“For the public benefit, the support for families in the Southampton area who are in need by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or social exclusion.”
At Paint Pots, we have become aware over the last few years of the increasing needs of some of our families, particularly as budget cuts have affected the level of services available to them through the local authority and other agencies. Our primary focus is, of course, the care and development of the children we care for. We know that our teams often go above and beyond their remit, in helping families in all sorts of ways but they can only go so far in providing additional support within their job roles.
Last year, the decision was made to set up an independent charity to work with families in need across the city. We found 3 amazing local people all with a keen interest, talents and experience in different aspects of running this charity, who agreed to be trustees. After 6 months wrestling with the application process (who knew it was so involved?) we eventually managed to register Families First Southampton as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in September 2015.
Nigel, a qualified social worker, is our Family Worker. Nigel has spent a lot of time finding out what the key needs are for families in Southampton and where there are gaps in meeting them. He has spoken to the council, other charities, education and health. Support for young fathers has been identified as a key “strategic” need within the city. Research shows that where both parents are involved in their child’s upbringing, even if they are not together, he/she has a much better chance of improved outcomes – doing well in school, holding down a job, making long term stable relationships. Engaging with fathers and supporting their involvement with their children is a vital function which can make a real difference in the lives of men and their children and also the mothers.
Alongside Nigel’s work in establishing the charity and finding out where we can be most useful, he has also been investigating funding. In March 2016, we were delighted to be awarded a grant of £2,400 from Southampton City Council to support the work with fathers aged under 18 in the city. Nigel is planning how we will deliver this service, working in partnership with the Family Nurse Partnership. In the meantime, David & Anna have delivered 2 sessions on Promoting Positive Behaviour to parents of children in a preschool on the West side of the city, as part of Families First activities.
Nigel continues with grant applications, seeking out further partnerships and exploring how we might engage volunteers. There are exciting prospects. It is clear that there are many needs in the city. Our aims are wide enough to enable us to work across generations, communities and social groups. Our challenge is to focus on what we can do well and make the most difference.
We have received our first donations – £20 from a sale of unwanted CDs, £100 from an online giving campaign and a £5 gift, and a printer. Every little does indeed help, there are plenty of costs in setting up and running a charity.
For more information, to volunteer or to find out how to support us in any other way (eg financially), email –