Safe Families for Children
Providing a safe and friendly temporary home for children and support for struggling parents
||Safe Families for Children UK
||Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 2EN
History and Activities
Safe Families for Children is the brainchild of Dr David Anderson, a Chicago based physician. Observing the dramatic success the charity had in the United States, former automotive retailer and philanthropist Sir Peter Vardy imported the idea and established a charity to replicate its success in the UK in 2013. The idea behind the charity is remarkably simple; providing temporary homes for children to allow their parents experiencing a short or medium term crisis, to receive support or respite, therefore, preventing the need for children to go into care. The charity has received many awards and accolades for the good work it has done; it estimates that it has benefited over 6,000 children its formation in 2013. In the local authorities where the charity operates estimate that there has been a 16% reduction in children going into care. Not only does this mean millions of pounds saved but the benefits of keeping families together can be enormous for the children involved.
The charity is one of the North East’s greatest philanthropic success stories. It is working with all 13 local authorities in our region and has expanded rapidly to other parts of the UK. Sir Peter hopes that eventually, all local authorities in the UK will use Safe Families for Children to keep vulnerable children out of the care system. Unsurprisingly, the charity is heavily dependent on the families which host the children, who are all volunteers. Since 2013, the charity has trained and approved over 3,000 people to allow them to act as a host.
The charity obtains less than half of its income from donations and grants (£1,023,642), with the remainder (£1,440,011) supplied by local authorities. The charity has benefited extensively from the personal support of Sir Peter as both chairman and patron, but also through the funding supplied by the Vardy Foundation. The foundation contributed £2 million seed funding to establish the pilot and has since made significant grants on an ongoing basis to support the charity’s work. Other notable funders are the Jerusalem Trust, who initially agreed to sponsor the establishment of the charity on the South Coast with £350,000. In 2017/8 the trust extended its support to start up in Somerset with a further £120,000 over two years.
Vital Statistics (year to 31/03/2018)
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Charity Commission. (2018). Safe Families for Children UK Trustees Report and Financial Statement, Available here (Accessed: 23/11/2018).