News and Articles
12 March 2020
We are all aware of families in our community who are isolated and without support. Facing life alone is hard and when you feel no one is there for you it’s a scary place to be. This is why members of Above Bar Church are actively involved with Safe Families in making a difference to families in our city.
Safe Families is a national Christian charity that exists to build relationship and connection. Amazing volunteers from church are connected to families who are referred to us by the Local Authority. 40 Southampton families, including 90 children, have so far benefitted from support from Above Bar Church volunteers and been connected into community.
Here are just three of the 21 current active volunteers who are putting love into action and stepping out into the messiness of life to bring hope to isolated families:
“I wanted to use my time to help others in some way. I’m a people person and the idea of meeting up with someone to support them by being a ‘friendly face’ was something that I felt I was easily able to do. I’m blessed by wonderful friends and a support network but many people don’t have that. Volunteering for Safe Families was an opportunity to share that blessing with others.”
"I got involved with Safe Families because James and I had noticed a need for work with so-called at-risk families in our professional capacities. So when I found out about the work of Safe Families, it seemed right to see if I could help. I was on maternity leave, so I had time to spare and was aware of how easy it is to become isolated and lonely with only a baby around for company most of the day. I have never been great at making friends, so I hoped that working with Safe Families might benefit me by giving me the opportunity to improve in that area.
"I have been grateful to get to know other mums through Safe Families, living in situations quite different to my own. I have been challenged to love outside my comfort zone and been able to introduce my son to new friends and experiences. As I have met with, and prayed for, these mums, God has shared his love for them with me. The people I work with are strong and full of determination to do what’s best for their families - it has been encouraging to get to know them and a privilege to be able to help them move towards their goals.
“I want to encourage other families to get involved with Safe Families. It really is not difficult to meet up with another mum once a week or take them to Poppin with you. For me, it has fitted in easily with my current commitments, widened my circle of friends, and been an encouragement in my own parenting. There are plenty of mums in the city who just need a friend or two to help them get through difficult times. We are lucky to have those friendships in our church, and it would be great if we could extend them to some other mums in need.”
"I became involved with Safe Families having always cared for children and I was very aware of the need for help for vulnerable families. I knew I could host a baby or toddler and thus provide respite care and a social experience for them. I have grown to love and appreciate the toddler who I care for over a long weekend each month and I’m aware that the opportunity widens her experience and provides vital relief for her young mother, who is doing her best to care for two young children in very challenging circumstances. I hope that my help via Safe Families is regarded as sympathetic care for Mum.
“The support and understanding of Above Bar Church’s crèche and families helps immeasurably whilst I care for a little one who lacks social skills and security. I’m especially blessed by one church family who regularly invite us to Sunday lunch and an afternoon’s family playtime. It also provides rich experience of children and families who live in very different situations!”
Responding to God
In the evening service on 1 March, Paul Webber said, “Real love is a response to God’s love” - “to love someone is to want to see them thrive”. One of the verses he mentioned was “Hate what is evil & cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). Paul asked, “What is your holy discontent? What sparks your firestorm of frustration?” He told us that God wants us to play our small part in His plan. Where can you be of influence? Where can you be involved and fix what is broken? Is the breakdown in relationships, families and our society something that fires your holy discontent?
Explore how to make a difference to local families by visiting the Safe Families website: https://safefamilies.uk/
You can also email us for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with Chris Allcock, Mary Ayers or Gill Tuck.