A charity dedicated to offering families and all those affected by family separation is appealing for volunteers.
The Jersey Centre for Separated Families is a community organisation that works with everyone affected by family separation in order to bring about better outcomes for children.
Since receiving £29,980 from the Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands – to be spread over this year and next – the charity has been able to open an office in The Esplanade, provide specialist training for its current volunteers and additional services for parents. It is now looking to further expand its services within the community with other projects under negotiation and to recruit additional volunteers.
The co-ordinator and founder of the charity, Denise Carroll MBE, said they were grateful to the Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands for its most generous support and that the money would be put to good use helping and supporting local families,
‘Our child focused work is designed to help parents understand and deal with their children’s experiences of separation. We work with parents so they can also deal with their own experiences of separation, to make private contact arrangements and to improve communications to enable mothers and fathers to remain closely involved with their children in ways that are responsive to children’s needs over time,’ she said.
The Foundation is a grant-making trust that decides on and makes donations to charities in both bailiwicks. Since it was established in 1985 it has donated in excess of £12 million to charities in the Channel Islands, the UK and overseas.
The Jersey Centre for Separated Families services are available to all those affected by family separation parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and colleagues. These include monthly support group meetings, workshops and Milli’s which offers a comfortable, friendly, safe place where children of separated families can spend quality time with a parent, siblings or other family members they don’t live with.
The charity operates Milli’s on a Sunday, but wants to do so on a weekday so is looking for suitable premises to move to and operate all sessions from.
‘Our role is to enable children to stay in contact with their families and to help them cope with the changes caused by family separation. We work together with parents to put the children’s needs first. Milli’s is open on Sunday mornings and by referral predominantly by the courts, Jersey Family Court Advisory Service officers and legal practices but also through social services, GPs and other professional agencies,’ Mrs Carroll said.
The Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands is legally independent of the Lloyds TSB Group and an independent board of trustees determines the policies. Its mission is to support and work in partnership with charitable organisations which help people, especially those who are disadvantaged or disabled, to play a fuller role in communities throughout the Channel Islands. The Chairman of the local foundation is Jurat Stephen Jones and the Executive Director is John Hutchins.
Mr Hutchins said: ‘It is always good to be in a position whereby our grants may go some way to stabilising young children’s family life.’
Mrs Carroll said the charity was monitoring demand for its services at the moment and was looking to implement a waiting list.
‘We have to consider the support required by each case as everyone is treated on their own individual needs so we can hopefully achieve the best outcome for the children. We need more volunteers so we are looking for people willing to view this as a long-term commitment and it would be nice to see some gentlemen offering to volunteer on a Sunday morning’ she said.