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13 November 2014

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You are in: South Yorkshire > Community > CSV Action Desk > Family conferences in Barnsley

Rachel Mcmanus from Barnardos

Family conferences in Barnsley

A charity in Barnsley is working with local familes to resolve conflicts within the home with a mediation service.

Barnardo's Family Group Conference Service at Priory Campus in Lundwood works with families who are having difficulties with their children's behaviour.

The charity provides family led meetings aimed at empowering families to solve their problems and they have helped hundreds of people in the town.

Families get referred to the scheme from social services, schools and health visitors and Barnardo's tend to find that they work with children who are excluded, not going to school or are in care.

Rachel McManus is from Barnado's in Barnsley she says that the scheme works well when all the family members are willing to get involved.

"It puts the control back to the family, we meet with the family and identify all the people involved, and we help them to sort out a family led meeting, the family decide on a plan to solve the problem".

The nursery at the Barnardo's centre in Barnsley

The nursery at the Barnardo's centre

Barnardo's provide the family with an advocate who works with all the family members to try and resolve the problems. That advocate can also attend meetings on behalf of family members if they don't want to attend.

"Families know best what is best for them, we as workers don't know what is best for them so we are letting them having control back if children and parents are talking they are going to be able to sort things out with success" said Rachel.

Angie Chambers is a volunteer advocate with the Barnardos Family Conferencing Service.

"I'm only just becoming involved in Barnardo's family conferencing volunteering, because I have something to give and I think families are important.

I'm in between jobs at the moment and a little bit older in life and my children have left home and so I've a little bit more spare time, so why not put it to good use in my local community. I've also had some family problems of my own like everyone has, but I didn’t know about this service so they couldn’t help me.

Volunteer Angie Chambers

Volunteer Angie Chambers

My daughters had problems caused by the death of my father, their granddad at a very young age, and my husband leaving home during their teenage years which caused some rocky periods especially during exams at school and growing up for them.  This was escalated by the fact that I  became a single parent coping on my own. Luckily, we got through it as best we could".

"Now, I do know about the support families can get from Barnardo's I want others to know about it and to help make sure people can use the service".

One of the charities biggest success came after working with a family who had been involved with social services and the police for ten years to resolve their problems. The family conference scheme worked so well that social services were able to close the case.

"We often find that when you get to the bottom of it the problem is caused by a break down in communication and it's about relationships, if families can talk to each other and build up their relationships and understand each others points of view that usually helps them sort out the bigger problems in their lives" Rachel says.

The Barnardo's Family Centre at Priory Campus in Lundwood, is also looking for volunteers to get involved in voluntary work in their specialist nursery offering practical support and advice to parents.

Last year they dealt with around 550 people at the family centre and are looking for more volunteers, all potential volunteers with Barnardo's have a Criminal Records Bureau check to clear them for working with children.

They are especially looking for male volunteers as a lot of the families who they deal with are single parents who's children don't have many male role models.

If you are interested in volunteering for Barnardo's in Barnsley please contact;
Malcolm Barr
Family Group Conference Service
Tel: 01226 246904

last updated: 18/12/2008 at 14:31
created: 12/02/2008

You are in: South Yorkshire > Community > CSV Action Desk > Family conferences in Barnsley

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