A charity in Rugby which provides a neutral and safe space for children to see family members after separations is reaching out for volunteers and support after council cuts have left more people seeking help.
Rugby Children’s Contact Centre, based at the children’s centre on Claremont Road, allows children to meet parents and grandparents during family difficulties.
Chairman Norris McKenzie said: “We never pass judgement and we are completely neutral.
“Sometimes the families we help are at loggerheads. It may be that the courts have enforced access.
“It’s a jolly time to see a three or four year old be able to see a family member, whether that be a parent of grandparent, for a couple of hours.
“Children love routine, and the centre provides that for them. We find that once a new routine with visits has been built, the families no longer need us. We view that as a success.
“At the moment we have a nine great volunteers who come from all walks of life. Some have experienced the problems we help people with first hand, while others thought they would like to help.”
A rise in demand from across the borough and elsewhere, including Northampton, Leicester and Coventry, means the charity is looking for extra help.
The charity is a member of the National Association of Children’s Contact Centres (NACCC), which means it has to meet high standards for child protection.
Mr McKenzie said: “The NACCC is going through its own mini ad campaign at the moment and what they are finding is that some of their members are starting to struggle financially.”
The centre in Rugby relies on volunteers and receives no funding from the council.
“All the little things are adding up, and we are struggling to get any sort of sponsorship or support – at the same time councils are reducing funding to some services for families,” Mr McKenzie said.
He also believes part of the rise in demand for the Rugby centre is the quality of the facility. Its security, including a coded gate, makes it ideal for the safety of children.
The centre is open on Saturdays, with volunteers working on a rota which means they will typically work twice a month. Volunteers help to maintain the facility, while ensuring the family meetings are peaceful and safe.
To learn more about the centre, visit www.rugbycontactcentre.co.uk/index.html.
To learn more about volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org