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"My support worker made me feel like I belonged": Charlotte’s experience

Charlotte first got help from Barnardo’s ten years ago and her eldest son, aged ten, and her two girls, aged two and eight, have been coming to Barnardo’s for as long as they can remember.

The first service I started using was Baby and Me,” Charlotte explains. I was able to get support and advice to prepare for the arrival of my son. At the time, I was feeling very anxious, but Barnardo’s were able to put me at ease. 


Helping Charlotte through the cost-of-living crisis 


“With three kids, life has always been a challenge, but when the cost-of-living crisis hit, that’s when it suddenly became hard to afford basic items. I found myself cutting back on essential groceries such as food and finding it very difficult to pay for gas and electricity.   

The support Barnardo’s has been able to provide has been invaluable.

“During the winter, I was able to receive supermarket vouchers and help to top up my gas and electricity. It meant I could keep the children warm and fed when money was tight.  


“The school holidays are a particularly expensive time. When the kids are at home and not in nursery or school, that’s when it becomes really challenging to do the weekly shopping and pay the bills. They don’t understand why I can no longer buy the items we used to be able to afford.  


“Getting support from Barnardo’s is the best thing I’ve ever done” 


When Charlotte’s son turned two, she could tell he seemed different compared to other children his age but felt alone in how to manage the situation. Her son has since been diagnosed with autism and she recalls feeling especially grateful for our help in getting her health visitor to do an initial autism assessment for her son. Now, he’s getting the support he needs to continue developing his speech and language skills.  


“I felt alone in dealing with this new situation but the support I was able to get for him through Barnardo’s was amazing. He’s been able to improve his speech and language by taking part in chat and play sessions.  


“One of the special moments that Barnardo’s was able to create was providing a family day out and meal for my son’s birthday where he was able to watch the Elemental film at our local cinema. I wouldn’t have been able to afford the cinema tickets for him and my two girls otherwise. It’s the extra things, like making sure the children could have their own popcorn that made it just such a special day.” 

When families are struggling, Barnardo’s knows how to take the pressure off.

“I feel so much more confident compared to where I was ten years ago. I hope to go to university and study nursing. It’s not something I previously would have the confidence to do. Life remains a challenge but through Barnardo’s I’ve been able to come out of my shell and I feel more hopeful for the future. Getting support from Barnardo’s is the best thing I’ve ever done.”  


"A real sense of family and friendship” 


Thinking about the support she gets from her local children’s centre, Charlotte says her children have also been able to grow and develop through different programmes and activities. “There’s a real sense of family and friendship at the children’s centre. Over the years Barnardo’s has supported me in lots of different ways. The kids have been able to enjoy the different programmes where they can improve their language and speech skills by taking part in various play activities. I’ve also been able to use the various support groups for parents and make new friends,” she says. 


Charlotte says her support worker, Mary, has played a big role in helping her feel like she belongs. “Mary’s a friendly and trusted person who I can turn to when I have a problem or feel stuck. My mental health hasn’t always been great, but that’s something I’ve been able to improve with help and encouragement from her.” 


*Name has been changed to protect the identities of the families we help. 

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Whether you need practical support or some advice, search our services supporting children, young people and their families across the UK.

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