'It really has been life changing'
Introducing Kids Matter, which engages local churches to equip parents and carers facing disadvantages with confidence, competence and community, enabling their children to thrive. By Carol Richardson
“Thanks so much for this morning and the course – it really has been life changing!” – Kids Matter parent.
Life changing…those are words we love to hear at Kids Matter! Over the years we have run more than 200 parenting programmes, impacting over 2,300 children; and we could not have done this without the Church.
The above message was texted to Kids Matter facilitator Judi McDonald from Crawley Baptist Church, which has partnered with Kids Matter for three and a half years. Kids Matter welcomes partnerships with all denominations and is pleased to work alongside many Baptist churches across the country to reduce the impact of poverty on children through community-based programmes. We do this by training peer facilitators from local churches to equip mums, dads and carers facing disadvantages with confidence, competence and community, enabling children to thrive.
Crawley Baptist chose to partner with Kids Matter because of our vision to build strong families as well as the sustainability of our model, which encourages relationships and community even after the 6-week programme has run its course. Judi explains:
'We recognise that the heart of Jesus is to serve and support others in our community. What a privilege to be able to spend time with parents who we perhaps wouldn’t otherwise know and be a part of their story; valuing and sharing the everyday struggles of parenting and connecting parents to us and each other.
'It has been surprising to see how many faith conversations have come about so naturally and how many people have stayed connected to us. With all the challenges of parenting in the modern age what a precious opportunity Kids Matter brings to support parents right now AND invest in the next generation.'
Radi Vasileva, a facilitator from Fishponds Baptist Church in Bristol, agrees:
'We find the Kids Matter programme so beneficial. Through this significant time with parents over six weeks we can build good relationships and trust, and many get involved in activities we do for children and families. It has been an exciting journey to see how many lives we touched through Kids Matter programmes and how they change and flourish.'
Shore Community Baptist Church from Bognor Regis is a fellowship that decided to partner with Kids Matter in the wake of Covid-19. Amanda Smith says:
'Kids Matter is accessible and particularly honed more vulnerable families which is a need in our community. We decided to partner with Kids Matter as we became more aware of our calling to bring parents together in support of nurturing strong families and environments for children and parents to grow in confidence together.'
The pandemic has left a legacy of increased poverty, depression and children struggling with mental wellbeing. Statutory resources are stretched and it is critical for The Church to step in and support families before matters become even more serious.
Our prayer, at Kids Matter, is: that through increased church partnerships, we will see a rush of parents testifying to that “life-changing” impact, as families strengthen and children thrive.
If you would like to know more about partnering with Kids Matter please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and do visit our website www.kidsmatter.org.uk
Carole Richardson is the Partnership Engagement Co-Ordinator, Kids Matter