The importance of a stable and supportive home-life in contributing to the successful emotional and psychological development of a child is well documented. Those children who struggle most in school, those who are disruptive or present challenging behaviour are often found to be those who are not receiving adequate care and attention at home. Of course, family life is not easy and even the most secure environments can be fragile and crack if exposed to certain pressures, such as relationship breakdown, bereavement, domestic violence or economic difficulties. John Lyon’s Charity supports a wide variety of projects that exist to develop parenting skills, provide support to those in the greatest of need and to prevent families from reaching crisis point.
Brent Play Association
Brent Play Association, established in 1990, is a small locally-based charity that promotes and delivers activities and opportunities for school age children, including those who have special needs. It provides a wide range of services including play schemes, breakfast and after school clubs, a ‘state of the art’ adventure playground on the Stonebridge Estate and day respite for children with special and diverse needs. It runs The John Lyon narrow boat on the Grand Union Canal, Playwork NVQ training and assessment and provides equipment hire and loan to children’s organisations, including inflatable bouncy castles and go-karts.
It operates from new facilities in Peppermint Heights, Alperton, which include an outside play area with safety surfacing and play house, a multi-sensory room, large kitchen, inter-active whiteboard, sound system, computers, fully equipped art and craft room and quiet room with a library.
Brent Play also provides expertise and advice in all areas of children’s play and legislative requirements in the field of children’s play and child care.
A stable family environment provides an effective springboard for all young people to make the most of the choices that are available to them, whether in education, leisure or future career opportunities. Family Friends provides emotional and practical support through befriending and mentoring services. It recruits, trains and matches volunteers to families, who then make weekly home-visits for a year, supported by the Family Friends team. The programme is tailored to the families’ needs. Volunteers may direct families to appropriate local services, provide academic help, or parenting support. Volunteers become positive role models for the families that they are mentoring, providing inspiration and guidance to look positively towards the future.
Family Friends delivers high quality interventions in Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham and is in receipt of a John Lyon’s Charity grant towards its core services in these boroughs. It is the only organisation in the area that offers an early intervention preventative health and wellbeing service that involves the whole family over the long term.
In 2015 the Charity noticed a gap in provision of this kind of family service in Brent, which also has high levels of need. Family Friends is based in North Kensington very close to the Brent border and so is well-placed to meet this gap in provision. John Lyon’s Charity thus awarded Family Friends an additional grant of £20,000 per annum for three years in 2016 towards the delivery of befriending and mentoring services to families South Easts Brent.
Shepherds Bush Families Project and Children’s Centre
Since 1988 Shepherds Bush Families Project has supported local families who are in housing need and delivers children’s services to help parents manage their difficult circumstances.
The Charity has awarded Shepherds Bush Families Project over £190,000 in grants since 1998 and is currently supporting its After School Club and holiday provision. These are increasingly popular and vital services which are relied on by over 100 families each year. After school sessions provide an opportunity for young people to play games, try out different forms of art and complete homework in a safe and friendly space. Having the space and resources to complete homework is particularly important for children facing housing difficulties and enables parents to engage in their child’s learning and play.
This film shows some of the important services the Project provides and the impact it has on the families who attend. It was produced as part of the JLC Volunteer Films initiative in partnership with Media Trust.