Westminster Befriend a Family works with volunteers to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged families in Westminster.

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Members Spotlight: Westminster Befriend A Family

Date Posted: 08 May 2019

Tell us a little about you…

Westminster Befriend a Family is a small, yet friendly and committed charity with big ambitions to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged families in Westminster.

How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

Working with volunteers and through our befriending and mentoring programs, WBAF tackles the issues of isolation and poor education as a cause and consequence of child poverty. Our befrienders are matched with disadvantaged families for a six-month relationship, providing practical and emotional support, as well as, introducing families to other local services to better connect them with their community. On the other hand, our trained mentors guide and empower young people aged 13-18 on a weekly basis by assisting them in their schoolwork and building aspirations for their education and careers.

What concerns you currently about child poverty in London?

On a local level, Westminster has the second highest household income, yet also has the fifth highest rate of child poverty in the country. Nowhere are the inequalities of our society more evident. Child poverty is unacceptable and with the right support and opportunities, we can prevent families from a slide into crisis.

Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service.

 “Do with” rather than “Do for” is our approach in all our interactions. Since 30 years, WBAF has been enabling hundreds of families to independently address both the economic and social challenges that they face, promote sustainability and personal growth rather than dependency. Thanks to our intervention, 80% of families reported reduced social isolation, while our mentees stated an improvement in their confidence and academic performance by 70% and 86% respectively.

What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

Building relationships and collaborating with other charities continues to be a key part of our 2019 strategy. We are a member of the South Westminster Resilient Families Partnership, and we aim to expand our reach, encourage cross-referrals and work closely with other charities providing services to disadvantaged families and young people. This joint effort will help us make the greatest impact and provide better support to service users.

Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network?

It would be really useful and inspiring for us to share 30 years’ experience in working with young people with other 4in10 network members, and contribute to the network research work with the aim of improving the lives of children living in poverty.