Our Family Entrepreneur (FE) had been aware of a family that was struggling through her regular community engagement activities.
Mum approached the FE as she felt she wasn’t getting the support she needed from other services and was reluctant to work with them. Thankfully, she knew she’d get the help she needed from Family Gateway.
Our new project, funded by the Masonic Foundation, was a perfect fit for her needs and she was hugely relieved to be able to get help and have someone really listen to her and her family.
Mum is pregnant with her third child and has a 5 and 15-year-old. She is currently living in a two-bedroom house which is now unsuitable for her growing family. They wanted to stay on the same estate or very close so they would be close to friends and in a familiar area. This was the first priority for the FE, who helped Mum get back onto Homefinder and into a house. There was a lot of work to do initially as the Housing Association insisted she paint the house white, a real challenge for a pregnant mum of 2, so that’s where the FE team stepped in to help.
Mum suffers with anxiety and likes to keep everyone happy. She was extremely concerned about what both her children were seeing and witnessing as the fathers are both heavily involved with drugs and the youngest was coming home saying some rather concerning things. Mum asked our FE for support in this as she didn’t have the confidence to stop the visits.
We helped her understand her rights and helped her realise that she can say no to visits if she feels that the child will be put into an unsafe position. We talked to her about safeguarding and helped her develop the confidence to make the right decisions, including her right to report things to the police. Mum said she felt a bit better hearing it from someone else and gradually started to feel more confident.
Mum was reluctant to deal with the Housing Association, resulting in her burying her head in the sand and refusing to leave the house. She spoke to the FE about this and Mum’s underlying concern was switching to Universal Credit and potentially being without money for up to six weeks. This was a huge barrier for her, especially when paired with her mental health concerns and being pregnant, so she really struggled to make the decision.
Another challenge for this Mum was Universal Credit and the impact that moving to this system was having on her anxiety and financial situation as she really couldn’t manage without any payments for up to six weeks. She was really struggling to understand her options so we helped with emergency food supplies and made a call to the housing team to discuss having her rent paid directly so that she didn’t risk falling into arrears. We prioritise the things that are causing most concern whilst building confidence to move forward with the longer term issues.
In addition to all of this, Mum is really struggling with her youngest child’s behaviour at present and is worried it will only get worse once the baby arrives. We’re working on strategies to try out including routines to embed and will be introducing behaviour charts soon. Vouchers, baby items and food parcels have helped Mum cope in the short term and take away some of the immediate financial stress, but there is still much to do to ensure that she copes with the new baby and that the baby is able to benefit from routines, care and development so it has the best chance of being school-ready and make sure the family is stable and safe.
This case is ongoing and is an example of where numerous complex issues can come together to create what seems like insurmountable problems to an anxious pregnant mum. Our Barefoot Professional approach, which is patient, reassuring, practical and regular, can help prioritise issues and deal with them one by one.
We are hoping to continue to build Mum’s confidence and skills. She will start attending baby classes with the Family Gateway team, in small buddy-style groups and may also be interested in taking part in our six week ‘Be Your Best’ course.
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