A £3,500 grant has been made from monies donated to the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation to support the Children’s Centre run by Bookham Baptist Church.
The Centre supports local families from any background and socio-economic status, particularly those from vulnerable backgrounds, and aims to combat social isolation, and provide access and signposting to other services. The Children’s Centre provides a parent, carer and toddler group and a Rhyme Time session, as well as parenting and first aid courses. Additionally the centre is developing partnerships with a local National Childbirth Trust group to provide breast feeding support.
Most families supported come from the Bookham and Fetcham areas, where there are some areas of real need, but as the centre’s reputation has grown, families from further afield are coming to attend courses.
Rachel Wedd, the Centre Coordinator comments:
“We are very grateful for this grant from the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation, which will be used to help pay for a family support worker to come alongside families facing challenges. Research shows that Bookham is an area of priority need for children’s services and parents often have difficulty finding employment, so it is vital that we maintain and develop this service.”
Brian is a single father to his two-year-old son Frankie, who was at risk of being taken into care due to his ex-partner’s difficulties with mental health, drug use and chaotic lifestyle. When they moved to Bookham they were referred to the Children’s Centre as they were isolated and lonely. Being a single father poses significant challenges. The family support worker has visited them at home and they now come regularly to Noah's Ark parent and toddler group at the Centre, and they have been helped to access Free Early Education for Two-year-olds (FEET) funding so that Frankie can start attending the on-site Rainbow Playgroup in September. This will provide Frankie with a nurturing and supportive environment, to learn, grow and develop as well some much needed respite for Brian. The family have also been offered support for debt counselling through the Centre’s connections with Christian's Against Poverty (CAP) as well as other essential items such as clothing, a vacuum cleaner and stair gate, through connections with other local charities such as The Besom, Foodbank and B@titude.
(Names have been changed).
Grant-making by the BGF is managed through the Community Foundation for Surrey (CFS), an independent trust which is part of the national network of community foundations. By making grants through CFS, the Foundation is able to keep its costs to a minimum. CFS can also, on occasions, find other sources of funding to support grant applicants.
Find out more about the work of the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation. You can also donate to the Foundation online.