This Family Centre gives much needed help to many of the most vulnerable people in the community in one of the most deprived areas of Surrey. The Centre has to handle 54 different languages. The overall manager is the Surrey Care Trust which has c.560 volunteers and 38 employees, full or part-time. John Downing, its CEO, and Janette Breese, the Centre manager for the last 8 years, kindly gave the High Sheriff and his wife a tour of the premises and a visit to the allotment not far away.
Health visitors from the NHS Visiting Team were at the centre, about to carry out some 27 month checks. Parenting skills are taught, and “123 Magic” helps parents understand autism and gives them the confidence to cope. Outreach workers give one-to-one support in divorce and domestic abuse cases. Several victims of DA openly discussed their experiences to the High Sheriff and said how valuable was the help they received from the Centre. The Freedom Programme helped them better understand DA behaviour and the perpetrators. They talked about their experience with the Police and the courts, and feel much more understanding is required, though they found most police officers were helpful.
My Star is a way of letting children show their feelings. Freedom for Children is a 9 week programme that gets children talking about matters in their lives. The family support, the drawing and talking therapy with children, has been needed more since Covid arrived.
The allotment is a beautiful place for mothers and children to go. Volunteers look after the vegetables, fruit and flowers being grown and the feeding of the hens and collection of eggs. There is an area for play, and a popular sand pit. The allotment is very successfully managed by Claire. Out in the open air people find a visit to it lifts their spirits. Small children were happily going round with watering cans. It’s a great success, a place of calm where nature can be appreciated.
The High Sheriff and his wife thoroughly enjoyed their morning and are full of admiration for Janette and her team at this centre and for the work of the Surrey Care Trust.