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:
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.
Currently our waiting list for the Parent Befriending scheme in Hammersmith & Fulham is full.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Special Grenfell Tower Programme
Family Friends runs a special programme for families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, either directly or indirectly. The free programme gives extra support to families. Family Friends matches a reliable, trained, screened and supervised volunteer to a family, who provides 3 months of practical and emotional support in the family’s home. The programme offers 2 hours of support each week. There are two schemes:
Child Mentoring - for a child/siblings aged 5-16
Gives children the chance to have fun and benefit from regular interaction from a calm and positive adult. The programme is tailor-made to the needs of children. They may go for outings out of the area, visit places of interest, receive academic support and discover new hobbies. Their parents may have respite from their caring responsibilities. The volunteer would also provide direct support to the parent if required and help link the family into relevant resources.
Parent Befriending – for parents of a child aged 0-16 years.
Parents receive support with organisation around relocation, paperwork, applications for grants or accessing resources. Volunteers may also give support around parenting and could accompany family on outings outside of the local area. They do not provide an advice service.
We already have volunteers available to match. We have leaflets available to give out to families, which we can drop off to you. Please share this information to anyone else who might be interested.