TAMWORTH Informed have been speaking to Terri Slim who together with Faye Chadwick have set up a charity, paths4parents to support local parents and vulnerable families.
Terri approached us as she wanted to make as many people as possible aware of the amazing work they do. As she is clearly so passionate about the cause, we felt the best way was to get Terri to tell her story
This is what she had to say:
“My name is Terri, I have 3 young children and I have suffered mental health problems for many years, trying to find local support groups for parents like me ever since I was pregnant with my first child. I feel there is a need for such a service because it is hard to access regular children’s groups when you are feeling unwell and you feel you are the only one struggling. Also if you have young children and no childcare, you are also prevented from accessing mental health services.
“I have been unable to find anything that you can take babies or pre-school children along to and when it is a fact that the biggest cause of death in new mothers is suicide (source). I feel this is a failing of mental health services.
“I have decided it is time to take action and, along with 2 others, have started this charity with the aim of running our own support groups. These wellbeing groups will be split into two parts – firstly we will give parents mental health support while volunteers provide opportunities for the children to play so the parents can spend some rare time focusing on themselves. The second part will be all about bonding activities for the parents and child(ren) to do together and will also be about parenting support.
“Meeting other families with similar issues will help people feel comfortable to come. Our priority groups are families with issues around mental health, substance misuse or domestic abuse. People struggling with mental health problems are more likely to have issues with substance misuse and/or domestic abuse and this ‘toxic trio’ was the most common factor Ofsted identified in their review of serious case reviews (source) showing that these are also very vulnerable children who are being failed by a lack of support for their parents.
“Our charity can also help these families in other areas such as accessing work or education, money advice (debts, budgeting, lowering bills, applying for benefits) and also a chaperone service if parents are finding it particularly hard to access facilities in the local community. However, we will also provide an information service for all parents, and people who are pregnant or considering having children.
“We will also accept referrals onto courses from families who do not fall into the priority groups, but these will be given any spaces that are left. I feel there is even more need for this service now so many Children’s centres have closed.
“We have had a grant from the Co-op community fund but we are still trying to secure a venue and we are struggling due to a lack of volunteers. We are desperate for people to register for just 90 minutes once a week for a term to make a huge difference to local families.
“We are also accepting referrals from families who would like our support we take self-referrals or referrals from other agencies. I can offer one-to-one support while we are waiting for the groups to start. Take a look at our website for a referral form here and also for an application if you would like to volunteer here.”
Tamworth Informed would love to help the charity grow, please visit their facebook page and give them a ‘like’: https://www.facebook.com/paths4parents