The Wallsend Kinship Carers are a group of mostly grandparents who have been obliged to look after their grandchildren because their birth parents are unable to provide suitable care. Sometimes a child has been placed with their grandparents without any warning, No cot, clothing, bedding, food or even nappies provided. Certainly no provision of who to go to to help.
Often the grandparents have been in work and now discover it is impossible to hold down a full time job and care for this child who probably has attachments disorder never mind ADHD, or another problem/s from the autism spectrum. With the lack of funding and help they withdraw from their old lives. They feel shame that somehow they have failed to raise their own children as suitable parents. The grandchild's behaviour is difficult in public places and they imagine that they are alone and unsupported in their locality.
Until Lockdown, we had been making every effort to communicate with these Kinship Carers to let them know there was help and support available to them. We planned to leaflet Doctor's surgeries, nurseries and schools. We have funding to produce the leaflet and we hope once Lockdown comes to an end we can raise awareness of Wallsend Kindship Carers and offer much needed support to all our local carers. We know what relief these carers experience once they know they are amongst others in the same situation who are happy to help and support them.
Previously we held coffee mornings one a fortnight for all carers. Often, we had speakers who provided much enlightenment and inside information about caring for Kinship Children. During school holidays activities and entertainment for the children have taken place weekly with outside activities being a priority.
In the past we have been successful in obtaining funding for these activities, so that we haven been obliged to become a fully fledged charity. Now with the benefit of our survey by Northumbria University we know that what our carers need most are trips and days out and the possibility of less stressful holidays. Consequently, and especially after the desperate situation of lockdown we have taken the big decision to buy a 2nd hand caravan not too far away on the Northumberland Coast where our families can have a stress free holiday.