On 9 July Face 2 Face officially launched its service in Solihull. The event was held at the Renewal Family Centre and was a combination of presentations to inform professionals how the service works and what the volunteers can offer local families, as well as moving and inspirational talks by both Solihull and neighbouring Birmingham befrienders.
The event was well attended by over 50 professionals who were keen to hear about what the service could offer the families they support in the borough. Their feedback was extremely positive and has resulted in a number of referrals following the launch.
Face 2 Face Solihull is now up and running, with half of the befrienders befriending local parents and utilising the skills honed on their 10 weeks of training with a number more referrals being received all the time. All of the befrienders are themselves parents of disabled children and are passionate about being able to provide a unique support that they felt was not there for them when their own children were younger. Solihull Befriender Jan Quinney said: “Professionals are there, but at the end of the day they have not been through what you have. The reason the volunteers are uniquely placed is because they understand what the families are having to deal with.”
The Rt. Hon. Lorely Burt MP attended the event and presented eight newly qualified volunteer parent befrienders with their training certificates. She said that the service would be “wonderful” for Solihull. She continued by saying, “What I have heard today is just how powerless and frightened people can feel when they get this awful news.”
The event was also a great opportunity to celebrate the partnership between Face 2 Face Solihull and Sainsbury’s Solihull (Poplar Way). Face 2 Face was chosen by the local Sainsbury’s branch to be their charity partner for the next 12 months. The store have been very enthusiastic about Face 2 Face and the service provided and are coming up with lots of ways to not only raise funds for the service but also raise awareness of the service locally to ensure as many parents of disabled children can be supported as possible.
In the first month, activities such as a cake sale, till point collections and an Olympic-themed colouring competition have been held in store. Sainsburys very kindly donated a cake to the launch event and Face 2 Face is very much looking forward to working with them over the next year.
Face 2 Face Solihull is now taking referrals. For more information please contact Co-ordinator Jo Bussey on 0121 444 8584 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org