Being a parent can be difficult. All families are different, and all face different challenges.
Some of the wealthiest families in the country live alongside some of the poorest. Home to some incredible opportunities, including renowned centres of arts and culture, Islington has the second lowest amount of open space of any Local Authority in the country. This can make life difficult for those families struggling to make ends meet. Just under a quarter of local children live in workless families.
The prominence of domestic violence and mental ill health can make things harder for families. In recent years, adult social services in Islington have expressed concerns around mental ill health in parents and carers in around a quarter of cases. Just under a third of assessments conducted by children’s social services identified concerns about the child’s parent/carer being the subject of domestic violence.
We had a borough-wide conversation with local families, and people who work with them, in 2017. They told us that they want to have “a life, not a service”, meaning normal opportunities to go out and socialise just as other families do. We published a report on these conversations in July 2017, which you can read here.
We care about families in Islington, and support a number of inspiring projects that offer parents essential support and spaces to relax. Every family is different, and the challenges they face are complex.
Our new Family Catalyst fund helps local families by giving small amounts of money that can make a huge difference. We are working with trusted partners across the borough to give up to £500 to families to pay for life changing opportunities. This follows the success of our Young Catalyst programme, which has helped children go on their first holiday, and paid for the essential items young people need to further their education and careers.
Grandparents Plus offer friendly support to kinship carers, family members who have stepped in to care for their grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other relations.
Islington Mind holds mother-to-mother support sessions, bringing parents together to share experiences. Asian Women Lone Parents Association supports Asian women who are lone parents.
The Parent House provides a safe, inclusive space for Islington parents. It helps to connect them with other parents, and to life-changing activities in the borough. You can read how this space changed the life of local parent Amel (pictured above), here.