Connecting Families was an exciting new 2-year project designed to combat the loneliness experienced by many marginalised and socially-isolated families in Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth. The project will enable families to build connections with other people, families and service providers in their area, learn and have fun together, and feel more confident about participating within their local communities.
Connecting Families built local capacity by training 40 volunteer parents and migrant women to engage and support local socially-isolated families through a rich and varied programme of family learning workshops with follow-up one-to-one/small group support and signposting.
The project benefited local service providers and professionals in these boroughs, such as health workers, libraries and other community services, as the project events/workshops will provide an opportunity for them to meet and engage with local families who may not have accessed their services before at the thematic events/workshops. It was run in close partnership with CARAS, SHP Refugee Resettlement Service, Southwark Children’s Centres from Peckham, Peckham Rye and Nunhead locality and Wandsworth Lifelong Learning.
Connecting Families ran 6 consultation events between January and March 2019 to find out more about how the project could best meet locally-identified needs and engage the most socially-isolated families. Volunteer training programmes took place in Wandsworth, Southwark and online.
During the extended two-year project, we trained 40 volunteers who were supported to plan and deliver 22 themed family workshops. Although originally planned to be face-to-face, some of the volunteer training and most of the family workshops were delivered online due to Covid-19 related lockdowns and safety measures.
“This lockdown has been very difficult for me and for my children. Today they were very happy to make things all together.”
“I hope these carry on even after lockdown. We really look forward to them and seeing everyone again”
The family workshops, which engaged over 500 participants, gave families the chance to learn and have fun together as well as meeting and engaging with other people, families and service providers.
“It is difficult to always think of what to do with the kids. Here we get good ideas and the children have fun.”
“Great ideas to get families working together”
“This was my first workshop with the kids. My niece told me about it. I’m very happy as the children liked seeing other children and it was good for me to see other adults.”
Please get in touch if you would like to find out more.
The Connecting Families Training Manual shares some of the key learning, resources and approaches developed through this project which we hope will support other providers in adapting, replicating and cascading this model.
To contact the Learning Unlimited Connecting Families team, please email
Karen Dudley: [email protected]
To find out more about the National Lottery Community Fund, please see: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/news/press-releases/2018-12-22/government-announces-11-5-million-fund-to-tackle-loneliness-across-england