The story behind Family Gateway
Since 2011 Family Gateway (formerly Tyne Gateway) has been supporting whole families who are living in poverty or disadvantage and struggling to bring up their children on very little money. Following on from the successful Child Poverty Unit Innovation pilot we have enhanced and developed our Barefoot Professional model that employs local parents who have experienced and overcome the same or similar issues as those we support and trains them to offer bespoke packages of whole family support to deliver sustainable change in their own communities across North Tyneside, south Tyneside and South East Northumberland. Our aim is to improve life chances for children however children aren’t generally the key factor so we achieve our outcomes by building resilience and stability in the family home working with the whole family through issues including:
- Long term unemployment
- Severe debt and financial distress
- Domestic abuse
- Poor school attendance
- Poor housing conditions
- Child neglect
We work alongside the range of professional services that are there to help families, but that often don’t have the capacity to work with them or have so far failed to encourage them to accept support. The families we help are often referred to as ‘hard to reach’, meaning that they do not easily engage with professional services through fear or stigma and are therefore often missing that professional help they need; we can either offer that whole package of support or we can often be the ‘bridge’ to more specialist services. Information about our range of programmes is available here.
What do we do
The story behind Family Gateway
Family Gateway is a North East charity which supports poor children and families who are experiencing social isolation and disadvantage. The families we support face a wide range of challenges including; debt, addiction, poor housing conditions, threat of violence, and unemployment. We help them to tackle the issues they face by providing a ‘Family Entrepreneur’, a specially trained support worker who has often overcome poverty themselves, and now provides advice, outreach, and signposting to families in need. Here are the two stories from families we’ve helped this year:
Kate from North Tyneside (name changed to protect identity)
“Working with the Family Entrepreneur has been a massive help. My son wouldn’t go to school but now, after receiving support, he goes in with no tears and his attendance has increased remarkably. Due to missing so much school he was behind but is now starting to write his name and is building friendships.
“The support also helped with family issues that were getting us down, Dad suffers with depression and she supported him in getting the right medicines and she came with us to doctor and hospital appointments when we thought my son’s cancer had returned.
“Dad is much better and in the end the cancer had not returned and my son is now improving. I feel that all our lives have been improved because of Family Gateway and we can move forward with confidence again.”
Local Dad Brian from South Tyneside (name changed to protect identity)
“Your personal support has been invaluable to me and assisted greatly in my ongoing recovery. There’s a long way left for me to go, but I am sure in the knowledge that I have your support and that really makes all the difference to my outlook. You have helped me with my personal family situation, you’ve helped me avoid eviction and you’ve made referral on my behalf to the food bank, which has kept me fed.
“The service you have provided has been a lifeline, and your knowledge and experience has been vital to my wellbeing. I dread to think where I might be without your involvement.”
“I really look forward to your ongoing support, and hope that in the very near future I am able to offer the project something in return. I cannot thank you enough“
Can You Help?
If you’d like to help people like Kate and Brian, please donate to a North East charity here.