Members spotlight: Kids MatterDate Posted: 04 December 2018
This month for our member's spotlight we spoke to Katie Akhurst, Partnerships and Operations Manager at Kids Matter.
Tell us a little about you…
Kids Matter equips churches to run a specialised parenting programme for families that are facing adversity. Designed to give parents the chance to grow their parenting skills and confidence, the programme provides churches with a way to respond to family life challenges in their community.
Our evidence-based programme offers parents practical tips and skills on how to make family life/parenting more successful and enjoyable in a warm, supportive environment. We envisage hundreds of these small groups meeting in local communities all over the country, learning how to strengthen their families and supporting one another in doing so.
How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?
Kids Matter is run in partnership with the local church, which, as well as offering support through the Kids Matter parenting programme, is likely to be invested in initiatives tackling poverty in the local community – our hope is that families that encounter Kids Matter will feel comfortable enough to engage with the church as a means of support in all aspects.
What concerns you currently about child poverty in London?
Kids Matter offers support to families who are living in poverty; who struggle, on a daily basis, to have conversations with their children whilst they, themselves, are hungry (31 per cent of parents on lower incomes have skipped a meal so that their children could eat during the school holidays) and just hoping to make it through one more day. We recognise that ‘effective’ parenting plays an important part in bridging the gap (between parent and child) created by poverty but that it doesn’t fix everything. We hope to be a part of a larger nation-wide effort to combat poverty and the effect it has on our families.
Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service:
One of Kids Matter’s longest running church partnerships is with St Luke’s Millwall on the Isle of Dogs in the midst of Tower Hamlets, which has the highest rate of child poverty in the UK. For four years, Fuzz and her husband Ed have been running Kids Matter programmes, serving the community. They have seen 77 parents (to date) come through the Kids Matter programme, many of which continue to attend local community events hosted through the church and have seen major change in the their family dynamic and relationships. A couple of quotes from the parents who have attended Kids Matter parenting groups hosted by St Luke’s are:
“Without this group my son and I would have had a massive argument last night. I have learnt what a difference it makes if I stay calm when he is angry.” – Mother to a 4-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy
“I felt like there was no pressure, it was a really relaxing place to be. I am telling all my friends about Kids Matter - and my husband too.” – Mother to a 4-year-old boy
“I have really liked seeing how far I have come since I first did Kids Matter a few years ago.” – Mother of three children
What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?
As our Kids Matter parenting programme is evidence-based, other network members might be interested to know more about the effects parenting (both positive and negative) has on children, and how Kids Matter, as a parenting intervention, is able to bring about positive change in families by equipping mums, dads and carers with the skills to parent confidently.
Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network?
With statutory services facing cuts all over the country, we, at Kids Matter, believe that collaboration with initiatives that share the same passion is the only way that we, as a society, are going to be able to support the need that is fast growing in our communities. We are therefore excited about the events and network opportunities offered by 4in10.