Life-changing family support scheme expands to two south London boroughs

A 128-year-old charity which helps traumatised, isolated and vulnerable children is extending its work to two south London boroughs – thanks to a six-figure funding boost from the capital’s biggest independent charity funder.

Welcare supports families with children up to the age of 13 who have been exposed to domestic abuse, experienced mental health issues, who are socially isolated or need help making the transition to secondary school.

The south London-based charity is expanding its work in partnership with local schools to Greenwich and Bromley – thanks to a £193,800 grant from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

The scheme, which offers group and one-to-one sessions to children, alongside parenting skills classes, has been running as a pilot in Lambeth since September.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“The children supported by Welcare have often been through very traumatic experiences, such as witnessing serious parental illness or domestic violence in the home.

“This project has a life-changing impact, helping children to develop coping strategies, express their emotions in a healthy way and improve their confidence, resilience and self-esteem.”

Welcare traces its roots back to 1894 when it was founded as the Diocesan Association for the Care of Friendless Girls, and Christian values still underpin its work across south London and east Surrey.

Welcare runs a range of services supporting young people’s emotional health and wellbeing, from one-to-one sessions to group work and schools-based programmes.

Children have a trained worker they can trust, who helps build their confidence and get to the root of their difficulties. The charity also works with the young people’s parents, making sure they feel supported.

Welcare Chief Executive Anna Khan said:

“Due to their family circumstances, the children we work with often feel disengaged from school and their behaviour in class can be disruptive, which can lead to a downward spiral in which they are excluded from activities and become even more isolated.

“Through our individual and group work, we’re able to help them to manage their behaviour and emotions in a more mature way so they can take advantage of the opportunities open to them at school and in life.

“They benefit so much just from having time when someone can focus on them and where they can talk about they're going through.”

More information about Welcare is at www.welcare.org

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of over £25 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Case study: ‘I feel better about myself and more confident’

Aaron, aged eight, attended Welcare group support sessions at a primary school in Lambeth.

He said: “I like how we talk about feelings and problems, after I feel better about myself and more confident. Going to the sessions and using crafts has helped me to  open up and deal with my emotions.”

Ayesha Alleyne, a Family Support Worker in Lambeth, said:

“The child and family support groups in schools enable children to express and understand their feelings and emotions, which are explored  through a variety of activities games, art, creative play and discussion.

"The sessions, whether they are one-to-one or in a group, enable the young person to build confidence, explore and name their feelings and emotions, the ability express themselves verbally and know their voice is being heard.”

Picture captions

- Welcare helps children express their emotions, including through group sessions, outings and creative activities such as making art work

- City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK –  www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge Houses Estates, a charity founded in 1097 to maintain London Bridge, and Members of its Court of Common Council form the Bridge House Estates Board.

Bridge House Estates is now responsible for maintaining Tower, London, Southwark, Millennium and Blackfriars Bridges, and its grants team, City Bridge Trust – founded in 1995 – gives out over £25 million a year to good causes across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk



Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services

City of London Corporation

07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk