We deliver a range of projects and commissions, all of which are aimed at supporting whole families so that childrens’ life chances are improved and most of which have been developed from within communities and from service user engagement.
Click on the links below to learn more about our programmes:
This is an early intervention and prevention programme developed to support children whose performance at school is being impacted by the whole family situation and where school staff struggle with the capacity to engage with or fully support the family.
Our Improving Futures programme supports school aged children whose performance is not as expected and where school professionals feel the home and wider family environment is a key factor. Schools refer families to their allocated Family Entrepreneur who engages and supports the whole family to address the underlying issues that are impacting the child’s attendance, achievement or general performance. The outcomes for this programme include improvements in attendance and achievement in over 95% of children referred as well as a range of other qualitative outcomes.
In addition we run a number of bespoke workshops and activities in schools to support children and parents, including our Comic Capers workshops, Sex and Relationship Education sessions, parenting workshops, mindfulness, money management, bereavement support, gardening clubs and others. Our workshops are run in sessions of 6, priced at £200 per course.
This service can be commissioned by schools through a Service Level Agreement whereby the school can buy between 3 and 15 family support packages per year for their most complex and difficult to reach families. Schools may also buy individual packages of support and workshops. We offer a ‘try before you buy’ service, where schools can try our programme with a family before committing. If we don’t bridge the gap between home and school and take the pressure away from school staff, there’s no expectation to commit.
Currently short term funding is available to promote to and establish this service with schools in Northumberland.
The support provided by Family Gateway has been absolutely vital in supporting children and families within our school.
In our recent staff safeguarding training I highlighted some of the excellent work Family Gateway does in our school. The support you provide to our families and the pastoral team is invaluable. Thank you for all you do!
Families and Cancer
Family Gateway’s Families and Cancer programmes aim to address health inequalities.
Working in disadvantaged communities, our programmes support families who may already have a number of complex or poverty-related issues and who have the added complexity of a cancer diagnosis that impacts their ability to cope. We also work to raise awareness of cancer and develop community-led prevention programmes.
In our Macmillan Families and Cancer project we use our established and evidence-based Barefoot Professional model of Family Entrepreneurship to offer practical and emotional support to families with a cancer diagnosis. Anyone in the family might have the diagnosis (ie: parent, child, teenager, grandparent, aunty, uncle). Our aim is to help families focus on children and young people’s needs whilst the family is also coping with diagnosis, treatments, worry, ill health, and possibly dying, death and bereavement on top of a range of other underlying complex issues. This action research programme works across North Tyneside, South Tyneside and South East Northumberland.
North Tyneside Clinical Commission Group have funded a prevention and early diagnosis programme working with local GP practices to help families in disadvantaged communities to navigate the system and seek help at an early stage.
Examples of our work include helping families to talk about cancer with their children, helping them to understand what their diagnosis means for the future, dealing with practical problems such as getting to hospital appointments or arranging childcare for hospital appointments, dealing with financial worries and where necessary planning for and giving support during dying, death and bereavement.
Our Family Entrepreneurs are parents who have experienced similar issues and they work on bespoke packages of support for whole families to ensure that children and young people in families facing cancer are supported and that the impact on their educational, health and social development are not adversely impacted. They develop a number of activities in the community to raise awareness, encourage prevention and ensure early diagnosis of issues.
I have been really impressed by the research project that Family Gateway have undertaken with Macmillan.
Supporting Families Programme (North Tyneside)
Supporting Families is a Local Authority commissioned programme offering whole family support to families that meet the Government’s ‘Troubled Families’ criteria or need preventative support to ensure their issues do not escalate to crisis.
This programme, commissioned by North Tyneside Council, offers bespoke packages of support to whole families who have a range of complex issues and who meet the criteria set by the government’s Troubled Families programme, or who are deemed to be heading that way and need preventive support through a range of activities and enterprise groups.
Our Family Entrepreneurs are fully trained and skilled in engaging the hardest to reach families, building trust and helping address the range of issues that are preventing them from living fulfilling lives and maximising their children’s life chances.
One example is how we helped Kevin go from poverty to employment.
Sport and Physical Activity
We’ve been funded for 3 years by Sport England’s TIED (Tacking Inactivity and Economic Disadvantage) programme to support local people on low incomes, who are not currently participating or have previously not engaged with physical activity or sport. Our Family Entrepreneurs are extremely experienced in some of the issues people face that prevent them from getting involved in sport and exercise, and – most importantly – overcoming them.
Working with our partners at Tyne Metropolitan College, our Get Fit for Life project offers a range of incentives and access to a variety of programmes to encourage and introduce people of all ages to sport and physical activity. Our Family Entrepreneur will work with individuals to assess the range of barriers and understand motivations, and will develop a bespoke and realistic plan with them with regular monitoring and review sessions.
The activities mainly take place at Howdon Hub where we have an accessible community gym and a number of exercise activities for people aged 16 and over, suitable for all abilities.
If you want to know more about this programme or access the support, please contact Lee Crosby.
Family and Children’s Activities
We offer a range of fun, interesting, educational and whole family activities during the school holidays to prevent learning loss and improve family bonding and socialisation.
We recognise that school holidays can be a stressful time for many of our families as the cost of entertaining children is often too high for many and some families also do not have the confidence, health or capacity to keep their children busy and entertained. We also know that many children, on their return to school after a holiday, have nothing to talk or write about unlike many of their peers who have been abroad, taken a family holiday or enjoyed a range of outings.
Our school holiday activities are designed to support the whole family, reduce isolation, prevent learning loss and holiday hunger, and build confidence and self-esteem. They include: surfing lessons, beach play days, craft days, adventure park trips, woodland walks and other fun activities.
It is important for us that we take the whole family so that parents bond with the children and in the case of beach, park and woodland walk days, learn the skills of taking simple inexpensive days out with their children.
We are acutely aware of the funding cuts in the area of youth services and the escalating needs of young people in our local area in respect of activities, employability, mental health and social inclusion.
We are firmly committed to developing programmes that engage those youths with a range of complex issues, whether they be educational, emotional or social, and encouraging them to take part in positive and developmental activities that will improve their life and career chances and offer them equal opportunities.
One of our projects, funded by Sage Foundation, is a Prevention of Youth Homelessness project. Based on a previous action research project, A Place to Call Home, Sage want to work with us to address issues such as poverty and family conflict, both of which are causes of youth homelessness.
Our trained Family Entrepreneurs are working with a number of families in North Tyneside and Newcastle to offer support and mediation to prevent young people moving out of the family home and towards the streets. The programme utilises the Barefoot Professional skills of our Family Entrepreneurs to work with whole families to address conflict in the home.
The project aims to encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities to take part in social action projects that support their confidence, skills and educational prospects.
20 young people are currently taking part in a range of projects including: an inter-generational project, a project supporting primary school children with confidence building, and a ‘Safe Spaces’ project. These ‘Barefoot Buddies’ will become our volunteers and ambassadors for the future.
Looked After Care Prevention Programme
This programme, funded for 3 years by the Henry Smith Charity was developed as a result of our concern about the number of children placed on plans that put them on a trajectory for Looked After Care and where the parents of the children needed intense support to address the underlying causes and issues.
Our trained Family Entrepreneurs take referrals for families where the children are either already on a Child in Need or Child Protection Plan, in temporary foster care or have been removed from their parents at birth, and work with the whole family to understand the issues that are putting the child at risk.
Often families do not understand, or have the capacity to address, the things that they need to do to satisfy professionals that they can support their children. We take time to work through each issue on a practical, emotional and empowering level so that they can improve and sustain their situation.
To date, 83% of the children referred to us where we have completed our intervention have been removed from their plan and the parents have confidence in their parenting.
At a cost of between £30,000 and £80,000 per child per annum to be placed in Looked After Care, we estimate that we have saved North and South Tyneside Local Authorities between £1.5 million so far – with many cases still expected to be successful over the next year.
We develop community enterprises that have potential to trade and offer job opportunities, including The Exchange and Home Buddies. The Enterprise unit was developed with support from a grant from the Virgin Money Foundation.
Part of our ethos is to develop enterprising community-led solutions to local problems and in this work we have developed and tested a number of small enterprises that now have the potential to trade and offer volunteering opportunities and work experience to long-term unemployed parents, as well as generating unrestricted income to the organisation. Our two most advanced enterprises are The Exchange and Home Buddies.
The Exchange has been run by our staff for over 11 years and began as a local ‘swap shop’ style project, whereby parents would bring good quality clothing that their children had grown out of and exchange for bigger sizes. The Exchange is now an established enterprise that takes donations of all good quality clothing and small household items and issues them to local families in crisis, with any surplus stock being sold locally at well below charity shop prices, the profit from which funds the school holiday activities we run for children.
Home Buddies is a service to vulnerable and complex families who need help cleaning, de-cluttering or organising their home so that it can be safe, hygienic and suitable for family purposes. Our volunteers mentor families in developing routines and skills to keep their home clean and tidy. To fund the service we offer domestic and small commercial cleaning services to local people at a reasonable rate and any profit supports the school holiday activities.
Through a 3-year grant from Mercers’ Company we were able to employ a full time Community Enterprise Lead to support local people to take forward their own enterprise ideas, as well as further develop our community enterprises to create employability for local people. We’re also aiming to help local people with IT so they can start developing their own enterprise ideas.
We offer a range of accredited and non-accredited training to support local people to develop skills and move forward in their lives.
All of our training has been designed and developed in consultation with service users and local people so that we address the very issues that they tell us are important and so that we deliver it in a way that they understand and enjoy, and by people whom they can relate to and who understand their needs and learning styles.
Courses include: self-esteem and confidence, pre-employability, volunteer training, money management, parenting, and sex and relationship education.
If you are interested in referring someone to one of our courses or would like us to deliver a course for you, please contact Wendy Morris.
We deliver a range of smaller pilot projects that often lay the foundations and evidence for a larger programme development.
Examples have included:
- Wellesley Trust funding to pilot our young Barefoot Professionals training programme;
- Virgin Money Foundation funding to test the development and launch of our community enterprises;
- Women’s Fund funding to deliver self-esteem and confidence training to young single female parents.
European Funded Projects
We have been successfully incorporated into a partnership with other local service providers to deliver the European Social Fund funded programme Employment Support for Young People 18 – 29.
This programme will see us engage young people in this age bracket who have a range of barriers to progressing to employment, supporting them intensively in partnership with other consortium members and working together to gain skills and progress to employment or self-employment which is sustained for a 6 month period.
The programme is funded from 15th March 2019 for 3 years, and will fund the work of one Barefoot Professional Family Entrepreneur.