A Liverpool-based charity is celebrating the special bond between children, family and friends with a week-long series of awareness-raising activities.
Kinship Carers Liverpool supports those selfless people who step in to look after a family member or friend’s child in their own home because they are not able to live with their birth parents.
The reasons for this can range from the death of a parent, imprisonment, mental health issues or drug or alcohol addiction.
Research compiled by Liverpool City Council shows that there has been a more than four per cent increase in kinship care placement in the city since 2016. This type of placement often provides greater stability for the children and is more likely to result in them from being discharged from the care system.
For more than 20 years the charity has been helping people in the city from its base at Ellergreen Community Centre in Norris Green.
As part of National Kinship Carers Week (8 – 12 October) the charity has organised a series of events to shine a spotlight on those who care.
Pauline Thornley, who is the project co-ordinator for Kinship Care Liverpool, said: “We support the hidden number of carers out there who are looking after family members and keeping them out of the care system. We run courses and hold events and activities for both carers and young people, providing the support they need to help them through life’s challenges. We offer unique and tailor-made services that specifically address these families’ needs.”
Wednesday 10 October, 6pm – 8pm: Kin-kids celebration with entertainer, including a gaming bus and beauty bar.
Thursday 11 October, 10am – Noon: Legal workshop on kinship care orders.
Friday 14 October, Noon – 3pm: High Tea for Kin Carers. A celebration and thanks you to our Kinship Carers for the dedication they show to their kin kids.
All the activities are taking place at Ellergreen Community Centre on Ellergreen Road, Norris Green, L11 2RY. Anyone who is a Kinship Carer is welcome to attend.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Barry Kushner, said: “We know from experience that it is really beneficial for the children to have the continuity and comfort of being looked after by relatives rather than being placed in care. Our own information is telling us that more consideration should be given to promoting use of kinship carers and in particular for older children.
“Kinship Carers Liverpool consistently raise this issue with us. They do amazing work and we need to build on the support that they provide to young people.”
“I thought I was the only person who was going through all that I was going through,” she said. “Then I met other in the group and realised I wasn’t going through it alone.”
Whilst Adele isn’t her real name, the details of her case was typical of the ones the organisation deals with – a young person unable to live with their birth parents anymore.
“I went on days out and became part of a young person’s group. I never used to say much but listening to other people’s stories helped,” she said. “We talk in our group about making changes and getting the right support for our families. As a group we have helped to get funding and we take part in research that will bring about change.”
During her time with Kinship Carers, Adele has become involved with Liverpool City Council’s Youth Service, taken part in a Young People’s Summit in Westminster and completed her Duke of Edinburgh Award.
She’s now a qualified chef with the RAF and says her proudest moment was when her nan came to her passing out parade.
“Since I have been coming here my life feels so much better and I am happier within myself and have loads of confidence,” she said. “It has helped me to be a better person.”