Family Friends provides early intervention services to families with children aged 0-16 years. We also help those coming out of crisis situations to achieve more stability. We support families across Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham and South East Brent who are facing economic hardship as well as other challenges including inadequate housing, physical disability, mental health issues, isolation and children with behavioural problems who may be struggling at school. We offer three programmes:
Covid-19 Support - Latest
Family Friends is continuing to provide our mentoring and befriending service electronically, with families receiving support by telephone and email each week from their allocated volunteer or staff member. We are publishing and providing families with a fortnightly newsletter containing information about resources, activities and recipe ideas.
Family Friends is running a Shop & Drop service where our befriending and mentoring volunteers or staff are carrying out a shop and delivery of essential items for housebound and shielding families. We also carry out prescription collections.
At present we are unable to provide our befriending and mentoring service to new referrals and any new referrals will be placed on hold until circumstances change.
For further information email email@example.com
Please check this website for the latest update on our services
Our Parent Befriending and Child Mentoring programmes are not open to new referrals at present.
Shop & Drop and Voucher Scheme
Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham
Family Friends’ Free Shop & Drop and Voucher Schemes are for housebound or self-isolating families, families who are finding it difficult to get out or families who are financially vulnerable. Families need to live in Hammersmith & Fulham and have at least one child under the age of 16. All families need to be been identified by professionals and referred to the scheme.
The Shop & Drop Scheme delivers free groceries and essential items to families at their homes from a shopping list that the family has put together themselves. A volunteer will shop on behalf of a family for items up to a total value of £40 and they may also collect items such as prescriptions or foodbank parcels. No alcohol, knives, cigarettes, lottery cards or bottled water may be purchased, all other essential household shopping is included. Heavy items may not be permitted. Families do not need to pay for these items. It is a one-off free shop.
The Voucher Scheme provides a one-off £40 Sainsbury’s voucher to families. It is for families who can shop for themselves but are financially vulnerable.
Families do not need to pay for these items. It is a one-off shop.
How It Works
- Referral agent identifies a family suitable for the scheme. They should fit within the guidelines below.
- Referral agent discusses the scheme with the family and the family agrees that the information on the referral form may be shared.
- Referral agent completes the form below and emails it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Family Friends staff contact the family and agree details and terms and conditions.
- Staff identify a suitable volunteer to carry out the shop and give them the family’s contact and demographic details.
- Staff send the family an email with the name and photograph of the volunteer.
- The volunteer liaises with the family and agrees a time slot for the Shop & Drop.
- The volunteer lets Family Friends know when the Shop & Drop has been completed and provides a copy of the receipt. Staff check with the family that all is well.
- Family Friends let the referral agent know that the Shop & Drop is complete.
Guidelines for Referral Agents
Families should be supported by some form of social benefit and have a child under 16 years. They need to have difficulty getting out of the house e.g. shielding, self-isolating, physical disability or having small children without adequate supervision when they are out.
WE ARE UNABLE TO WORK WITH FAMILIES WHO HAVE:
- Severe, long-term mental health issues or personality disorders – depression is common in families we support but depression which has required recent hospitalisation and/or suicide threats/attempts would be considered severe.
- A child who has a Child Protection Plan for physical or sexual abuse (in the home)
- Current untreated substance mis-use
- On-going domestic abuse by a household member (adult and/or child). We will support families where domestic abuse has been an issue in the past but not where the perpetrator is still present or still has access to the home (e.g. own key)
- Situations where the health and safety of the volunteer might be compromised on the visit to the family.
Our Shop & Drop Volunteers
- Have been police checked (enhanced DBS), reference checked and trained by Family Friends.
- They observe hand hygiene during shopping/delivery trips however families may disinfect items for their own safety. www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- Items will be left on the doorstep or doorstep of building.
- Volunteers will not go into the family home or be closer than 2 meters to people in the building or household.
- They will not leave items with a neighbour.
Befriending and Mentoring Programmes
For parents who live in Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham and South East Brent who have a child aged 0-16 years.
For children aged between 5-16 years who live in Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham and South East Brent.
Our mission is to ‘help families to help themselves’, with the aims being to:
- strengthen the family unit through building confidence in parenting and parent/child relationships
- promote emotional and physical health in families
- improve the home environment
- improve access to health and community services
- reduce isolation
- introduce greater stability into children’s lives
- give academic support to children
- build aspirations and plan for economic improvements
At final assessment over 95% of families report improvements as a result of the service, with 100% rating the service ‘Good’ to ‘Great’.
Our services address the Every Child Matters outcomes. They are voluntary and initiated only with the direct consent of the family. Each package of support is tailored to meet the difficulties families face. The volunteer is matched to the individual parent or child/group of siblings but the service is provided holistically around the home and family to give it more impact.
Family Friends’ volunteers are carefully screened (with references and enhanced DBS checks), trained and given weekly supervision by staff to provide a high-quality mentoring/befriending service. At Family Friends we follow all appropriate child protection guidelines and practices.
"They have a different role – are not social services – people can grow to trust them, they are reliable, it's just invaluable."
Guidelines for referrers for our befriending and mentoring programmes
We request that professionals discuss Family Friends with the family first – they need to agree to receive the support. See our ‘Guidelines for Referrers’ for information about families we are unable to work with.
Note that our waiting list for the Parent Befriending scheme in Hammersmith & Fulham is full.
Please return the ‘Referral Form’ to email@example.com or post it to Family Friends, 73 St Charles Square, London W10 6EJ.
Staff aim to visit a family within a week of the referral being made. Family Friends aims to match the family to a volunteer within 2-6 weeks of the home visit, depending on the family’s needs and availability. If the family is happy for us to share, Family Friends provide updates to referral agents on the family’s progress.