Families First Southampton focuses its work towards fathers however we are seeking to help strengthen the whole family. We registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in November 2015.
After an extensive consultation we are aiming to work collaboratively with other agencies to reach fathers with significant needs. Our overall aim is to help make Southampton to become one of the best cities to be a dad. This will include identifying father friendly parenting support groups across the city which we will make available on social media. Also we aim to highlight the national and local resources that are for fathers. Having started to provide direct outreach work in April 2016 we are establishing different creative ways to share information to support dads and receive referrals from across the City. The outreach will be undertaken chatting with fathers in many varied places and situations. The real challenge is making the contact with fathers and working alongside agencies that are very stretched in their resources to consider joint working.
One approach we are currently working on is to provide a space close by the Family Court where issues of child contact are being worked out.
Often with the waiting around that can happen with family court this will be an opportunity to gain some support at a difficult time. We are working with a partner and hope to have this in place shortly.
We have been encouraged by receiving a grant from Southampton City Council and The National Lottery. We are very close to receiving another grant from a well-known funder that can see our work financially secure for two years. We may just need some small additional finances for particular activities we may arrange. We welcome any feedback regarding our Project and we are currently seeking to engage a volunteer to help with promotion, social media or perhaps some outreach work. This volunteer opportunity is arranged through Southampton Voluntary Services or Southampton University.
Referrals and the work undertaken in the first three months from April to June 2016. Families First Southampton have received a total of 41 referrals for dads who have 63 children. We are currently working closely with the East, Central and West Family Matter’s Teams, YMCA Housing, Clear Refugee Project, SO18 Big Local, Probation and we continue to establish partnerships with other organisations. Also, we have many self-referrals from the 900 leaflets we have distributed across the city.