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Helping Young Families

28th October 2020

by National Lottery Good Causes

The WILD Young Parents’ Project works with young parents under the age of 23, along with their children and babies across the most deprived areas of Cornwall.

Before the outbreak of Covid-19, many of these families faced huge challenges. The charity ran regular group sessions with mothers focusing on mental health, relationships, healthy lifestyles, including establishing smoke free homes, and building attachment with their children.

The charity is just one of the many charities supported by The National Lottery with players contributing around £30 million a week to good causes.

But as times got harder, it moved to offering one-to-one remote support by simply listening, and by delivering items of essential food or prescriptions supporting families countywide.

The help is directly aimed at young parents who live alone with babies, but who have no or little family support.

The charity’s Chief Executive Jo Davies says: “This started as a small group for young parents in Cornwall 28 years ago and it just grew. “

At the moment we have around 15 groups running in Cornwall every week.

Altogether, the charity works with 250 families every year, giving them the chance of a good start in life and being happy, healthy and safe. It also supports parents to build a positive home routine and home environment for their children.

Jo says: “Cornwall is a lot poorer than people realise. We are the second poorest area in northern Europe and we have 17 neighbourhoods that are in the 10% poorest neighbourhoods in the UK - people often just see the nice parts when they come on holiday. People here don’t have much money and a lot of the work we do have is seasonal, so our families do struggle quite a bit.”

During the first third of lockdown, a third of the charity’s families ran out of either food or fuel for their homes, so the charity provided support. It also broadcast a Friday night bedtime story, with music and Makaton signing and events throughout the week.

Jo says: “We have won loads of awards, which is really nice, but the main thing is we believe in our families. We want the wider public to help understand young parents have a distinct set of needs that are nothing to do with their choices and more to do with things that have happened to them through their own childhood and some of the challenges they have to overcome that most of us never have to deal with.”

She says: “This bench is about the work of our whole team and the mums, dads and babies we work with and for the families themselves, who overcome such adversity and are so determined and want a better life for their children.”