To help you think about who might benefit from your idea, we’ve created these parents. They’re based on our conversations with real Essex families and should inspire you to think what ideas the Families Included Prize is looking for!
Ben, 36 year old single Dad to 4 year old Jackson
‘The most challenging part of being a single parent of a young child is that there can be a lot of people around you for a long time and then suddenly you are on your own’
Ben became a single dad after the sudden death of his wife. Although friends and family rallied around him at first, this support trailed off after a while and Ben was left at a loss for what to do, how to manage and where to find the support and advice he needed. He searched the internet for answers on how to cope but realised that there’s no one answer on how to cope or a guide book on what to do. The resources he could find were all aimed at mums. Ben would like there to be something that puts him in touch with other dads in his area who are in similar positions who he make friends with and turn to for advice.
Sarah, 29 from Maldon, Mummy to 4 year old twin boys
Sarah’s twin boys were born prematurely and spent their first four months in the hospital fighting for their lives. Although Sarah and her husband, Mark, were thrilled to bring the boys home it was a big adjustment having been surrounded by medical teams for so long. Mark had to go back to work so Sarah was left alone with the babies. The boys’ low immune systems meant that they picked up every bug going and would regularly be admitted to hospital to help them recover. This meant Sarah avoided taking the boys out because she was scared they would pick up an infection. Sarah’s experience of starting out as a mum meant that she missed out on joining regular groups where she could have made friends with other families. Now the twins are older, Sarah would like something that helps her get to know her neighbours and builds her confidence by using her skills, as she’s thinking about going back to work.
Ashley, 36 year old Mummy to 18 month year old girl
Ashley feels like she doesn’t have much in common with most of the mums on her estate as she wanted to have a career and waited until she was 30 to have children. She took voluntary redundancy while she was pregnant and feels lucky that her husband’s job means that she can be a stay at home mum. Ashley has lots of interests and is very entrepreneurial, making arts and crafts as well as being an independent Avon Representative (“Avon Lady”). Ashley’s daughter, Kate, had a condition at birth that could affect her speech as she grows up so Ashley wants to make sure she does everything she can to support Kate’s development. She’d like opportunities and activities that are open and welcoming and help with her daughter’s development.
Carly, 16, mummy to 14 month old boy
Carly had her baby when she was 15. Her boyfriend is the same age and they hid her pregnancy until she couldn’t hide it anymore. The idea of become a parent was scary for Carly, she felt alone, cut off from her friends and was worried about how she’d manage as a parent. She felt so young and so isolated. Her school friends didn’t understand what she was going through. Jane, Carly’s health visitor, runs a Teen Parents Group in her area but Carly wasn’t interested. She felt like a child, not a parent, but she was put in touch with another teen mum who attends the group and told her what to expect. Carly now attends the group every week and is in touch with some of the other mums via WhatsApp. They chat, share jokes and help each other out. For Carly it’s been really important to have other mums who were like her and understand what she’s been through.
The Families Included Prize is looking for great ideas, projects and solutions from Essex that involve local families with young children (0-5 years) in opportunities that enrich their lives. Ideas can relate to any aspect of life including personal, professional and social experiences.