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WELCOME TO OUR DECEMBER NEWSLETTER! We’re delighted to tell you about developments at Living Springs as we approach our 25th Anniversary in 2014. As ever, none of what we do could be accomplished without our amazing team of staff, volunteers and trustees who commit their time and energy to the families we work with - 365 days a year. They bring their dedication, understanding and care to all that the charity is involved in. As it’s nearly the 25th Anniversary, on this page we’ve included some of the early - and work in progress! - pictures, alongside how the Centre looks now. Do turn the page to find out what we have been doing recently and what 2014 holds. Robert & Jane Chapman Chair of Trustees and Centre Director

No words or gestures can ever express the special place we have in our hearts for all the love and care we have received from everyone at Living Springs. Susan (former resident)

We would like to keep in touch with you via occasional email updates. If you don’t already receive these and would like to, please let us know at info@livingsprings or via the web site: 1

Do join us for our annual Carol Service at 11am on Saturday 21 December at Living Springs (DY7 6QY) Our friends from Straits Christian fellowship, Lower Gornal will lead us as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Light refreshments will be available after the service

NEW PLAY ROOM OPENS AT LIVING SPRINGS Families at Living Springs now have a new place to relax and learn together. The Play Room - located in The Courtyard - offers toys and experiences to help families bond and children play together. Coordinator Katie Brockway is delighted that the space is now available, saying it will make a big difference to the ways in which parents and their children can interact. Comments received from residents following the opening: "Thank you Katie and Rachel, you've done a great job. It's beautiful and so nice for children. Thank you." "I think it's really good, a lot better than before. There are things to do for all ages. It is really nice for the children - my daughter loves it!" "I think it is really lovely and really 'baby-friendly' and good for all ages. My daughter loves it and thank you so much. There's so much more room to play and more things for her ... she loves the lights. Thanks." 2

Between 10 and 19 March 2014, Centre Director Jane Chapman will be leading a team of 10 people to Nepal to take on a 25th Anniversary fund raising challenge trek in the Himalayas.

You can sponsor the team now at charities/livingsprings

Jane says: “It is an enormous privilege to able to take a group of people to the Himalayas to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Living Springs. I am thrilled to be participating in this exciting personal challenge (I hate the cold and hard beds) but to raise funds for vulnerable children and families with whom we work, is worth the sacrifice!� Our front cover picture is of Dhaulagiri I (8,167m) and its satellite peaks, dominating the western skyline in the Himalayas. The team will be viewing this range from Poon Hill during the trek. Jane and the team on a recent training weekend on Cadair Idris

Some of the sights and colours the team will experience in Nepal


Chair of Trustees Robert Chapman says: "This trip of a lifetime is a great way to celebrate our past and to look to the future as we aim to help many more families in the next 25 years".

Two new staff members have been appointed specifically to develop our work as we approach the 25th anniversary. Martin Brown is now Project Manager and Katie Brockway has been appointed to the role of Community Support Worker. Katie, who lives in Stourbridge, has been a family support worker at the charity, but her new role, made possible by a £30k grant over 2 years from Lloyds TSB, means she can follow through with young mums and families as they leave Living Springs.

“I was telling the board at MG about the work Living Springs does and one director said he wished he could do something like that. “Well I actually am now, and it’s very fulfilling. We’re helping youngsters bring up their children.”

Katie said: “Some families have a network of family and friends and we just have to check that network is working. Others have no family or network and need more support and encouragement to become part of the community.”

Katie commented: I began my new role at the beginning of November and it gives me the opportunity to visit ex residents in the community and offer them support. Recently I went to visit a mum and her 10 month old son who left Living Springs in June 2013. I was thrilled to see how well they were doing; the child has now begun to crawl and pull himself up on furniture. He is also being weaned so I was able to offer support and guidance with this. I took an advent calendar and Christmas present for the child from Living Springs. The mum proudly told me how well her and her son were doing since leaving Living Springs and invited me along to her son’s first birthday party in January.

Martin Brown is an engineer who project managed the development and launch of the MG3 supermini. He decided it was time to move from cars into caring. Having converted barns at Living Springs in the past into safe homes for vulnerable families, he leapt at the chance of returning. Martin, from Halesowen, said: “I wanted to give something back to the community.

I plan to visit more ex residents in the weeks leading up to Christmas and take gifts from Living Springs for the children.


VOLUNTEERS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE This autumn we have been working hard to transform a twobedroomed flat in Stourbridge into move on accommodation for young mums and vulnerable families. team were brilliant. They all threw themselves into the work with such enthusiasm”.

At our Family Centre we already provide the basic life skills needed to live independently. Having the flat available will mean the service will also be offered in Stourbridge soon, providing a half-way house for mothers who have completed the charity's parenting skills training.

Debbie Folkes, account executive for Hettle Andrews, added: “We’ve been supporting Living Springs now for a couple of years and really admire the work they do; we couldn't walk away from them now."

Work to renovate the flat is nearly complete and we recently had a helping hand from a 10-strong team from Birmingham based insurance brokers, Hettle Andrews. The team, who have adopted Living Springs as one of their chosen charities, arrived armed with paintbrushes and simply got stuck in. Martin Brown said: “The

Other corporate teams who have spent a day with us in the past have included npower and Severn Trent. We’re grateful to all our volunteers, both individuals and teams they all make such a difference to what we are able to achieve.

The flat ... before, and after!

Contact Lindsey Clode, Events & Supporters Co-ordinator if you would like to help  01384 872817 or 


Below we give a brief summary of the services we offer - do contact us for further details. Tel: 01384 872817 or Community Support from our Community Support Centre at The Upper Room, 105 High Street, Stourbridge above Vines Restaurant Pregnancy Support  Pregnancy testing  Post Abortion support  Contraception advice

Move on support and skills development  Engaging with families to develop a positive relationship and to  STI advice and sign posting encourage a better  New and used 0 – 2 years eventual outcome Clothing and Supplies  Identifying the specific needs of each Currently we are supporting family and several women through the preparing a sadness of losing their babies plan which will from both Neo Natal Death and meet these Miscarriages. In essence, we try needs. to offer support for all pregnancy related distress.

Supported Housing Via our special apartments at the Family Centre we can  provide assistance during pregnancy and in the early stages of looking after a baby  help care for a child so the parent(s) can move on to independent living (see above)  offer counsel and support when parents face difficult decisions  help with parenting, information on education, job training, benefit advice etc  support the parent(s) if there is concern that the child may be affected by family difficulties or conflict

Social Work Assessments Sometimes families are referred to Living Springs due to parents having difficulties with their parenting. Our experienced staff team is able to work alongside them to help them improve their parenting and to establish a good secure bond with their children. There are times when a more formal approach is required and Local Authorities request Social Work Assessments to be undertaken with parents and children. These can be:  Full residential parenting assessment at Living Springs  Community-based assessments in our supported housing or family’s own home  Supervised and assessed contact between parents and children  Viability assessments to determine the right way forward for the family  Family assessments, including extended family members 6

On Saturday 7 December we welcomed many friends and supporters to Living Springs. Jane Chapman said: “It is always a pleasure to welcome our valued friends and supporters to Living Springs' Christmas for All event. It’s great to see the children and families enjoying the fun and bustle of the day with stalls, pony rides and activities giving pleasure to everyone as we herald in the festive season”.

Living Springs, Bridgnorth Road, Stourton, Stourbridge DY7 6QY Tel/fax: 01384 872817 e: Charity No: 1082726 Company No: 4014173

Living Springs Newsletter Christmas 2013  

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