 families, over 100 people. Thank you to The Junior League of London for organising the day for Family Friends.

December 2007

Volunteering Award for Family Friends - November 2007

The high-quality support that Family Friends gives to volunteers was recognised when we were awarded Highly Commended by the Lady Goodman Award for Volunteering 2007. Family Friends volunteers nominated us for the award and our practices and procedures were assessed by an adjudicator.

Family Friends to open in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham - September 2007

Family Friends is delighted to announce the expansion of our programme into neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham, through support from the local council. The charity shall begin by offering befriending services to 25 families who have a child under the age of five.

Family Friends achieves PQASSO - January 2007

Family Friends is committed to running an effective and efficient organisation. Staff and trustees worked with the Kensington & Chelsea Social Council to assess all areas of the charity's governance, management and delivery to standards set by the Charity Evaluation Services. The charity achieved PQASSO Level I & II, the Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations.

December 2006

Family Friends' founder wins Kensington & Chelsea Mayor's Award - March 2006

Sheila Carleton Paget (centre), Founder of Family Friends, was presented with the Mayor's Award by Councillor Warwick Lightfoot the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea (right). The award was for her outstanding contribution to life in the borough in setting up Family Friends and being the driving force behind it. Family Friends was described in the Mayor's citation as 'a model of statutory and voluntary sector co-operative working'.

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